New Book Tackles Crimea
A new book dissects the Russian takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.
Published: September 3, 2014 (Issue # 1827)
After theábreakup ofáthe Soviet Union iná1991, Ukraine had theásecond-largest armed forces ináEurope (after Russia) andáthe fourth-largest ináthe world (after Russia, China andáthe United States). Twenty-three years later, when theáRussian military invaded Ukrainian territory ináCrimea this February, theácountry formidably failed toáoffer any military resistance.
OnáMarch 11, Ukraineĺs then defense minister, Igor Tenyukh, reported that atáthe moment only 6,000 men ináthe countryĺs ground forces were ready forácombat, only 15 percent ofámilitary aircraft were able toáfly, andáonly 10 percent ofáair-defense systems were operational.
How this could happen? Who were theáRussian ôpolite menö who infiltrated Crimea andáswiftly blocked andáseized theáUkrainian military installations there with thousands ofáservicemen inside? How did they do it, day byáday? What lessons learned byáthe Russian political andámilitary leadership after theábrief war with Georgia iná2008 made theáCrimean annexation such aásuccessful operation?
TheáCenter foráAnalysis ofáStrategies andáTechnologies (CAST), aáMoscow-based, privately-owned think tank studying military topics, has tried toáanswer these andámany other questions onáthe historical, political andámilitary aspects ofáthe ongoing conflict between Russia andáUkraine ináa book set toábe published ináthe United States byáMinneapolis-based East View Press ináSeptember. Aácollection ofáanalytical essays byáthe prominent Russian andáUkrainian military, political andásecurity analysts, theábook is toábe titled ôBrothers Armed: Military Aspects ofáthe Crisis ináUkraine.ö
ôWe tried toágrasp andáexplain what is going onáas soon as possible, working onáa border that separates journalism andáserious academic analysis,ö says CAST head Ruslan Pukhov. ôSome articles may seem too hastily written toáa picky reader. We will fix that ináthe Russian edition that we plan toápublish early next year.ö
While itĺs true that some parts could use more attributions andáfootnotes toámatch rigorous American academic writing standards, theábook still provides insightful answers toáquestions that inevitably arise with any inquisitive watcher trying toáunderstand theáuneasy political andámilitary dynamics within andábetween theátwo formerly biggest andábrotherly Soviet republics.
Theábooks tells theástory ofáthe lengthy andápainful divorce ofáthe once-united Soviet Black Sea Fleet between Russia andáUkraine, andáhow Russia struggled toákeep its portion armed andáafloat while theágovernment ináKiev sold many warships foráscrap metal.
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