Crimea: The prize as always

A letter from Thailand in three parts


I recently interviewed VT’s own Ian Greenhalgh, author of “As Syrian War winds down, Ukraine appears to be next hot spot.”  Listen to Ian HERE.

Since Ukraine/Crimea are heating up, this might be a good time for us to reflect on the incredibly rich and bloody history of that part of the world. Below is the series of three edited letters from William Dare, a retired university professor who lives in Thailand  and spends a lot of time listening to Truth Jihad Radio.

Kevin Barrett, VT Editor

History of Crimea, hegemon by hegemon

by William Dare

Part 1

Dear Colleagues,

Starting in @500 BC here’s a real quick spin through the history of Crimea, hegemon by hegemon:

— Scythians

— Greek Colonists (major trading towns were Chersonesos, Balaclava, Sudak, and Kerch)

— Kingdom of Pontus (Roman client state; Romans did build and garrison the complex of Charax, near Cherson)

— Germanic Goths (They build up Mangup, near Cherson, as a fortress cum trading center)

— Black Huns (kept Goths in a state of vassalage till the death of Attila)

— Goths and Sarmatians (These latter were steppe nomads in the tradition of Scythians who mostly kept to Crimea’s grasslands, which abound)

— Byzantines (Emperor Justinian reoccupies, refortifies Crimean outposts, from Chersonesos to Kerch)

— Khazar Khaganate (until 1016 when they are annihilated at Kerch by a pincer of Kievan Rus’ army and Byzantine navy)

— Kievan Rus’

— Byzantines/Kipchaks, along with significant numbers of Genoese, Venetians, and Armenians.

The Armenians tended to congregate in Caffa, making this Crimean port the world’s largest slave-trading depot! The Kipchaks are originally steppe nomads who move into lands vacated by the Khazars and acquire a taste for trade goods, and the life in trading outposts that goes with it.

— The Golden Horde (capital at Sarai, later New Sarai) Batu, the first Khan of the Golden Horde (and a grandson of Genghis Khan) is known as the “Khan of Kipchak.”

— The Sultanate of Rum! The former Seljuk Sultan Kaihaus is given the appanage of Crimea as a dowry when he marries the daughter of Berke Khan, Batu’s younger brother. He rules the Crimea as a loyal appanagiste from 1265 till 1279; upon his death rule returns to Sarai and the Golden Horde

— The Golden Horde, again, which is losing its cohesion and its member “ulus” (=district) are breaking away. Moniker switches to Great Horde

— The Crimean Khanate ( A major “ulus” of the Golden Horde/Great Horde which achieves its independence in 1440s)


There was a point where the Crimean Khan, a devout Muslim, actually explored an alliance with Cossacks from the area of Ukraine to resist the hegemonic rule of the Ottomans. It came to naught. Sorry VICTORIA.

And one last interesting footnote: Cossacks out of the Ukraine once successfully raided Caffa by sea, torched the Ottoman ships in the harbor for the most part, and freed all the slaves they could.

— Ottoman Empire Ottomans exercise full control in Caffa, but allow the Crimean Khan to rule over the rest of the Crimea as their loyal vassal. Many joint military operations are conducted, West as far as Belgrade, North as far as Moscow, East as far as Derbent, Persia.

— Russia Shed tons of blood wiping out the Crimean Khanate, fighting the combined Crimean- Ottoman forces, then shed a lot more blood in the Russian-Crimean War (think Florence Nightingale, balaclavas, Charge of the Light Brigade, etc.)

Tons more Russian blood shed in Crimea in WWs one and two.

Fast Forward to 1954: The head of the Politburo of the USSR is one Nikita Khrushev, who happens to be a Ukrainian. Under his agenda, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine is ceded administrative control of the oblast of Crimea.

