This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Priyanka Das. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Crimea-Ukraine-Russia Crisis Explained In A Nutshell: All You Need To Know

More from Priyanka Das

By Priyanka Das:

The Crimean world is known to most of us because of the 1853 war that Russia fought against an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia, which the Russians lost and Crimea had to bear the brunt of the same while still being a part of it. Crimea is a peninsula situated on the eastern side of Ukraine near the Black sea; it is connected to the mainland via a strip of land. About 60% of the population identify themselves as Russians. The Crimean region was part of Russia until 1954 and most of its residents are ethnic Russians, hence they would rather be with Moscow than Kiev.

AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY
AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY

Timeline:

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 1783. For a short period of time in 1917 it was a sovereign state, the peninsula was known as the “Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” as it became a part of the Soviet Union in 1921. The Nazi Germany took over the land in 1942. Joseph Stalin in 1944 deported the Muslim Tatars due to their alleged cooperation with Germany during the World War II. Many of them returned in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The autonomous status was dissolved after the World War II and it became a province of the Soviet Union. Nikita Khrushchev, the Premier of Russia in 1954, handed over Crimea as a gesture of goodwill to Ukraine to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine’s inclusion in the Russian Empire, he had Ukrainian roots. On the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, during the negotiations with Ukraine it was expected that President Boris Yeltsin would bring up ‘Crimea for Russia’ issue but it did not happen.

The current crisis began on 21st November, 2013 when Ukraine’s Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned an EU deal. In the following month, Pro-EU protesters occupied Kiev (capital of Ukraine) city hall and Independence Square. Many people were killed in the protests that ensued, Yanukovych fled on 22nd February and the parliament voted to remove him and called for elections. Several pro- Russian gunmen have held buildings and people under hostage like conditions. On the 6th of March, Crimea’s parliament asks to join Russia and sets referendum for 16 March. After the much disputed and debated referendum, the Crimean people (almost 97%) have chosen to join Russia and have declared independence from Ukraine. Crimea depends on Ukraine for about 25% of its gas, 70% of its water, and 90% of its electricity, all of which it imports. The peninsula however satisfies about three quarters of its natural-gas demands from its own sources, thanks to booming offshore production. Several reports suggested that Ukraine may cut of these supplies, however it is unlikely as it would create havoc in the region.

The Euromaidan protests can be perceived as a battle between the pro-European West and the pro-Russian East, a legacy of Ukraine’s own history of Russian domination. The whole crisis situation arose when Ukraine decided to become a part of the European Union and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), this caused much distress to Russia as it was seen as being anti- Russian and Pro – Western. Most of the Western powers, the United States and European Union are red towards Russia, as they believe that what is happening is nothing short of land grabbing and depicts an annexation laden mindset. Even though Russia has signed agreements promising to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity, 13 members of the Security Council at the United Nation backed a resolution that called for all nations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and condemned the referendum as illegal. “The referendum was organized in such a way as to guarantee Crimea’s population the possibility to freely express their will and exercise their right to self-determination,” the Kremlin’s statement issued. Vladimir Putin told Obama that “the current authorities in Kiev have so far failed to demonstrate the ability and desire to rein in the ultranationalist and radical groups that are destabilizing the situation in the country and terrorizing ordinary people, including the Russian-speaking population and Russia’s compatriots.” The hostility between the two nations brings about Cold War like sentiments into effect. China and Russia are often viewed as being allies, even then China chose to abstain so as to not trigger off similar outbursts in regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

The results of the referendum are more than favorable towards the Russian state, in fact they are pushing for making Russian the official language of Ukraine. Being limited by geography has not stopped it from having a naval base at Sevastopol, south western Ukraine. The treaty of friendship and cooperation with Ukraine in1997 allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet and lease the base which is to expire in 2042. In 2008, the Ukrainians refused to extend the lease which was to expire in 2017; however, they had to budge when they were pressurized with a hike in the gas prices. Several strategic analysts opine that the naval base is not all that beneficial as a London based analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Christian Le Miere stated: “Russia’s fleet on the Black Sea is the second-smallest of the country’s five fleets. It consists of about 25 ships, including 10 corvettes, two cruisers, two frigates, a destroyer and a diesel submarine. The rest are support vessels”. As of now, the US and EU have frozen all assets and stopped business and discouraged travel of any kind to the region.

