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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, Nov. 22


Russian Premier League-leaders Zenit St. Petersburg return from the international break to take on Kuban Krasnodar at Petrovsky Stadium this evening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game can still be purchased on the clubs website, at the Petrovsky Stadium box office or in any of the clubs merchandise stores.



Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at todays Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Womens Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the citys international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain. The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their Industrial St. Petersburg Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the Business With China forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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