The Re-Conquista of Crimea: Time Favours the Tatars

Existence is bleak under Putin since the forced annexation of Crimea.

The Russians of Crimea, the initial beneficiaries of Moscow’s humanitarian intervention, have seen the collapse of tourism and agriculture, soaring prices, physical isolation, and massive disruption… __ A Pyrrhic Victory

The annexation of Crimea and the invasion of East Ukraine are helping to more quickly deplete Russia’s hard currency assets — and any goodwill that Russia may have once earned from the rest of the world.

Human rights conditions have deteriorated in Crimea since its annexation by Russia last year, with Crimean authorities accused of discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave, according to a new report. __ Russian Oppression Surges

Free speech has become a crime under the Russian occupation. But native Crimeans have been down before. This time, they are beginning to see that in spite of Russian tyranny, time is on their side.

There are 266,000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea, over 13% of the local population. They are Sunni Muslim, traditionally pro-Ukrainian, and much better organised than the local Ukrainians, who make up 23% of the population. __ Crimean Tatars Ticking Time Bomb for Russia

The Crimean Tatars are a people of multiple ethnicity and shared history. Their homeland has been illegally annexed twice by Russia — once in 1783, and again in 2014. In 1944, the USSR illegally stripped Crimea of most of its Tatar population, stealing their property and wealth. Crimea was transferred to Ukraine from Russia by Khrushchev in 1954, and became part of an independent Ukraine in 1991, when Ukraine declared independence from the crumbling USSR.

That is when Tatars began to feel most free to return to their homeland from their Stalin-era exile.

Tatars have been returning to Crimea from Turkey and Uzbekistan.

They’ve also been having babies _ at so fast a rate, Kulchitsky said, that the number of Tatars is expected to surpass the number of Russians in Crimea in just 13 years. That surge is helped by the demographic fact that many Russians there are retirees who’ve picked Crimea as a place to live because it’s cheap, a place where a pension can go a long way. __ Source

Crimea is Evolving Independent of Russia

Crimea is Evolving Independent of Russia

Vladimir Putin stole this Maryland-sized peninsula, home to 2.4 million people. He had no legal justification. It was as naked a land-grab as anything Catherine the Great attempted, a move right out of 1939. And yet, a year after the peninsula helped spark the current carnage in Ukraine, Crimea barely warrants a mention, largely because Putin continues to escalate the mess in Ukraine into the greatest threat to European security since the Cold War. __ One Year After

As Crimean Tatars slowly build their numbers once more under illegal Russian occupation, time appears to be on the side of the Tatars, against Putin.

The new authorities have stripped billions in property and assets from former owners, swiping dry docks and film studios alike. The tourism industry, one of the peninsula’s lifebloods, has tanked as Europeans have stayed away. Financially, Crimea has fast become a millstone around Russia’s neck.

… Over the past twelve months, Moscow and local Russian authorities have banned public commemorations for the Tatar deportations, raided the Tatar parliament, and exiled the Tatars’ two top political figures: Mustafa Dzhemilev, who famously launched a 303-day hunger strike in 1975, the longest in Soviet history; and Refat Chubarov, who has described Putin as the “Hitler of today.” Multiple Tatar activists have turned up dead.

… in 2001, Tatars represented some 12 percent of Crimea’s population—though given current demographic trajectories, there could well be more Tatars than Russians in Crimea within a dozen years. __Casey Michel

Every land that Putin invades or illegally annexes becomes an endless financial drain on a Kremlin budget that rapidly sinking to subterranean depths. Crimea is no exception. And who is asked to suffer the burden? Russia’s long-suffering population, the shrinking numbers of healthy work and military-aged Russians.

Under Catherine the Great when the bear first illegally annexed Crimea, Russia was a mighty empire with an endless bright future ahead. Now under Putin the Rat, Russia is shriveling, dying. Every violent invasion and land seizure intensifies Russia’s burden, and hastens its demise.

Until one year ago, most Crimeans considered themselves citizens of Ukraine — until the Russian invasion and “referendum-at-gunpoint.” For most Russians, Crimea was a place in Ukraine to go on holiday, or to retire.

Now under a temporary surge of ultra-nationalism, Russians cheer the easy conquest of Crimea. But in their quieter secret moments, they are forced to wonder what the future may hold for Russia, and how the bear may eventually be forced to pay again and again for its growing isolation.

As Russia grows more hated, feared, despised, and isolated, Ukraine is making alliances and slowly getting its act together.

As for the long-suffering Crimean Tatars, they have time on their side.

The Foundation of Russia’s Economy — and its ability to bully neighbors — Begins to Crumble

Since 2000, the Russian federal budget alone has earned roughly $2 trillion from the energy sector, yet Gazprom and Rosneft have failed to invest adequately in exploration… they have tended to rely on fields developed in the Soviet period or they have exploited and taken over other companies’ upstream developments.

… In 2008, Gazprom was planning to become a trillion dollar company by now, but it has seen its latest capitalization figure drop to $53 billion, one of the lowest in the industry considering its vast commercial recoverable reserves.

… The inefficiency and poor planning of the Russian oil and gas sector does not only affect the domestic market. It reduces the capacity of the Kremlin to exert pressure on its neighbors. The South Stream project, designed to bring more gas to Central Europe and Italy via a Black Sea pipeline while exploiting Central Asia supplies and bypassing Ukraine, was repudiated by Putin in December. Market realities delivered two blows—European customers do not need so much new gas, while Central Asia has reoriented itself to China.

… Russian oil and gas output is already falling, given sanctions and declining demand abroad…. Most cutting-edge projects in the Russian oil and gas industry used technology from companies such as Schlumberger that have now essentially departed.

Rosneft has already frozen its Arctic and Bazhenov shale developments, with the Yamal LNG project, on Russia’s Arctic coast, and the Caspian offshore development struggling to survive. The trend projected by most market analysts suggests that Russia will see its oil and gas market share drop in Europe, while increasing in China as far as Beijing allows but not as much as Russia wants.

With energy prices falling and the West increasingly relying on unconventional sources while adopting energy efficiency measures, Russia is not an energy superpower. __Russia’s “Strength” Begins to Weaken

Russia’s leadership is not up to the current challenges that Russia faces — it only makes the problems worse.

Doomed even before Ukraine — Russia’s “victory” in Crimea was of a Pyrrhic nature, and only a transient one at that.

The economic equivalent of nuking Russia into oblivion, now being discussed as an option.

“Peace, peace” — but there is no peace

…the Donbass might not recover even in a lifetime, and that the extension of the war to other Ukrainian regions portends, above all, still more Russian-speakers killed and homeless? Does this spectacle not dispose the Kremlin to sue for peace? Or perhaps the wellbeing of Ukraine’s Russians and Russian-speakers was never the purpose for unleashing the war in the first place?Or perhaps the wellbeing of Ukraine’s Russians and Russian-speakers was never the purpose for unleashing the war in the first place? __ Russia Shoots Herself

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