A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘crimea

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers agriculture in space.
  • Crooked Timber examines the tribalisms which benefit Donald Trump.
  • Dangerous Minds notes an angry New York City television editorial criticizing the Sex Pistols.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the cycles of Mars’ north polar gap.
  • Language Log talks about Chinese script, starting with Ted Chiang’s criticisms.
  • The LRB Blog speculates about the future of a Labour Party that has lost its working-class support.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen likes the Chinese city of Qingdao.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the dispatch of the OSIRIS-REx probe to the launch pad.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders what solution Bernie Sanders is proposing for Puerto Rico.
  • Understanding Society describes sociological frameworks for writing biographies.
  • Window on Eurasia speculates the doping scandal may cost Russia not only the Olympics but FIFA in 2018, and is unsurprised by Gorbachev’s support of the annexation of Crimea.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Charlie Stross at Antipope wonders what subtle techniques could be used to sabotage a modern technology firm.
  • Bad Astronomy notes the work that went into determining the origins of a high-energy neutrino.
  • blogTO praises the Toronto Islands.
  • Imageo shares this unsettling graphic depicting rising global temperatures over time.
  • The Map Room notes, using Amazon’s controversy over same-day delivery being coincidentally limited largely to areas with non-black populations, the problems involved with being blind about data.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen makes the case for Britain staying in the imperfect European Union.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that the new Brazilian government’s all-male cabinet required some work, given the presence of women in Brazil’s business life.
  • Transit Toronto looks at plans for new GO Station construction in the GTA.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian coverage of Crimean Tatar Jamala’s song “1944” and her victory for Ukraine at Eurovision.

[LINK] “Turkey Seen Seeking to Reanimate GUAM as Anti-Russian Alliance”

Window on Eurasia’s Paul Goble notes a Russian article suggesting that Turkey might interested in pushing the GUAM alliance into forming an alliance against Russia.

The Turkish government is seeking to revive GUAM in order to form an alliance of states against Russia broader than the pan-Turkic groupings it had promoted in the past, Aleksey Fenenko says; but he adds that Ankara faces real difficulties in doing so and that Moscow has the means to block any such geopolitical effort.

In today’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” the instructor on world politics at Moscow State University says that “Turkish diplomacy is trying to revive a block like GU(U)AM” consisting of “countries which have difficulties with Russia” and which thus could help Ankara in its conflict with Moscow (ng.ru/cis/2016-02-26/3_kartblansh.html).

GUAM was formed by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. Uzbekistan later joined and left the organization: hence, its acronym. Like Latvia, Turkey already has observer status in the group and like its members it wants to make the organization into “an alternative” to the Moscow-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The idea of creating such a grouping of states arose in the mid-1990s. In June 1996, Moldova and Georgia issued a joint statement. And in October 1997, they were joined by Azerbaijan and Ukraine in calling for a system of mutual consultations in order to “’counter Russian hegemony.’” That became GUAM at a meeting in Yalta on July 7, 2001.

But despite the aspirations of its organizers, the group has not become a truly effective grouping of states, Fenenko says. They are divided on many issues, and Uzbekistan has pointed to its dissolution by leaving as a result of differences with the others over relations with the United States.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

[LINK] “Why Russia Stopped at Crimea”

Bloomberg View’s Leonid Bershidsky notes why Ukrainian leaders in early 2014 chose not to respond militarily to the Russian invasion of Crimea, and why Russia did what it did.

The news site Pravda.com.ua has published the transcript of a meeting of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council that took place Feb. 28, 2014. The previous day, Russian troops without identifying insignia helped pro-Moscow activists take over Crimea’s parliament and government. The following day, the Russian parliament authorized Putin to start military operations in Ukraine.

The meeting’s attendees, officials swept into power by Ukraine’s “Revolution of Dignity,” vainly sought to prevent the loss of Crimea to Russia, but effectively decided to give up the peninsula, believing the alternative would be worse.

Oleksandr Turchynov, the acting president and parliament speaker, raised the possibility of fighting back. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk — who still is in office, unlike many others who came to power directly after the February 2014 revolution — opposed a counteroffensive.

“We’re talking about declaring war on Russia,” he said, according to the transcript. “Right after we do this, there will be a Russian statement ‘On defending Russian citizens and Russian speakers who have ethnic ties with Russia.’ That is the script the Russians have written, and we’re playing to that script.”

Yatsenyuk pointed out that the Finance Ministry’s bank account was empty and that, according to the Defense Ministry, Ukraine had no military resources to defend Kiev if Russia invaded. Besides, Yatsenyuk said that there would be “an acute ethnic conflict” in Crimea and that the Ukrainian government would be blamed for failing to prevent it. He called for political negotiations through foreign intermediaries to grant Crimea more autonomy and in the meantime to try to rebuild the military.

Other attendees who spoke up against fighting back were acting National Bank Chairman Stepan Kubiv and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been freed from prison in the final days of the revolution. Tymoshenko argued that Putin wanted to play out the same scenario that unfolded during the 2008 Russian-Georgian war: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili attacked pro-Russian forces that held the rebellious region of South Ossetia, but Russia intervened and steamrolled the Georgian army[.]

