Sevastopol : how a “city of glory” became a provincial hole

 

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Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

Thanks to comments made by the former Deputy Chief of Staff Yuriy Dumanskyi, Ukrainian and world media have begun to discuss the possible “exchange” of Crimea for Sevastopol — in other words, preserving the Russian status of the city and maintaining the Black Sea Fleet there in exchange for Russia’s renouncement of the Crimean annexation.

This plan has about the same value as the recent conjecture by MP Nadiya Savchenko that Ukraine would have to give up Crimea if it wanted to regain control over Russian-occupied territories in the Donbas. This is because at the heart of similar proposals is a misunderstanding of the real goals of the expansionist foreign policy of the Kremlin. Not to mention the fact that anyone with self-respect does not throw away territories, and Sevastopol, despite what Russian revanchists may say, is as much Ukraine as Kyiv, Lviv, Lutsk or Donetsk.

Outwardly, of course, everything appears attractive and logical. Sevastopol is the city of “Russian glory,” the base of the Black Sea Fleet. Many residents of this Ukrainian city are still under the thrall of Russian propaganda. Perhaps God is really with Sevastopol? But it must be understood why Russia really needed Sevastopol.

In August 1991, when Ukraine declared its independence, the main Russian claim was associated with Crimea — with Crimea and not specifically with Sevastopol. The Russian leadership was convinced that if Ukraine left the USSR, Crimea would separate from Ukraine and that this would keep Ukraine in a strong union with Moscow. It is not by chance that, during the meeting in the Belavezha Forest, Boris Yeltsin asked Leonid Kuchma how many Crimeans had voted for Ukrainian independence. (On Dec. 8, 1991, in a dacha in Belarus’s Belavezha forest, the leaders of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia signed the so-called Belavezha accords dissolving the Soviet Union — Ed.).

When Moscow realized that the Crimean plan had failed, it decided to gain a foothold in Sevastopol and turn this city into a bridgehead of Russian influence in the peninsula, and the peninsula itself into the “unsinkable aircraft carrier” of Russian propaganda and nostalgia for the USSR, and the potential hotbed of instability. But the special operation to destabilize Crimea with the help of the first president of autonomy, the Russian agent Yuriy Meshkov, failed ignominiously. Russia managed to keep Sevastopol under its influence primarily because the Black Sea Fleet continued to be based in the city and its personnel was seen as the future occupational contingent. Yes, in Russia they were thinking about the occupation of Crimea since the early ’90s. This — and not the preservation of their fleet on the Black Sea — was the main reason why Russians meticulously dictated all the parameters of the Black Sea Fleet’s placement on Ukrainian soil. And this is precisely why Russian President Boris Yeltsin repeatedly postponed his trip to Kyiv and the signing of the grand Treaty of Friendship between Russia and Ukraine. It was not the Treaty that Yeltsin needed, but the legalized military presence, the base. This is why Russia needed Sevastopol.

It took two decades and the trap closed. The members of the Black Sea Fleet, consisting of “friendly sailors” who participated in parades with our guys, in a few days turned into a rabid gang of invaders. Sevastopol would become a springboard for further destabilization and the subsequent annexation of Crimea. The annexation itself was to be the trigger for the war against Ukraine, the occupation of our territory, the overthrow of the Ukrainian government, and its replacement with a puppet regime. But here the Ukrainian people rose up in defense of their homeland and the aggressor was forced to retreat, to become entrenched in Donetsk, Luhansk, Horlivka…

And what about Sevastopol? The role of this city has been exhausted. It was not the “city of Russian glory”; it was a trap city. And now that it has played its role, its fate is to become an ordinary provincial hole like many others in the country that has occupied it. A hole with a seaview.

The Black Sea Fleet is a fiction as well. The Black Sea, in fact, has already been NATO’s inland lake for some time. It makes no sense for Russia to confront the alliance and to compete with it in the Black Sea basin, all the more so since there are much more important places in the world for the demonstration of naval muscle (if, of course, the muscle is the Admiral Kuznetsov). The fleet was important as long as Sevastopol was Ukrainian. It is a fleet that has only one enemy — Ukraine. And also, perhaps, Georgia. But now, when the Ukrainian presence in Crimea has been eliminated, there is no practical reason for keeping the Black Sea Fleet there. Nor for the “sacredness” of Sevastopol.

