By Hall Gardner
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Extra info for Crimea, Global Rivalry, and the Vengeance of History
In this perspective, Putin’s efforts to annex Crimea and to support Russophone movements in eastern Ukraine and to build a new Russian empire or “Eurasian Union” can best be compared and contrasted to the Russian Revolution, when Lenin and Trotsky sought to weld the tsarist empire back together under Moscow’s totalitarian controls, than with Hitler’s form of national socialism and aggressive militarism. This does not, however, rule out comparisons and contrasts between now and Tsar Nicolas I before the Crimean War.
By 1793, at the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars, most of Ukraine was brought into the tsarist empire after the Second Partition of Poland. Here, parenthetically, it should be noted that Russia was aligned with Prussia in the Fourth Coalition in 1806 at the time Napoleon crushed Prussia at the battle of Jena and history ostensibly “ended” according to Hegel. The Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 led to the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine under Napoleonic control and the newly fashioned Kingdom of Westphalia.
4 President Bush did, however, begin to shift his position in favor of Ukrainian independence between October–November 1991 after the August 20–21, 1991, coup attempt by Brezhnev-era sympathizers, the so-called Gang of 8. ” As the “two-plus-four” talks over German unification proceeded as scheduled, Gorbachev’s statement was interpreted as a scare tactic intended to gain concessions on other issues. The delayed-reaction August 1991 putsch took place on the day on which Gorbachev’s New Union Treaty was to be signed and at the time when the Ukrainians (among other Soviet republics) were balking on joining any form of union with Moscow.