The Russian invasion of Crimea has the potential to set off an explosive set of events within Ukraine.
Although Russia has espoused moral justifications for its invasion of Crimea, President Vladimir Putin’s move is all about geopolitics. His short-sighted logic, however, could bring Ukrainian nationalists to power — and create a whole new set of problems.
Whenever Russia pursues its own interest against the will of the international community, a dictum by Czar Alexander III springs to mind. Russia, he said, has only two allies: its army and its navy. If you can believe the Kremlin’s propagandists, however, a new, unexpected ally has come to Moscow’s defense: the Western press. According to the website “Sputnik and Pogrom,” the Western media have “begun to support the Russian Federation’s course of action in the Crimean crisis.”
The statement has little basis in reality, but it has nevertheless been shared thousands of times on Russian social media networks. European reporters, it is said, have finally figured out that hardboiled neo-fascists and not freedom fighters were behind the takeover of Independence Square.
This has been the Russian propaganda line for months — that the West is ignoring the hordes of neo-Nazis bullying valiant Ukrainian policemen. The role of the violent nationalists, however, has been widely covered in the international press, and it was police brutality — and Yanukovych’s attempts, supported by Moscow, to outlast the protests — that actually radicalized Independence Square. When students were beaten down on the night of November 30, they had neither helmets, nor batons, nor firearms.
Russia’s Ridiculous Justification