What’s Going in Ukraine? What Does Russia Have to do With it?
Update 3/1: As is the case in rapidly developing foreign policy situations, a lot has changed since I posted this on February 20. If you’ve searched your way here, I’d suggest Wall Street Journal‘s live streaming coverage. Active 11 days, with 830 updates. Really comprehensive stuff. Looking for a background on Crimea, the WSJ Graphics team has you covered here.
If you read the blog or follow me on Twitter you know that Ukraine means a lot to me. It’s my adopted country, basically. I married a Ukrainian man whose family still lives in Ukraine. If you’ve been hearing the news recently (or for the past few months) and you find yourself wondering what this is all about, this post can help.
A nice place to start would be with this Wall Street Journal 2-minute video primer. It gives a pretty balanced and accurate overview of the protest.
So that video is definitely the hard facts of the situation, but it was very refreshing to hear a journalist who writes for The Economist Edward Lucas on BBC this morning talking about Russia’s influence on Ukraine.
You can listen to the podcast of it (Title: “Renewed Violence in Ukraine.” Lucas speaks from minutes 19:50 to 23:30. Podcast is available for the next 7 days). Believe me, it’s worth the 3+ minute listen.
Here are the highlights:
- Lucas argues that Ukrainians have been betrayed by the E.U.
- He says that Europe does not have the will to confront Russia over Ukraine and that Russia is the ultimate instigator of the crackdown on protesters.
- He said that if the crackdown succeeds, Europe will have another Belarus on their doorstep, albeit much bigger.
- Europe made the biggest blunder by not giving Ukraine a credible offer in 2005 immediately following the Orange Revolution when Ukraine really wanted to head to Europe.
- Europe’s actions from that point on have basically shown Russia (and more importantly Putin) that they are not serious about the situation.
Thankfully the European Union is finally starting to get involved. Talks are going on now with Merkel and Obama. Let’s see if they show Russia that they are serious this time.
I find that Twitter is the best source of news on the protests in Ukraine. Here’s a list from the Washington Post of Twitter accounts to follow to keep up with the news as it unfolds.