It turns out that there are some Similarities between Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2014

Week in Review

Hillary Clinton compared Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler over his excuse to enter Crimea.  To protect ethnic Russians.  Much like the excuse Hitler used to enter the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.  To protect ethnic Germans.  Because the Czechoslovakians were oppressing them.  A trumped up charge.  Much like Vladimir Putin’s claims that the Ukrainians were oppressing the Russians in Crimea.  Clinton received some blowback for her comparison of Putin to Hitler so she walked it back a little.  But was she wrong in her comparison?

Actually, no.  For there are Crimea-Sudetenland similarities.  But it probably ends there.  For Hitler had much bigger goals.  He wanted to recover all of the Germanic lands lost in the wake of World War I.  For he felt the Germanic people were special.  Even thought of them as the master race.  And loved Germanic mythology.  Especially those featuring Germanic glory.  And the destiny of the Germanic master race.  Which is why he loved Richard Wagner.  And could listen to those 5-hour operas all day long.

He planned on taking Slavic lands (especially the breadbasket of Europe—Ukraine) for living space.  Lebensraum.  To take their food for the master race.  Leaving the Slavs to starve to death.  Expanding the borders of Greater Germany.  To fulfill the Germanic people’s destiny.  That’s what Hitler wanted.  But Putin surely doesn’t share any similar goals as these (see Vladimir Putin’s heroes: Russian president motivated by writers’ messianic view of country’s destiny by Joseph Brean posted 3/21/2014 on the National Post).

…a young mystic poet and philosopher named Vladimir Solovyov gave his first public lecture in Saint Petersburg. A “wild looking” intellectual gadfly with long hair and “fiery” eyes, he expressed a vision of Russian destiny that, a century later, has made him a philosophical hero of the man behind Russia’s latest Crimean adventure, the long-serving autocratic President Vladimir Putin.

“The lecture had a markedly conservative agenda, close to the Slavophile belief in Russia’s divinely inspired historical mission,” according to Solovyov’s biographer, Judith Deutsch Kornblatt. “In it, he criticizes the blind, monolithic power of the East as well as the fragmented power of the West; the former destroys the freedom of the individual, while the latter leads to unchecked egoism and anarchy.”

Solovyov’s argument — still so relevant that Mr. Putin reportedly assigns his political underlings to read him — was that “hope for the future resides only with a third people, the Slavs,” whose national character integrates the other two extremes…

Mr. Putin is a product of the Soviet Union and sees its collapse as the greatest disaster of the modern era, a view that is rooted in a deeper narrative about Moscow as the “Third Rome,” said Neil MacFarlane, Lester B. Pearson Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, focused on the politics of the former Soviet Union.

The collapse of Russia under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, further strengthened Mr. Putin’s resolve to restore its former glory, and writers like Solovyov — obscured during Soviet rule, he rose in prominence following the 1980s Glasnost policy of openness — had a “visceral appeal.”

Russia’s divinely inspired historical mission?  Moscow is the Third Rome?  The collapse of the Soviet Union is the greatest disaster of the modern era?  Return the former glory of Russia?  Perhaps Hillary Clinton didn’t need to walk anything back after all.

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The Shifting Borders of Eastern Europe

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 18th, 2014

History 101

By 1300 the Mongol Golden Horde took all of Kievan Rus

Vladimir Putin took Crimea from Ukraine.  Because he said the people there are more Russian than Ukrainian.  The people there wanted to be a part of Russia instead of Ukraine.  And that the land historically has belonged to Russia.  But that’s not true.  Yes, if you go back in time the land was Russian.  But if you go further back it wasn’t.  In fact the borders of Eastern Europe have changed so much that today’s borders bear little resemblance to what they have been over time.  You can watch 1,000 years of this change play out in a video on Loiter.co (see Watch as 1000 years of European borders change).  We’ll recap some of the changes in century intervals.

In the early 1100s the Western Roman Empire was gone.  In its place was the Holy Roman Empire stretching from central Italy to the North Sea.  Spain was mostly Muslim.  France was taking shape.  The Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) was still in modern day Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.  Going north there was Hungary.  Then Poland.  And Lithuania.  To the east of these countries was the large expanse of Kievan Rus.  Modern day Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.  And the Crimea was held by the Turkic Cumans.  But this land would change hands many times in the centuries to come.