And speaking of dates, when did the Ukraine first become recognized as a country? Only in 1918, and then by the advancing Germans who saw Ukraine as a German “breadbasket” which naturally should be split away from Mother Russia! Guess what the Russian nickname is for Ukraine…..”Little Russia” [Tchaikovshy composed a symphony by that name]

Conclusion: Ukrainian claims on Crimea are on air; they cant even begin to press a claim until 1954, unless we wanna claim that the Cossack raid on Caffa way back when qualifies as some kind of weird squatters’ rights. Joke!

That’s it for now, everyone. Obviously, I left out dates, but the chronological order is correct. Viva Crimea!!

Bill in Thailand

Part 2

Dear Colleagues,

This keeps getting better and better. I just did a Wikipedia browse of . Several things “jumped to my eyes” as they say in French.

The lingua franca of Crimea is Russian. The breakdown is as follows:

Russian speakers 77%
Crimean Tatar dialect speakers 11%
Ukrainian speakers 10%

Let us now contrast this with a breakdown inside the nation of Ukraine itself, again from Wiki: 70% speak the Ukrainian language 30% speak the Russian language

Now get this: In February 2014 the Ukrainian Parliament (the one installed by the Kagan-Nuland-Soros coup d’etatists) passed a resolution calling for Ukrainian to be the sole state language inside Crimea!

If that isnt a provocation, I dunno what is.

Now a quick flip over to ethnicity. Wiki tells us Crimea is 24% Ukrainian, or 1 out of 4 people. At the risk of sounding like a hopeless romantic, I’ll ad lib here and say the remaining 76% of Crimean residents comprise a luscious salad of racial genes, to be found nowhere else on earth (Russo-Slavic, Nordic-Gothic, Romano-Greco, Turko-Iranian, Mongol-Hunnic, etc. etc.).

N.B. Since only 1 out of 10 Crimean inhabitants actually speak Ukrainian, this must mean that less than half of Crimea’s Ukrainians even speak their own native language!!

Wiki, as we know, is hardly famous for its anti-neocon, anti-NWO bias. Fun to catch ’em hoisted on their own petard. Facts are strange things, huh.

Sadly, the stakes are so high, so brazenly high…………EU-US sanctions on Russia, an all too real casus belli. To paraphrase Churchill, what we have here is “a farce wrapped in a bungle inside a screw-up.”

To conclude:
Linguistic claim on Crimea nyet!
Ethnic claim on Crimea nyet!
Historical claim on Crimea double nyet!

As the poet once said, “Way leads on to way.” To think I came upon this subject by being deeply and sanely interested in the Byzantine Empire!

“Truth is the greatest ally of God!”

Best regards from Thailand,


Part 3

Shallow men believe in luck. Wise and strong men in cause and effect.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This latest article has been prompted initially by the need to correct an error from my first article on Crimea, and to build upon that correction. Having said that, I’ll also be adding more factual meat to the historical bones of the region. And I’ll close with some observations about the current breaking news situation in Crimea, again with references to history.

So what is the needed correction? It is this: Nikita Khrushchev was not a native Ukrainian! An easy enough mistake to make as a cursory look at his life and career will bear out. (By the way, neither was Ronald Reagan a native Californian) (1)

Nikita Khrushchev was born in 1894 in Kursk oblast in Russia, on the edge of Ukraine. His family moved to Donetsk, Ukraine when Nicky was 14, so he came of age there. And in Donetsk he learned his metalworking trade and soon joined the local Communist Party apparatus. By 1938 his star had risen so high that he was the head of the Ukrainian Communist Party and the Governor of Ukraine both. His 10 years of service as Governor (1938-1948) were interrupted by WW2, during which time he was a military commissar who served/fought at the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and finally the Liberation of Kiev. When he resumed his stint as Governor of Ukraine (1945-48) Nicky was both a war hero and a Ukrainian Favorite Son. Going off to Moscow in 1948 at Stalin’s behest, Nicky no doubt had friends and cronies galore back in Ukraine. To some he owed debts, to most he owed gratitude, and to all he owed recognition that they were his “base.” And when he found himself at the head of the Politburo as First Secretary, surely the Ukraine was all smiles.

