Month: May 2014

Language as a barrier to dialogue in Ukraine

Via openDemocracy

 

 

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Russian troop locations near Estonia’s borders

Kaarel Kaas, editor of Estonia’s Diplomaatia monthly, has compiled a detailed survey of the state of Russia’s conventional forces near Estonia’s borders.

The failed lingua franca

Leonidas Donskis, writing in New Eastern Europe:

The Russian language could have become a lingua franca of Eastern Europe. It failed irreversibly precisely because Putin and his regime stripped the political vocabulary of Russia of its potent moral imagination and alternative potential. What is left is not even the banality of evil practiced by the Kremlin with no impunity and in the moral and political void created by the West and its impotence – the West that attempts to reset relations with a regime hostile to every single political and moral sensitivity of the EU and the US. Instead, it is the evil of banality whose essence lies in exercising power for no meaningful reason and with no love for humanity.

Breedlove: Putin may not need to invade Ukraine

Instead, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be able to annex pieces of Ukraine simply by encouraging unrest among pro-Russian forces inside the country, said Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who commands U.S. and European NATO forces.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/nato-commander-says-russia-doesn-t-need-to-invade-to-take-over-eastern-ukraine-20140502

Hrytsenko: a third world war has already begun

In Ukraine, Civil Position leader and ex-defence minister Anatoly Hrytsenko writes that Putin’s current foreign policy aims include much more than an annexation of Crimea and East Ukraine. Putin wants the whole of Ukraine, and much more besides. Gritsenko says that the Russian president has decided to demonstrate to the world by his aggression that international law no longer has any validity and that money and power are the only factors that have meaning in the modern world.

Hrytsenko considers that the fears of Western nations that by confronting Putin they will provoke a third world war lag a long way behind the reality of what has actually happened: Putin has already begun such a war, and the West will need to take swift and decisive action to stop it.

Pointing to recent threatening statements from Moscow about the rights of Russian-speakers in the Baltic States, to the movement of heavy artillery and missile launchers to Russia’s borders with Moldova and Transnistria, to the direction of  strategic bombers down the Baltic and North Sea, to the redeployment of fighter and long-range aviation including Su-27s, MiG-29s and Tu-22M3s to the Crimean peninsula, to the distribution of airborne assault teams, sabotage units and  covert agents throughout Ukraine, and probably also into neighbouring countries, Hrytsenko says that Putin has made no secret of his plans: they are already in operation, without any restrictions.

The West’s attempts to slow the aggression by means of negotiations, diplomacy and economic sanctions have not been effective, Hrytsenko warns. To deter further aggression, the West will need to  form an anti-Putin coalition and focus all  available means and capabilities on taking practical military steps. These should in the first instance be the relocation and deployment around the territory of Ukraine (Poland, Slovakia , Hungary, Romania , Bulgaria, Northern Turkey) of a powerful NATO aviation group (80-100 F-16s and F-15s), a carrier strike group in the Mediterranean (70+ carrier-based aircraft) plus 7-8 warships in the Black Sea (destroyers and cruisers with powerful air defence) and several airborne brigades – to establish reliable control over Ukraine’s air and sea space in order to prevent  Russia from building up additional forces and halt the invasion that is now in progress.

Voices of Ukraine

Daniella Peled of the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has interviewed the English-language editor of Voice of Ukraine, a volunteer-run translation project that is proving to be a vital resource in the Ukraine crisis, providing cross-checked reports and in-depth analysis:

It started in early December 2013 as a social network project when Euromaidan SOS put out a call to translate a text for the OSCE, and the Euro-Maidan As It Is Facebook page was created by one founder to post such texts to, and very soon after a MaidanNeedsTranslators Facebook page was started by the other founder in Ukraine as a companion, so translators could take on articles posted there for translation.

At the beginning, there were two or three people working on the project. Now there is a core group of 15 coordinators and editors, with between eight and 11 doing most of the daily work. Beyond this core are many translators who are not coordinators but who put in a lot of time translating on a regular basis.