Some news! The first volume of The Second Crimean War (up through their move to the Crimea) is out as an ibook and on Kindle! The Kindle version has some really neat features, like being able to swipe between panels, while you can just zoom in on the ibook.
Also, if anyone (else) wants to discuss the real-word situation in Ukraine, here, on my Tumblr blog, or on the Facebook page, I'd be very willing to give whatever info and context I can. I'd tend to be ... aware of the biases of a lot of American and western European media at the moment, just as a note.
Or I could call it "Look at me, I'm prescient!.thecomicseries.com". I've actually thought that I'd have to change my blog tagging system--though I'm thinking it's just a louder version of the usual sabre-rattling.
I'm not sure that Eastern Ukraine is such a hotspot right now, and I hope it doesn't become one.
Oh, of course--bias is part of being human. (And I doubt any aliens are reading this... :P ) But I have noticed an almost Cold War-like attitude in French and American media, across the political spectrum. You can get decent news, of course, you just have to be aware this is a more bias-heavy situation for most Western media than, say, coverage of the ethnic conflict in the Central African Republic or whatever.
Crimea wasn't a hotspot until... well, you know. But the way I see it, Crimea is now firmly under Russian/pro-Russian control and the only thing that could start a conflict is an attempt by the Ukrainian army to take it back by force. And since they have no hope of getting foreign military support for such action, they would have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. So they won't try it.
Of course I'm talking about conventional warfare there, not counting the chance of insurgency by Tatars / pro-Kiev Crimeans. That would be absolutely terrible.
But that's why I see Eastern Ukraine as a bit of a powder keg. The events in Crimea could be an encouraging factor for the separatist forces in that region and Kiev will most certainly react with force if it gets really bad in there. Now that's where Russia comes in - they could decide to provide support for the separatists (or even help create conflict) just to weaken the Ukrainian state even further. I don't really believe in that - it would probably hurt Russia itself too much - but I do consider it a possibility, particularly if the EU and the USA go ahead with their sanction plans.
Perhaps there is a chance that I'm overanalyzing things a bit here. I am certainly no expert of any kind, it's just that I find the post-Soviet world so damn interesting. That's the real reason I subscribed to this comic in the first place - I was never a fan of alt history but now I am :)
Excellent points. I'm also worried about western Ukraine getting more hardcore, or political violence getting more mainstream. My worst fear (so I doubt it's going to happen) is that this becomes an ethnic conflict rather than a political/economic/governmental one with ethnic elements. I mean, politics can reach compromises, even if pretty grumpy ones. Ethnic identity just IS.
Welp, if you like overanalyzing in general and speculation and general fascination with the post-Soviet world, you came to the right place! It was this that really got me into alternate history too--this era is fascinating.
A few more details--long answer ahoy, possible personal bias ahead as much as I try to avoid it:
There were protests (on the part of the young, Western educated young people mostly) against a deal with Russia, which would hurt them, but make natural gas for heating affordable for old people out east. This was back in december.
Russia got the deal over the EU, which wasn't as good of a deal for those young educated people, because it didn't make it easier for them to travel/work in the
So, the people who didn't like the deal with Russia protested, and Yanakovych passed a law cracking down in peaceful assembly/protest. That's when the protests turned violent, duh.
Murders on both sides.
Riots. Anti-Yanakovych violent neo-facists even pitched in, and the protesters took over and occupied gov't buildings.
That brings us up to February/late January.
Recently, Yanakovych just left town and quit the presidency. They're holding elections for the new prez in a month or so.
So, the thing about Ukraine is that there're tons of *ethnic* Russians citizens living there, have been for centuries.
There're more in the east than the west.
And the Crimea, the place Russian troops are in, there's been no fighting there.
The Crimea wasn't even considered part of Ukraine until 1954 when the USSR just kind of stuck it on for easier paperwork.
It's mostly ethnic Russian, and I bet you anything that part of the reason Russian troops were sent in was to protect ethnic Russian civies from the odd Ukrainian whackjob as well as somewhat imperialistic Russian sabre-rattling. Plus it's really important strategically to both countries, and important culturally/historically, but especially to Russia.
And the Crimea is semi-independent from Ukraine anyway -- they've got a different legal status -- and they want more independence and closer ties with Russia. The mayor of a major city welcomed/invited Russian troops. And the captain of the Ukrainian flagship is refusing to take orders from Kiev and he's flying the Russian flag.
So, worst-case, this turns into a serious bloody conflict along ethnic lines. But it might well just be a lot of growling and no biting.
Been awhile since I last commentated. The situation is indeed hard to explain to many people. I myself have had to clarify to the best of my ability when people discussed it before spring break.
