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TWO UKRAINES: What you need to know on the ethno-historical causes of the ongoing crisis

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Ukrainian_parliamentary_election,_2007_(first_place_results)

The typical distribution of the pro-Western Euro-Ukrainians (Y.T. Block) and pro-Russian Russo-Ukrainians (Party of Regions) based on the election results of 2007.
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By Periklis Deligiannis

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You can also read this article of mine translated in Russian  by Helena Meteleva, here:  http://elramd.com/dve-ukrainy-vzglyad-grecheskogo-istorika/ Many thanks to Helena.

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For many months, we are watching a ongoing confrontation   in the large country of Ukraine, among the so-called Euro-Ukrainians and the Russo-Ukrainians, a confrontation which finally developed to a real war. I will attempt to fathom the ethnological factor of this confrontation, which I always believe to be one of the key factors of such encounters (and a factor always – and wrongly – downgraded by modern analysts). I will not deal with the other parameters of the situation in Ukraine, i.e. the geopolitics on the confrontation between Russia, the EU and the US for the geopolitical influence in Ukraine, the economic parameter about the pipelines of gas and the role of Gazprom, the religious on the effort of the Catholic Church and its “subsidiary” Uniate to expand to Ukraine and the reaction of the Orthodox Church, etc. These parameters have been analyzed in many articles and books worldwide, except maybe the religious one.

The statement of a Russian official in the 90s on the problem between the Western and South-Eastern Ukraine with which I shall deal in this article (a statement characteristic of the Russian troubleshoot on the problem at that time), is already well known: “Sooner or later East Ukraine will return to us. The Western country can go to hell.” But since then it’s been almost 20 years and then the now burgeoning gas issue was not as pressing, nor the influence of the EU in Ukraine so intense.

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SOME SCENARIOS ON THE OUTCOME OF THE UKRAINIAN CRISIS

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By Periklis Deligiannis

ukraine
Russian-speaking combatants gather ammunition from the place of crash of a Ukrainian fighter aircraft.

Many of us remember the classic book “Clash of Civilizations” (1996) of Samuel Huntington, the main successor to the geopolitical school of the British historian Arnold Toynbee, and his remarks on the bipartition of the cultural identity of Ukraine and Turkey, which is dramatically verified for both of them in the last twelve months. Yet Turkey, despite the dramatic events taking place in the country during the last year, does not wobble as much as Ukraine.
Let’s see how things have developed for the Ukrainian crisis and then some scenarios on its solution. The terms of the recent agreement were not really implemented and the Ukraine is possibly moving towards a more violent confrontation. The “big players” (Russia, U.S., E.U. and China) are rather cautious preferring keep waiting, except the rapid Russian annexation of Crimea.
The Western media have probably overstated the financial dependence of Russia from the Western economies, although the American financial reprisals on her have already been felt in the country. Neither Russia can seriously threaten the U.S. in retaliation, but can push to a certain extent the European Union using energy reprisals. Of course the latter did not have any serious problems of energy supply before the energy agreements with Russia, but it now appears to depend a lot on the inexhaustible Russian gas resources, especially Germany, France and the other Northern European nations.
The Ukrainian crisis is the outcome of the constant attempts of the U.S. and the E.U. to penetrate a geopolitical region which Russia considers exclusively her own since at least 1793. However it seems that they have not anticipated the extent of the internal struggle in Ukraine.

What are the reasons of the current embarrassment of the “major geopolitical players”?

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ΣΕΝΑΡΙΑ ΕΠΙΛΥΣΗΣ ΤΗΣ ΟΥΚΡΑΝΙΚΗΣ ΚΡΙΣΗΣ

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ukraineΡωσόφωνοι  μάχιμοι συγκεντρώνουν πυρομαχικά από τον τόπο πρόσκρουσης ενός κατεστραμμένου μαχητικού αεροσκάφους της Ουκρανίας.

