PRAYER ALERT: The March 15 Crimea vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia has pushed those two nations to the brink of war. Europe has discredited the Crimea vote because it wants all of Ukraine to be its trade partner. It is no wonder that the struggle of Europe and Russia over Ukraine has come to focus on Crimea. Crimea has been a long-contested prize in tugs-of-war between greater powers. Since 700 BC Crimea has changed hands more than a dozen times.
Geography shows why it has often been up for grabs. The Crimean Peninsula is almost an island in the Black Sea, with a tiny link to eastern Ukraine in the north, and a near-link to Russia in the east. It has served as a strategic junction for Europe’s trade route to the east. It is blamed for spreading the Black Death of the fourteenth century both east and west. It was at the Crimean port of Yalta that Stalin, FDR and Churchill met, as WWII drew to a close, to discuss the future of Europe.
The future of Europe and Russia still hinges in Crimea, and in Ukraine in general. The mostly Ukrainian-speaking western Ukraine leans toward ties with Europe. The mostly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine leans toward stronger ties with Russia. The pro-Russia side calls the recent demise of Ukraine’s democratically-elected government a coup. The pro-Europe side calls it a legitimate takeover. The pro-Russia side blames the sniper fire which precipitated the takeover on pro-Europe agitators. The pro-Europe side blames the sniper fire on the now-deposed Yanukovych government.
The pro-Russia side can now boast that in the Crimea vote, 97% chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. But the pro-Europe side refuses to recognize the Crimea vote, saying it was illegal and offered no real choice anyway. The pro-Europe side points to the Crimean Tatar boycott of the election. The pro-Russia side counters that their own Volga Tatars are treated well, and are reaching out to the Crimean Tatars. The pro-Europe side calls Russia’s military buildup in Crimea—and on its border with Ukraine— the start of an invasion. The pro-Russia side calls it a defensive intervention…
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Related sources for Crimea vote:
Crimea in Wikipedia
Tags for Crimea vote: Putin, Obama, Europe, UN, Security Council, conflict in Ukraine, Crimea, Crimea vote, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Simferopol, Yanukovych, Stalin, FDR, Churchill, Yalta, Black Death, Black Sea, Crimean Tatars
Crimea vote tallies 97% for annexation by Russia