It wasn’t until September 1953, six months after Stalin’s death, that Nicky could finally settle into the Secretaryship. But he quickly made up any lost time! By the time his first full calendar year was up, his executive fiat– sometime in 1954–, awarded administrative control of the Crimean oblast to Ukraine. Since so much today is apparently hinging on this decision, is it not mind-boggling that no western historian has been able to produce the month, never mind the day and month, this was effected?! (2) Of course even less is known of the Politburo’s discussions, if any, on the matter.

Here’s my take and one I would be willing to bet my house on: This action by Khrushchev back in those heady Cold War salad days was an example of “pork barrel politics.” Nothing more, nothing less. And oh so mutually beneficial. Many of his Ukrainian buds get top notch admin jobs running Crimea (home of the USSR’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, remember); in return their loyalty is in the bag. A nice way to shore up one’s base in parlous times, and parlous times they were. Let us recall, Nicky was tasked with delivering the “Secret Speech” which outed the late Stalin (and produced tons of political pushback), aggressing into a turbulent Hungary by 1956, plus launching the USSR’s space program.

May we now step back into history again and gauge the importance of history as evidence. N.B. as modern day researchers and truth-seekers we must always look at the totality of the evidence. Historical events, including historical claims, do not always carry the day, obviously. Having made that disclaimer, let’s utilize what Webster Tarpley calls “binocular vision,” keeping one eye on the present and one eye on some amazing history:

1547 The Tsardom of Russia is proclaimed by Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584). Russia has entered the age of modern warfare, eg. firearms and cannon, and under Ivan’s rule the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan are occupied and then fortified with further expansion in mind.

1570-71 The tide is running both ways! A Crimean-Nogai force of some 100,000 horsemen raid their way up into Russia. Moscow is extensively burned. Returning back home, the Tatars pillage the entire way.

1572 Battle of Molodi: With his bloodlust up Crimean Khan Giray heads north the next campaign season, this time with intent to conquer. But despite having a sizable Ottoman army in support, he loses the Battle, plus his son, on fields by the Oka River just below Moscow. Russian ‘wagon forts’ with their concentrated firepower save the day. Combined casualties over 4 days estimated at 70-80,000.

1654 Ukraine, ie. Confederated Cossacks, submits to Russian rule.

1735-39 Russo-Ottoman War: Sparked by Crimean tatar raids, mostly into “Little Russia” (Ukraine). As the rule rather than the exception, such raids amounted to slave-raiding, colloquially known as “harvesting the steppe.” (3) In this war Russian forces penetrate into Crimea for the first time, and upon withdrawal raid and plunder mightily.

The following three conflicts are overseen by Russia’s Catherine the Great (1762-1796), a woman with her own sense of Manifest Destiny, to be sure.

1768-1774 Russo-Ottoman War: Following ‘border incidents,’ six years of slugfest war results in the July 1774 Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca. By its terms the Crimean Khanate (4) is declared sovereign and released from vassalage to the Ottoman Empire, a relationship which began in 1478, and lasted a mere 296 years. The immediate upshot is Russian hegemony over Crimea. In addition, the Crimean seaport of Kerch is ceded to Russia.

1778-1783 Russo-Ottoman War: Russia, having founded Kherson city-fortress on the Dnieper river as an advanced navy base, demand possession of Crimea. Following 5 years of war, Crimea is annexed and the Crimean Khanate (1449-1783) is no more.

1787-1792 Russo-Ottoman War: Initiated by Ottomans for whom the casus belli is the return of that short-lived (1774-83) independent Crimean Khanate. They flat out demand Russia vacate Crimea. At the end of this slugfest the Ottomans formally (no fingers crossed this time) leave Crimea to Russia.

