The Other, Other Position on Crimea

I love a good argument too, but I think the Crimea situation is less about race, nationalism and the East-West divide than it is economics.

Crimea is dirt poor, even by Ukranian standards, and was intensely dependent on government aid. The regime change brought about a lot of philosophical shifts in government, but the big change from the Crimean perspective was economic in that:

a) Ukraine’s struggling economy is heading further into the ditch, with EU trade ties likely not to make a major difference for years and the loss of Russia trade ties likely to be a quick impact.

b) The IMF bailout came amid intense conditions of austerity, which means Crimea’s subsidies were likely to be on the chopping block .

Whatever else one may say about Russia’s economy, it’s got a lot of money from oil and gas exports, and they were in a position to not only replace the aid Ukraine had been giving Crimea, but to increase it considerably. I’d say you can’t buy that kind of loyalty, but you clearly can.

Interviews on the streets with Crimeans told similar stories, of local retirees expecting their pensions to go from $100 a month under Ukraine to $500 a month under Russia. Similar pay hikes were expected for soldiers who transferred to the Russian military, and they played a big role in the sheer size of the defections.

From Russia’s perspective, it’s also a pretty straightforward economic move. They kept the Yanukovych government close with billions in subsidies and loans for all of Ukraine, and with the regime change removing that option and the Sevastopol base the only real asset Russia needs to keep, it is much easier to just buy Crimea’s accession into the Russian Federation (which will cost Russia billions annually anyhow) than it was to try to get another Yanukovych elected.

Historical claims to the peninsula certainly provided a pretext for the secession/annexation, and are interesting from an academic perspective, but if Ukraine wasn’t broke I don’t think we’d be having this discussion at all.

58 thoughts on “The Other, Other Position on Crimea”

  1. The Interventionist fiddles while Rome burns…

    The main question I have now is: what exactly does the Interventionist really know about Crimea, and why are “elections” a problem for him?

  2. Very good comment. If we hadn't interfered in Ukraine there never would have been a problem.

  3. I talked to one of my friend in Crimea yesterday and he told me similar things. The people there seem actually quite happy with the new connection to Russia. There are many things that need to be done, lets hope the people made the right choices there…

  4. I believe that economics consideration was not as important as the
    NATO getting closer and closer to the Russia's doors.
    Where NATO came to 'liberate' it left behind the ruins and misery.

    1. The Ukrainian coup was suspiciously timed to coincide with the Syrian regime change, which, if successful, would deprive the Russians of their only base in the Mediterranean. The threat to Russian naval bases could not be any clearer.

  5. I'd say if the US had not instigated the overthrow of the Ukrainian government we would not be having this conversation right now.

    1. Well, if we adopt Ditz's economic determinism theory, we could say that the FedGov and the EU have made a shrewd investment decision and are prepared to use NATO to protect it. Smedley Butler would understand that.

      1. I hesitate to call the FedGov shrewd, looking at their track record, like three trillion spent for a handful of dead al-Qaida. I think it boils down to world dominance and market penetration on the part of the US. I would think the EU would be more worried about their natural gas supply they get from Russia than anything else. Certainly their crocodile tears regarding the freedom of Ukraine is questionable. There are a lot of factors going on here regarding motives. The US needs to be perceived as strong like any other Mafia organization so it is difficult for them to back down in the case of Crimea. However I don't think there is much choice in the matter. Whatever the Crimean motives for wanting to return to the Russian sphere are, which Jason's is no doubt one of them, they also are likely looking askance at the Neo-Nazis in the new Ukraine government, probably they do not want to have anything to do with it. Russian motives are straightforward in that they are merely protecting their own interests.

        1. "Three million spent for a 'handful' of dead al-Qaida." Try thousands with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of other Mid-Easterners killed. Btw, how'd you get away with writing the entire "N" word?

  6. While Hillary Clinton admits that USG involvement in changing the world for "democracy" is not a ideal but rather strategic interests' which in reality mean fir state department do whatever with whomever to achieve the state department goals, while Obama doesn't know what happened in Kosovo, and if there was a referendum or not, or if it was the Macedonia referendum, while he doesn't address the fact that over a million Iraqis, according to UN, has been killed by USA-NATO invasion of Iraq and Iraq is NATO military chemical waste which still killing Iraqis, while five thousand us solders and many more injured for life are the only result, while lake of history, the misrepresentation of facts has become the USG habit, while NATO deliberate bombardment of civilian in Yugoslavia was in fact a inhuman acts, while the negative outcome of all other USG strategical interests from Vietnam era to Libya to Syria is nothing but negative outcome, Obama compares the voting by overwhelming Crimean people for becoming independent from Ukraine Neo fascism self proclaimed government illegal, if such statement is not hypocrisy then Hitler was right about fascism, its modernized version in Ukraine and all over Europe and EU-USG support in such regime change that are the interests of state department-Hillary Clinton.

    The Iraq war was illegal where ,million Iraqis lost their life, Yugoslavia bombing of civilians were illegal, the practices by USG-Hillary Clinton in regime change are illegal, the question that American should ask is: who is in charge, who is governing the US government and whom are behind the seen and why state department is involved in regime change all over the world.

      1. I would no expect that you would threw stones or green eggs at Hitler nor David Cameron or for that matter the Swedish Neo fascism-aristocrats government whom are in bed with what has become the most dangerous part of the government, what is called Neo democrats, but I would expect you to applaud Hitler and your kind. But if you prefer Neo fascism over Hitlerism you welcome to accept the reality that EU governing body and Neo liberalism are in bed with Neo fascism and USG just following the path. A functioning Democracy never was or is ever going to be the USG agenda, as long as far right hypocrites within the US Democratic Party are paid by dominated establishment, the military and Geopolitical importance of USG-EU idea in democracy is more important to them then any other living or non living things in this world, even if they would face Hitler himself, the would make deal with, as matter of fact they are doing it as we speak, but this time with non other regime then Saudis stone aged tyrants.

  7. The less-than-a-dozen Crimeans I know don't want to be part of Ukraine… or part of Russia. They wanted their own place.

    About Crimean retirees expecting their pensions to grow dramatically… get serious! These people haven't paid Russia dime one in pension taxes for more than 20 years, and they expect some kind of raise? Please. be serious… consider the two-pension system in Germany, where eastern people pay less into (and get less from) German pensions scheme than west Germans…..

    If they really wanted bigger pensions, they should have voted to join Germany, the Nederlands, or even the UK. SO much for hindsight.

    1. Already done. Nearly double from the Ukrainian pension. Also, military salaries. Keep in mind that Crimea did not have military other then Ukrainian forces, but as the vast majority of them opted to stay in Crimea, now the place has the army not dependent on the Russian base in Sevastopol, , and their salaries have already been increased. So are the salaries of doctors, teachers and some other professions. Others will follow by the end of the year.

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  11. Crimea is dirt poor, even by Ukranian standards, and was intensely dependent on government aid. The regime change brought about a lot of philosophical shifts in government, but the big change from the Crimean perspective was economic in that

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