One thing I'd appreciate is if we make sure to be respectful of each other's positions, nationalities and histories. This thread is stronger if we don't focus on our political and national differences but rather focus on the events as they unfold.
If men who have shared interests who talk over an internet forum can do so civilly and respectfully it shows hope for the future.
I agree, but also feel there's room for opinion and civilised argument as that helps form understanding. I've yet to state my nationality/ethnicity here, not that it should matter. While I do state facts as I understand them as well as my opinions, I try to be civil and use objective (as possible) references to back up facts likely to be disputed or not widely known. I'm no authority on this (or anything ) so don't claim to be accurate or right.
Both sides are being fed a diet of propaganda from our news media.
Well, yes and no. This is being covered by free and state-controlled press from various nations. IMO some reportage is clearly propaganda or heavily biased, others much less so or not at all. Some press organisations blur the difference between opinion and verifiable facts, others make that distinction clear. It's a mixed picture. We tend to follow the press we like, so it's often a subjective issue. I do feel we'd have a better world if people demanded their press verified all reported facts and claims.
FWIW there's a relevant leader in the Economist which some might find interesting. A "leader" is press jargon for opinion BTW.
Crimea is a place where Russia has fought heroically for 100s of years;
Correct, as well as others, notably the indigenous Tatars.
I can understand that for Russia the price of Crimea has already been paid in blood.
Sure, but the same could be said of many imperial conflicts, e.g. the Portuguese in Angola for 500 years. That wouldn't justify a re-invasion, at least by the widely accepted standards of today.
Crimea has had a long history, occupied by various tribes and ethnicities since antiquity, interestingly including the Ostrogoths whose language probably only died out in the last two centuries. Crimea only became part of the Russian Empire when it was invaded by Catherine the Great in 1783, breaking a treaty (with the Ottoman Empire) to respect its neutrality. There were waves of repression of the native Tatars, prompting many (possibly a majority) to flee into exile and form emigree communities which still exist today.
While Crimea was further developed and partly settled by Russia, the Tatars remained the ethnic majority until 1944 when Stalin expelled them to Central Asia, killing about half in the process. While succeeding Soviet administrations accepted this was an injustice, they did not allow a return. Since 1991 Tatars have been returning, but only a minority so far.
Russians fought valiantly in the Crimean War of the 1850s, and Russian blood was heavily spilt in the heroic struggles of WWII (in Crimea as elsewhere), as well as that of other Soviet peoples including the Tatars. Russians have been invaders as well as defenders of Crimea. I think it could be argued that Russian blood is no less important than that of Tatars or any other ethnicity there.
As Russian invasions go, this has been astoundingly bloodless. And must have been planned out in advance; to be used in the case of significant political turmoil in Ukraine. As the quote goes: "Russians don't take a dump without a plan"
I agree. In terms of human rights abuses, this is nowhere near the same scale as the annexations of East Timor, Kuwait or even Western Sahara. There is thuggery and skulduggery but not ruthless bloodshed. At least so far. The level of preparedness and organisation is impressive indeed, far more so than Indonesia, Iraq or Morocco ever managed, matched only by the restraint of the Ukrainian forces in the peninsula. Nevertheless it is contrary to international law and various agreements, and I would argue is completely the wrong way to help solve an internal political/social/financial crisis like Ukraine's at present. Such crises should have friends helping, not unfriendly neighbours helping themselves. I don't think this annexation makes the world a better place, but hey, that's just my opinion!