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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

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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