By 1200 the Byzantine Empire moved further north into the Balkans.  While the Muslims moved into Byzantine territory from the south.  Hungary, Poland and Lithuania adjusted their borders slightly.  The Holy Roman Empire pushed further west in Europe.  The Cumans pushed into southern Kievan Rus.  While Kievan Rus moved south between the Black and Caspian seas.  By 1300 the Mongol Golden Horde (northwest part of the Mongol Empire) took all of Kievan Rus.  Hungary pushed out her borders while Poland shrank hers.  With East Prussia taking her northern lands.  Lithuania reshaped her borders in part to East Prussia.  The Byzantine Empire was reduced to a small area of the southern Balkans.  The Mongols were in Crimea.

Russia, Prussia and Hungary reduced Poland to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw by 1800

By 1400 the Ottoman Empire had replaced the Byzantines in the Balkans.  Hungary adjusted her borders a little.  East Prussia remained the same.  Poland and Lithuania had joined in a commonwealth and pushed their border south and east.  Into the lands that were once Kievan Rus.  Except for Crimea and the area just north of Crimea.  Pushing the Mongols east.  As the Republic of Novgorod and Muscovy pushed down on the Mongols from the north.  By 1500 the Ottoman Empire pushed further into southern Europe.  Into Hungary.  Crimea.  And Poland-Lithuania.  Which pushed north into East Prussia.  While Russia replaced the Republic of Novgorod and Muscovy and pushed south into Poland-Lithuania.

By 1600 the Ottoman Empire adjusted her northern borders a little.  Poland replaced the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth.  And pushed her border slightly east into Russia.  Russia pushed her southern border to the Caspian Sea.  Sweden was across the Baltic Sea into modern day Finland and Estonia.  On Russia’s most western border.  By 1700 Hungary had pushed the Ottoman Empire back into the Balkans.  Prussia formed on the Baltic Sea west of Poland.  With East Prussia to the east of Poland on the Baltic Sea.  The Russian Empire pushed west to the Baltic Sea.  Pushing the Swedes out of Estonia and part of Finland.  Russia had also pushed south through Lithuania and pushed deep into Poland.  The Ottoman Empire was still on the northern side of the Black Sea at Russia’s southern border.

By 1800 the Russian Empire had pushed their southern border all the way to the Black Sea.  Pushing the Ottoman Empire back.  The Russians also pushed their southern border further south between the Black and Caspian seas.  They pushed west through modern day Finland to the sea.  They pushed their western border through half of what was Poland.  Hungary pushed north into what was Poland.  Prussia and East Prussia joined together, taking land from Poland on the Baltic Sea.  Russia, Prussia and Hungary left little of Poland.   What was left of her lands became the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

Vladimir Putin has said one of the Greatest Catastrophes of the 20th Century was the Collapse of the Soviet Union

By 1900 the Ottoman Empire was pushed almost completely out of the Balkans.  Greece and Bulgaria were now on the lands the Ottomans once held.  Russia pushed their southern border between the Black and Caspian seas further into the Ottoman Empire.  Hungary pushed her southern border to Greece and Bulgaria.  And west into Austria (which would later form the Austria-Hungary Empire).  The Germanic states had formed into a greater Germany that stretched from France to Russia.  Absorbing the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.  And even pushing into Russia’s western border.

Then came World War I.  And afterwards the borders of Europe were greatly changed.  The Austria-Hungary Empire was broken into Romania, Yugoslavia, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.  The eastern half (approximately) of the greater Germany was given to a reconstituted Poland.  With East Prussia bordering Poland on the north and separated from Germany (Hitler’s opening shots in World War II was to recover this lost territory).   To the north of Poland and East Prussia were Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  Russia was now the Soviet Union with her western border pushed slightly back from where it was before World War I.  Bordering Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania in the west.  And pushed back out of Finland.  The Soviet southern border between the Black and Caspian seas was pushed back a little.  And Turkey replaced what was left of the Ottoman Empire.

