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New Book Tackles Crimea

A new book dissects the Russian takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.

Published: September 3, 2014 (Issue # 1827)



  • The polite green men belonged to an elite Russian special operations unit.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After thebreakup ofthe Soviet Union in1991, Ukraine had thesecond-largest armed forces inEurope (after Russia) andthe fourth-largest inthe world (after Russia, China andthe United States). Twenty-three years later, when theRussian military invaded Ukrainian territory inCrimea this February, thecountry formidably failed tooffer any military resistance.

OnMarch 11, Ukraines then defense minister, Igor Tenyukh, reported that atthe moment only 6,000 men inthe countrys ground forces were ready forcombat, only 15 percent ofmilitary aircraft were able tofly, andonly 10 percent ofair-defense systems were operational.

How this could happen? Who were theRussian polite men who infiltrated Crimea andswiftly blocked andseized theUkrainian military installations there with thousands ofservicemen inside? How did they do it, day byday? What lessons learned bythe Russian political andmilitary leadership after thebrief war with Georgia in2008 made theCrimean annexation such asuccessful operation?

TheCenter forAnalysis ofStrategies andTechnologies (CAST), aMoscow-based, privately-owned think tank studying military topics, has tried toanswer these andmany other questions onthe historical, political andmilitary aspects ofthe ongoing conflict between Russia andUkraine ina book set tobe published inthe United States byMinneapolis-based East View Press inSeptember. Acollection ofanalytical essays bythe prominent Russian andUkrainian military, political andsecurity analysts, thebook is tobe titled Brothers Armed: Military Aspects ofthe Crisis inUkraine.

We tried tograsp andexplain what is going onas soon as possible, working ona border that separates journalism andserious academic analysis, says CAST head Ruslan Pukhov. Some articles may seem too hastily written toa picky reader. We will fix that inthe Russian edition that we plan topublish early next year.

While its true that some parts could use more attributions andfootnotes tomatch rigorous American academic writing standards, thebook still provides insightful answers toquestions that inevitably arise with any inquisitive watcher trying tounderstand theuneasy political andmilitary dynamics within andbetween thetwo formerly biggest andbrotherly Soviet republics.

Thebooks tells thestory ofthe lengthy andpainful divorce ofthe once-united Soviet Black Sea Fleet between Russia andUkraine, andhow Russia struggled tokeep its portion armed andafloat while thegovernment inKiev sold many warships forscrap metal.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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