A comments policy

In the last few days, I’ve received several comments that question deep underlying assumptions about

  1. how I conceive of Crimea before and after 2014
  2. how I conceive of Russia’s role in the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and the roots of this crisis

My policy has been to allow these comments through the moderation process, to uphold freedom of speech. My policy is also to rebuff these comments to further prove my point. So, no matter what comment is posted (within abusive reason) I’m not going to moderate it out, but I will argue my point.

And in response to the idea that Crimea’s annexation and the Donbas conflict, as this is about “a centuries-long cultural problem between Great Russia […] and Little Russia, Ukraine, the borderland countryside” you just have to look at Putin’s state of the nation speech from 4 December 2014.

Here Putin outlined perfectly the double-speak of the Kremlin: that Russia respects Ukraine’s sovereignty now just as much as ever and yet, just as it does all the “other brotherly republics of the former Soviet Union”. And yet, Russia’s incursion in Crimea and the Donbas proves exactly the opposite. Russia wants a Ukraine that goes its way, redolent of Brezhnev’s doctrine of 1968 justifying intervention in Prague to save the Soviet Union’s Communist brother from itself.


It is in Vladimir Putin’s interest to ensure there is a lasting ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine

A ceasefire was agreed between Ukraine and separatist forces on 5 September, although it is unclear whether this will hold following shelling in the city of Mariupol and near Donetsk airport on Sunday. Ellie Knott writes on public opinion within Russia toward the conflict. She notes that while Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings have increased during the Ukraine crisis, there is relatively low public support for the annexation of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Between the Sochi Olympics in February of 2014 and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March of 2014, Putin’s approval rating, according to the Levada Centre (a relatively trustworthy source of polling data), shot up to a level of positive approval not seen since before Russia’s economic crisis. Although as Chart 1 shows, Putin’s approval has dipped slightly since June (86 per cent approval) to August (84 per cent), in the wake of the current crisis Putin has become extremely popular once again in Russia, even if optimism about Russia’s economy and personal well-being have not seen the same spikes. Continue reading “It is in Vladimir Putin’s interest to ensure there is a lasting ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine”