The New Soviet's "New Russia"

I’ve been calling Vladimir Putin “The New Soviet” for some time, now. His dreams of a reintegrated collection of satellite states into the New USSR is well documented, if not well known. Over the last four or five months, he has been using the term “New Russia” to describe the region of eastern Ukraine and the Crimea. It is a historical term, with great nationalistic weight. It appeals to ethnic Russian minorities in the region and to Russians in general. Those longing for the old days are happily watching events progress.

The following article was published today, 08/29/2014 by the IBTimes. I’m reprinting it in its entirety, along with a link to the site. If ITimes wants it pulled, I will do so. Throughout the article, I will add some simple commentary.


Why is Vladimir Putin Referring to Eastern Ukraine as ‘New Russia’?

By Jack Moore
August 29, 2014 12:41 BST

In a new statement, the Kremlin has detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address to pro-Russian separatists battling Kiev’s force in eastern Ukraine, which referred to the rebels as “the militia of New Russia” or “Novorossiya”.

This term is not a new addition to the Russian leader’s personal lexicon. In a televised question and answer session in April in the midst of the Crimea crisis, Putin told the audience, in reference to the restive eastern regions of Ukraine: “It’s new Russia.”

This phrase has raised fears about Putin’s territorial ambitions in the former Soviet Union but what does this term really mean?

“Novorossiya”, which translates as New Russia, is a historical term for a region conquered by the Russian empire in the 18th century and controlled by Tsarist Russia in the 19th Century.

In the same Q&A, Putin uttered “God knows” why the “New Russian” regions became Ukrainian territory in the 1920s. (LP – Putin doesn’t recognize Ukraine’s right to exist separately from Russia. In his eyes, Russian ownership predates any Ukrainian establishment. This is why I believe the entirety of Ukraine is subject to “annexation”. )

This area, shown below, today represents an area of southern Ukraine and borders the controversial Crimea region, which claimed independence earlier this year. (LP – This area also covers much more territory than is currently in dispute. If Putin is hearkening back to historical definitions, his reach will be further than commonly anticipated.)

new-russia-ukraineThe area of ‘New Russia’ which Putin now refers to in Ukraine.(WikiCommons)

Putin’s use of the nostalgic term rings of similar calls of historical ties to the Crimea region before Russia annexed the peninsula, again heightening fears that the Imperial Russian Bear has its sights set on territory that they still believe to be Russian at heart.

The Ukrainian regions that “Novorossiya” refers to are Donetsk, Odessa, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk. Putin has repeatedly stated his intention to protect ethnic Russians living in these regions due to the strong cultural connection between them and “Mother Russia”.

“We must do everything to help these people to protect their rights and independently determine their own destiny,” he said in April. (LP – Russian expansionist aggression has very often been advanced through the use of ethnic nationals calling for help from within a target region.)

Ukraine is in both Russia’s perceived “sphere of influence” and the “shared neighbourhood” with the European Union and the NATO military alliance. It is a nation torn between the attraction of a modern West and its own eastern Soviet history.

Approximately 21% of Ukraine’s population is Russian and it has deep cultural and historical links with Russia. The Russian ambassador to Ukraine has even stated that “Ukrainians and Russians are a single nation”. (LP – Such statements aren’t flippant remarks. They are foundational establishments of doctrine laid down for future territorial annexation.)

For now, it seems that Putin, like his ambassador, is intent on framing the Ukrainian rebels as an extension of Russia itself and as part of a “New Russia”.

Whether his future actions reflect the controversial rhetoric remains to be seen, but to label the rebels as a “Novorossiya” militia itself is a politically-charged move which is sure to agitate Kiev’s elite. (LP – Whether it agitates them or not is beside the issue. It is meant to solidify nationalist fervor among the separatists and give the general Russian population something to grab hold of when they ask themselves why they need to support their leader in his territory grab.)

======================END ARTICLE

The following 4 links provide more background information.

The Moscow Times, March 17, 2014 – Putin’s Brave New Russia

Defense One, April 17, 2014 – Poland Fears Putin’s ‘New Russia’ Doctrine

Guardian LV, April 18, 2014 – Ukraine is ‘New Russia’ to Putin

FireDogLake, August 29, 2014 – Ukraine Seeks NATO Membership as Putin Addresses Separatists as ‘New Russia’

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