My Unintentional Blog Turned In To A Must Read.

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Unfortunately, the stats show that my blog series called, “Letters from Russia” are proving unpopular with my readers. I understand why. I realize that many people are not concerned with that part of the world and have written Russia off a long time ago. I remember during the Reagan years when each country “knew” the other had their finger on the red button, ready to fire off nukes at a moments notice.

Instead, everything changed. The USSR crumbled, Russia and its neighboring countries left each other alone, while each country tried to make its way through a new, independent way of life. People were encouraged to think for themselves and many grew to love freedom and independence. Finally, the stress we all felt from that part of the world was all but gone.

But all of that has changed now.

Russia’s leader, President Vladimir Putin despises the west, equating it (us) as living in anarchy. This belief is what drives him. He cannot abide by the idea that those countries that border Russia being westernized and pulling further away from Russia. First the Crimea, now, various areas in Ukraine have apparently been taken over by Russian people paid to create major disturbances. In those areas, the Ukraine flag has been taken down and the Russian flag has been erected. Couple this with the continuing and rising unrest on the south and east borders of Ukraine and it appears Putin and Russian officials were lying about moving in to other areas of Ukraine.

Who cares? We ALL should.

If Putin continues taking over areas outside of Russia, the international community will have to get much more heavily involved. President Obama is going to have to do FAR more than he is doing now, which is next to nothing. Most of us were not yet born during WWII, but we know it began with HItler first only wanting Czechoslovakia, then more and more. The question is, does Putin hate (fear) the west so much that he would go back on his word? I believe the answer is yes. He took Crimea with practically no international interference. A few sanctions here and there. Whoop-de-doo. It would be easy enough for him to create disturbances in Ukraine and take them over again, to use his excuse, “to protect Russian speaking citizens”.

The only real risk he would be taking and would be blissfully unaware of is that Russian citizens are not ignorant. They have access to news from around the world. Still, it’s difficult for them to believe anything that shows Russia in a bad light. It is their way to love their homeland and believe in it wholeheartedly. Still, Russians will certainly remember Putin’s promise that he does not want anything from Ukraine (except what he’s already successfully taken). If he takes it further, he will create doubt in the minds of many Russian citizens.

My dear young friend who I have been writing about in my blog series, “Letters from Russia”, contacted me at 1:00am her time, very scared and confused. She desperately wants to know the truth. In her words, “my mind is blown and I don’t know what to believe”. I reassured her at least for now, so she could sleep (they are 13 hrs. ahead of us). I told her it appeared to be localized right now and no big moves have been made yet. I promised her I would continue to research this and she will awake with contact from me regarding the latest news.

The point I am trying to make here is that this is not just about governments and territories. These situations never are. It’s about people, nations of people who are largely left in the dark and worse, lied to.

I am worried about my friend. And she is just one of many. Imagine living in a country where freedom is non-existent. A country where you must subscribe to everything your government says or in my friends words, “you must hide because it is not safe for you”.

I’m going to sign off for now. I have more research to do for my friend. If this situation matters to you, I encourage to reach out to Russian and/or Ukrainian people. Attempt to bridge the gap that our governments have failed miserably at. If I can do it, anyone can.

Talk to you again soon! xoxo

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Blog Series: “Letters from Russia”, Chapter 2*

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*If you have not already done so, please read the blogs preceding this one, including, “Blog Series Letters from Russian – Introduction”  and Blog Series: “Letters from Russia”, Chapter 1 prior to reading this blog.

Chapter 2 picks up directly after where I left off in Chapter One. The topics change from serious to light and back to serious again. We are learning about not only each others countries, but about each others personal beliefs.

March 19, 2014

Me: “I believe I am about 13 hours behind you. I will be up until at least 11 PM my time. Let me know if you’d like to chat.”

Jessica Cher: “Are you asleep?)”

Me: “Hi! No I’m still up! Did you sleep well?”

Jessica Cher: “Yes,thanks)”

Me: “It’s so weird you already had a night sleep and I’ve been off the whole time! Lol I have so much I want to talk to you about. I hate it has to be over Twitter. The messages must be short. So I have some information for you but you said you had some questions so how about you go first?”
Jessica Cher: “If I come to Miami I’m gonna be do jetlaged:)”

Me: “Yes! How fun though!”

Jessica Cher: “Well,you compare this situation in Crimea with Miami and Cuba. Did ever territory of Miami belong to Cuba?”

Me: “No. It was just an example. Under the Ukrainian Const. 3 million citizens must request vote. All of the Ukraine must vote & vote must be Called for by Ukrainian parliament. There are reports of Ukrainian citizens refusing to vote b/c of armed Russian soldiers.

Jessica Cher: “Russia never insisted that referendum and our soldiers never entered Ukraine.”

Me: “We receive news reports from all over the world. Russian news is owned by the Russian Government. I will try to find photos for you to see.”

Jessica Cher: “We know that neither Europe n America accept this referendum.Why? Do you think Russia made them vote?”