The one point people tend to mistakenly ignore is the preceding years of negotiation struggle with the EU, in the sense that the talks with the Ukrainian government over matters have stalled, fallen flat, restarted, and repeated since the early 2000's. The economy of the Ukraine, amongst other matters, made some elements of the EU hesitant, as was there hesitance from the Ukrainian side of the negotiations as well. To be quite honest, I've heard enough about "Why isn't the EU stepping in?" questions for a lifetime. I mean, its an economic organization through and through, and it seems people seem to confuse it for NATO (which in itself is a confusing matter considering its history, most people do not realize that Russian troops train with various NATO countries and vice-versa).
Now I am just a lad who likes to look at pictures, read books and talk with fellow Eastern Bloc collectors, but honestly, it is asinine when folks like us know more about the situation then the people who are making the decisions and sprouting nonsense on a majority of news networks. If I hear one more US "military analyst" go and call the Russian troops "conscripts with crummy guns and new outfits" I will facepalm so much. The first of the Russian Forces that started occupying locations were Naval Infantry, local elements at that. The civilian-clothing folks are either SSO(CCO) or GRU for the most part, yet most of the world seems to think Russia sent in a "paper tiger" force.
Seem thing with Ukraine, as I have heard enough people saying that Ukraine's forces are 30-50 years behind. Really now?
I'm one of those pondering as to how the arms depots across Ukraine are being controlled? Will Russia seize them, the Ukrainian military scramble to guard them, or will people of all sorts storm the mines, warehouses, and more looking for whatever they can carry off?
In the end, more people are at risk of getting caught in the smoldering flames, and I honestly wish the mess could indeed end without an outpouring of further blood or along with it increased international squabbling by powers that really do not have a grasp of what it is like for much of Eastern Europe. If Crimea breaks off to join Russia, the international scene will never cease to call the vote invalid, Russians as Nazis, and Ukraine as a broken state. If Crimea remains with Ukraine, the same things will happen in some way or another, particularly if Russian troops remain in Crimea long after the vote.
If there is one thing I have left to say, is that I hope the soldiers on both sides looking at each right now, with ancestries mixed in ethnicity, will, much like some of the characters you have shown in your comic, understand the situation better than anyone else, and are able to keep what peace they can garner going long enough for the politicians to get their acts together. I have read about and talked to enough veterans to have that belief in those asked to do what many will not.
Well said! (I would say better than most news commentators that I have access to, but that's "damned with faint praise" if there ever was.)
I'm not pleased that the EU is "stepping in" as much as it is, what with joining with the US (to a lesser extent than the US, sure) to support less than savory elements of the ...protest? Movement? Coup? Y'all are more of an economic association -- act like it. It seems like no one respects Ukraine's right to national self-determination very much.
And yes -- this is what drives me nuts. It's absolutely disgraceful that people like you and me have a better grasp of the situation than many unspecialized people who are PAID (politicians, news media, etc.) to have a handle on this. I'm not claiming some secret knowledge -- I'm claiming cracking a mainstream book or so from time to time.
You make a good point about the Navy -- I guess you know then that Ukraine's flagship is merrily flying the Russian flag and refusing to take orders from the interim government in Ukraine?
The thing about the arms depots -- they've already come into play. The reason Yanakovych left town in such a hurry was that a group of the opposition had raided one, armed themselves in a big way, and were advancing on Kiev.
And yeah, there are no winners among the Ukrainian people, not really. Depending on how the chips fall, some oligarchs or politicians may do well, and either the EU and the US or the CIS will net a sweet trade deal (with an economy that'll be in much worse shape), but the Ukrainian people will be the losers out of all of this. Calling Godwin's law (*sigh*) at everyone who irritates you isn't going to change that. I wonder if maybe the best deal for Crimea is for them to get the independence many of them want. Kind of a third option -- not that anyone would ever cease to cry foul if Crimean independence went against their interests.
Yeah, I really really hope so. That there's enough sense of shared identity that this doesn't dissolve into ... I hope that they don't just become weapons for whatever nutty ideas from Moscow and Kiev come down the pike. Thing is, the violence in the Crimea hasn't been from the soldiers -- it's civilian-on-civilian, pro-Russian vs the opposition (for lack of a better word.)
It's really cheering to hear a reasoned, informed discussion of this -- sadly rare in my part of the world, which seems to be trying, in part at least, to revert to a kind of "arrgh, Rooskies!" Cold War hysteria. Thank you.
This is a really significant page! On the issue of where the characters stand ethically I mean, for both sides. It's this sort of decision making, in contexts such as these that define who you really are.
I think if you asked Slava about his call, he'd gruffly kind of say that it would be really counter-productive and bad PR to kill ethnic Russian civilians in their current political climate. And that would be true -- just not the whole truth.