In the run-up to Sunday’s election in Crimea, the East and West are in a tug-of-war over Nazi provocation.
Edward Lozansky, president of the American University in Moscow, wrote in the Washington Times Wednesday:
While American politicians describe [Russian President] Vladimir Putin as Hitler-like, Russians in Crimea are convinced the real neo-Nazis are pulling the levers in Kiev.
Hard-line anti-Russians occupy important ministerial positions in the new Ukrainian government.
Sensing that largely Russian Crimea will side with Moscow, the United States and European nations said they would not recognize a secessionist vote.
“Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force,” according to a statement issued by the Group of Seven, which consists of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Lozansky said Western leaders are being hypocritical, recalling:
Not so long ago, [U.S. President Barack] Obama hailed the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as an example of “the power of human dignity.
Well, say the Russians, don’t the people of Crimea deserve the same right to determine their own future?
Although former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has likened Putin to Adolf Hitler for sending forces into heavily Russian enclaves of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, not everyone sees it that way. Some analysts maintain that Clinton has it backwards, that there is no evidence to support the legitimacy of the current government of Ukraine.
Crimea, Russia’s only warm-water port, has long been a key strategic beachhead. In the 1960s, Soviet boss Nikita Krushchev “gave” Crimea to Ukraine. But Russians have continued to control the region, anchoring thousands of military vessels there.