Me: “It’s illegal. A forced takeover. There’s no way 97% of Ukraine voted on Sunday, had all votes counted & new government was installed in a day. I hope I do not sound mean. I am genuinely concerned for you. Fast friends!👍❤️”

Jessica Cher: “do you think that all that situation in Ukraine on Midan happens because of Russia? Square in Kiev where all those horrible things happens”

Me: “That started it, yes. It was the popular uprising against the pro-Russian president because he refused EU trade the people wanted. 800,000 people marched on to Kiev in protest”

Jessica Cher: “Then do you think that new Ukrainian government legal?”

Me: “Yes. The Ukrainian parliament voted him out of office after the uprising. I am glad you are not close to all of that mess❤️👍.”

Jessica Cher: “Did you know that new Ukrainian government acts very aggressively about Russian-speaking people? Banderovtsy kill them,hit them,destroy. Their passports .They canceled Russian as second official language but more then a half Ukrainians speak Russian.is that ok?”

Me: “No, that’s not correct. There have not been any reports in the international media stating that.

Jessica Cher: “But that’s true. Unfortunately.”

Me: “It’s not true it is what the Russian government and TV stations are telling you.”

Jessica Cher: “I saw a video,where bleeding man told that he was hitted bc he speaks Russian.”

Me: “all of the Ukrainian troops are locked up on the bases And surrounded by Russian troops.I am sure that everyone is stressed both Russians and Ukrainians in the Crimea right now. I am not surprised that fights have broken out.” (I posted these for JC to look at.)

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Jessica Cher: “I haven’t seen them,but anyway I think that’s so wrong. Some years ago we used to be one big country USSR and fighter against fascism. In that war Ukraine suffered even more than Russia from fascism and fascists take over Ukraine..That is so wrong.”

Me:”Fascist have not taken over Ukraine. The same Ukrainian Parliament that was there before the uprising is still there now only not president.”

Jessica Cher: “You see how different our information is.”

Me: “It makes me want to cry. If the Russians are being told fascists are running the Ukraine, that is not so. Just normal Ukraine parliament. This is thankfully not WWII. The Ukrainians want to align more with the western world. Putin thinks it’s anarchy. I live in the west. No anarchy here. We have an elected government and we have freedom.❤️ I am very happy we are allowed to talk to each other. I do care very much.”

Jessica Cher: “New Ukrainian government are nationalists,they hate Russians. That’s so sad.But I’m glad too I can talk about this.”

Chapter Notes: This dialog occurred in real-time, as the situation was unraveling. I am not an expert in World History but I answered as best I could. It’s very clear that even though Russians have access to media outside the country, they very clearly believe the Russian Govt. news over any other.

I apologize for the conversation, at times, being disjointed and therefore a little confusing. I feel, however, it is the authenticity of this piece that makes it special. It’s simply two ladies, one quite young and the other (me) not so much, trying to pull apart and piece together the truth. It is hard sometimes for me to remain diplomatic. But, I care about this young lady and I want to help her. We are proving day by day that we can chat, disagree, and get angry/upset at times, but we don’t give up on each other. If only our countries could do the same.

Please, again, feel free to comment/make suggestions/ask questions on this blog. I would be happy to ask her anything you would like to know.

There is much more to come. Please watch out for Chapter 3 coming out shortly.

Talk to you soon! xoxo

 

 

 

 

Not interested? Please read it anyway!

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By now, everyone who is interested, knows about the crisis between Ukraine and Russia (and the rest of us). For those who need to be brought up to speed, here is a brief update. There is a section of Ukraine called Crimea which houses a Russian Military base and is heavily Russian ethnically based. Ukrainians overthrew their president as he was pro-Russia. Ukraine is a “westernized” democracy which flies in the face of Russia’s President, Vladamir Putin – he equates it as anarchy.

Nutshell: Ukraine: independent, democratic country. Russia: wants to overtake part of the Ukraine, specifically Crimea. Putin’s “reasoning”? Much like Hitler himself, Pres. Putin says they want Crimea to “protect Russian citizens” there. Similar reasoning was used by Hitler when he wanted Czechoslovakia.

Here’s the real deal. Reporter’s are reporting from a political standpoint. Who they and we should be listening to is the Ukrainian people.

Here is some of what is being said, including from Russian ethnic Ukrainian people: All TV programming in Ukraine has been overtaken and replaced by Russian channels only. On these channels, Ukrainian people are being told Russia has already taken Crimea. Ukrainian people are both smart and devastated. One of its people is quoted as saying, “Russia’s words make the tears flow as we know this is purely an occupation”.

Ukraine so desperately does not want Russian interference that it signed an agreement with Russia, the USA and the UK some years ago, agreeing to give up its nuclear weapons to Russia who destroyed them, as long as all three countries agreed to leave Ukraine as a separate country to govern as it sees fit.

The Russian allied President of Ukraine was overthrown by the Ukrainian people. Because it does not want to be Russian, or governed as if it is. What bravery the Ukrainian people have shown. They are strong but they are also afraid this is only the beginning.

Ugh. Imagine how they must feel. Turning on your TV and seeing nothing but another countries TV channels? Terrifying! A loose analogy would be, for example,  Cuba stating it was taking over Miami in order to protect its people here from a democracy. I said it is a LOOSE analogy so please do not reply by telling me the differences. I already know. The way this is similar is on a human level.