On the 18th of March, Vladimir Putin spoke to Manmohan Singh about the issue. It was widely speculated that India would support Russia, as the latter had helped in 1971 through a treaty to win the war against Pakistan. However, as of now, India has chosen to take a neutral stand on the issue, even though some strategists believe that a bond between Russia, India and China could be mutually beneficial. It is rather risky as most of the countries are against Russia and have allied with the US and EU. The decisions that would take place in the coming days would realign the nations and polarization is bound to occur. Thus, the neutral and non committal stance as of now is the best one that India can take.

Although the US tries to act like a mediator, one cannot ignore its own pro-war stances whether it was Vietnam or Afghanistan. Instead of solving the issue as per the UN guidelines, more often than not it pursues its own policies which have killed many innocent civilians in the past. As for Russia, the world has seen how it helped in the creation of the Taliban in the peaceful Afghan region. A similar pattern can be traced with the Taters (minority Muslims) of the region who harbor Anti- Russian sentiments and are said to have organized into groups which could be dangerous in the near future. We are all definitely living in a very dynamic international world, where boundaries are being redrawn and annexations have resumed. However, the unfortunate part is that suppression of the minority and those who lack power continues, and lives are being lost every day for different belief systems.

Current Status: Another Cold war seems to be on the verge of recurring, it is an exciting time for those interested in geopolitics.

You must be to comment.
  1. Deep_Kolkata

    @Priyanka Das : When did Russians help in the creation of Taliban? In the 1980s the AFGHAN MUJAHIDEEN was created mainly by Saudi Arabia & Pakistan completely funded by USA. TALIBAN was created by Pakistan to halt the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan(1979-1989). Don’t propagate lies in order to prove your neutrality( regarding this conflict). I urge you to change that particular line and instead mention the complicity of the USA AND NOT RUSSIA.

    1. priyanka

      The point I was trying to make is that the Russian invasion had led to the creation of the taliban, yes they were funded primarily by the USA and Pakistan, no doubt about it. I was not referring it in terms of direct help, but in a circumstantial manner. I have no intentions of “propagating lies”.

    2. Anupam

      Priyanka : hi ! let me begin by congratulating you for a piece on the Crimea crisis , it is very important that Indian Youth should and must be alive to world events and sensibilities specially in friendly nations (read Russia). However any analysis on Crimea is and should begin from Deportation of Tartars (ethnic Muslim group). The matter is debatable as to how legitimate was the charge on them of being traitors , An Al Jazeera reporting on the same shows the Russians and specially Stalin in poor light and on some accounts, the plights of those of the Tartars who have returned justifies the same.

      However one must exercise caution in dismissing it as a land grabbing exercise although the West would feel so and more importantly India’s interests do not lie in being neutral but of one being openly supportive towards Russia on sanctions.

      Here’s why

      The Referendum route in Russia arose fears in India, that similar demands in Kashmir would be fuelled , something which lacks solid backing , only a theory :India is stronger than Ukraine in balance where ukraine was weak against Russia , India is stronger against Pakistan. I do not see Arab nations like Iran, Saudi backing any referendum demands by Pakistan , nor is this matter going to the UN since both parties have to consent to that, and India would not

      Another disagreement I would like to point is of The Tartar community in Crimea , they unlike the Uighyur or Kashmiris are peaceful and a migrant population (comprising descendants from those who were deported ) and have for decades demanded their rights to own land in Crimea in a very democratic way.

      Crimean Tartars must be encouraged and Russian leadership should ensure they are not victimised. Any attempts of identity distortion of Tartars should and must be condemned

    3. Arpit

      Taliban was primarily created by support of Pakistan in order to overcome the problems of prevalent Warlords in Afghanistan, USA, Russia come into this picture a lot later. And yes Russia was not directly responsible for creation of talibs but it was seen as preemptive solution by Pakistan, Saudis and USA

  2. Apoorv Tiwary

    Why in this post cold war world would NATO still exist unless US wants to spread influence in pro-USSR regions?

  3. Arpit

    You forgot to mention that Russia and USA also had treaty which stopped from making strategic military base in adjuction with others boundary which USA broke by making NATO base in Ukraine

More from Priyanka Das

Similar Posts

By Ritwik Trivedi

By shakeel ahmad

By Prabhanu Kumar Das

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below