Pouring Oil on the Fire

Saturday 28th June

While other events have overtaken the news, not least the rise of Isis in Iraq, the crisis in Crimea rolls on and on.  We haven’t heard that much lately, little snippets, the election of Petroshenko as the new President of Ukraine and a seven day ceasefire.   But the crisis hasn’t gone away, in fact it has got a whole lot worse.  The whole problem really started a few years ago, when the Orange Revolution swept a new European-looking Government into power.  The problem is that, as in a few countries, there is not a consensus of opinion.  Half or slightly more than half of the country want to leave the past of Russian control behind them, and the rest want to stay, if not actually a part of Russia, then very closely allied with it.  And with incredible stupidity each successive leader simply pours oil onto the fire.

The latest attempt at re-inflaming already tormented running sores is the decision of the newly elected Petroshenko to sign a deal with the EU, which should normally lead to their eventual joining.  This was the very issue which caused trouble in the first place, almost a year ago.  Since then, the then Russian leaning President was forced to flee to Russia.  Unconsitutionally he was deposed, and new elections planned.  Then the Crimea was taken by the Russians, or men purporting to be patriots.  In any case although there was universal deploring of Russia’s actions very little could be done about it.  A hastily organized referendum came out strongly in favour of joining Russia.   Then in the far eastern provinces there have been riots, armed men and another referendum again calling for union with Russia.  The latest election obviously did not ballot the Ukraine and many areas in the East also had no opportunity to vote.  When even democracy breaks down where do you go from there?  Russia is threatening extremely serious consequences of the latest EU agreement.

At the end of the day, and after probably a lot more bloodshed, some sort of political resolution will have to be agreed.  At the end of the day you cannot force people to live under a country they don’t consider their own.  Self-determination must be the end-game solution.  Not easy, but I think the only realistic solution.  It is just that at the moment nobody is being reasonable, both sides keep pouring oil onto the fire.