February 28, 2014

Crimea a Tinderbox of Divided Loyalties

Michael Burleigh, Daily Telegraph

The Associated Press

In the past 48 hours, the Crimean peninsula has become a flashpoint in the wider struggle between Russia and the West over the future fate of Ukraine. That is no coincidence. Its history is scarred by invasion and war – and it has resulted in a population that is deeply divided on the question of nationhood. No Western politician seems to have taken this on board. Crimea’s people are 58 per cent ethnic Russians, 24 per cent Ukrainians, and 12 per cent Tatars, descendants of the Turkic people that ruled the peninsula until the Russian Tsars annexed it in 1783. It was at that point that Sevastopol became home to the Imperial Navy’s Black Sea fleet. Defeat in the Crimean War forced modernisation on Russia. But the Black Sea fleet is there again today.

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TAGGED: Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, Vladimir Putin

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