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Analysing Ukraine crisis-



Analysing Ukraine Crisis
Temporal angle:

1. Crimea witnessed bloody wars during world war II when it was occupied by Nazis
2. during the Crimean wars of 1853-56, Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain and Ottoman empire
3. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 1783 and in 1954 Nikita Krushchev gifted it to the soviet state of Ukraine
4. collapse of USSR and Russia lost Crimea to Ukraine (recently Mikhail Gorbhachev said- loss of Crimea of Ukraine is a historical mistake as views of ethnic Russians were not taken into consideration)
5. Russia, US,UK and France vowed to uphold the sovereignty of Ukraine through Budapest convention in 1994

Spatial angle:

1. The western part of Ukraine is pro-european and eastern part of Ukraine is pro Russian. the south eastern part of ukraine (Crimea) is a Russian majority region along with Islamic Tartars (who were deported by Stalin during WW). Russia consists of a Black sea fleet in Sevastopol which is very strategic to Russia as it is the only platform which does not freezes in winter and provide passage to black sea, Mediterranean.
2. the western nations led by US and EU want to bring Ukraine into the fold of EU and NATO (as it seems) and want to bring NATO to the door steps of Russia (roughly some 400 Kms from its territory)

Decoding Ukraine's president Yanukovchy (recognised by himself and Russia):

1. Undoubtedly a democratically elected leader (He arresting Yulia Tymoshenko in the aftermath of Orange Revolution of 2004)
2. Nevertheless very corrupt, authoritarian, persecuted his rivals and activists, fed cronyism, undermines freedom of courts and media. This guy has ordered police firing on the protesters (that includes far Right & Neo Nazi elements) which led to death of around 85 people. Of course recently there is a recent telephone conversation (its a leaked one) between 2 ministers of some X and Y European countries speaking about the shooting of protesters by snipers which says that the snipers are infact the opposition elements.
3. This guy has offered some concessions to the opposition in terms of returning to the pre 2004 constitution which hands over the majority of powers now held by the president to the PM, conducting early elections etc. However the a faction of opposition which includes the far right and Neo-Nazi elements has rejected the deal and occupied many Government buildings.
4. Soon after clinching a deal with the opposition, Yanokovchy fled to Russia fearing a coup and he along with Russia still considers himself as the legitimate head of Ukraine and termed the present leadership in Kiev as "Illegal"


what Russia thinks:


1. Russia knows that Ukraine is a strategic location which it cannot afford to go into the hands of NATO that will dent putin's aspiration to build a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on the lines of EU
2. Crimea has ethnic Russians as majority population, so it will take "all necessary measures" to defend them including through armed intervention that has been approved by the Russian parliament.
3. It has criticised the efforts of NATO nations to interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine & their efforts to bring Ukraine into the fold of EU (that comes along with aid conditionalities of IMF) and bringing NATO into the door steps of Russia.
4. Russia has supported the Crimean authorities in conducting the referendum to decide whether to join Russia or stay united with Ukraine with more powers and autonomy. Russian troops (of course they operated without Russian Insignia implying zero presence of Russia) aided the "self defense forces" of Crimea.


what went wrong with Ukraine:


1. Ukraine's tilt towards EU has angered Russia as it is of utmost strategic significance.
2. The new dispensation at Kiev has vowed to abolish Russian language as 2nd official language, annulling the agreement that gives Russia the right to operate its Black sea fleet till 2047, expressed willingness to join NATO


Why the west is wrong:


1. It want to Europeanise the former soviet states by creating tensions in the region.
2. The recent incidents involving western interference in other countries is slightly implying that it is resorting to invoking the "cold war" era again.
3. It is displaying hypocrisy selectively- resorting to "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine where its interests are being served by aiding the oppositions economically and strategically and designing coup plots in countries like Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America etc where the Armed forces of the western nations has committed appalling human rights violations. On the other hand it held that "self determination right" expressed by the Crimean people as "Ilegal" and Russia's action as "Land grab" and violative of international law. This was countered by Russia by citing the Kosovo precedent where the declaration of independence by Kosovo from Russia was instantly recognised by the west and the UN International Court of Justice ruling that "Declaration of independence by any part of a country need not amount to violation of international law".


