Ukraine out of Russia

Good happenings in the effort to embed Ukraine in Europe:

Slavic rivals embroiled in church rift – International Herald Tribune
MOSCOW: For many Russians, it is bad enough that the president of Ukraine is pushing to join NATO and to eject the Russian Navy from its Black Sea port. But over the weekend, the confrontation over Ukraine’s attempts to shrug off Russian influence reached an even more painful emotional pitch – with a new tug of war over history, identity and power.

President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine chose the 1,020th anniversary of the advent of Christianity in the Slavic kingdom that predated both Ukraine and Russia – a date that each country claims as a founding event of its nationhood – to issue a public plea for Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians to gain independence from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russia is a natural-resource-exporting Central Asian state that is in the orbit of China. Ukraine deserves a fate better than this. Breaking the economic, social, and cultural ties of the past is part of moving future.

Good wishes to the Ukrainian struggle to break away from the Russian church.

Godspeed to the Ukrainian struggle of Ukraine to break away from Russia… and join Europe.

13 thoughts on “Ukraine out of Russia”

  1. I think your idea of Russia being essentially a Central Asian republic is essentially correct.

    But at the same time I am intrigued by Helen’s post at Chicago Boyz [1]. She claims that there really is no Europe, excepting the possible definition of a potential Superstate to rival the US. Yet such designs at increasing centralization of the European Superstate are failing. (Witness the continuing defeat of the European project by way of democratic processes).

    So, should The Ukraine join a European Superstate that seems to be in a constant state of miscarriage? Or should it chart it’s own path? I think the second option is preferable.

    [1] http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/5995.html

  2. I am constantly amazed at Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion.

    I quickly found he has a very nicely put together and complete rundown on the national church controversy in Ukraine, some of which you capture in your quote above.

    I really don’t know how you can quote one article in the Weekly Standard and get me, or anyone, to believe that Russia, whose trade with America, for example, is increasing rapidly, is in fact Central Asian in character. Off the cuff, I’d say Putin was a lot like Hugo Chavez. Elected Presidents (well, Medvedev now) of resource rich states who used the system to gain increasing amounts of power. Both men are hugely popular in their own countries. This doesn’t resemble China at all. And if you think it smells like Turkmenbashi or Nayarbayev, well, I’d still disagree.

    With more than 50% of Sebastapol district, and more than 25% in some other districts, of Russian population, not to mention a long, shared border, or even to mention that Ukrainian and Russian are mutually intelligible, there is simply no way to erase the Ukrainian-Russian link without some sort of mass extermination or forced migration.

  3. Smitten Eagle,

    Thanks for the comment, and the link to the CB post.

    By “Europe,” I mean the confederal state known as the ‘European Union,’ and states under the influence of such. The EU does not have a consistent or strong foreign policy outside its theatre (where it focuses mostly on containing Russia). Our attempts to break the European empries were largely centered on this goal, however (albeit in a time when Russia was something more than a parasitic rent seeker), so it’s a reasonable success story.

    Josh SN,

    I agree with your analogy of Putin to Chavez, or even Venezuela to Russia. Both are happy to trade, because they sell a natural resource for cash, and they sell cash for goods. I did not mean to compare Russia with China. I was comparing Russia with its central asian neighbors — Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, etc., — which have similar economies.

    The future for Russia would be much brigher if it was run as China is run. It is not, however. Russia is not China. Perhaps it never will be.

    With more than 50% of Sebastapol district, and more than 25% in some other districts, of Russian population, not to mention a long, shared border, or even to mention that Ukrainian and Russian are mutually intelligible, there is simply no way to erase the Ukrainian-Russian link without some sort of mass extermination or forced migration.

    Perhaps a good contemporary analogy would be Baltic Russians, whose host governments are aggressively pushing integration. [1]

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Baltic_Russians

  4. “With more than 50% of Sebastapol district, and more than 25% in some other districts, of Russian population, not to mention a long, shared border, or even to mention that Ukrainian and Russian are mutually intelligible, there is simply no way to erase the Ukrainian-Russian link without some sort of mass extermination or forced migration.”

    Depends on what Yuschenko and company are willing to give up to get Ukrainian independence and how they did it. Suppose they offered the raions (district-level divisions, according to Wikipedia’s Ukraine entry) on the Russian border the chance to vote on whether they wanted to be part of Ukraine or part of Russia? Depending on the results, the vote would then be repeated later with the Raions adjacent to the pro-Russia raions of the previous round added to the list of raions getting the vote on this topic. The process would be repeated until you get a round where all the newly added raions vote to stay in the Ukraine.

    Leaving it up to the people themselves reduces the number of people directly effected by the results who are dissatisfied with them; it also implicitly embarrasses the Russian government by doing what they would not! And by doing it raion by raion, and over the course of several elections:
    *A better sense is achieved of where the border should be.
    *People have more time and potentially less distance for deciding and accomplishing moves.
    *People have more time to argue the pros and cons of each side.

