Territorial Integrity 135

I am inclined to think the concept of territorial integrity is overrated.  100 years ago, a guarantee of Belgium’s territorial integrity led Britain into the most disastrous of wars.  Thankfully for all the huffing and puffing about Ukraine’s territorial integrity, no outside power is going to be stupid enough to declare war on Russia.

The boundaries of states are accidents of history.  Ukraine’s certainly are.  There never had been a Ukrainian national state until 25 years ago, and the boundaries of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were never intended to define a nation state.  Indeed Crimea, which has never in history been ethnically or linguistically Ukrainian (it was Tartar before Stalin deported them), was only added on to the Ukrainian SSR within my lifetime for some obscure reason of Soviet politburo politics.

Rather than burble on about territorial integrity, the western world would do better to cut a deal with Putin wherein referenda on their future in Ukrainian provinces are held under international supervision with some degree of fairness.  Personally I very much want to see Ukraine in the EU, but not with a tail of Russian provinces who really do not want to be there.

Putin, of course, is a total hypocrite.  There is no doubt that the populations of Dagestan and Chehcnya had a genuine and settled desire to secede from Russia, and they have suffered Putin’s genocidal policies in consequence.  Putin is not acting from a belief in self-determination, but from naked Russian nationalism.  That is what is so amusing about the deluded left wingers supporting him against the nationalists of Kiev.

Referenda in the provinces of Ukraine, certainly.  But how about internationally supervised referenda in Dagestan and Chechnya as well?

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135 thoughts on “Territorial Integrity

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  • angrysoba

    Here’s one of Ames’s risible “myth-busting” shows on Russia Today where he argues that the streets of Moscow are perfectly safe and nobody needs to worry about gangsters or violence:


    Of course, it is simply not true. When I went to Moscow I saw some graffiti signs which apparently without irony celebrated the Nazis. It was around the time of Hitler’s birthday which is a big day for the far-right in Russia, it seems. That night we were out in a club and a guy wearing a Manchester United T-shirt told my friend that he had best not be in the club if he knew what was good for him. Never worked out if it was a threat or a helpful warning. I also know a guy from Cameroon who used to play volleyball for a Russian team who said that he would never go out at night as black people are quite likely to be beaten up or worse in Moscow.

  • Herbie


    I’d have thought that organising a coup in another country was a violation of international law.


    As a result of that coup the new unelected govt then threatened to tear up agreements on Russia’s Crimean base.

    Aren’t the Russians entitled to protect that interest, which itself is only threatened by the west’s own violation of international law?

  • angrysoba

    It was not a Western-backed coup. The Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych who ran away to Russia. Not sure why you are having trouble getting that bit. Why does that give Putin the right to send troops into Ukraine?

  • Herbie


    “It was not a Western-backed coup. The Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych who ran away to Russia.”

    Well, I think anyone watching these events will understand the west’s part in them even if you do not. We’ve seen the pattern often enough.

    You say that all is fine because, “The Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych”.

    Two questions

    1. Did this parliament oust the president properly and according to the constitution?

    2. Were members of this parliament voting under threat or fear of violence?

    You’ll have seen this chap threatening a Ukrainian Attorney General:


  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “And of course, that still conveniently leaves out the fact that Yanukovych was voted out by the Ukrainian parliament.”

    A parliament in which – lest we conveniently forget – Mr Yanukovych’s party is amply represented.

    So even some of his own cronies appear to have got fed up with him.

  • Herbie

    Perhaps habby knows whether the president was lawfully ousted by the parliament, and indeed whether members feared for their safety with all the fascists running about the place and additionally were all members who wished to be present in fact present.

    Or not.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!


    “Well, I think anyone watching these events will understand the west’s part in them even if you do not.”

    Pretty feeble, Herbie.

    Sounds a bit like “Only Herbie and those gifted with special insight can really see through the veil of deceit and understand what’s going on”, doesn’t it.

    Having read all the posts carefully, I really think you should call it a day; you’ve clearly been out-argued and you are out of your league.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!


    “Perhaps habby knows whether the president was lawfully ousted by the parliament, and indeed whether members feared for their safety with all the fascists running about the place and additionally were all members who wished to be present in fact present.

    Or not.”

    Well, do you? After all, you’re the one making the claim, aren’t you.

    So how about you telling us

    1/. by which article(s) of the Constitution was the Rada acting illegally?

    2/. how many members has the Rada,, how many of that membership voted, and what were the actual voting figures?

    Now, answer that…..or shut up.

  • Herbie


    The west’s part in Ukraine is plain for all to see. It’s very very feeble to pretend otherwise, but please yourself.

    Anyway, just answer the questions on the parliament’s legitimacy of action.

    1. Were members threatened with or in fear of violence?

    2. Was the president ousted lawfully?

    3. Were all members who wished to vote in attendance.


  • Ben

    Under cover of a rescue mission to ‘save’ American students in Grenada.


    “While the invasion enjoyed broad public support in the United States,[5] and received support from some sectors in Grenada from local groups who viewed the post-coup regime as illegitimate,[6] it was criticized by the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United Nations General Assembly, which condemned it as “a flagrant violation of international law”.[7] The U.S. awarded more than 5,000 medals for merit and valor.[8][9]”

  • Ben

    “The full-fledged civil war lasted for over twelve years, and saw extreme violence from both sides. It also included the deliberate terrorizing and targeting of civilians by death squads, the recruitment of child soldiers, and other violations of human rights, mostly by the United States backed military.[14] The United States contributed to the conflict by providing large amounts of military aid to the government of El Salvador during the Carter[15] and Reagan administrations despite significant opposition from the American public.[16] An unknown number of people “disappeared” during the conflict and the UN reports that more than 75,000 were killed.[17]
    In 1990, the UN began peace”


    And then, there is the Sandanistas……shall I continue?

  • Ben

    Where did it go? once again….Allende was elected.


    “The United States government, which had worked to create the conditions for the coup,[9] promptly recognized the junta government and supported it in consolidating power.[10] A weak insurgent movement against the Pinochet government was maintained inside Chile by elements sympathetic to the former Allende government. An internationally supported plebiscite in 1988 eventually removed Pinochet from power.”

    International law, dispensed without bias or prejudice.

  • Peter Kemp

    John Kerry says Russia is employing 19th Century gunboat diplomacy in the 21st Century. Not entirely true, Ukrainian navy boss/flagship of Ukrainian navy defecting to Crimea, that has to be:

    ‘Operation Swiftboat’

  • Steve

    It’s not correct that there had never been a Ukrainian national state until 25 years ago. There was one from 1917-1921, the Ukrainian People’s Republic (interspersed for most of 1918 by the Ukrainian State), apart from much earlier ‘states’ such as Kievan Rus and the Cossack Hetmanate.

    You may be right though about the futility of trying to maintain Ukraine’s current borders against the will of the respective ethnicities now that the previous status quo has broken down.

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