Therefore, Putin will never exchange Sevastopol for Crimea, and Crimea for the  Donbas. All these conquests are simply steps to conquer Ukraine. By themselves, nobody needs them in Russia. If Russia ever abandons the very idea of conquering our country, it will return Sevastopol, and Crimea, and the Donbas.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Radio Svoboda

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Comments

  1. Avatar laker48 says:

    An excellent analysis. Kudos!

  2. Avatar Alex George says:

    “If Russia ever abandons the very idea of conquering our country, it will return Sevastopol, and Crimea, and the Donbas.”

    Exactly. It will only abandon that idea when it is forced to, by having its economy ground into the dirt and its people in so many revolts that even Putin’s forces can’t handle them. Which will happen.

    The irony is that most of that will be accomplished by the mismanagement of Russian’s own leaders.

    1. Avatar laker48 says:

      RuSSia won’t abandon this idea until it’s reduced to this size: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1597/5078/original.jpg
      This is coming, though.

      1. Avatar Turtler says:

        The lords of Muscovy never did even when they ruled evan a smaller set of territory than what is marked as Russia on that map, so I’m not sure.

      2. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Why is everyone obsessing over the size of Russia? Me thinx the bigger a country, the richer it is. Over 25% of the gas and oil world reserves are concentrated in Russian Arctic alone, and Russia is spreading its territory there minute by minute. Its good for the worlds economy cus Yanks and Chinese will get consessions there. The former only if they behave. Lol

        1. Avatar Alex George says:

          If you really think anyone is obsessing over the size of Russia, then you haven’t read a single conversation here.

          And don’t worry about the Chinese. They will take what they please from Russia. They have already started.

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            But everyone seem to want russia to break up thinking its too large. I think that the bigger a country, the richer it is. Last year russia signed a multibillion dollar gas contract with China. That wld be impossible if Siberia was taken.away from russia by bulgaria or poland for example. Russia is safe from nato, but poles are so brave that at a very real risk of being onbliterated isready to attack russia whenever the State dept says so.

          2. Avatar Alex George says:

            Its not a matter of wanting, but of understanding the inevitable consequences of Putin’s incompetence.

            Yes, Russia signs deals with the Chinese, which never come to anything because the Russians can’t deliver. Don’t worry, the Chinese will just manage it all themselves – they already have more people in the Far East and Siberia than Russia has .

    2. Avatar туфтуф says:

      Russia only takes. It doesnt give. Are we stoopid or living in a dream? Lolz

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        Except that it has proved very bad at taking, and quite good at giving.

        Too bad for Russia, it needed a real leader, instead it got Putin,

        1. Avatar туфтуф says:

          Proven we say in proper English.

    3. Avatar туфтуф says:

      Cummon Yorge, (Greek for George), everyone knows Russia will NEVER compromise on security. Its about time we stopped talking cr*p.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        No that isn’t Greek for George, you silly old man.

        And Russia will have no choice about breaking up.

        1. Avatar туфтуф says:

          I suppose u will take Siberia..
          Just beware of the prisons once u conquer it…lolz

          1. Avatar Alex George says:

            Wow, you don;t even understand basic geography. Have a look at a map.

          2. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Ok lolz

  3. Avatar Turtler says:

    Sevastopol’s been a provincial hole for basically all its’ history. It was founded as a dinky frontier naval base on the Black Sea that just so happened to get some living quarters and related stuff built near it. It remained that way straight through the “Hero City” years in the 19th and 20th centuries, because Screw Decent Investment or Civilian Ownership of facilities.

    If anything, we’re seeing a reversion to form.

    1. Avatar laker48 says:

      Agree! The Novorossiysk naval base has a much better strategic location than Crimea. The author is right about Crimea being a RuSSian Trojan horse. Timeo danaos et dona ferentes.

      1. Avatar Turtler says:

        They didn’t get control of Novorossiysk until over a century after they seized Crimea, so I can’t entirely fault them for that.

        Also, it’s worth keeping the history in mind. Sevastopol was built to dominate the Black Sea, cut off the maritime slave trade that had bled Eastern Europe dry for centuries (the “Harvesting of the Steppe”), and ultimately to threaten Constantinople and raise the prospect of Russia conquering the “Second Rome”.

