A REVELATION OF MODERN-DAY IMPERIALISM
VOL. XVIII NO. 2 (October 18 – 24, 2014)
TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
The Tiger, William Blake: 1757-1827
What brought the sudden emergence of a leader’scontrol over Ukraine’s territories? Despite the interventions of united foreign powers like the European Union (EU) and the United States of America, why does the country still confront conflicts? Could it be the Ukrainian themselves who displayed divided forces and interests awakening President Vladimir Putin’s long-planned intentions? Ukraine’s Kiev and Crimea citizens’ uprisings seemingly brought them into pointless moves due to their expectations’ ironic twists and turns that allowed outside force’s intervention. Now, the greedy man had the chance to have illustrated one of Imperial Russia’ssimilar victories in the past. A self- daunting leader now kisses and embraces the ghosts of his ancestor’s principles: Imperialism which is seen by the world as a cunning gesture in the attempt to rebuild one of the world’s formerly known as the biggest domain by reclaiming a territory which was once belong to the Russian Empire as his bastion.
The annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation is regarded as a form of modern – day imperialistic practice inspired by the former country’s colonial triumphs in the past which Putinseemingly wanted to epitomize in his regime to showcase a symbol of galvanizing power. Psychologically,he wanted the whole world to recognizethat Russia’spower is a deep-rooted undefeated strength thatwill soon rise even tothe contemporarytimes. Heknows thathis gestures foreshadow abigger conflict- a behavior displayed defining the notoriety of a leader’s humannature. After all, Crimea belongs tohis territory ignoring the White House and European Unions’ judgmental commentslinking him on Imperialistic tendencies.
Imperialism is a practice of an unequal human and territorial relationship usually in a form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practice of dominance involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography relating vivid proximity to the actions recently completed by Putin over Ukraine’s peninsula.
It is an ideology’s application that defines a dangerous pursuit or enterprise that raises 90per cent possibility of conflicts’ outbreaks sacrificing human lives and international harmonious relationshipwhich still exude to the present days.
It would be crucial tolook back at the two countries’ intertwined pasts to bring clearerbackground on the ongoing conflicts between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Ukraine.
World history sources says that Federation of Russia traces its roots from the Russian Empire whereby at the end of the 19th century occupies almost 1/6 of the earth’s landmass.
The Russian Empire was deposed bythe Liberal PartyRevolution (LPR) in 1917. TheLPR groupcomprised the Bolsheviks during the civil war that toppled Tsar Nicholas II’s regime. In 1922, the Bolsheviks founded the Union of Soviet Social Republic (USSR) introducing communism as an ideology.
On the other hand, Ukraineis a continuously tumultuous state by the conflicts it has encountered throughout history. It built its governmentby the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement (UNM) who fought after the Russian revolution in 1917. Ukrainian government was restored in 1921 paving way to the emergence of Soviet Republic of Ukraine. By 1933 to 1934, Stalin’s policy brought intentional famine in Ukraine and about 3 million Ukrainians died. From 1939 to 1940, Western Ukraine was annexed to Germany by Soviet Union based on a secret treaty withNaziGermany triggering uprisings from Ukrainian insurgent army.By 1943 to 1944, the Russians returned prompting Ukrainian residence to flee in England, France, and Canada and to the USA. The years that followed werestruggles forthe Ukrainian on their fight to independence especially in the Western region. The 1980’s became a legacy of continues protests and the national movement for the liberation of Ukraine was formed with the acronym RUKH. In 1990, Ukrainian sovereignty was granted and in 1996, its constitution wasofficially proclaimed. However, being a country conceived by a disturbing pasts, Ukraine is destined to face coming series of dilemmas.
So by November 2013, former deposed president Viktor Yanukovych declared that he won’t forge an agreement that would strengthen relationship with the EU. He instead announced that he is seeking closer cooperation with Russia. Protest resulted to the streets among Pro-Ukrainian populace. They demanded closer agreement andties with theEU instead of Russia. But therewas no sign of compromise from his abusive administration thatharassed its citizens, illegitimately putspeople injail and ruthlessly tortured activists. By February 2014, a sniper killed anactivistin front of the president’s administrative building followed by the killing of 82 protesters by government troops in Kiev through the command of Yanukovych who fled the capital finding his planned route to Russia evading a warrant of arrest issued by Ukraine’s Interim Government and newly declared President OleksandrTurchinov. The siege continued in Crimea, a Southern region of Ukraine that is nominally autonomousby having its own parliament. The Crimean Port city of Sevastopol is a home to naval bases for Ukraine and Russia who obtained a long-term lease from Ukraine after havingdeclared independence from the communist Soviet Union in 1991 but it does not have the right to disaffiliate. After Ukraine’s pro-Russian president stepped down to power, pro-Russian Crimeandemonstrated in the streets to secede from Ukraine.Pro Ukrainian government did the same. Crimean military surrounds Ukraine military bases in Crimea where more than half of the population comprises ethnic Russians. Ukrainian elected officials were ordered to step down at gunpoint and were replaced with pro-Russian politicians. The Crimean self-appointed leaders announced a referendum to split with Ukraine for Russia. It is a voting process backed by President Putin who earlier have been trying to intervene on Ukraine’s spurring ties with the EU. Putin was quoted to have stated in the past public speeches that ‘Ukraine and other nations who were once held captive by the former Soviet Union should return to Russian control, a line which supports and foretells the idea of an imperialistic move.
ByMarch 16, 2014, Crimea voting results showed 97% of voters backed a unionbetween Russia and Crimea. This resultedto Russia’s lower parliament to ratify a treaty making Crimea officially part of the Russian Federation. Such referendum was contradicted by the White Houseand theEU calling it a violation of Internationallaw. To give preliminary sanctions to Russia, the White House and the EU thought of destabilizing Russia’s economy while strengthening their support to Ukraine.
It is strongly believe that Crimea isn’t only a political but geographical danger to other neighboring countries of the European continent which Russia once disarrayed, gruesomely batteredand terrorized the in the years of cold war. History chronicles that when the Soviet Union was defaced in 1991, countries includingPoland, East Germany, Republic of Ukraine and Latvia amongothers were fully and finally emancipated. However, time could be tricky considering that residents of Ukraine manifest their varied ideological divisions.
Today even if the regime was replaced by President Petro Poroshenko, the saga of unresolved conflicts continue to ensue between these two countriesnot over Crimeathis time but for other Ukrainian territories which too threaten countries nearby its borders. Whatever lies ahead of Ukraine’s confrontation to the present brawl with Russia remains to be seen. Putin’s move disregarding the breakthroughs of nations’ independence may be his first step to justify his obsession in assembling back the dissolved USSR.
For citizens of countries free from cold war, always believe in the might of solidarity. /By : Marvin Wacnag Lidawan