The Hidden Costs of a Russian Statelet in Ukraine | William Schreiber
In dismissing the Ukrainian revolution as a “fascist” coup, officials in Moscow have conjured up memories of the turbulent period following the breakup of the Soviet Union, when Russian leaders used similar slurs to justify separatism in Eastern Europe. On March 2, 1992, 22 years ago this week, civil war broke out in Moldova between government and secessionist forces over a narrow strip of land along the Ukrainian border.
Alexander Lebed—the Russian general whose 14th Army unit intervened in the conflict, ensuring the future of the breakaway state known today as Transnistria—boasted of his role in stopping Moldova’s “fascists” leaders. Several years later, Lebed entered Russian politics, declaring, without much irony, that his country needed its own version of Chile’s right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet.
A decade later, the Kremlin has the strongman Lebed pined for, Moldova’s conflict with its separatist region persists, and Russian troops still occupy Moldovan territory in violation of Russia’s international commitments. And now the Russian military has occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, another territory with a large ethnic Russian population and a pro-Moscow secessionist movement, in violation of international law. Moscow’s intentions there remain unclear.
FULL ARTICLE (The Atlantic)
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