Having extended the imperial reach at the cost of innumerable lives, Russia consolidates Crimea, newly-nomered as the Taurida Governorate. This polity endures in permanent form as part of the Russian Empire from its inauguration in 1802 until 1917, and is “…therefore held by the most absolute of rights, that of conquest.” (5)

At this juncture, one is sorely tempted to invoke the old saying, “Blood washes blood.” Not only is Crimea awash with new batches of blood upon the old, time and again, but it does seem at times that “an eye for an eye” phenomenon is playing a role. And on reflection one can’t help but imagine Tatar cousins fighting/killing one another. Not only the Ottomans but equally the Russians made ample use of so-called Tatars as allies, be they Cossacks (including Pechenegs, Cumans, Kipchaks), Nogais, Circassians, Kazakhs, or Kalmyks. (6) Most of these allied fighters were horsemen, so cavalry skirmishes would testify to this truth, especially.
It is also the opportune time to remind the reader of the equally old saying “Scratch a Russian, find a Tatar.”

Only a couple more rounds to go, and the going gets worse.

1853-1856 The Crimean War: Russian-nomered “Eastern War.” Its climax is the Siege of Sevastopol with 100,000 Russian casualties. The Russians gave as good as they got, with some 128,000 casualties on the side of the English/French/Turks. Thus, the Allies at enormous cost halt Russia’s perceived expansion into the Eastern Mediterranean. The alarm bell for the British war engineers was the Russian navy’s destruction of the Ottoman fleet off Sinope in 1853. (Yikes, a preemptive war!)

1941-1942 World War 2: Battle of the Kerch Peninsula: During this extended battle the Germans twice occupy Kerch, with Red Army losses (dead/pow) estimated at 160,000. The huge civilian losses in Kerch itself are a subject of war crime examination at the Nuremberg Trials.

1943 World War 2: The Battle of Kursk: The months of July and August witness the largest tank battle in history, in the Soviet oblast of Kursk, resulting in a decisive Soviet victory. I’ve included this as Crimea-related because prior to the advent of air travel Kursk was considered an overland “gateway to the Crimea” by Russians and also by Ukrainians from Kiev.


It goes without saying that Kursk native and Battle of Kursk war hero Nikita Khrushchev never for one moment imagined the breakup of his beloved USSR. But I would like to think that if he had lived and was still in power in 1991, he would have immediately re-integrated Crimea into the Russia Federation. Time slipped by, and subsequent Russian leadership had bigger fish to fry, or so they thought. I need not unpack the lies involved in the 2014 Ukraine coup d’etat which Victoria Nuland (7) openly says “…only cost 4 billion” (as in ‘What a bargain’). What I can and will do is recommend the reader to a just published article– an instant classic– by Patrick Armstrong titled “Psychoanalysing NATO: The Diagnosis” posted Dec 22 2018 (8) which deconstructs the lies and methods of NATO, the West’s Ministry of Truth. An outstanding read. And I’ll proceed to whet the reader’s appetite for same by repeating that one long hilarious sentence from Prof. James Fetzer, namely his riff on the Warren Commission as Ministry of Truth:

“Lee Harvey Oswald the communist killed JFK the communist sympathizer in anti-communist Dallas because JFK wasn’t turning the country communist fast enough!”

Okay, gimme a shot at this: “NATO says we absolutely have to risk WW3 cuz we must defend at all costs the administrative legacy of one Nikita Khrushchev, you know, the Cuban Missle Crisis dude, the Berlin Wall dude, remember him. We know he pulled this off in 1954, no way in ’53, no way ’55, he was prepping to invade Hungary then, remember. And hey let’s face it, Nicky didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk! We owe it to the dude & speak no ill of the dead.”