The Russian troops have tripled in size in as many day in Crimea. I encourage you to look at images and videos online to see the real story of what is happening on the ground.

The USA has responded by putting sanctions on Russia. Effectively just making Russia more angry.

The Ukrainian people deserve to be protected by both us and the UK. We promised. We signed the agreement.

The simple truth is this. Russian President Putin is LYING. If he was concerned about his people, he would offer them the opportunity to come back home to Russia. Problem solved. The Ukrainian people know this. They know Putin’s words are pure deception. So do we.

So, what do we do now? Suggestions??? My heart goes out to the people in Ukraine. Having their media taken over must leave them feeling isolated and not knowing what to do and what to believe.  I hope they know that the western world is in line with them. I hope they continue to fight for their freedom.

And finally, a promise is a promise. I hope the USA and the UK honor the Budapest Memorandum. Protect this free nation we promised to protect.

Thank you for sticking with me through this blog. If the issue were simply a political one, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. But because it does involve people we promised to protect, it must be addressed. I sincerely hope other bloggers weigh in on this problem. It truly does affect us all.

Talk to you again soon! xoxo

Ukraine Standing Tall For Independence – Who Will Stand With Them?

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Before I begin, I would like to say that the view you read here is my own. I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else. I encourage you to comment on this piece. Your opinion matters.

Ukraine is showing the rest of the world just what measures it will go to in order to preserve their independence from Russia. Their democratic ideals are impressive and the strength they are showing to maintain their freedom is unbelievably brave. Their own people, rose up and overthrew the pro-Russian government in Ukraine. It’s ousted President, Viktor Yanukovych, is now residing in Russia, where he is firmly in the pocket of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

This whole situation is very complicated and disturbing.

At the time of the fall of the U.S.S.R., (now known as Russia), Ukraine held nuclear weapons of its own. Russia, the USA and the UK signed an agreement called the “Budapest Memorandum”. This agreement states all three countries will insure Ukraine’s independence from Russia, provided it turned over its nuclear weapons to Russia (which it did). Russia was to dismantle the nuclear weapons (which they did) and everyone lives happily ever after.

Ok, so the happily ever after part is my own wishful thinking.

The truth is, fundamentally, Russia does not like or trust the West and is not happy Ukraine has become so “westernized”. Putin has gone so far as to say the westernization of Ukraine has caused anarchy. The Ukraine has expressed interest in joining/aligning with NATO. Their resolve is so strong. However, alone, what chance does Ukraine have against the mega force of Russia?

Further, Russia needs the heavily Russian influenced Crimea, for agricultural and logistical reasons. Russia has gained strength by housing Ukraine’s ousted President, who says he is still in power. This gives Russia the “in” they are looking for to go back on their word of the Budapest Memorandum. Russia is planning to take control of the Ukraine once again, with an eye on several other countries in the region..

Where do the USA and the UK come in to play here? They are directly involved because both also signed the Budapest Memorandum insuring Ukraine’s independence. My understanding is the agreement states that if one of the three countries goes back on its word, the remaining 2 will step in to assist Ukraine.Though it is an agreement and not a treaty, it is conceivable, though not likely, that the USA and the UK do nothing and stay out of it.

The problem here is two-fold. Whether you call it a treaty, a memorandum or an agreement, it is still a binding document. For the USA and UK to not uphold the agreement shows the rest of the world that they cannot be trusted. This would be disastrous as both have treaties and agreements with many other countries around the world. Trust is the critical part of any agreements, treaties or otherwise.

The second issue is that both the USA and the UK somewhat loosely subscribe to the same ideals. Democracy, Freedom and Independence. How then, could either country turn their backs on Ukraine and it’s people?

The options here do not look good. Russian forces are already in the Crimea and will easily take it over, as it is already heavily Russian populated.

UPDATE: Warning shots have been fired in Crimea, though Putin incredibly says he has no intention of battling Ukraine. Meanwhile, troops are on the move and getting in position to do just that. Russia has a military base there so Putin is using it as an excuse for the movement..

That said, I very much admire the Ukrainian people for having the courage to stand up to and overthrow its eastern leaning government and demand their freedom. If this is not the definition of a democracy, I don’t know what is.

It seems to me the USA and UK must step in and hold up their end of the Budapest Memorandum. They must align with an independent Ukraine.

But how? That is what scares the hell out of me.

USA’s President Barack Obama does not, in my opinion, have what it takes to do what is necessary as Commander and Chief of its Armed Forces. A first step would be to create sanctions against Russia. You can see where, from here, this could get messy, very quickly.

I do not have the solution for this. That’s why my name tag does not say “President Barack Obama”.

I am very curious to know what your take is on this serious situation. Please comment below. Let’s get some dialog started. Who knows? Maybe we could even make a difference. Do you see the issue with the Ukraine as I have explained it? Do you have another view? What options do you see for all 4 countries?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. I will approve and reply to all comments left. Please remember to keep it clean and no name calling.

Talk to you soon! xoxo