        And when you’re dealing with sailing ships or early coal burners, position is pretty damn important.

        As for it being a Trojan Horse, we’ll see how it goes.

        1. Avatar Murf says:

          In the age of strategic bombers and long range missiles Crimea’s importance is negligible.
          Even Ukrainian ballistic Missiles can range in the the port, let alone US cruise missiles.

          1. Avatar Turtler says:

            “In the age of strategic bombers and long range missiles Crimea’s importance is negligible.”

            I’m not quite sure I agree.

            In particular, it handily serves as this vice that could choke off Ukrainian shipping from the outside world, and basically put a naval blockade around places like Odessa. It also serves as a convenient jumping off point for dominating the Black Sea, especially since it is almost in the middle of it.

            Certainly, these advantages would be massively undermined by a conflict with NATO, and if the Western Allies and Turkey got drawn into a war like the one in Ukraine it would be open to attack from most sides.

            But in a limited conflict like the one the Polonium Dwarf’s waging in Ukraine, it is beneficial.

            While Ukrainian missiles COULD blast it to hell, they aren’t because that would run the risk of Putin throwing off what feeble parts of the mask are still on and launching a wholesale invasion.

      2. Avatar Murf says:

        For a fraction of what taking Crimea has cost him Putin could have built a first class base at Novorossiysk. In addition Novorossiysk is ten times ore defensible and cheaper to supply.
        Crimea is a strategic pinata dangling in the Black Sea. The connecting isthmus can be contained by a dug in battalion and a dozen ATGMs.
        Even with the bridge’s completion, supplying the place will be problematic and expensive.

        1. Avatar Andrew Chmil says:

          Consider though — ALL THE OIL & GAS around there….. ANOTHER REASON …. last I read, a proven Trillion $$$.

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Russia is too much energy oriented. On the other hand, the vast majority of wars in the past 100 yrs have been fought over energy resources.

          2. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

            And that dependence is its downfall, as its largest customer by far- Europe- is moving in two directions. First, away from Dwarfstan as an unreliable source, as most conspicuously demonstrated by the Baltics- especially Lithuania- and Poland. Dwarfstan doesn’t have a monopoly on oil and gas.
            Second, away from fossil fuels towards renewables.

            Both moves spell ECONOMIC DISASTER for Dwarfstan, especially as even China and India are also moving towards renewables.
            Start getting used to the Dwarfstanian state budget cut by some 60%, which also means no more pay for 55, ul. Savushkina trolls. How will you survive without your daily 2 litres of the cheapest rotgut samogon the dwarf pays you with for your trolling?

          3. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Last year, Russia signed a multibillion dollar gas contract with its Eurasian partner China. Being the leading worlds economy, seems an ideal partnership.

          4. Avatar Alex George says:

            Russia has signed several resources contracts with China in recent years. They all fail because Russia can’t deliver.

            And no, China isn’t the world;s leading economy. USA is, followed by the EU. China is third, and Russia barely gets into the top 15.

          5. Avatar туфтуф says:

            China? Last year comrades P and Xi signed a multibillion contract. Russia diversifying. But we re rich. We can afford US gas prices. Ukroland cnt, but Germany can pay for ukroland. We Brits have no obligation to finance a fourth world country. Let them beg.

          6. Avatar Andrew Chmil says:

            GFY TROLL!

        2. Avatar Turtler says:

          “For a fraction of what taking Crimea has cost him Putin could have built
          a first class base at Novorossiysk. In addition Novorossiysk is ten
          times ore defensible and cheaper to supply.”

          Indeed, but I don’t think Putin was interested in it. We’re just talking about the military features of it.

          I’ve been to Russia up close and personal. it’s a decaying mess. So I think Putin wants it for the population, and the possibility of using it to further put pressure on nations like Ukraine (who can nearly be choked off by it), Georgia, Romania, and Bulgaria.

          “Crimea is a strategic pinata dangling in the Black Sea. The connecting
          isthmus can be contained by a dug in battalion and a dozen ATGMs.”

