Saturday, 15 March 2014

Before the referendum

Russia has just lost the vote in the UN Security Council. As predicted, China abstained. China is probably unhappy that Russia has suddenly abandoned its long-standing support for non-intervention. Beijing certainly doesn't want foreign powers interfering in its imperial possessions Tibet and East Turkestan. Admittedly, Russia's behaviour has a certain consistency: non-intervention in Syria to protect its naval base there; intervention in Ukraine to protect its naval base there. Even if Putin had to create most of the need for "protection" in Ukraine.

The Crimea referendum will go ahead as planned, UN or no UN (of course, Russia has the sterling support of Syria and North Korea). And the result will be "yes". The only unknown quantity is what the percentage will be. Will Russia settle for something marginally realistic like 87% (assuming the Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians boycott the poll en masse) or will it go all out for a North Korean-style fantasy figure of 96% plus. I'm now inclined towards the latter. If Russia expects people to buy its barefaced lying about the presence of its ineptly disguised army in Crimea, then it is capable of putting out any propaganda it likes without a blush, however incredible it may seem.

The really grim question is whether, once it has Crimea in the bag, Russia will go on to carve out another chunk of east Ukraine.

No comments:

Post a Comment