Understanding Ukraine: The Problems Today and Some Historical Context

Understanding Ukraine: The Problems Today and Some Historical Context

Good morning, Hank, it’s Tuesday.
I want to talk about Ukraine today, but this is extremely complicated and I just want to
apologize in advance for anything that I get wrong / leave out / over-simplify.
Okay? Okay! So this is Ukraine, the second largest country
in Europe by area. And this is the Crimean Peninsula, which saw much of the fighting
in the Crimean War that lasted from 1853 to 1856. It was sort of a ‘Catholic versus Orthodox’
thing, but the larger cause was Europe fearing that Russia’s power would expand as the Ottoman
empire declined. So Britain, France, and the kinda-still-a-thing
Ottoman Empire teamed up to eventually defeat Russia and five hundred thousand people died,
and it was generally pretty awful, and obviously resolved very little since Europe – just sixty
years later – would go ahead and have World War I. Then towards the end of World War I,
Russia had its famous communist revolution and Ukraine enjoyed a brief period of independence.
Although ‘enjoyed’ may not be quite the right verb. In fact from 1917 to 1921 Ukraine was
mired in endless wars among competing factions including Poland and the USSR and Ukrainian
Nationalists, even some real live anarchists. It was all very complicated. It was also extremely
violent. More than 1.5 million people died. And then
finally Ukraine became part of the USSR, and things became more stable for a while, but
then… Stalin. As many as 10 million Ukrainians starved to
death in 1932 and 1933 thanks to Stalin’s agricultural policies, which were not just
stupid but also actively evil. I mean, there was widespread starvation in a country that
is now the world’s third largest exporter of grain. Then following World War II, Stalin
forcibly deported the Crimean peninsula’s entire indigenous population of ethnic Tatars
to central Asia. So if you wanna point to one individual who’s responsible for a lot
of this, I don’t wanna, you know, call anyone out, but STALIN. Stalin also moved many ethnic
Russians into Ukraine, especially into the Crimean peninsula in the western part of the
country, which is the industrial center. And then Stalin’s successor, Khrushchev, decided
to transfer the Crimean peninsula from Russia to Ukraine in 1954. Why? Well, Khrushchev
had lots of ties to Ukraine, but also the Crimean peninsula is not actually physically
attached to Russia. As you can see here, it is physically attached
to Ukraine and it gets all of its electricity and water from Ukraine, and it’s easier to
administer places you are physically connected to. Which is why Alaska should be part of
Canada, but that is a different story. Okay, so quick contemporary demographic snapshot:
today, about 67% of people living in Ukraine speak Ukrainian as their first language. About
30% speak Russian, although only about 17% of the population identify as ethnically Russian.
And as you can see here Russian is mostly spoken in the West (he meant East) and in
the Crimean peninsula. Many Tatars have returned to Crimea since the breakup of the Soviet
Union, but today they only make up about 12% of the population. Okay, so flash forward to December of 1991
after the Soviet Union has broken up: Ukraine has had a nationwide referendum and 90% of
people, including a majority of those living in the Crimean peninsula, voted for independence
from Russia. But Ukraine remained much more closely aligned with Russia than many other
former Soviet Republics did like, for instance, Estonia, which is now part of the European
Union. In 2004 there was an election and there were widespread reports of vote-rigging, but
the Russian-friendly Viktor Yanukovych was elected. The opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko,
lead massive street protests in Kiev that came to be known as the Orange Revolution.
That opposition leader, Yushchenko, was disfigured and almost died as a result of mysterious
poisoning. Side note, but the number of “mysterious poisonings” in Russia and Eastern Europe has
absolutely skyrocketed since Putin came to power in Russia, which I’m sure is a coincidence. Anyway, the Orange Revolution protests led
to a second election, and the poisoned opposition leader, Yushchenko, won, and yay, everything
would be made of puppies and freedom and rainbows and friendliness toward Europe forever, except
NO. For one thing, a lot of people in Ukraine,
especially in the western part, want to be more closely allied with Russia, and also
(despite being an economist) Yushchenko wasn’t very good at running the Ukrainian economy.
Also, Yushchenko couldn’t push through austerity measures needed to deal with Ukraine’s rising
