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March 20, 2014

RONN MOTT: The Russian Bear

As I’m writing this, the official word from the Crimean election is not yet in. It doesn’t have to be … Putin would not have an election for the Crimea to ask itself out of the Ukraine back into Russia because he does not want to be embarrassed.   

The Crimea is much more to the Russian psyche than just once being a part of the old Soviet Union. The Russian naval fleet headquarters on the Black Sea is on the tip of the Crimea peninsula. That is where the royal Russian Navy rebelled against its leadership and joined the Bolshevik Revolution and went on to topple the then existing government. The sailors would become heroes of what would be the Soviet Union. Before then, about the middle of the 19th Century, the Russians fought the British amongst others in what would become the Crimean War. The British Army was there to keep Russia from rolling down into Turkey.

The famous poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” told of a disastrous British cavalry charge. It was after this debacle the civilian leadership decided to reform the British Army. Much of what it became and what it is now was because of the Crimean War. Crimea is very much Russian, and now it will be officially such. How much of the Ukraine can be salvaged is anybody’s guess.  

Georgia (another ex-wayward, Soviet state) and the Ukraine both loathed the Soviet Union … not eastern Ukraine, and certainly not the Crimean peninsula.

What can we do to help the Ukraine people who do not want to be slaves to Russia? Not very much. What we can do and what we will do … nothing. That’s the sad, sorry tale of this mess.  

The EU and its military arm, NATO, want absolutely no part of a war of any kind that tears up the peaceful fabric of, what is now, the European states.  

Putin is not a crazy person as was Josef Stalin, but he does not want a military organization camped in the Ukraine, or Romania, or Poland, or Lithuania, on Russia’s vast borders. Putin has put it plain and simple. If the people next to us speak Russian, have Russian habits, want to embrace Russia, then they shall and the heavy paws of the Russian Bear will make sure it is going to happen.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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