Crisis Shows Russia's Post-Soviet Anger

tags: Cold War, Russia, Soviet Union, Crimea




The crisis over Crimea is more than a dispute over whether the strategic Black Sea peninsula should be considered Russian or Ukrainian. At its root is a deeper issue: Russia's simmering anger over its treatment by the West since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Russia's biggest grievance has been the absorption into the NATO alliance not only of former Soviet allies, such as Poland and Romania, but also three republics that were part of the Soviet Union: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The last straw was a European Union move to draw Ukraine closer to the West through a political association agreement. That set off a chain of events that led to the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president and, ultimately, to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recounted the post-Cold War history during a speech Tuesday marking Crimea's annexation, accusing the West of cheating Russia and ignoring its interests in the years that followed the Soviet collapse.

"They have constantly tried to drive us into a corner for our independent stance, for defending it, for calling things by their proper names and not being hypocritical," Putin said. "But there are limits. And in the case of Ukraine, our Western partners have crossed a line. They have behaved rudely, irresponsibly and unprofessionally."

At the United Nations. Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador, blamed the crisis on "Western powers who simply cannot rid themselves of the imperial colonial habits of attempting to impose their writ on other peoples and countries."...




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