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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, Nov. 28


Join table-top game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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