          Sure, but there’s also the side effect. That attempting a landward attack on the occupied place would also be a nightmare without throwing a lot of resources (and preferably naval and air routes) at it. Heck, the Germans and Romanians suffered pretty heavily breaking through the bottleneck and grinding down Sevastopol in WWII.

          And that pinata can strike back with some bombers or missiles to basically all of the Black Sea. Ultimately it probably is not defensible in a conflict with the Western Allies, but

          A: Putin can’t really win a conflict with the Western Allies on the merits anyway, and

          B: Putin’s tried very conspicuously to- while trying to humiliate, weaken, and generally screw with NATO, the West, and the like- not actually get into a war with it.

          “Even with the bridge’s completion, supplying the place will be problematic and expensive.”

          Agreed indeed, and that is a very good point.

          Historically, Crimea’s fallen when you basically cut off the supplies and push on it. Like when Russia conquered it in the 1700’s, when the Western Allies and Turks conquered it in the 1850’s, when the Axis did in ’42, and the Soviets did in ’44.

          In the event Putin’s stupid enough to provoke NATO too far, I do not see him holding it.

          Hell, I’m rather horrified that Transnistria is still around, rather than getting choked off by both Moldava and Ukraine.

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Crimea is an area with the biggest concentration of advanced early warning radar systems and medium and long range nukes in the world. Who in their sound mind would hand over such a jewel to a fourth world country as Ukraine? They simply have no use for it.

          2. Avatar Turtler says:

            “Crimea is an area with the biggest concentration of advanced early

            warning radar systems and medium and long range nukes in the world.”

            Considering the nukes were removed in the nineties, I doubt that.

            “Who in their sound mind would hand over such a jewel to a fourth world
            country as Ukraine?”

            Apparently the Soviet Union, and it was recognized by the Russian government (among others) after the war.

            http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2014/eirv41n08-20140221/34-35_4108.pdf

            Note the final point on the agreement, which Russia violated.

            “They simply have no use for it.”

            Because God knows a land heavy country could not use natural ports in the Black Sea, or the security caused by preventing any hostile power from occupying it like one did since the 13th century and the Mongols.

          3. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

            The Crimea is still vulnerable as it lacks water- one of the reasons Stalin decided to transfer the peninsula to the Ukrainian SSR. It has barely enough for the population, but depended heavily on the water from the Dnipro, which is now no longer available. As a result Crimean agriculture is collapsing. Wells are now being installed to compensate but this lowers the water table and the supply is limited. Result is a long-term environmental disaster, but we all know that Dwarfstan doesn’t care two hoots about the environment.

          4. Avatar Turtler says:

            “The Crimea is still vulnerable as it lacks water- one of the reasons
            Stalin decided to transfer the peninsula to the Ukrainian SSR. It has barely enough for the population, but depended heavily on the water from the Dnipro, which is now no longer available ”

            Indeed, and it’s also one of the reasons why the destruction of the water system by the Luftwaffe heled mark the final stage of its’ collage.

            “. As a result Crimean agriculture is collapsing. Wells are now being installed to compensate but this lowers the water table and the supply is limited. ”

            Indeed.

            “Result is a long-term environmental disaster, but we all know that Dwarfstan doesn’t care two hoots about the environment.”

            Quite, though we’ll also see how many hoots it gives about the peninsula turning into an economic and military sinkhole.

          5. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

            The only solution to the water problem is for Dwarfstan to lay a pipeline across Kerch Strait, but it would have to be HUGE to take over where the supply from the Dnipro left off. What’s more, the whole pipeline system on the peninsula would have to be modified to accommodate the reverse flow. This would cost years and bilions of rubbles, which the dwarf doesn’t have. In the meantime, Crimean agriculture will wither on the vine- literally.

          6. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

            I don’t think the dwarf cares about economic and/or military sinkholes. He still subsidises Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, even though they have no value. He has been forced to slash the subsidies to them, though.

      3. Avatar туфтуф says:

        The General chief of staff disagrees with u. Maybe u should write them a letter. ГРУ, Хорошевское шоссе, Москва.
        Just try not to whine cus they despise whining.

