The Motherland and The Preservation of Power

Twin motivations for the preservation of a Russian Ukraine.

If you should decide to read Stephen Kotkin’s new book, Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 i, you would then find yourself immensely familiar with the names of towns, cities, and regions that are popping up daily in news media reports about the conflict in Ukraine. You would also discover how these places were vigorously defended as a new government was taking shape in Petrograd and cementing itself later in Moscow. And finally, the confluence of this book and today’s news would produce for you, a very exciting read.

With regards to today’s ongoing crisis, the book adds a much needed dimension in why Kiev wants to be Europe and Moscow says, “No.” These are not merely random plots of land but heroic battle sites that were war theaters with a perfidious German army as it arrived in multiple forms, in as many as 3 times, in the course of the first half of the 20th Century.

The sanctity of Kievan Rus is explained in Michael J Totten’s article, cogently rejecting a call to arm Ukraine. His argument rests on the fact that Eastern Ukraine will not be pried from the hands of a seemingly petulant dictator, but instead this region will be defended with a religious fervor. The upshot of arming Ukraine will likely consist of eventually agreeing to a settlement on the Kremlin’s terms after many more dead.

Secondly, there is Putin’s motivation for instability in the region. The Kremlin’s portrayal of the events taking place in Ukraine are absurd, yet they are driven by an intense paranoia fed by a deep fear of protests coming to Red Square. This would alight the world’s eyes on Moscow. Leaving us all to wonder whether this man of action, is truly, all he purports to be. That kind of breathtaking scenario is what Putin will prevent at all costs. Thus he is driving up popular opinion up at home by igniting a winnable war on his borders, and pointing to the return of a familiar arch-enemy abroad who is again needlessly provoking Russia.

Between the Russian peoples– real or conceived– deep connection to the Donbas, Rostov, Mariupol, the Sea of Azov and all the rest; and a shrewd leader, that is for now, comfortably in power, Eastern Ukraine has become a new locus on which the Russian people can back their leader. Knowing his political fortunes could shift beneath him at any time, Putin is exploiting the opportunity for all it is worth. The only ammunition Putin needs to exacerbate this for us, is american weaponry in Kiev. Surely we are familiar enough with the verse; If one should strike a Tsar, one should be prepared to finish him.

—-Special Mentions and influences for article—

Former ambassador to Russia speaks at Academy Assembly http://www.usafa.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123438604

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