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2016 at 1:50 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly asks what readers are reading.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the miraculous way gravitational lensing can refract supernovas.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the compplex HD 100546 system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at the dinosaurs of ancient South Africa.
  • Geocurrents looks back on the past year.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers which Republican presidential candidates might be good drinking partners.
  • Torontoist suggests things to do this New Year’s Eve.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is even alienating Armenia and notes Russian upset over Turkish support for the Crimean Tatars.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her schedule as a freelance writer.
  • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla tries to start a discussion on the hijab.
  • Crooked Timber considers Piketty’s analysis in inequality in the context of Australia.
  • Language Hat looks at how a Chinese font is created.
  • Language Log notes the old name of Serbia, “Servia”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the Mexican census’ inclusion of Afro-Mexicans.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the cancellation of the Ukrainian census.
  • Une heure de peine’s Denis Colombi considers poverty in the holiday season.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Putin’s search for legitimacy and observes Russian criticisms of the administration of Crimea.

[LINK] “Putin Tests English Debt Law as Ukraine Feud Heads to London”

Bloomberg’s Natasha Doff notes a potentially very noteworthy legal battle in London, between Russia and Ukraine, over issues of international debt.

Russia and Ukraine are about to test the boundaries of sovereign-debt litigation in a dispute that could have far-reaching implications for government bailouts the world over.

The neighbors are vowing to fight each other in a London court over a $3 billion bond Vladimir Putin bought to reward his Ukrainian ally, Viktor Yanukovych, for rejecting closer trade ties with the European Union two years ago. That move fueled the protests in Kiev that led to Yanukovych’s ouster, Putin’s annexation of Crimea and an insurgency that’s killed 8,000 people.

Ukraine’s government, on life support from the International Monetary Fund, gave Russia until Thursday to agree to the same writedown and extension that Franklin Templeton, which manages the largest U.S. overseas bond fund, and other creditors accepted this month. Russia has refused to negotiate and is shopping for a law firm to file suit as soon as Ukraine makes good on its threat to default when the bond comes due Dec. 20.

“This issue will go to court, there’s no other way around it,” said Christopher Granville, a former U.K. diplomat in Moscow who runs Trusted Sources research group in London. “There’s no way Russia will remain under financial sanctions from the U.S. government and accept the same terms as Franklin Templeton.”

Written by Randy McDonald

October 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomy and The Dragon’s Gaze each note WD 1145+017, a white dwarf caught eating its planets.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper speculating that Jupiter ejected a Neptune-sized planet early in our solar system’s history.
  • Languages of the World considers the use of grammar to gauge the relatedness of languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the catastrophe that is the United States’ law school system.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the de-Sinification of Taiwan, as measured by the tearing down of statues.
  • The Power and the Money is critical of Vox‘s war coverage, noting particularly Syria.
  • pollotenchegg maps the sources of migrants to five major Ukrainian cities.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia is sending Chechen conscripts to Crimea.

[LINK] “Keeping Crimea’s Muslims in check”

At Open Democracy, Dzhemil Insafly writes about Russia’s policy of keeping Crimean Tatars, traditionally Muslim, under tighter control than they were used to.

In late February 2014, just a few days before what became known as the ‘Crimean Spring’, several thousand Crimean Tatars assembled under Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian flags for a rally in the regional capital Simferopol. One of the speakers, mufti Emirali Ablayev, railed at those who supported the peninsula’s reunification with Russia.

‘Is Vladimir Konstantinov [a central figure in the regional government, one of the first to suggest the peninsula could secede from Ukraine – ed.] planning to hand our great motherland over to Russia?’ asked Ablayev. ‘I say to Konstantinov: if he loves Russia so much and wants to live there, we can give him one of the railway trucks that took our grandfathers to Central Asia when they were deported by Stalin in 1944, and God help him. Let him clear off to Russia, and take those Russians who have occupied in our families’ homes with him.’

The crowd received Ablayev’s speech enthusiastically. The Crimean Tatars spent half a century in exile before being allowed to return home to Crimea, and have come to see Russia, the successor to the USSR, as responsible for this terrible tragedy. It’s unsurprising they’ve been opposed to the peninsula’s annexation, but their religious organisations have had a far more difficult game to play.

After Crimea came under Russian jurisdiction, it didn’t take long for Ablayev to change his tune, toning down his speeches and calling for patience and unity from his fellow Muslims. At the same time, the body Ablayev is in charge of, the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims (SDCM), also known as the muftiate, started making overtures of friendship to the Muslim Spiritual Leadership of European Russia, and Ravil Gainutdin, the Chair of Council of Muftis of Russia, has become a frequent visitor to Crimea.

‘I went to Crimea not as a politician or a diplomat, but as a spiritual pastor,’ said Gainutdin after one such trip. ‘I wanted to meet my Muslim brothers, to hear their concerns and fears, and discover why they don’t want to be part of Russia and its 20-million strong Muslim community. “I have a certain status,” I told them, “I can take your hopes and fears, and any questions you want to ask, right to the top, and I shall do my best to help you.”’

Written by Randy McDonald

October 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the concern of the Chinese government for the position of Chinese in Malaysia.
  • Imageo shares more images of Pluto.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a member of the US National Guard lost a lawsuit he lodged after being disciplined for publically criticizing his superiors on same-sex marriage.
  • pollotenchegg maps language shift among Jews in Ukraine circa 1926.
  • Savage Minds examines systems of knowing among Tibetans through the medium of a comic book that synthesizes science with Tibetan mythology.
  • Spacing Toronto shows the subtle legacies of hidden rivers on the Toronto landscape.
  • Torontoist explains Presto, finally.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian concern over the MH17 inquiries, and is critical of the Crimean Tatar blockade of Crimea as worse than useless but actively undermining the Ukrainian cause.