What's going on now:


1. Crimea has voted (over 85% turnout) with 90% of those who voted in favour of joining Russia (So Russia is happy and the West is weepy! :-()
2. Russia has recognised the result of referendum and gave consent for integration of Crimea into Russia
3. The western countries has imposed "unspecified sanctions that include financial and visa" on individuals responsible for the crisis along with warnings of international isolation. They are likely to drop Russia from the Group of 8. This led to Tit for Tat sanctions by Russia on the west though it is not of much significance. The important thing that we need to remember is over 30% of Hydrocarbon pipelines to Europe pass through Crimea and the economic interaction between Russia and EU is of substantial level, so it is unlikely that the EU may intensify sanctions on Russia.
4. India has indicated that it is not going to support any unilateral sanctions on any country and it will adhere only to those sanctions backed by UN. It also called on the all the parties to peacefully resolve the issues (and such kind of routine stuff that we say :-))
5. India is concerned about some defence industrial complexes in Ukraine which is of utmost importance to India as most of its aircraft fleet is getting refurbished over there and it is the source of much of the military equipment such as helicopters engines etc. We are also taking certain steps to safeguard the interests of over 4000 Indian students, most of them pursuing MBBS there.

Comments

  • Of late many regions have come up with the desire to separate from their country. This includes the referendum held in Falklands last year ( they voted to remain with British) the proposed refrendum in Scotland later this year , and the recent informal referendum conducted in Veneto region of Italy to separate from Italy and revive the Venetian republic ( that fell to napoleon 200 hundred years ago ). All these events coupled with the Crimean Crisis raise some important issues like right to self determination, territorial integrity and unity of modern nation states. Argentina President has already connected the Falklands to Crimean issue. With issues in Kashmir still unresolved this is an important matter for India too and our stand has to be the right mix of idealism and realism.
  • edited March 2014
    extra points to add

    1. Viktor yanukovych wanted to join EU as part of a deal for loans.later the talks broke down and ukraine switched to russia.this lead to heavy protests resulting in the crisis

    2. Presently ukraine's economy is in a very bad state with debt upto 15 billion dollars (not sure of the number).any loans borrowed from IMF result in cost cutting,increase of tax and austerity which are unpopular
    measures.

    3. Eastern ukraine is mostly filled with russian people or russian supporters.already small scale clashes between neo nazi groups and russians is occuring in eastern ukraine.

    4. Many ukrainian immigrants provide remittance form russia.

    additional fact of ukraine

    Ukrainians were persecuted during world war 2 by nazis and during soviet regime by Stalin which is the reason why most Ukrainians hate Russia.
  • @Hound- this is the best summary of the Ukraine issue I have come across =D>
    CSE 2013- AIR 454 (IRS(C&CE))
    CSE 2014- AIR 516 (#)
    CSE 2015- AIR 255 (#)
    CSE 2016- AIR 251 (IPS)
  • Here is my question:

    The issue has taken a shape of west vs russia both of whom with which we have good and cordial relationship so far.
    1. can we afford to take any stand on this issue like the recent statement we have issued- "India does not support any unilateral sanctions"? Do we really have so significant stake in Ukraine that warrants india's reaction?

    2. Being an aspirant of high table (UNSC), are we required to make our stand clear?

    views are welcomed
  • 1.no,it is better not to take a stand.india has played a diplomatically by saying we do not support annexation but we do not support sanctions.this way india does not antagonise both west or russia.

    2.we do not have significant stake in ukraine as it is of little strategic importance to india or its not a priority for them to be under our sphere of influence.

    3. the defence deals with ukraine would be already under trouble as there is lack of political stability and further escalation of the crisis could delay procurement or worse cancellation of the deal

    4. being a UNSC aspirant taking neutral views helps again as we can play the role of a mediator in the future for both sides.

    what india should do is oppose any nuclear armament deals or anti defence missiles setup in ukraine as these will lead to further escalation just like the cuban crisis and would justify iran to develop its own nuclear arsenals with possible chinese or russian support.

  • this topic is not covered in UPSC mains syllabus , so better not to study all these diplomatically complex matters. We have to study only the topics , which can cause significant effect on indian foreign policy and subsequently on its cultural, economic, bilateral and strategical ties with the other nations.
    Imagination and Ruthlessness rules the world
  • @devendra_singh I don't think UPSC will include every thing in the syllabus. It is our business to look at the relevance of the topic to us. How can one not look at such a raging international issue which is resembling the cold war politics (yes cold war is included in syllabus) involving 2 super powers?
    In today's Hindu, our foreign minister has said that the static nature of UNSC is responsible for many problems in the world. Probably UPSC can link these topics together and ask a funny :-) question.
    Anyways investigating different facets of an issue will ultimately help us in answering different questions.
    Good luck
  • this topic is not covered in UPSC mains syllabus , so better not to study all these diplomatically complex matters. We have to study only the topics , which can cause significant effect on indian foreign policy and subsequently on its cultural, economic, bilateral and strategical ties with the other nations.
    Its important. They can ask a direct question on it and even if they dont you can use this issue as an example in other related questions to substantiate your points. How can current affairs have a syllabus (unless and until UPSC has discovered time travel)?
  • @Hound Very nice summary bro... On the question of stand ought to be taken by India:

    a) We may take a cue from china, which is unusually silent on a big diplomatic crisis. India's strategic interests are not that vital in Crimean peninsula, which offer us leverage of treading a cautious path. We on one hand should stress on talk between USSR and EU to defuse the situation, and while on other hand we need to denounce annexation as step of aggression.

