Just some occasional pictures. I’ll add new ones when there is anything interesting :-)
Russian and Ukrainian military have fired at each other in Simferopol. The details are still unclear, as well as who exactly was guilty (although it’s of course Putin’s government who’s guilty first of all because it was their decision to invade the Crimea), but several persons are wounded and at least one was killed. Ukrainians still hope to find a diplomatic decision, but the limited mobilization is going on, and the Ukrainian troops in the Crimea received an official permission to make use of arms:
http://www.novayagazeta.ru/news/1679599.html (in Russian)
http://www.novayagazeta.ru/news/1679594.html (in Russian)
http://www.novayagazeta.ru/news/1679597.html (in Russian)
One more (and almost inevitable, unfortunately) step has been made on the way to war. God help us to avoid an escalation…
The route of yesterday’s March of Peace (against the Russian invasion of the Crimea) was traditional for the oppositional marches in recent years in Moscow: from Pushkinskaia Square along the boulevards to Turgenevskaia Square with final meeting on Sakharov Avenue. There were surprisingly many people – less than at the ‘marches of millions’, but definitely more than at the autumn demonstration in favour of political prisoners. The organizers told about 50 thousand, I’m not sure it was really so, but there were certainly tens of thousands of participants, much more than 3,000 (the figure from the police reports). Taking into account how strongly have the Crimean events split the Russian society, including the oppositional part of it, this is really a good news.
Moscow authorities hoped of course that there would be much less people. They opened only one side of the boulevard for us so it was rather narrow to walk from time to time.
We were walking in one column, without any division according the political preferences. There were several communists, but this time not many – some of them support the occupation of the Crimea. There were almost no nationalists, although I’ve seen two flags of the former Russian Empire (with black, yellow and white stripes) that they usually use.
The mood was rather serious, not like at a carnival as it was at the first rallies against falsification of the elections’ results. It was nevertheless very friendly as previously – that was always an advantage of the ‘white-ribbon’ movement. There were not so many flags and placards as usually, but there were a lot of Russian and Ukrainian flags and a lot of peace symbols (☮). The placards were quite witty as usually, I hope to post the photos soon. I especially enjoyed the word putriots (Putin+patriots) ;-)
We successfully failed to meet the Sergei Kurginian’s march in favour of annexation of the Crimea (it began from Trubnaia Square that was on our way), so there wasn’t any provocations.
I don’t know what will follow – and I don’t think our yesterday’s walk will make Putin and Co. change their policy toward the Crimea. But at least we said our ‘no’ (I even saw a placard with the only word no), and at the same time made sure that there are quite a lot of us, and spent several wonderful hours in the company of the people with similar world view (as said my former scientific adviser whom I met at the march, ‘I have such an impression as if I knew the people around although actually I don’t’). In today’s Russia, full of hatred, intolerance and xenophobia, such a breath of fresh air is absolutely necessary from time to time.
A new collection of documents on Soviet foreign policy in interwar period was published in 2011. Let’s see its bibliographical entry (the original book is in Russian). Moscow–Berlin: Policy and Diplomacy of the Kremlin, 1920–1941 (Moscow, 2011). Volume 1 (1926) has 1031 page. Volume 2 (1927–1932, six years) has 755 pages. Volume 3 (1933–1941, nine years, the most interesting period) has only 690 pages. It’s really a good illustration of today’s archival policy in Russia.
I’ll use an opportunity until the Internet is still accessible and the freedom of speech is not cancelled according to the martial law. The war against Ukraine, if it really begins, – God save us from it! – IS NOT MY WAR. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s just, I haven’t authorized the Russian government to spend my taxes for it. I regard the yesterday’s decision of the Federation Council sanctioning the military intervention into the events in Ukraine as criminal and irresponsible, as well as the current operations of the Russian troops in the Crimea. I feel ashamed that these crimes are committed on behalf of my country.
The war against Ukraine, if it takes place, will be the greatest evil Russia can do not only to Ukraine, but also to herself, even if no other country takes part in the conflict. The today’s policy of Moscow has nothing to do not only with the international law, but also with the national interests of Russia. The war against Ukraine will bring neither freedom, nor prosperity, nor respect of the neighbours to Russia – only blood and devastation. It’s neither ‘rising from knees’ nor restoration of a great power. It’s ‘just’ a shortest way to the catastrophe.
Maybe it would be better to stop, until it’s not too late?