Archive for July 15th, 2009

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Russia Announces New Black Sea Fleet Base For 2016

July 15, 2009

Well dear readers……here in Ukraine……well actually I am in Moscow for a day or two…….but 99.9% of the time I am in Odessa, Ukraine…….so here in Ukraine……..the issue of the Russian Black Sea Fleet being based at Sevastopol in Crimea has become something of a “hot potato” over the past few years.

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The Ukrainian constitution bans any foreign military presence on the territory of Ukraine…….which obviously includes the Autonomous Republic of Crimea……which is independent of Kyiv…….but only to a degree……as similar to the Scottish and Welsh National Assemblies in the UK.  In other words, it has some autonomous powers and government……but when the shit hits the fan…….it answers to Kyiv.

Anyway, the Ukrainian Constitution bans any foreign military presence within it’s territory whatsoever…….however the Russian Black Sea Fleet is legally in Sevastopol due to a legally binding lease between Russia and Ukraine, signed prior to the creation of the Ukrainian Constitution.

Russia, due to the tactical location of Sevastopol in relation to the Black Sea, has wished to renew the lease…….for which it pays Ukraine rather well……however Ukraine….or the current Ukrainian leadership have said it will not be renewed…..which is fair enough.

Dear readers, before you start thinking Russia only wishes to remain at Sevastopol because it is a real political bone of contention and assists it’s sphere of influence over Ukraine……..take a look at a map.

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The new base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet will be at Novorossiisk……..when looking at a map, it doesn’t take an expert military tactician to work out that Sevastopol is a far better place for the Fleet geographically…….if the current location belonged to Turkey and Russia had been renting it long term……they would still be trying to renew the lease with Turkey.  From a military perspective with regards to the Black Sea…….it wouldn’t matter on which countries territory it sits…….Russia would still want to continue the lease…..shared history and culture or not!

Let us be honest…….Russia is not the only country to lease military bases from other countries in other countries…….it just so happens, unfortunately for them…..this spot of land is in Ukraine and the Constitution explicitly bans all foreign military presence within Ukraine of any sort.

Constitutionally, therefore, Ukraine is obliged not to renew the lease.

So, Russia has announced that Novorossiisk will be ready by 2016…..a year before the lease expiry…….to become home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet……although Russia will no doubt hang on until the very last day of the lease in efforts to get it renewed.

This is Ukraine……and the political winds are ever shifting…….and neither likely Presidential winner are anti-Russia to the same extent that the current President is.  In fact neither likely winner is as pro-USA as the current President is either.

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It is not for me to say the lease would be renewed under the next Ukrainian President…….as that would be unconstitutional…….so the Constitution would have to be re-written and/or amended……..but guess what?

…..Yes, you’ve guessed correctly…….all major parties, including the current President state the the Ukrainian Constitution as it currently exists is a piece of shit and as about as effective as a chocolate fireguard.

Of course, all major politicians……..excepting Yatseniuk…….have their own versions of a new Constitution…….with little bits in it to ensure their own continued clings to power.

Eh?……Oh Mr Yakseniuk also states the Constitution needs amending……..but he can’t say how or what to…….actually, whilst on the subject of Yatseniuk, I think it fair to say I feel more than a little let down by him thus far……as I did genuinely believe at one point he was the future of Ukrainian politics but he has said absolutely nothing worthy of my initial beliefs thus far and has in fact made  think he is in no way capable of leading a piss up in a brewery…….I hope he gets some policies and beliefs of his own for 2015 and the set of elections after these he will be ready…….but right now I am completely disillusioned by him. 

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Maybe I expected too much…..but right now I would settle for him not only complaining and stating the obvious about the state of the State……but providing a solution or to in the public arena.  He hasn’t even stated……when asked directly……..should Ukraine be a Parliamentary or Presidential system……..now surely he MUST have an answer to such a basic question when running for Ukraine’s top job!!  Suffice to say, Mr Yatseniuk…….I want to believe you can do something different from the same old things……but you are not living up to your hype or your promise right now.

Ok……returning to the subject of the post……..which was?…….Ah yes, the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

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So, if the Constitution does not change to allow it to remain……and political winds do not change sufficiently to renew the lease……the fleet relocated to Novorossiisk.  Not ideal militarily as far as geography goes…..but not that bad either.

What happens in Sevastopol?  The major financial income and major employer suddenly disappears.  I say suddenly……this is Ukraine……there will not be a contingency plan to support the local economy when the Fleet leaves…..no, not even with 7 years warning there won’t!!

No, seriously there won’t be…….I mean, come on, for f*cks sake…….Ukraine cannot even organise 4 stadiums for the 2012 football tournament when they are given 50,000,000 Euros to help by UEFA.  Not one stadium is ready…..not one airport has been improved…….not one new hotel has been finished……not one road has been repaired, let alone started…….like I say, the Russian Black Sea Fleet will leave Sevastopol in 2017……..and there will be a f*cking big void……..no significant income will take it’s place……..no significant employer will take it’s place…….in fact the only thing of significance will be that nothing of significance will happen despite nearly a decade to plan to have something of significance to support the local economy and people.

No……I am serious people…….I do not joke…….if you lived here you would know there are 2 Ukraine’s.  There is Kyiv (Ukraine Number 1 and centre of the f*cking universe……or you would think so)……..and the rest of Ukraine.

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Of course Sevastopol is about as far from Kyiv as it could possibly be territorially within Ukraine…….so the mass and very predictable unemployment……..won’t touch Kyiv.  In fact, Kyiv will probably blame the Crimean Autonomous Republic’s Government for the void…….and any social issues which occur from the mass unemployment between the “ethnic Ukrainians”…..”ethic Russians”……..”ethnic Tartars”……….and the “ethnic whatevers” who will all suffer from the piss poor governance from Kyiv to “those down there”.

Why should I care?…….I am not Ukrainian…….I am not even living in Crimea……..I am a Brit living in Odessa.

Well, I care, because this is a social disaster which can be seen coming a decade in advance…….it is not a financial tsunami……..it is not an unpredicted military invasion………it is not a lethal pandemic.

It is a predictable, foreseeable, social and economic issue for a part of Ukraine…….the country I now call home.  It is so far in advance that things can be planned……..the void can be avoided……..the social animosities can be directed away from mass unemployment and racial hatred which will surely follow mass unemployment.

Will the Ukrainian politicians have a plan?  Will they avert a social disaster?  Not on your f*cking life if the past 5 years are anything to go by.

Will there be mass unemployment in Sevastopol and Crimea?  Will it turn to ethnic unrest as unemployment swells?  Will all in Kyiv wash their hands of the problem and blame others?

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These are as rhetorical a question as……..Is the Pope a Catholic?……..Do bears shit in the woods?…..Does HM the Queen fart?

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