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21.08.2014 | Halya Coynash

Putin’s Soviet ’therapy’ for Crimea

   

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin the events known variously as land grab, annexation or reunification of the Crimea were about "therapy" for a deep trauma, "a wound inflicted on our people as the result of the dramatic schism of the twentieth century".   

This explanation attempting to justify a clear breach of international law was given at an address to members of the Russian State Duma in Yalta, Crimea on August 14. Journalists were swift to report his supposedly "conciliatory tone" and declared intention in eastern Ukraine to "do all in our power to ensure that this conflict is stopped".  Since the speech was made just hours before UK journalists saw a column of armed personnel carriers and other heavy military technology crossing from Russia into Ukraine, scepticism is warranted. 

Putin was, however, cautious even in his rather vague historical references to "civil war".  He was much less circumspect in his annexation speech on March 18,when he left no doubt that the trauma he was referring to was the break-up of the USSR and the fact that Ukraine and Russia are now separate states. 

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