The Resource Game — Putin, Ukraine, and the Future

History; History….

To really begin to unpack this thing requires looking at the history of Ukraine and Russia, and their relationship. In brief, the Kievan Rus ran Ukraine, as well as what are now Belarus, large parts of western Russia including parts of the Baltic states, and part of Finland from around 800 C.E. until 1240 C.E. (the time of the Mongol invasion). The first capitol was in Novgorod, but was moved to the then-central city of Kiev. All this happened while Moscow was a relatively small trading village.

A Recap on Resources

Ukrainian resources at a glance below:

Enter Donbas

In early 2014, discontent in the eastern districts of the country was exploited by Russia to destabilize governmental control. This was in concert with their outright annexation of Crimea. The Ukrainian military pushed back, and Russia began more conventional military operations in the region combined with separatist irregulars. The region has been contested for the last eight years. Russia has recognized the independence of the two Donbas districts, Donetsk and Luhansk. Separatists in both districts joined Russian troops in February of this year to sweep remaining Ukrainian forces from those regions.

Nazis in Ukraine?

The Ukrainian military has accepted a volunteer regiment into its ranks with neo-Nazi sentiments (the Azov Regiment). This act gave Vladimir Putin part of his justification for invasion — his intent to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine.

Unpacking The Invasion

The map below is the most current state of things in Ukraine. Two things leap out at me, but we first have to look at the geography of the place.

(Map courtesy Al Jazeera)

What’s Next?

Again, as I write this, Putin has authorized two ‘corridors’ through which civilians may evacuate key Ukrainian cities — but those corridors go only to Russia and Belarus. (I’d posit that Kafka would be proud of this, but I’d be diluting my point here.) We can count on Putin authorizing a stepped-up campaign to secure those key cities if he can get enough civilians out of the way.

The Real Question: Why?

I believe Putin’s core reasons are to redraw the map of Europe post-Cold War, and to gain the vital resources necessary to Russia’s growth. He wants this to be ‘Russia’s century’. He’s created several political and military straw men to justify all of this.

My Two Cents….

In no particular order; some observations:

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Astra Navigo

Astra Navigo

Astra has three degrees (two undergrad; one Masters) with specialties in History, Cultural Anthro. and Poli. Sci.