    2. Avatar туфтуф says:

      Been there 20 times. Its lovely. Shame cnt share pics with ya’ll.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        Sure you have. ;o)

      2. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

        Sure you can. Just push on the ‘Upload Images’ button and start downloading 😉

        1. Avatar туфтуф says:

          Where the duck is upload images? Today l reveived a pic of 100’s of dead ukro soldiers from a friend. Cnt exactly say what he was doing there.

          1. Avatar Alex George says:

            Sure you did. ;o)

        2. Avatar туфтуф says:

          Cheese, mate. Just noticed the jpeg button…

  4. Avatar Vol Ya says:

    There is nothing Russia can do to reverse its demographic decline. It is arithmetic at this time. So what does putin do. He attacks and tries to destroy and destabilize other countries to try and make Russia look better in comparison. It won’t work. Nobody wants to move to Russia and live there.

    1. Avatar laker48 says:

      Right! RuSSia will face a 10 to 15 million workforce shortage by 2030, if it lasts this long in its present shape and within its present borders.

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        It wont. I m moving there. With family. To the Chinese border. Everything will be ok.

        1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

          The Chinese border will be in a different place soon, so where exactly will you be moving to from St. Petersburg? Forget Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Komsomolsk etc as they will be Chinese cities within 10 years.
          Novosibirsk will be a border town, so I suggest you move there; saves you from the expense of moving twice.

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            LOL.

        2. Avatar Brent says:

          Good! You had better brush up on your Mandarin for your soon to be Chinese masters…

  5. Avatar туфтуф says:

    Open source: ataman says volunteers are flocking to help Donbass. He mentions Don Cossacks and Dejan Berich by the name. I saw a few Dejans pics myself. He has smoked many urlkrops and his head is worth 1 million. I dnt know his permanent whereabouts, but do know they are within 200 km radius from Moscow. Now he s in Doneck ready to reap grimly.

    http://infopolk.ru/1/E/2017/02/03/novosti-dnr-na-donbass-xlynuli-dobrovolcy-ostanovit-ix-nevozmozhno-rossijskoe-tv/#cf2ae2c3-8be6-b5a2-39d2-1f5c6ab90332

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      Except that your link says nothing of the sort. Keep living your fantasies, my friend.

      I suppose you have to come up with something, now that Putin’s offensive is obviously failing.

  6. Avatar туфтуф says:

    About 300 metres (cca 570 feet) left for the bridge linking Russia and Crimea remains to be built. I am amazed with the speed of Russian constructors and workmen. Some years ago l stayed in Shangai for 7 days. During my stay on the 15th floor of a hotel, the Chinese workmen built 6 floors of a skyscraper next door AND moved in families WHILE working. Such efficiency, l tot, existed only in China. Was wrong.
    If Ukraine ever regains control over Crimea, they ll get the bridge free of charge, which will be a tourism boost cus Russians have always been the best spenders as they are rich.

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      Yes, 300 metres – plus 15 kilometres!

      LMAO

      Oh and Russian tourists? Nobody wants them. They are poor and have very bad manners.

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Saw it with my own eyes. A girl from Sevastopol sent me a pic…dnt know how to upload it here.

        1. Avatar Alex George says:

          You wish that you know a girl in Sevatopol, or anywhere else!

          You are just an old windbag trying to seem important .

          1. Avatar Brent says:

            Congratulations STOOGE TOTO!!!

            Here’s the source of the picture you claim “some girl you knew in Sevastopol https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/485c1ffe9e4d5913990b033311b91250c5102d1e2ed3946818b67c2ed2624f9b.jpg ” sent you….it’s a media report from Crimea.net about the storm that hit Sevastopol on December 29-30th….

            http://ikrim.net/2016/1227/278717.html

            You’re such a careless amateur at your lies and propaganda!!!

          2. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Where the duck do l get pics from?
            Got friends in Henan. If u like china, can send u them real time as well.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/96eafcca9397d5e623d3fc4a7c6c2e538f0f5fc8195f1f3bd1c2dff416b705a6.jpg

    2. Avatar Brent says:

      Russians are rich?!?!!?! With a “rubble” worth 1.6 U.S. pennies???

      Is that why so many are starving under Putin? It will be good for you to move to Eastern Sibera where you’ll be put onto the Putin “ratburger and palm oil cheese diet” but it’s really going to do a number on your arteries….