Post the 2014 Ukraine coup, a referendum was held in the Crimea. According to researcher James O’Neill, the turnout was 83% and of that bloc 96% voted to rejoin or, if you like, re-integrate with Russia. And there were zero casualties surrounding this all-important civic event. With Ukraine, by contrast, the numbers fly off the chart. Starting with the Maidan Square false flag massacre, followed by firebombings and shootings in Odessa (9), followed by low intensity civil war in Eastern Ukraine, not to mention the Malaysian Airlines false flag op, the death toll is now more than 10,000. Hey, Vicky, you psychopath, happy now? There are other numbers, financial numbers, worthy of mention, but I will generalize by saying Ukraine is now a slave of the IMF. Period. Their inescapable fate is what researcher Richard D. Hall ( likes to term “debt disempowerment.” Myself, looking at the causes/effects, I’m sorely tempted to label the whole Ukraine affair as simply bad karma. Very bad karma.

Re: the breaking news in Crimea, I must immediately direct the reader to the latest article by James O’Neill titled “The Kerch Straits Incident,” available online at the web ‘zine New Eastern Outlook, posted Dec 4 2018. But speaking as someone who grew up in the ’60s (I was 8 years old when Crimea was pork barreled to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine), I’ll share my first reaction to the incident, namely, ‘This is right out of the Walt Rostow playbook!’ As a warmongering adviser to Lyndon Johnson in the White House, Rostow (10) was a self-proclaimed “tit for tat” provocateur supreme, and unquestionably a player in the Gulf of Tonkin false flag incident.


With Kerch now in the spotlight I’d like to highlight some of this town’s 2,500 year history and– applying binocular vision– enthuse about the brand-new Kerch Straits Bridge.
— Kerch (Gk. Panticapaeum) was founded in 480 BC by Greek colonists from the Ionian (=Asia Minor) city of Miletus. A hardy group, their home polis had been devastated only 14 years earlier by the Persians under Darius.

— 63 BC King Mithridates is defeated at Kerch by Romans under Pompey the Great. Following this third and final Mithridatic War, the Kingdom of Pontus, capital at Kerch, becomes a loyal client of Rome.

— Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great (527-565) fortifies Kerch and promotes its East-West trade, inclusive of the emporium town of Tmutarakan (Gk. Hermonassa) just across the narrow straits.

— 1016 The Khazar rump state which has Kerch as its final capital is destroyed by a pincer movement of Kievan Rus’ on land and the Byzantine navy offshore. The dispersal of the Khazars (where did they go) remains one of those great unresolved mysteries (11), the answer to which is more relevant than ever.

— 1318 The Genoese are welcomed to revitalize Kerch and Tmutarakan both, with a grant of permission by Khan Uzbeg of the Golden Horde. Mind, increased Silk Road traffic, recently made profitable by the Pax Mongolica, is passing right through this region, from Tana (modern Azov), to Kerch, to Sudak, to Caffa,

— 1482 The Crimean Khanate absorbs both Kerch and Tmutarakan, the last remnants of Genoa’s hegemony in the Sea of Azov area.

Zooming forward! As soon as Russia re-integrated Crimea they commenced work on the Kerch Straits Bridge, all 18 km of a dual purpose (road-rail) structure. The vehicular or road section of the bridge opened in May 2018. What an achievement!

Dreamers… from the first Greek colonists, thru Mithridates, Pompey the Great, Justinian the Great, the Khazars, and the Genoese, all of whom must have gazed across the waters towards the Taman Peninsula and thought, “If only…”.

A bridge that long (the longest in Europe!), and that appropriate for the economy of Crimea, is also an intercontinental bridge, linking Europe and Asia. As I write this, I can’t help but think of bridge as a verb…. bridging the gap, bridging the difference, etc. Shout out to Russia– Well Done!


