Breaking up Ukraine along ethnic lines

In an earlier article on competing nationalisms in Ukraine, I suggested that states like Ukraine with large ethnic divisions should be divided into relatively ethnically homogeneous societies. This derives from the idea of what Frank Salter terms “universal nationalism”—that all peoples should be able to live in ethnically homogeneous states free of the conflict that is breaking up Ukraine now.

But now the plan to have a referendum is being described as “illegitimate” and “illegal”:

“No one in the civilized world” will recognize the validity of the referendum initiated by pro-Russian representatives in Crimea’s regional assembly and scheduled March 16, warned Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk. He harshly repudiated those agitating for Crimea to break away from Ukraine and join Russia as “separatists and other traitors.”

The plebiscite has been dismissed by Western nations as illegal, a political charade backed by the guns of Russian troops that have surrounded Ukrainian military bases on the strategically important peninsula for days.

But the proposed change in status for Crimea has been rapturously welcomed in Moscow. As thousands of people flooded Red Square to chant support of President Vladimir Putin and of annexing Crimea, members of the Russian parliament promised to expedite the region’s accession to Russia after the vote.

It’s incredible that a government that seized power as a result of mob violence now complains that a democratic referendum that would go some way toward splitting up Ukraine along ethnic lines is illegitimate. And it is sheer hypocrisy for the West, which has invested $5 billion in getting Ukraine away from Russia since 1991 according to neocon operative Victoria Nuland, including support for the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Yanukovych government.

The Russians have been well aware of this campaign. Here’s Putin, from a Time magazine interview in 2007:

Let’s be frank and speak directly and call a spade a spade. What I’m about to say is not aggressive in any way, but I urge you to be frank. The United States somehow decided that part of the political elite in Ukraine is pro-American and part is pro-Russian, and they decided to support the ones they consider pro-American, the so-called orange coalition. Well, O.K., you decided to support them. Do as you please, although we don’t believe it’s right. Of course, they have people with different outlooks there and with different political tastes, but as I’ve already mentioned, if a politician wants to be popular, he or she must protect the national interests first of all, be Ukrainian nationalists in the good sense of this word. And they are. They are not pro-Russians. They are not pro-Europeans. They are not pro-Americans. They are all pro-Ukrainians, but somehow Americans divided them all into pro- this or that. We believe that is a mistake. Let them settle their issues themselves. Everything that’s been done there is unconstitutional, which has created distrust among various political groups and citizens, thus undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and economy. That’s what the United States has done and is doing in Ukraine and in Georgia. What we say is, leave them alone, without choosing sides. When everyone saw that destabilization was under way in Ukraine, they tried to force Russia to subsidize the Ukrainian economy at our expense. Why? If you want to support someone, you pay for it. Nobody wants to pay.

In other words, Ukraine had a reasonably functioning multiethnic state until the American attempts to destabilize it by supporting one side against the other. A multiethnic state could work especially, as in this case, when the peoples are closely related and the ethnic fault lines are deemphasized, as Putin is claiming was the case. But the recent overthrow of the government by the non-Russian  population makes the ethnic fault lines clear and also conflicts with the legitimate interests of Russia in territory that has been part of Russia since Catherine the Great — with results that we are seeing now.

No nationalist, including Ukrainian nationalists, should oppose the break-up of the Ukraine along ethnic lines. And the success of the referendum would be an excellent precedent for other nationalist movements in Europe (Catalonia, Scotland, Belgium, etc.) and the breakup of the EU which is the epitome of anti-nationalism. And one could even envision it as a precedent for secession in the U.S. as White people become increasingly dissatisfied with the course of their multicultural, anti-White “nation.”

For the neocons, this is doubtless an example of unintended consequences. They want all of the Ukraine to be stripped from Russia and firmly planted in the EU where it will eventually be obliterated as any kind of ethnic/national identity, and weakening Russia with its pro-Iran, pro-Syria policies, and nationalist aims of its own. But that is not going to happen, at least with Crimea, and the results should reinvigorate Russia’s sense of their own ethnic nationalism. That is all to the good.

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