ANALYSIS – When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, there was bloodshed, perhaps not as much as feared, but it was still awful with wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia and the attempt by the people of the Caucasus to finally rid themselves of the long bondage of Moscow that resulted in bloody failure. One of the first European nations to emerge free of the old Soviet bonds was of course Poland. And the pictures on our television screens of protesters in Kiev clashing with police, armed with riot gear using live ammunition to disperse the crowds, suggests that that other European nation to a share a border with Russia, called Ukraine, is once again playing out its long struggle for freedom. Of course, Vladimir Putin for whom the collapse of the Soviet Union was the biggest geopolitical disaster of the end of the last century is not going to let go of a country where he has stationed his Black Sea fleet for another 100 years and where Russian speakers form a majority towards the east anymore than he was going to let go of Chechnya. But this time he faces a powerful foe namely the European Union backed by the US who will not tolerate the kind of widespread and indiscriminate slaughter by ‘security forces’ that was witnessed in the killing fields of Grozny. So, is a split inevitable and would that be the best solution?
Western commentators clearly think so, whilst those from Russia don’t think there’s anything to talk about – President Victor Yanakovich has been urged to do his job properly namely disperse the crowds of Nazis, thugs and hooligans that are being trained by the West and who have been warned to stay away from the Crimea.
And of course, there’s the nationalists who are now on the streets spilling blood as well as attacking the police and who would never accept the breakup of their country. Ukraine may be the last European nation to break free of Russia but it is going to come at an awful cost.