Αρκετοί θυμόμαστε το κλασσικό πλέον βιβλίο «Σύγκρουση των Πολιτισμών» (1996) του Σάμιουελ Χάντινγκτον, κύριου συνεχιστή της σχολής γεωπολιτικής αντίληψης του Βρετανού ιστορικού Αρνολντ Τόυνμπη, και τις επισημάνσεις του για τον «διχασμό πολιτισμικής ταυτότητας» Ουκρανίας και Τουρκίας οι οποίες επαληθεύονται δραματικά κατά τους τελευταίους δώδεκα μήνες. Ωστόσο η Τουρκία παρά τα δραματικά γεγονότα του τελευταίου χρόνου, δεν κλυδωνίζεται τόσο όσο η Ουκρανία.
Ας δούμε πως έχουν διαμορφωθεί τα πράγματα για την ουκρανική κρίση και στη συνέχεια κάποια σενάρια επίλυσης της. Οι όροι της πρόσφατης συμφωνίας δεν εφαρμόσθηκαν και η Ουκρανία βαδίζει προς μία βιαιότερη αντιπαράθεση. Οι «μεγάλοι παίκτες» (Ρωσία, ΗΠΑ, ΕΕ και Κίνα) τηρούν μάλλον στάση αναμονής με εξαίρεση την ταχεία ρωσική προσάρτηση της Κριμαίας.
Τα δυτικά ΜΜΕ έχουν μάλλον υπερτονίσει την όποια οικονομική εξάρτηση της Ρωσίας από τα δυτικά κεφάλαια, παρότι τα αμερικανικά οικονομικά αντίποινα έχουν ήδη γίνει αισθητά στη χώρα. Ούτε η Ρωσία μπορεί βέβαια να απειλήσει σοβαρά τις ΗΠΑ με αντίποινα, αλλά μπορεί να πιέσει έως ένα βαθμό την ΕΕ. Η τελευταία επιβίωνε βέβαια και πριν τις ενεργειακές συμφωνίες με τη Ρωσία αλλά φαίνεται ότι έχει στηρίξει αρκετά στους ανεξάντλητους ρωσικούς ενεργειακούς πόρους, κυρίως η Γερμανία και οι περιγερμανικές χώρες.
Η ουκρανική κρίση προέκυψε από τη σταθερή προσπάθεια των ΗΠΑ και ΕΕ να διεισδύσουν σε ένα γεωπολιτικό χώρο τον οποίο η Ρωσία θεωρεί αποκλειστικό της τουλάχιστον από το 1793. Όμως φαίνεται πως δεν είχαν προβλέψει την έκταση που θα έπαιρνε η εσωτερική αντιπαράθεση στην Ουκρανία.
Που οφείλεται η τωρινή αμηχανία των «μεγάλων γεωπολιτικών παικτών»;

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UKRAINE: THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF MODERN DISUNITY

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0E30000057

A typical image of the orientation of the Western Ukrainians to the West (EU and the USA): two Ukrainian protesters before Yanukovich’s expulsion, wearing helmet, armor and shields of Western Crusader types (rather of the Teutonic Knights). They obviously prefer this kind of arms and armor than the traditional Russian ones of Alexander Nevsky and Dmitry Donskoy (copyright: Associated Press).

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By  Periklis  Deligiannis

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The country now called Ukraine consists of two main geophysical areas, inhabited almost always by different ethnic groups until around 1790, when the entire country became ethnically homogeneous, overwhelmingly inhabited by Slavs. Although the Crimea, since 1954 belongs to the Ukrainian SSR and then to the independent Ukraine, this large peninsula is a geographically and ethnologically   independent area. But because Crimea is a part of the modern ‘problem’ of the Ukrainian division, I will additionally deal with her in this article.

The two major geophysical regions of Ukraine is the southern steppe and the wooded or semi-wooded area of the North. Of course nowadays, both areas have been delivered largely on crops, thereby this distinction is now very relevant (almost non-existent), but this geophysical situation existed until the recent centuries. Since the Middle Ages, the wooded area of the North have been delivered largely on crops, while the South remained a steppe until the 18th cent.

On the ethnological status of the Ukrainian lands in Antiquity, I have already written in my article ΤΗΕ BOSPORAN KINGDOM (CIMMERIAN BOSPORUS) – PART I and PART IIwhere although the main theme is the kdm of Cimmerian Bosporus, I refer also to this topic.

In the 5th century AD, the steppe of the South was inhabited by Hunnish tribes while the northern woodland was inhabited by Slavs. The steppe was occupied by a succession of Altaic peoples (Avars, Proto-Bulgars, Khazars, Pechenegs, Cumans-Kipchaq-Polovtsy, Mongolo-Tatars, Tatars and others) until the 18th century. The same tribes controlled the neighboring Crimea except its southern coast which was controlled successively by the Byzantine Empire, Genoa and the Ottomans until 1783.

Northern Ukraine together with the neighboring SE Poland, is the metropolis of all the Slavs, who extended their lands in all directions except the steppe, due to the presence of the dreaded nomads there (except some sporadic attempts  like  the  ones  of the Ulichi, the Tiverchi  and the  Kievan  Rus). The Slavs were formed in this area during the first millennium BC, when they were detached ethnically from the Baltic Indoeuropean group, in which they originally belonged.

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