Bangalore Bangalore International Centre had arranged a talk on “Crimea : Russia-USA Tug of Cold War” by Amb. B R Muthukumar on Friday, 25th April, 2014 at 6.30 PM. Amb. Latha Reddy, chaired and moderated the discussion.
Amb. Latha Reddy in her opening remarks highlighted the circumstances under which Russia intervened in Crimea to ensure that its supremacy and access to the only warm water sea-port is not impeded and how USA saw it as affecting its self-interest. . In his detailed presentation, Amb. Muthukumar in a lucid exposition stressed that Ukraine’s dive into instability would not have mattered to Russia or the European Union or the United States if it was just a Eurasian country embroiled in domestic politics. But the geographic space of present day Ukraine, through history, remained a key area because of its geo-strategic significance to Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union and now to the Russian Federation. As the Cold War has not yet ended even after the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine’s 45 million people and her borders with ex-Warsaw Pact and current NATO members- Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania gives ample space for the United States to incite political instability and yield geo-strategic benefits to not only encircle but also contain the resurgence of Russia as a global power. He emphasized that, in Russia’s perception, Ukraine’s independence is crucial and is a guarantee for Russia’s future and geo-strategic interests and extensively adds to Europe’s security. Significantly Russia’s strategic security and global interests are also linked to the Crimean Peninsula and the Black Sea. Ukraine on the other hand is economically and politically vulnerable to enticement by the West including the United States. This makes Ukraine a potential conduit and host to alien anti-Russian manifestations.
The erudite, and often humorous presentation looked into Russia’s traditional and historical policies to bring out several not so well-known facts. Amb Muthukumar’s description about a gloriously drunk Stalin redrawing the map of Eastern Europe after the Second World War had the audience literally in splits.