William Faulkner once famously said, “The past isn’t over with, it isn’t even past.” I have tried to show how history, including recent history, has conjoined Crimea and Russia. The 2014 coup in Ukraine (“regime change by proxy terrorism”) in the scheme of things is an outlier. This is not a question of who’s right, it’s a question of what’s right. Even if Poroshenko and Putin should both come to horrible ends tomorrow, this would not change my analysis one little bit. Looking ahead, one might imagine a future of sustainable agriculture, sustainable fisheries, and umpteen tons of tourism in Crimea. Hey, no visit there will be complete without crossing that Kerch Straits Bridge by car or by rail! Right now the average gross domestic income in Crimea is less than $3,000. It can and must go up. And when it does, and all those Crimean school kids can afford to stay in school, what a history their teachers can teach them!

In Thailand where I live gourmet dining is a very big deal.  And no matter how sumptuous the meal, it’s always a custom to finish up with something to “clean mouth” afterwards. For this article’s readership (The company makes the feast!) may I suggest we reset our collective taste buds with a serving of spiritual truth, courtesy of Carl Sagan:
“The mind is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”
Viva Crimea!

1 Ronald Reagan b. 1911 was raised in N. Illinois and moved to Hollywood, CA at the ripe young age of 26.
2 See Neil Kent’s Crimea A History, Hurst & Company, 2016 184 pages
The closest the author can get to is the year– 1954. A scholarly, well-indexed book.
3 Captured slaves who weren’t kept in the Crimea were funneled to the port of Caffa for export. Blame was widely shared: Ottomans controlled Caffa, Armenians in Caffa handled the details, Genoese and Venetians provided much of the shipping.
4 The Crimean Khanate was founded in 1449 after breaking away from the Golden Horde. Within a loose Mongol framework, it was an Islamicized Turkic Khanate. Its dynastic founder was a Genghisid (descendant of Genghis Khan) who had earlier sought refuge in Lithuania.
5 J. Riley-Smith’s The Crusades, Yale University Press,1987, p. 196 (The author’s referring here to the Holy Lands and the Crusaders)
6 The Kalmyks. A westward migrating Mongol tribe originally known as Oirats who in the 1700s ally with Russia and effectively provide a buffer to Muslim lands to the south. The Kalmyks were/are Buddhists. Today their homeland is the Republic of Kalmykia (population 250,000) in Russia, capital at Elista. Ps. They fought– heroically– alongside Russians in the Napoleonic Wars! (Anyone interested in learning more about the Kalmyks/Kalmykia in the context of a rollicking good read, try Daniel Kalder’s Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist, Scribner, 2006. You’ll be glad you did!)
7 It should be pointed out Victoria Nuland’s husband is Robert Kagan, the co-founder of PNAC and a neocon’s neocon. Incidentally, Kagan also spelled Khagan happens to be the Khazarian word for Khan (as in Genghis Khan). But what’s in a surname.
8 Go to for the article. Don’t miss this one!
9 More than one researcher identifies Odessa as the headquarters of Ukraine’s Red Mafia aka the Khazarian Mafia.
10 Walter Rostow (1916-2003) was the proud ubermensch author of the “domino theory” used to justify the Vietnam War. A cold warrior addicted to forcing outcomes. May he rest in turmoil.
11 What’s up here? My American Heritage Dictionary, for example, has no entry for Khazar/Khazaria?! The Khazar Khaganate lasted almost 400 years (618-1016), with its major capital Itil near the mouth of the Volga. Its ruling elites converted to Judaism in the 790s, then following a final defeat at Kerch, its polity and its people disappeared… from history. Hmm. Something is not right. Anyone interested in tackling this issue can get a good start by reading Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe, Random House, 1976.
Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) was a prolific writer. Two of his better known works are Darkness at Noon (1940) and The Ghost in the Machine (1967). Somewhere on his Wiki profile page he’s smeared with the catchall term ‘self-hating Jew.’ Hmm.


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  1. Bill in Thailand < "11 What’s up here? My American Heritage Dictionary, for example, has no entry for Khazar/Khazaria?! The Khazar Khaganate lasted almost 400 years (618-1016), with its major capital Itil near the mouth of the Volga. Its ruling elites converted to Judaism in the 790s, then following a final defeat at Kerch, its polity and its people disappeared… from history. Hmm. Something is not right."