  5. Michael,

    Thanks for the informed comment.

    The problem with changing international borders — and why Kosovo’s independence was so controversial — is that once you start changing them because they are unreasonable, there’s no logical place for it to end.

    For instance: Should Ukraine be compensated for the Belarussian land that Stalin cleared Ukrainians out of? If so, how much? And by whom?

    There’s a certain face-validity to changing international borders, but I don’t think it’s politically doable.

  6. Valid point, but letting unreasonable borders stand means decades or generations of instability while the country adapts to them. My idea at least allows the reasonable borders to emerge instead of hoping that wherever you’re drawing the new lines will suit everyone.

    Since you mention Belorus, though, a variant of the plan might be to offer all the border raions the chance to switch allegiances to the country on the other side of the border. That way, all the potential secessionist problems are worked out at once.

    The question of money is a good one. Past forcible evictions like the one you mentioned are a separate issue, but Ukraine and Russia would need to address the question of lost properties as the two populations un-mix.

  7. Michael,

    Valid point, but letting unreasonable borders stand means decades or generations of instability while the country adapts to them. My idea at least allows the reasonable borders to emerge instead of hoping that wherever you’re drawing the new lines will suit everyone.

    Agreed, but it’s still impracticle. The major risks turns nearly everyone against the idea. Politics is the art of the possible, not of the best.

    Since you mention Belorus, though, a variant of the plan might be to offer all the border raions the chance to switch allegiances to the country on the other side of the border. That way, all the potential secessionist problems are worked out at once.

    The ethnic cleansing & genocide has already been carried out. No Ukrainians live in their ancestral homes in Belarus, so no Belarussian areas would be expected to petition to enter Ukraine.

    Again, I sympathize with your perspective, but radical steps that create great instability and fear, which are either radically unjust or just the first part of an even bigger righting-of-wrongs, are impractical.

  8. “Agreed, but it’s still impracticle. The major risks turns nearly everyone against the idea. Politics is the art of the possible, not of the best.”

    So you’re figuring the risks of the current state are less than the risks of my idea?

    “The ethnic cleansing & genocide has already been carried out. No Ukrainians live in their ancestral homes in Belarus, so no Belarussian areas would be expected to petition to enter Ukraine.”

    Yeah, which is one reason why I consider monetary compensation to be a separate issue: the damage is already done.

    I wasn’t thinking of Belorus so much as Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. When I was scouring Wikipedia for more info on Ukraine, it showed a couple of oblasts (provinces) with sizeable Romanian, Moldovan and Gaugaz (Christian Turkish group) minorities and another which shares the Rusyn group with Hungary. I looked for mention of significant concentrations of Ukrainians in Belorus and vice-versa, but didn’t find any.

  9. Michael,

    So you’re figuring the risks of the current state are less than the risks of my idea?

    Yes, absolutely. There is no reasonable question that your plan introduces more uncertainty than the status quo.

    Yeah, which is one reason why I consider monetary compensation to be a separate issue: the damage is already done.

    Well, you can consider anything to be anything you like, but if you arbitrarily say, “this is part of the problem, this is not,” you’ll find it very hard to work with people who disagree.

    I looked for mention of significant concentrations of Ukrainians in Belorus and vice-versa, but didn’t find any.

    Of course. Likewise, I doubt many Jews current live in Warsaw, either.

  10. “Yes, absolutely. There is no reasonable question that your plan introduces more uncertainty than the status quo.”

    Why? Remember you’re talking about a country where a sizable chunk of the populace not only disagrees with its government, but sees itself as a historical extension of a neighboring country who’s leaders tend both to agree with that notion and are known for playing dirty in territories they still consider their own.

    “Well, you can consider anything to be anything you like, but if you arbitrarily say, “this is part of the problem, this is not,” you’ll find it very hard to work with people who disagree.”

    I consider it a different problem for a simple reason: the expulsion of Ukrainians from Belorus has already happened, this idea is in my head and (possibly) in the future. One is an event in the past to be dealt with by people who weren’t even born at the time it happened, the other is something in the future (if ever) that would- at most- have to learn from the other.

    “Of course. Likewise, I doubt many Jews current live in Warsaw, either.”
    Valid point, you haven’t addressed the other ethnic groups I mentioned, though.

  11. Michael,

    Why? Remember you’re talking about a country where a sizable chunk of the populace not only disagrees with its government, but sees itself as a historical extension of a neighboring country who’s leaders tend both to agree with that notion and are known for playing dirty in territories they still consider their own.

    Your plan is an escalation, attempting to solve the problem of assimilation of a minority into a host country by changing international borders. When you escalate a problem to a higher level, you create risk at that higher level.

