OK. I've not been on for a while - new job, nearly split from the missus and the like but I had to come on and voice my opinion on Ukraine, Russia and the Crimea. It's been bugging me that much!
Why? Well, I'm sure there is more than meets the eye here. There are reports of snipers shooting both the revolutionaries and Yanukovych so something's afoot. But that's not the bother, it's the hypocrisy. Not anything Russia's doing but "The West" my government included.
Now I'm sure that a lot of Westerners won't agree with me but consider this. We are adamant that Russia must not annex Ukraine. We are adamant that the Crimean government should not hold a referendum to decide it's own future. We are adamant that it should remain a part of the Ukraine and Russian boots must not be on the ground there.
What do I have to say about that? Kosovo!
Here's a part of another country, Serbia, where the majority of it's citizens were of another ethnicity. Just like Crimea. Here is a region where the ethnic majority decided for itself to secede from that country and choose it's own future. Just like Crimea. And The West supported the ethnic Albanians in their right to self determination and it is now recognised as an independent republic.
So why can't we recognise the majority ethnic Russians in Crimea right to self determination? Remove all of the politics and hidden agendas that each nation has here, the basic principle is the same. Two groups of people, who inhabit a region of a larger country and make up the majority of the ethnic population there, decided they wanted a different a different future. One group we recognised, the other we've refused.
What I find particularly galling is that the region of Kosovo is considered historically by Serbs to be their homeland, where their people originated from. During the Ottoman period Albanians moved into the region making up the majority population and in the present day broke away, with Western support, thus robbing Serbia a part of it's own land which was a part of it since Serbia came into existence.
Crimea however, has in contrast never been part of a Ukrainian homeland. In fact, until the 20th century the majority of the population were Turkic with Armenian, Bulgarian and Greek minorities. All relocated to central Asia by Stalin. It was then that it was settled by Russians. As a part of the Soviet Union the Crimean ASSR, succeeded by the Crimean Oblast, was always a part of Russia. In 1954 Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, transferred the Crimea to The Ukrainian SSR to mark the anniversary of the Ukraine becoming a part of the Russian Empire.
I can't abide by the double standards of politicians and I'm sorry if you don't agree with me but on these two occasions I believe Russia has it right. Kosovo should never have become independent, it'd be like Kent in England being settled by so many Eastern Europeans that they made up the majority population and then declared independence, it would never happen, and if the Crimean people vote in a referendum to join Russia, I genuinely don't have a problem with that.