Why did Vladimir Putin take these actions, which are incredible from the point of view of modern political practice?Um, well, the "responsibility to protect" (aka, R-2-P), comes to mind, which is quite consistent with modern political practice, although in the Western understanding of the principle it usually entails not so much protecting the citizens of a country as bombing the Hell out of them, as in Serbia, for example, or Iraq (Shock and Awe, remember) or most recently, Libya, rather than getting the citizens to vote 97% for union with their supposed protectors, as in the case of Russia in Crimea.
Then says the FT:
As for the Russian navy base, it never reached its staffing limits. The Moscow establishment was not concerned about controlling the Black Sea; it was preoccupied with stuffing its own pockets at the expense of the people.No, right, the Russians don't give a damn about access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean any more than the Americans care about, say, Pearl Harbor and access to the Pacific Ocean. And as for stuffing pockets at the expense of the people, that is obviously not what British or American bankers would ever do. So good point, FT.
Then, says the FT:
The invasion of Crimea cannot be explained with concern for the Russian-speaking people of Crimea either. Russia’s rulers do not even care about their own people, robbing them cynically. Why would they suddenly care about their kinsmen in Crimea?Absolutely. Those Russians in Crimea who voted 97% for union with Russia must be totally insane. Although come to think of it, as citizens of the Russian Federation, they will be allowed to use the Russian language, which is a plus, since its use as an official language has just been outlawed in Ukraine (A fact that tends to refute the FT's claim that "nobody has oppressed the Russians in Crimea.").
Then, says the FT,
Moscow’s rulers are terrified that Ukraine’s Maidan protest movement could replicate itself in Russia. ... They are ... frightened by the tough anti-communist spirit of the Maidan. The revolution is taking place amid collapsing monuments to Soviet leaders: Lenin, Kirov, Dzerzhinsky"Tough anti-Communist spirit of the Maidan." LOL. Where has the FT been for the last few decades. Do they think Joe Stalin is still heading up the Soviet Union? Russia, today, is more of a plutocracy, though with a constitutional government and an elected president and parliament. But the Russians do remember who killed 12 million of their citizens during WWII, it was the Nazis under whose insignia the Maidan operates. So probably it would be more accurate to say not that Russians fear the Maidan, but that they hate the bastards.
As for statues, good riddance, for sure, to the Soviet Secret Police chief, Dzerzhinsky, (a Pole held in high esteem by some of his compatriots for killing more Russians than any other Pole). But why tear down the statue of Mikhail Kutuzov, the man who defeated the Napoleonic invasion, the Hero of what has been called the greatest novel ever written, Tolstoy's War and Peace?
Ukrainian Policy: Turkey Warns Russia it Will Blockade Bosphorus if Violence Occurs
Kyiv Post: Ukraine Government Orders Preparation for War
An invitation, obviously, to Russia to strike first, which seems to have been the objective of this US psyop all along: provoke, provoke and provoke.
Zero Hedge: Putin Responds To US, European Sanctions: Signs Order Recognizing Crimea As Sovereign State
Zero Hedge: Russia Hints It May Force Ukraine Into Default, "May Ask Ukraine For Its $20 Billion Share For Ex-Soviet Debt"
Mercenaries took part in Maidan violence – Ex-Ukraine security chief
Robert Parry: Mainstream US Media Is Lost in Ukraine
Zero Hedge: Russian Stocks, Ruble Respond To Obama's Sanctions By Extending Gains
Pepe Escobar: Crimea and Western 'values'
Obama Off The Ukrainian Deep End
George Galloway: On the Right of the People of Crimea to Self-Determination
George Soros, the Nazi Jew, condemns the EU for failing to back Ukraine Nazis
Right Sector leader: Kiev should be ready to sabotage Russian pipelines in Ukraine
Crimea To Abandon Hyrvnia, Switch To Russian Ruble On April 1st