After World War II the Soviet Union pushed her border through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the Baltic Sea.  After the Soviet Union fell Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia restored their borders.  And the former lands of the Kievan Rus are now divided between Russia in the north and east.  Belarus between Poland and Russia.  And Ukraine bordering Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova to the west.  The Black Sea to the south.  And Russia to the east.  With Crimea a part of Ukraine.  Well, until recently, that is.  As Russia has recently annexed Crimea.  And may be looking further west.  For this former KGB officer—Vladimir Putin—has said one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century was the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Which he began to put back together with his annexation of Crimea.

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Russia’s Annexation of Crimea is similar to the Democrat’s annexation of the American Health Care System

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 9th, 2014

Week in Review

In the movie Yellowbeard there was a scene at the docks where a guy was asking who wanted to join them on a well-paid, well-fed, adventure holiday on a modern rat-free, leak-proof ship.  Any volunteers were to just lie down on the ground with their eyes shut.  Then a guy hit them over the head.  Knocking them unconscious.  At which point they volunteered for that adventure holiday.  That’s one type of ‘democracy’.  Here’s another (see Ukraine Secession Referendum Does Not Have a ‘No’ Option by Noah Rayman posted 3/7/2014 on Time).

Crimea, which voted to put the question of secession from Ukraine to a referendum, has released a ballot with severely limited choices, and all of the options come with strings attached

“No” is not an option in the upcoming referendum in Crimea on whether to split from Ukraine…

The two questions, written in Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar, ask:

•“Do you support joining Crimea with the Russian Federation as a citizen of the Russian Federation?”’

•“Do you support restoration of 1992 Crimean Constitution and Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine?”

The current constitution states that the Crimean Constitution must be approved by the Ukrainian Parliament.  Meaning that any secession of the Crimean peninsula must be approved by the Ukrainian Parliament.  Which is why the second question, though it appears as a vote to stay a part of Ukraine, is basically the same as the first question.  For the 1992 Crimean Constitution removes the clause about any Crimean constitution having to be approved by the Ukrainian Parliament.

So what does this mean?  It basically means anyone who opposes the annexation of Crimea by Russia should just lie down on the ground with their eyes closed.  Forever.  Because however you vote (option 1, option 2 or no vote) Russia will annex the Crimea.  Even though current Ukrainian and Crimean law forbid this.  But that’s the advantage of being a former KGB dictator.  If you don’t like a law you just re-write it so you do.  Sort of like President Obama rewriting the Affordable Care Act some 29 times so it doesn’t harm the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.  So they can complete their annexation of the American health care system before the people can do something about it in the next election.

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Ukraine

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 4th, 2014

History 101

Ukraine is a Nation with Farmland so Fertile it earned the Moniker the ‘Breadbasket of Europe’

All roads may have led to Rome.  But all rivers led to Byzantium.  The city Constantine the Great of the Roman Empire turned into Constantinople.  Modern day Istanbul.  The great city on the Bosporus.  One-time trade crossroads of the world.  Where East met West.  And Europe met Asia.  Where goods from the Far East traveling on the Silk Road passed through on their way to Europe.  And where grain grown in the fertile river valleys of Eastern Europe passed through to feed the great empires.

Rivers created civilizations.  For they provided fertile farmland in their valleys.  And the rivers provided avenues for trade.  Which is why our great cities first appeared on rivers.  Like Kiev.  The Ukrainian capital.  On the Dnieper River.  Which flows from Smolensk through Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.  Emptying into the Black Sea.  Along with the Danube.  The Don.  And via a short portage from the Don, trade flowed to the Black Sea on the Volga, too.  (But the waters flowed into the Caspian Sea.)  And across the Black Sea lay Constantinople.  One-time trade crossroads of the world.

Ukraine is a nation with a lot of fertile farmland.  It is so fertile that it earned the moniker the ‘breadbasket of Europe’.  Making Ukraine some very valuable real estate.  Because of their grain production.  And the access the Dnieper River provided.  Opening trade between Scandinavia and the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople.  Providing Ukraine with a lot of north-south movement via the Dnieper.  As well as a lot of east-west movement via land between the Germanic tribes to the west.  And the Turkic people to the east.

