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In reaction to Euromaidan, Putin claimed, that the whole Ukraine crisis was planned by USA and EU. Afterwards he argued that he invaded Ukraine to stop the authoritarian regime taking rule. But recently, he revealed the long-prepared secret plans to the Crimea takeover.

So what's his real attitude?

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    he revealed the long-prepared secret plans to the Crimea takeover Can't find this following the link you provided. Can you quote it? – Matt May 8 '16 at 18:11
  • @Matt Sorry, I had to accidentally swap my links – Probably May 9 '16 at 11:48
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    @Probably Mr Putin said on TV he had ordered work on "returning Crimea" to begin at an all-night meeting on 22 February. The meeting was called after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. So, what's unclear? – Matt May 9 '16 at 12:44
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    I'm afraid that your question doesn't quite compute. You're asking who caused the crisis "according to Putin?", but then you essentially told us the answer to that question. What is it that you still need to know? – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Aug 19 '16 at 16:33
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Disclaimer (it is sooo difficult right now to have a real discussion concerning Russia): Do not call me a Russian troll - you want to know what Putin thinks, so I try explain what he thinks as I see it and to provide reasons he does so. Whether they're valid or not to you is not important in this context, only whether they may be valid to Putin.

First of all, every responsible military force has pre-prepared plans for basically everything. I'm sure the Pentagon has plans for invasion of Canada and Mexico, too. If something serious occurs (like it did in Ukraine in 2014), it's too late to try and make plans which depend on thousands of little details, need to coordinate tens of thousands of actors and generally take years to formulate. It would be unreasonable to consider such plans of being of importance in any country's foreign politics.

Now to Putin's view. It is no secret that USA has spent billions of dollars in meddling with Ukrainian politics - just read this funny intercepted call between Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt. We can call it "democracy-building", but to Russia, which has to lose a lot by losing Ukraine's cooperation, it is definitely meddling. They actually discuss who should be in the new Ukrainian government - and their man Yatsenyuk (referred to as "Yats" in the call) really got the be the Prime Minister. The same guy whom Russia suspects of fighting for the rebels in the Chechen wars. Before 2014, Ukraine was very important supplier of military hardware for Russia (for example gas turbines for russian ships and helicopters came from Ukraine), so Putin very likely sees U.S. involvement as an attempt to weaken Russia militarily. Russia is in the process of upgrading and rearming its military, and the loss of Ukrainian supplies has to be seen by Putin as a major loss for Russia and victory for its adversaries (mainly NATO). Apart from the slowing down of the rearming project, Russian Black Sea Fleet was in serious danger of losing its home port of Sevastopol, leased from Ukraine until 2042. NATO-associated Ukraine would very likely attack and scrap the agreement as unconstitutional. The resulting decrease of readiness of the Black Sea Fleet (no other Russian port comes even close to the infrastructure of Sevastopol) would be a serious blow to Russian defence of its southern flank, as in the Black Sea it borders three NATO countries - Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as the unfriendly Georgia and the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia, which Russia protects (also with a naval blockade if necessary). Also, is it even necessary to mention that Ukraine (and Belarus) has always been the road to invasion of Russia from Europe? To allow NATO access to Ukrainian roads, bases and airfields would be Russian capitulation on the protection of its basic security, that's just geopolitics.

So while the official Russian line is that it needs to protect the Russian nationals in Ukraine from acts of violence by Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary organizations, if you look at the previous paragraph, Putin has to see the situation as a western takeover of Ukraine. Because of the serious implications this has on Russian military readiness, he has to see it as a military conflict in stages of preparation - weakening of Russian defences. Does he seriously consider that Russia will be next? If you look at the broader picture, US withdrawal from the ABM treaty in 2001, Aegis Ashore in Romania and Poland, Russian suspicions over US involvement in the Chechnya conflict, I think he does.

  • I get that a country this size can prepare for a military takeover of a much smaller country very quickly but from the third paragraph, it's just irrelevant speculations. If you build your thoughts about US trying to destroy Russia upon one phone call between two distant ambassadors and an article without sources or an author that states facts about the events in 1997 I wasn't able to find anywhere else (such as UK training Chechnyans). Apart from that, the presence of the US troops outside the US in the other countries you list is continioned by the agreement of the soverign nation. – Probably May 8 '17 at 13:39
  • @probably I'm not making an argument, I'm trying to answer the question "what Putin thinks" based on my years of following the US-Russia discussion and escalation of enmities. – Ondrej May 9 '17 at 14:32
  • Do you think Russia/Putin actually suspects him of fighting with Chechen rebels, or that's just a propaganda claim they make to discredit him? – PoloHoleSet May 9 '17 at 14:46
  • @probably Your reasoning may be correct (or not), but you have to sit down with Putin himself and tell it to him. No need to argue with me. Actually, this is another thing for the list - Putin often complains that when they try to negotiate something that bothers them with the US, they often get the answer "this is not your problem, we do what we want to, and you do what you want to." Aegis Ashore is a prime example, I can find you the video if you want. – Ondrej May 9 '17 at 14:46
  • @PoloHoleSet I think they really suspect him. It is not that good as a propaganda move, Yats is no longer important. There isn't anything which bothers Putin more than the Chechen insurgency. It killed lots of Russians over the years (Apartments - 300, Beslan - 330, Dubrovka - 170, plus many others) and it's still alive. That he was criticized by the West a lot for the ways they've handled it, while they were trying to protect their people and failing, also didn't help the Russia-West relations. Unsolicited criticism and patronization in a crisis is rarely helpful. – Ondrej May 9 '17 at 15:13
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In one of his interviews Putin stated that it was done because of geopolitics because Black Sea front is important. I think he believes it and this was the real reason because anti-Russian rhetoric in Ukraine was huge after another one pro-western revolution and several proposals by Putin to solve the issue peacefully e.g. to federate Ukraine were ignored by both new Ukraine authorities and western authorities. So, at least in the eyes of Putin, loosing Black Sea Sevastopol military base was a real risk and that's why he decided to take Crimea back to Russian jurisdiction.

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