    b) UNSC membership aspirations require a balanced approach from a regional power like India. We need to tell western countries that we simply do not toe their line on diplomatic issues and believe in amicable solution of crisis situations
  • @Learnerkanna you have mentioned valid points especially regarding our own "kashmir issue". We ought to tread the path cautiously while taking a stand.
    It would be nice if some one take up this kashmir issue. If it is already discussed in this forum, please post the thread here, it will be useful.
  • 1.no,it is better not to take a stand.india has played a diplomatically by saying we do not support annexation but we do not support sanctions.this way india does not antagonise both west or russia.

    2.we do not have significant stake in ukraine as it is of little strategic importance to india or its not a priority for them to be under our sphere of influence.

    3. the defence deals with ukraine would be already under trouble as there is lack of political stability and further escalation of the crisis could delay procurement or worse cancellation of the deal

    4. being a UNSC aspirant taking neutral views helps again as we can play the role of a mediator in the future for both sides.

    what india should do is oppose any nuclear armament deals or anti defence missiles setup in ukraine as these will lead to further escalation just like the cuban crisis and would justify iran to develop its own nuclear arsenals with possible chinese or russian support.


    Good analysis bro......
    regarding the 4th point you mentioned, will it really help us in fulfilling our aspirations to the high table, when international partners are urging us to be decisive?
  • two more quick points:
    firstly, russia is also not happy with ukraine's selling of weapon systems and in past hull of aircraft carrier to china which china uses to develop or copy and then resale to other countries, in short loss of arm market for russia,
    remember it was itegrated system of production in ussr where some major euipments were produced here and it was long intention of west to cripple russian by detaching that unit
    secondly, as rajiv sikri adds, russians have declining population crimean population which is basically russian in origin is an asset for russia(rajya sabha tv discussion desh deshantar).
  • This whole affair has important repercussions for India.We have a lot of our defense assets being manufactured in Ukraine. Also it highlights that naive decisions like unilateral renunciation of nuclear weapons like Ukraine did in 1994 in return for an international guarantee to its territorial integrity and sovereignty can lead to easy manipulation by stronger adversaries as strength respects strength. None of the so called NATO allies could directly do anything at all as was the case with Czechoslovakia when Hitler occupied Sudetenland and later entire country while britain and france watched like mere spectators .
  • @Hound @fairytale @mrxplek @saurabh0151
    I have tried to write a comprehensive summary of this crisis. I have taken points from all of you guys ( i hope you dont mind ) and also from other sources. I have published it on my blog .... if you guys have time do check it once and tell me If i got things right. .... I will keep taking points that are henceforth posted on this thread and also from other upcoming news articles and enrich the article.

    http://gstoday.wordpress.com/the-crimean-crisis-events-and-effects/

    Cheers!!!
  • Ever since the 1991 break up of the Soviet Union and the unfolding of the Warsaw Pact, Russia, recognizing its weakness, sought a non-confrontational relationship with NATO. In 1994, NATO and Russia signed a Partnership for Peace; in 1997, they signed the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security. Yet, one might have said that they were sharing the same bed, but with different dreams. The West wanted to take into NATO the states in eastern Europe and Russia wanted to keep NATO as far away as possible from its borders. A clash was inevitable. This is what has happened in the case of Ukraine.
    secondly,
    There are some in the West who want to use the annexation of Crimea by Russia to punish it and damage its economy. Some have argued that the US should reconcile itself with Iran to bring down the price of oil and gas by selling which Russia derives the best part of its income. The US has emerged as the top producer of hydrocarbon energy and with the prospects of shale gas in the near future, the energy lobby in the US wants new markets and Europe is an attractive one. They see a huge commercial opportunity to sell energy to Europe, now critically dependent on imports from Russia. Some Western pundits have argued that Putin has violated the post-Cold War norms in Europe by carrying out the annexation. They are right, but they exaggerate a little when they say that Putin wants to revive the extinct Soviet Union. Nor is he alone in violating norms.
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