To improve Relations with the Rus’ the Byzantine Patriarch converted the Rus’ and the Slavs to Christianity

Kiev was a crossroads.  Varangians (i.e., Vikings) moved south from Scandinavia.  The Greeks from Byzantine moved north.  As they did they bumped into the indigenous Slavs.  And the Khazars (one of those Turkic people).  Kiev was geographically in the Khazar Empire.  But the Varangians ruled Kiev.  As it was on their trade route with the Greeks in Constantinople.  It was the Varangians who ruled Kiev during the Golden Age (11th to early 12th centuries).  Which saw the rise of Kievan Rus’.  Which in time and much change gave us modern day Russia.

As the Rus’ expanded south they encroached on Khazar territory.  The Khazars allied with the Byzantine Empire and fought against the Persians and Arabs.  Who wanted that rich crossroads.  Constantinople.  As did the Rus’.  So there were all kinds of war with all kinds of people.  Which wasn’t good for trade.  So the Byzantines established a division of their empire on the Crimean peninsula on the northern shore of the Black Sea.  Near the mouth of the Dnieper.  The Theme of Cherson.  To ward off those raids by the Rus’.  And to protect the grain coming to Constantinople from the breadbasket of Europe.  The Theme of Cherson became the center of Black Sea commerce.

But to improve relations with the Rus’ the Byzantine Patriarch Photius sent emissaries to convert the Rus’ and the Slavs to Christianity.  In 863 brothers Cyril and Methodius headed north.  They could speak the Slavonic language.  Which was then only a spoken language.  They created an alphabet for them.  The Glagolitic alphabet.  Which became the Cyrillic alphabet.  And gave them a written language.  Translated scripture so they could read it.  And extended the Greek culture of the Byzantine Empire to these lands.  As well as Orthodox Christianity.  Which is why today many of the lands radiating out from the rivers flowing to the Black Sea are Orthodox Christian (Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, etc.).

Russian Migration into Ukraine helped make her less Ukrainian and more Russian

Kiev was one of the largest cities in the world.  Then came the invasions.  First from the Asian steppes to the east.  The Pechenegs in 968.  And then the Mongols in 1240.  Who completely destroyed Kiev.  Then the Lithuanians from the north (1320s).  Then the Crimean Tatars sacked and burned Kiev (1482).  Then Kiev passed to Poland (1569).  Then the Russians took it over.  In the 18th and 19th centuries the city was full of Russian soldiers.  And ecclesiastical authorities.  From the Russian Orthodox Church.  Making the Ukrainian people more Russian.  Some Ukrainians tried to change that in the 1840s but Russia put a stop to that.

The Russian Empire kept pushing south.  For they wanted a warm-water port.  Which they could have on the Black Sea.  All they had to do was fight through the Ukrainians.  Which they did.  By this time the Muslim Ottoman Turks had long conquered the Christian Byzantine Empire.  Which left the Ottomans open to Russian aggression once the Russians took Ukraine.  Of course, if the Russians conquered the Ottoman Empire that would give Russia open access to the Mediterranean Sea.  Where they could threaten the British Empire holdings.  Also, the Russians could free their fellow Orthodox Christians from Muslim rule.

This aggression exploded into one of the bloodiest wars in history.  The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856).  Much like the American Civil War the technology was well ahead of the tactics.  The Russian Empire took on the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia.  Russia lost.  And she lost what she most coveted.  That warm-water port.  But that didn’t last for long.  Changes elsewhere allowed Russia to reject portions of the peace treaty that ended that war.  And built a navy she operated out of the Black Sea port of Sevastopol (first founded in 1783 by Rear Admiral Thomas Mackenzie then fortified by Catherine the Great in 1784).  On the Crimea peninsula.  And the Russians have been there ever since.

But the beating the Russians took led Tsar Alexander II to free the serfs.  And try to advance the backward Russia to be more like the advanced nations that had beaten her.  But it was too late.  For this marked the beginning of the end for Tsarist Russia.  The war left her in great debt.  So much debt that Russia sold Alaska to the United States.  While creating social unrest that would eventually lead to the October Revolution.  And the Soviet Union.  All the while Russian migration into Ukraine continued.  Making Ukraine less Ukrainian and more Russian.  With the Russian language taking over in Kiev and other large Ukrainian cities.  Pushing the Ukrainian language and culture to the country.  Leading to a divided Ukraine.  Under the boot of the Soviet regime.  Until the collapse of the Soviet Union.  When Ukraine finally got her independence.  Which Russian president and former KGB officer of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin, is now currently taking away.

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