Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Solution for Crimea - by Michael Novakhov

It is difficult to see how the improvement in the Russia - US and the Russia - West relations could proceed without cutting the knot of the Crimean issue and problem. The following is the set of thoughts which might be helpful in considering the mutually acceptable solution. If this problem is resolved, Crimea will turn from a "black hole" that absorbs and destroys the good will, from a source of conflict, mutual mistrust, and endless recriminations; from a bone of contention, into the connecting bond, and for Russia, into a permanently open door, a corridor between her and the West, historically much more important and significant than the Petersburg's window, which for the overwhelming majority was just a wistful vista onto the Czar's Baltic lake. 

Establish the joint governing mechanism for Crimea with Ukraine and with the European and the Western participation, introduce the visa-free travel to and from the peninsula, for the European and other tourists, and for the Crimeans who wish to travel to the Western countries. Allow the Greeks, the other Europeans, and other Westerners to settle there freely, if they so wish. Grant greater autonomy and self-rule for the Crimeans under the joint Russian - Ukrainian - European umbrella. This is ancient and originally the ancient Greek land. Invite the respected and mutually acceptable Greek or the European politician, who, preferably, speaks Russia or Ukranian, or both, to head the local Crimean government as a prime minister for the initial transitional period or longer, introduce the new constitution accordingly, along the European lines. Instead of begging you for money and being the drain on the Russian budget, they will be awash with investments, the real estate projects of the European quality will spring up fast, the sanctions will be lifted. Agree with Ukraine on directing the repayment of the $3 billion loan to Crimea and its citizens, with the European guarantees. This money will be compensated many folds by the lifting of sanctions and other benefits. 

The Russian military, located in Crimea, will benefit also: the value of their real estate holdings will increase several folds. Share the naval base in Sevastopol with the NATO navies. It will establish the much-needed trust and will start the productive cooperation between the militaries.The confrontation and opposing the West is the greatest, irrational and exitless nonsense. The continuing intelligence war will not bring you victory or the world domination, it will just create the endless tensions and hostility. Do not take the Westerners and the Americans for the fools or weaklings, they are not at all, and you know it very well, but you console yourselves with these feelings out of envy and hostility. There no, really. reasons for these feelings, neither good nor bad reasons; they stem from the old Soviet traditions and the historical Russian xenophobic habits. Do not interfere negatively with the Ukraine's and other former Soviet republics' European choice, just the opposite, support them and support their independence, you will only benefit from it in a long run. One, two, or three new or old puppets do not the summer make, let the chips fall wherever they may, allow the history to take its course freely, otherwise the pent-up pressures and tensions will explode, and, as always, into your own faces, with the unpredictable and bad results. 

The big, historical, strategic changes require the big historical, strategic, and bold decisions, the bold thinking on the part of the really, historically big politicians. Think broadly, this broadness, "shirota", had always been one of the most appealing features of the Russian national character and the most beneficial feature of her historical figures-politicians' thinking. Peter the Great is probably the best example. The world will only welcome and admire this. I do not think, that anyone will try to take advantage of this broadness and openness, I do not think that anyone will try to f**k you up. Unreasonable fears hurt the security; the natural alliances, fixed by the common historical, cultural, and religious roots and bonds, enhance it. 
Think it over, start with the first, small, baby steps, develop them gradually, and walk proudly and freely within and among the historically parental community of the Western nations. 

I really do not see any reasonable or viable alternatives to this type of the proposed solution in a long run.

Michael Novakhov


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