Ukrainian Report

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Concise Report on the Activities in Ukraine

History of Russian Sentiment in Ukraine and the Crimea

The history of Slavic cultureand by extension the Russian and Ukrainian cultures begins with the organization of the principality of Kyivan Rus in 882 CE, a conglomeration of Slavic groups. Located in the region occupied by modern Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, and European Russia, the loose alliance developed over the centuries around alliances, trade partnerships, and shared rule, establishing the medieval equivalent to the Eastern Bloc of the twentieth century.

Russia has enjoyed a favorable relationship with Ukraine for much of its history, and for a considerable portion of modern record (some two hundred and fifty years during the eras of the Russian Empire and of the Soviet Union) exercised centralized administrative control over the Ukrainian region and the subsequent Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Under the first set of circumstances, Ukraine shifted out of the control of the Polish and into the sphere of influence of the Russian tsars. The Russian Revolution (specifically the October Revolution of 1917) led to the formation of an independent Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic that elected to join the Soviet Union upon its formation.lyceum liceolyce

The relationship of the Russian Federation and its predecessors with the Crimean peninsula has undergone an equally complicated set of shifts and political hand-offs. Crimea originally emerged politically under the control of the Crimean Khanate, a Muslim rule founded by the native Crimean Tatars and loyal to the Ottoman Empire until diplomatic agreements brought it under Russian governance. At this particular point in history (the first half of the nineteenth century) Crimea represented the boundary of influence for both the Russian Empire and the dwindling Ottoman Empire.

Conflict arose partially from the Russian Empires policy of defending all of Eastern Orthodoxy from Muslim influences and partially from Western fears of expanding Russian influence. From this confluence of political issues came the Crimean War, resulting most dramatically in the siege of Sevastopol and the eventually fall of Russian Crimea. This moment in history catalyzed the Russian connection with Crimea in short Crimea became Russias Pearl Harbor, with the added pain of repetition. Sevastopol was sacked and burned again in the First World War by the Ottoman Empire and in the Second World War by the Nazis.

Crimea under Soviet control became a center for rest and relaxation amongst higher officials and more affluent members of the party. Moscow forcibly removed the Crimean Tatar population, dictating relocated housing and taking unilateral control of their connections with the other Soviets (namely legislating the Tatar alphabet and retarding their political movement) and increasingly fed Tatar indignation with Russian rule. For many Russian raised under Soviet rule, Crimean is a land of fond memories and vacation in addition to its patriotic anchoring.

The Soviet Union continued the Imperial trend of militarizing the Crimean coast and Simferopol, the Crimean capital. The Black Sea Fleet is headquartered in Crimea and constitutes on of Russias most significant strategic positions (defending the South).

In the 1970s, the Soviet Government ceded administrative control of the peninsula from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. (Administering an area is much simpler when the central government is physically connected to the region.) Upon the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Crimea remained a part of Ukraine as a semi-autonomous republic, operating under its own constitution within the boundaries of the Ukrainian Constitution. The population of the peninsula remains overwhelmingly Russia, with minority Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar groups. The Russian Federation maintains its strategic fleet headquarters and armed forces under a longstanding agreement with the Ukrainian government.

The Shift in Power in Ukraine

Over the past fifteen years Ukraine has experienced a largely peaceful series of political power struggles played of in the polls, in the Ukrainian Parliament, and executive action. The political changes in their current form can be traced to the events of the 2004 presidential election and the Orange Revolution. Viktor Yushchenko, former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition, ran for president against the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych and lost in the initial ballot-count.

Outcry against the results was tremendous, and protestors lead by future prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko argued that the election was illegally biasedrigged outright in favor of Yanukovych. Together the opposition leaders carried out what came to be known as the Orange Revolution, a series of protests in the capital of Kyiv that brought about an order from the Ukrainian Supreme court for a second, internationally monitored election. Yushchenko received the majority share of votes in the independently verified and served for the next six years.

In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych won the presidency in election independently verified as democratic, narrowly defeating Yulia Tymoshenko. Shortly following the election, the Yanukovych administration began to take measures against political adversaries within its party (the Party of Regions) and amongst the opposition. Most notably Prime Minister Tymoshenko was arrested and imprisoned on charges of abuse of powers. From there the Party of Regions and its leader moved forward legislation and international agreement initially forging stronger ties with the European Union.

Parliamentary elections in 2012 saw the Party of Regions maintain coalition control of the body with a 30 percent plurality. The ensuing year and a half was characterized by parliamentary and presidential negotiations with the European Union, focusing largely on economic agreements and trade border relaxation. National Security policy preserved concrete connections with the Russian federation, most notably exemplified by an extended contract for Russian troop deployment in Crimea.

The a dramatic shift in foreign policy in late months of 2013 and the early days of 2014 catalyzed the public protest and political upheaval of the most recent presidential turnover. Deferring to the political necessity of close Russian economic ties, Yanukovych refused an international agreement drawing Ukraine closer to the European Union and laying the groundwork for possible admission. Public opposition to the decision was more than considerable, beginning with a small, unorganized series of riots in Western Ukraine and escalating to a carefully organized series of political rallies and protests in Kyivs Independence Square, or Maidan.

Late February and early March saw violent altercations between protestors and police resulting in more than 70 civilian deaths. Yanukovychs partly quickly lost both public support and parliamentary loyalty. Soon the parties quorum control and coalition failed, leading directly to the release of Yulia Tymoshenko and and official proposal to constitutionally remove the president. Facing imminent removal and possible arrest on charges ranging from corruption and abuse of power to mass murder. Yanukovych fled to an as of yet undisclosed location, taking with him what assets he could muster before the now ruling party froze his personal accounts. Parliament selected Oleksandr Turchynov to serve as acting president until elections can be held.International Response to Ukrainian Revolution and the Referendum of March 16th

President Putin and the Russian Government expressed their outrage at what they characterized as the illegal overthrow of a legitimate government by pro-Western fascist and violent nationalists, and continue to refuse recognition of the acting Ukrainian government. Initial economic reactions by Moscow include most prominently price manipulation on gas and oil provided almost exclusively by the Russian government-owned Gazprom.

Military reaction began with ostensibly unrelated training operation in the region focusing on mobilizing land forces and activating the naval bases. Putin insisted that these war games were by no means a veiled effort to prepare for invasion or incursion of any kind, but within day reports emerged of unmarked Russian armed vehicles in Crimea. It soon became clear to the international community and Ukrainian security forces that the Russia military occupied the peninsula. Putins acknowledgement of Russian occupation in March consisted of a private announcement from the Kremlin insisting that the security forces were largely local militia with Russian support, that they were necessary for the defense of the local majority Russian population against the illegal government of Turchynov, and that they represented undeniably security interests in terms of regional stability.

Russia largely relied on a Right-To-Protect argument focusing on the need to protect the ethnic Russians who compose a considerable majority of the Crimean population from the illegal and violently nationalist government in Kyiv. The political reality of the situation is that it is in the best interest of the President of the Russian Federation and the ruling party to support reintegration of Crimea. The significance of Crimea to the Russian political and social identity means that any movement towards reintegration of the peninsula would constitute a political victory.

Russian troops seized control of the ports, Sevastopol, and the capital of Simferopol. Transportation to and from the mainland was cut off both with roadblock and through seizure of the Crimean Airport. All Ukrainian military installations were surrounded and troops have forbidden from leaving their posts by the Ukrainia