    I consider it a different problem for a simple reason: the expulsion of Ukrainians from Belorus has already happened, this idea is in my head and (possibly) in the future. One is an event in the past to be dealt with by people who weren’t even born at the time it happened, the other is something in the future (if ever) that would- at most- have to learn from the other.

    The point remains. You are arbitrarily choosing a particular point in time as the starting-point for all injustices that may be adjudicated by shifting borders. When you arbitrarily pick time frames, you can expect people who agree out of their own reasons to support you. It isn’t a rational way forward, however.

    Valid point, you haven’t addressed the other ethnic groups I mentioned, though.

    Which other ones?

  12. “Your plan is an escalation, attempting to solve the problem of assimilation of a minority into a host country by changing international borders. When you escalate a problem to a higher level, you create risk at that higher level.”

    It makes more sense than trying to assimilating a minority that doesn’t want to be assimilated (they’re going to resist by any means necessary), has powerful and violent friends to back them up (Russia, ’nuff said) and has been there for upwards of two centuries (kicking people out of their home villages of several generations wouldn’t be good PR). Ukraine’s leaders have a choice: try for a peaceful divorce, hope their country survives taking sides between NATO and Russia, or settle into an uncomfortable neutrality between two powers.

    “The point remains. You are arbitrarily choosing a particular point in time as the starting-point for all injustices that may be adjudicated by shifting borders. When you arbitrarily pick time frames, you can expect people who agree out of their own reasons to support you. It isn’t a rational way forward, however.”

    I think I see where we’re misunderstanding each other here (caffeine’s kicking in!); you’re asking why my idea is better than what happened in Belorussia. Democracy’s why. I’m not talking about National leaders drawing lines on a map–aside from starting the process and trying to persuade people to vote for their side, they would not be involved. Nor am I talking about ethnic militias cleansing each other–if such groups arose, they would have to be put down immediately on both sides.

    As for rationality . . . Call me a Liberal, but having people decide their future in free and fair elections seems far more rational than anything that’s happening in the Caucasus right now :(

    “Which other ones?” You missed this part of a previous message.
    “When I was scouring Wikipedia for more info on Ukraine, it showed a couple of oblasts (provinces) with sizeable Romanian, Moldovan and Gaugaz (Christian Turkish group) minorities and another which shares the Rusyn group with Hungary.”

    Speaking of current events, think about what Ukraine and Moldova are facing. With Russia getting more aggressive, entry into NATO becomes more important for them, and settling any potential border issues with existing NATO and EU countries before they become issues makes them look good, as does accomplishing it democratically. Ukraine, being Slavic , stands more of a chance of getting the Trans-Dniestrian Republic to reject their current alliance with Russia than Moldova does; this makes offering Moldova a chance at getting some of its lost territories back important as a trade off.

    To get back to the title of your original post, Ukraine may find getting out of Russia to be like a wild animal getting out of a jaw trap–it may need to chew a body part off to do so. My idea just offers a local anesthetic and scalpel to replace the teeth.

  13. Michael,

    It makes more sense than trying to assimilating a minority that doesn’t want to be assimilated (they’re going to resist by any means necessary), has powerful and violent friends to back them up (Russia, ’nuff said) and has been there for upwards of two centuries (kicking people out of their home villages of several generations wouldn’t be good PR).

    There’s no good reason to think this.

    I think I see where we’re misunderstanding each other here (caffeine’s kicking in!); you’re asking why my idea is better than what happened in Belorussia.

    No, I’m asking why you think your idea is better than the status quo, or selecting based on the facts on the ground 10 years from now, or from 10 years in the past.

    Nor am I talking about ethnic militias cleansing each other–if such groups arose, they would have to be put down immediately on both sides.

    If this is a requirement, then the plan can obviously be scrapped, as there’s no indication either the U.S., Europe, or Russia is interested in this.

    As for rationality . . . Call me a Liberal, but having people decide their future in free and fair elections seems far more rational than anything that’s happening in< the Caucasus right now/blockquote>

    Why would I call you a liberal for that?

    The statement’s merely irrelevant wishful-thinking.

    Liberalism at least is a coherent political philosophy.

    Speaking of current events, think about what Ukraine and Moldova are facing. With Russia getting more aggressive, entry into NATO becomes more important for them, and settling any potential border issues with existing NATO and EU countries before they become issues makes them look good, as does accomplishing it democratically.

    You decide upon a WWII-scale redrawing of national borders in order to solve an irrelevant diplomatic pretext. Cyrpus was added to the Europe Union in spite of the Turkish-recognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as an example.

    To get back to the title of your original post, Ukraine may find getting out of Russia to be like a wild animal getting out of a jaw trap–it may need to chew a body part off to do so. My idea just offers a local anesthetic and scalpel to replace the teeth

    I was going to write that I am puzzled why you insist on rewarding aggressive behavior by Russians by dismembering pro-western states, but I have seen no evidence that there’s any coherent reason behind this plan in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>