The myth of "Russian aggression"

Western politicians and the western Media (no essential difference) are peddling the myth of “Russian aggression”.

Let’s consider the matter for a moment.

Crimea has historically been part of Russia. It was incorporated into the Russian Empire in the time of Catherine the Great, in the 18th century. In the 1950’s Khrushchev transferred it to the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. At this time no one could have imagined the subsequent  break-up of the Soviet Union. Thus there was never an intention that Crimea should cede from Russia.  It was an anomaly that  when the Soviet Union did break-up Crimea was not transferred back to Russia. Possibly at that time the assumption was that friendly relations would continue between Ukraine and Russia. In 2014 the EU put Ukraine under pressure to make a decisive choice between following  a path of European integration or staying close to Russia. At the same time the US actively sponsored a coup. Violent street protests led to the ousting of a democratically elected President and a reversal of his policy of postponing economic integration with the EU. The new and unelected regime decided to proceed with the EU association agreement. Astonishingly for a supposedly ‘democratic’ institution the EU agreed and proceeded without even waiting for a new election – thus sanctifying violent coups over democracy as the basis for decision making in the EU. (The first part of the agreement was signed on March 21 2014 † . The post-coup elections were held in May 2014).  The population in the East of Ukraine has  a strong ethnic Russian component. Even amongst those who are not ethnic Russians many use Russian as their first language. The US sponsored coup was led by people from the West and centre of Ukraine. True; many of these people do want to move towards EU membership and NATO (83% for EU membership in the West. 43% for EU membership in the centre). Also true though is that in the East of Ukraine the opposite is true. Here only a small minority support EU and NATO membership (19%  in favour of EU membership in the East). †Some members of the new regime made vocal noises against the population in the East of Ukraine. The  post-coup government attempted to remove Russian from its status as an official language of government in Ukraine.

In this context it is evident that in re-incorporating Crimea – following a telling vote in the peninsular in favour of that – Russia is simply following its historical course.  “Aggression” is when you invade another country other than in self-defence. Here there was no invasion. The country was historically part of Russia. 80% of the population were in favour of re-unification. The events in Kiev – a takeover of power by groups from the West and centre of Ukraine with no base in the East – precipitated the move. Russian support for the militants in the East of Ukraine is also intelligible. In this part of Ukraine there is a strong ethnic Russian component. Some of the leaders of the coup in Kiev made statements openly hostile to ethnic Russians.  Russia has acted to help protect the interests of these people. In addition Russia – and they have been quite open about this – is less than keen on NATO taking over its base in Sevastopol or indeed in stationing missile sites all the way along their Southern border – as they could were a centralised Ukraine to join NATO.  The US was not keen on Soviet missiles in Cuba. This is all normal. It is all defensive.

There are essentially two possibilities here: the US/EU do not believe that Russia is being aggressive. They are just spinning a story about “Russian aggression” to promote their own interests. They cover their own aggression with made-up  claims about the supposed “aggression” of the other. It is strategic lying. The other possibility is that they really “believe” it. The truth is probably that they operate a different modality of determining truth than ordinary people. For the political, military and media classes in the West truth is a narrative that is coherent, which sounds good on TV, and which allows them to continue to spread capitalism (aka. “freedom”) all over the world. Thus they can look the camera in the eye, (so long as it moves away at the right time, which it will because the media understand their job), and talk about “Russian aggression” even though a glance at history tells us otherwise.

Notes

† http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine%E2%80%93European_Union_Association_Agreement

†† http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

 

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