What’s the deal with…Ukraine vs. Russia vs. Crimea?

Seems like all I’m hearing recently is talk about Ukraine and Crimea and Russia. The only previous reference I’ve ever heard to Crimea was something called the Crimean War way back when.

Curious, I was planning on doing research on the present skirmish and how it relates to past events when loe and behold! Vlogbrothers did it for me.

This is not really an original blog but a “rebroadcasting” of John Greens. The only thing is is that he speaks extremely quickly so below the video I’ve added a summary of the video with some clarifications and additional facts.

I found his explanation fascinating; hope you enjoy it too.

First of all, it’s telling that the meaning of the word Ukraine is borderland. The aforementioned Crimean War was fought in 1853-1856 primarily because Europe (to the west) and Ottoman Empire (or Turkey, to the south) was threatened by Russian incursions.

After World War I, Ukraine was briefly independent but suffered a kind of civil war between different factions, including Bolsheviks, within the country, killing 1.5 million people.

Ukraine joined the Soviet Union in 1921 and became a USSR republic in 1924.

Though Ukraine stabilized somewhat under Soviet rule, Stalins bad agricultural policies killed millions in the early 1930’s. Also, after WWII, the Soviet Union took over the largely Nazi controlled country and Stalin relocated Crimea’s indigenous Tatars ( a Turkic ethnic group) to Central Asia while moving ethnic Russians to the industrialized western part of the Crimean peninsula.

Go to http://www.unhcr.org/42a710bf2.html to learn more about Tatar repatriation.
Go to http://www.unhcr.org/42a710bf2.html to learn more about Tatar repatriation and photo copyright.

In 1954, Soviet leader Khrushchev transferred authority of Crimea back to Ukraine, to which it is actually attached and from which it gets gas, electricity, etc.

In 1991, 90% of Ukrainians ( now about 20% ethnic Russians) and the majority of Crimeans (close to 60% ethnic Russians) voted for independence from Russia but close bonds to Russia remained.

In 2004 Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych was elected but non-violent protests, later called the Orange Revolution, forced a closely watched re-vote which elected Europe-friendly Viktor Yushchenko. Since that time, some leaders have been pro-Europe but in 2013 Yanukovych was again elected which signaled an end to ties with the European Union and closer ties to Russia.

Protests again broke out but, unlike during the Orange Revolution, these led to over 100 deaths of protesters by government forces. Soon Yanukovych fled because of the violence and Russian forces moved in.

In the video, at about 5:16, john green gives a couple different ways to view the following events but, between ones own opinion and opinions online, there are so many other ways to interpret what’s been happening, I’ve not included that portion in this summary.

I think this information helps in understanding why current events are happening. One can only stay tuned and hope as history moves on.

This website also gave good general information and history.

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