    The ninth edition of the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA 1890 has an very interesting entry under KHAZARS
    with a reference to "This vanished people" and tjheir their principle city of Itil located in the delta near the mouth of the Volga river. Over Eight hundred years of history the port Itil and other Khazarian cities earned a reputation of safety and honesty among their neighbors and travelers as shown by this excerpt…
    "Merchants from every nation found protection,justice,and perfect good faith in the Kahzar cities.
    The Jews, expelled from Constantinople , sought a home amongst them, developed the Kahzar trade and contended with Mohammedans and Christians for the theological allegiance of the pagan people."

  2. Very well researched article bravura. There is no way Putin would ever give up his only Military Mediterranean access via Black Sea Navy in Sevastopol. Completely agree w/ timelines & the real history goes even further back to antediluvian epoch’s imo.

  3. Accordion music, bonfires, singing traditional songs, very similar to the Coonass in Southern La. I wouldn’t mess with them either. The Neo’s are going hard after the Ukraine. It’s very valuable farmland. And of course we see the Neo’s going after the Rus and the Persians, both ancient enemies. It doesn’t take much to get the United States lock step in the Neo agenda. After all we see how evil Russia and Iran is everyday on television.

  4. Does anyone know that all off the ship sequences for the Hornblower series were filmed in Crimea? Or that they actually had a square rigged ship built just for the series and that ship was built in Russia? I later found out that they have more square riggers in Russia and routinely train crews there. The Russians build sail training frigates from scratch, while the USNA has none, and the USCG uses a german barque.

  5. Fantastic article, I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit, which is always a great pleasure to a history buff like myself.

    Garry, my understanding, from talking to Ukrainian-Russian people living in England, is that the Ukrainian language was nothing more than the Poltava dialect of Russian ad it was that way until 1917 when the German Army created the first Ukrainian state. Since then, Ukrainian has changed a little, the grammar has become more like German, Russian has also changed a little too, so now there is some divergence between the Ukrainian and Russian languages, but they remain mutually intelligible to a great degree, an analogy to the differences between US English and British English was made.

    As for Crimea, my understanding is that the interior contains a substantial population of Tatars, not as many as before Stalin deported them, but still a substantial number. The coastal cities however, are Russian, and fiercely proud to be so – Sevastopol for instance, a Hero City of the Soviet Union for it’s resistance to the Germans in 1942, is a place where the people are defiantly Russian and will never feel Ukrainian in any way.

    In 2014, three groups defended Crimea from the Ukrainian mercenary thugs, first there were the marines of the Black Sea Fleet, Russians taking their orders from Moscow, secondly, local Crimeans, tightly allied to the Russians and thirdly, the Don Cossacks, men who volunteered en masse and travelled to the Crimea from the Rostov on Don region of Russia, lead by their Hetman (sort of a tribal chief). They took up positions guarding the narrow peninsula that joins Crimea to Ukraine and did what Cossacks do – gathered around camp fires and played their accordions and sang traditional songs. When the Ukrainian thugs arrived and heard the sound of the Cossack accordions, their courage deserted them as they realised the Crimea wasn’t a soft target like Odessa had been, that it was now defended by the Cossacks and they weren’t brave enough to try to fight them. The moral of that story is don’t f*ck with the Cossacks.

    In short, Crimea is Russian, it wanted no part of Ukraine in 2014, so Russian troops and Russian Cossacks defended them and they came through the conflict safely, their Russian status newly reaffirmed and now that Kerch bridge is there, Russia it will remain.

    • BTW, for a feeling of the nature of the WW2 fighting on the Taman Peninsula in 1943, go watch the film ‘Cross Of Iron’ by Sam Peckinpah, one of the great war movies.

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