Ethnic Russian protesters in Crimea seize regional government headquarters

by 1389 on February 27, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), history, Russia, Ukraine

Reuters: Ukraine leader warns Russia after armed men seize government HQ in Crimea

(h/t: Weasel Zippers)

(Reuters) – Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine’s Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev’s new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.

“I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet,” said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Viktor Yanukovich last week. “Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Russia’s acting envoy in Kiev for immediate consultations.
It was not immediately known who was occupying the buildings in the regional capital Simferopol and they issued no demands, but witnesses said they spoke Russian and appeared to be ethnic Russian separatists.

Interfax news agency quoted a witness as saying there were about 60 people inside and they had many weapons. It said no one had been hurt when the buildings were seized in the early hours by Russian speakers in uniforms that did not carry identification markings.

“We were building barricades in the night to protect parliament. Then this young Russian guy came up with a pistol … we all lay down, some more ran up, there was some shooting and around 50 went in through the window,” Leonid Khazanov, an ethnic Russian, told Reuters.

“They’re still there … Then the police came, they seemed scared. I asked them (the armed men) what they wanted, and they said ‘To make our own decisions, not to have Kiev telling us what to do’,” said Khazanov.

About 100 police were gathered in front of the parliament building, and a similar number of people carrying Russian flags later marched up to the building chanting “Russia, Russia” and holding a sign calling for a Crimean referendum.

One of them, Alexei, 30, said: “We have our own constitution, Crimea is autonomous. The government in Kiev are fascists, and what they’re doing is illegal … We need to show our support for the guys inside (parliament). Power should be ours.”
More here.

What’s going on here?

In contrast to certain warmongering US politicians, notably this one, neither Vladimir Putin nor the Russian people want their own country to be at war with anyone. In other words, don’t expect to see a Russian invasion of the Ukrainian heartland. Of course, if Ukrainian mobs begin to massacre ethnic Russians and a rescue/evacuation mission is needed, that would change the whole picture.

Crimea is a separate, unresolved issue from Ukraine proper. Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev was an ethnic Ukrainian. In a move much resented by ethnic Russians who make up the vast majority of the Crimean population, he removed Crimea from the RSFSR (the Russian federation within the USSR) and gave it to the Ukrainian state. When the USSR broke up, Crimea continued to belong to Ukraine, but the Russian Federation retained a lease for the Sebastopol naval base.

In short, members of the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea are NOT happy about being under an explicitly anti-Russian government in the Ukraine, and I don’t blame them a bit.

Commenter Major Tom at Weasel Zippers offers a prediction:

I have a feeling this might end up in civil war. I never thought it would, but it looks like it now. The leaders in Kiev may be alarmed and they should be. They should not assume that because some protesters want alignment with the EU that the entire country wants it. If this breaks out into war, I have a feeling that the side that wants Russian allegiance will come out on top. Something tells me that Russia will have no problem sending aid. I don’t think the weenies that run the EU will be so quick to send anything other than well wishes.


If you think that the Crimean Tatars are the “good guys” here, think again. They are anything but.

From one our correspondents:

Yes, the Tatars are Muslims and the U.S. and its Western allies have activated them right on cue for civil war in Crimea as – today – new Ukrainian “president” Arsenii Yatseniuk and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen both “warned” Russia over Crimea. This is where the long-planned end game kicks into gear.

And from another:

Tatars have an ugly history. At one point they had enslaved up to 3 million Poles, Belarussians, Russians and Ukrainians. They essentially are Turks. So interesting how no one ever talks about the horrific enslavement carried out by Muslims against Christian white people. News reports say the Crimean Tatars were chanting “Allahu Akbar” while demonstrating the other day. One day the so-called “progressive liberals” will learn the cruel truth of who they had supported.

Writes commenter Blogwrath at Blazing Cat Fur:

Kicking out the Crimean Tatars for collaboration with Hitler was one of the very few good things Stalin did.

Replies commenter glasnost:

Apparently they weren’t kicked far enough.

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