debt, and his friendliness towards Europe infuriated Russia, which cut off gas supplies
briefly (but disastrously) to Ukraine in 2006. So, by 2010, Ukraine was being led by the
Europe friendly, and somewhat corrupt, Yulia Tymoshenko and then there were elections.
And the presidential election, declared free and fair by international observers, was won
by the aforementioned, Russian-friendly, Viktor Yanukovych. In November 2013, Yanukovych announced
that Ukraine would abandon an agreement to strengthen ties with the EU and would instead
become a closer ally of Russia. And that is when the protests began in Kiev’s
Independence Square. Those protests grew and grew until February 20th when dozens of protesters
were killed by military and police and the next day Yanukovych disappeared from Kiev.
The protesters had won. They installed a new temporary government to prepare for new elections…
and then the Putin regime marched into the Crimean Peninsula, ostensibly to protect ethnic
Russians there and Russian military installations, but this violation of Ukraine’s territorial
integrity is known in diplomatic circles as, like, “a big ‘effing deal.” Crimea is already an autonomous province with
its own government, so what does it want? Does it want independence? That would be hard,
all of their electricity and water has to come through Ukraine. Does it want to be part
of Russia again? That would be impossible, without Ukrainian co-operation, which right
now seems inconceivable, so that’s where we are right now. I mean, unless something has
happened in the last 30 minutes. So here’s one narrative of these events: an unpopular
and ineffective, but democratically elected politician was removed from power by a mob
of protesters, and the new, unelected parliament briefly passed a law saying that only Ukrainian
can be the official language of the country, even though many people in the country speak
Russian. Furthermore, this new government wants to become part of the EU which might
bring NATO missiles to Russia’s border and that is unacceptable to Russia. I mean, I’m
American. We’ve had some very infective and unpopular leaders, and what we’ve done is
just waited for them not to be president anymore. But here’s another narrative: a tyrannical
leader who ordered the murder of peaceful protesters was chased from power and replaced
by a government that will transition Ukraine toward free and fair elections and Russia
responded to that by invading Ukraine. Hank, I’m not trying to make a false equivalence
here, but I think it’s really important to understand both of these narratives. And I
wanted to give a little more historical context than we’ve been seeing on the news because
it helps us to understand that the pull between Western Europe and Russia in Ukraine is not
new. I mean, the word “Ukraine” itself means “borderland”. It has for centuries functioned
as the border between West and East. What Ukraine needs is stability… decades of stability,
so it can grow to have its own identity to have relationships with both Europe and Russia
without being controlled by either. Right now that dream seems really far away but 60
years ago Japan was in ruins. 25 years ago Germany was divided into two countries. 12
years ago Sierra Leone was mired in a horrific and seemingly endless civil war but today
it’s the second fastest growing economy in the world. The arc of history is long, Hank,
let’s hope that it bends towards peace. Hank, I’ll see you on Friday.

100 thoughts on “Understanding Ukraine: The Problems Today and Some Historical Context

  1. lets help this idiot to understand…in ukraine between 35 to 40 % r russian native speakers…the rest r romanians hungarians poland people…a minority call themselv ukrainians

  2. You got the 1991 Crimean referendum wrong; they voted to be independent from UKRAINE not Russia, as they were given no option to join Russia – They were promised a later referendum to choose between Independence and Russia…

  3. the part about Canada should be claiming Alaska…That is true and should be part of Canadian Constitution

  4. You forgot to mention that Ukraine is full of neo-nazis and even in the parliament. They collaborted with the nazis in ww2. The so called orange-revolution was funded by the CIA, George Soros, and other Deep State actors.

  5. I know this is an old video, but when you say over simplify do you actualy mean forget to mention. I also like how to you over simplify the revolution by either not knowing or simply choosing not to mention the revolution was financialy back by th U.S and other western powers and it was they who chose the government, not the protestors. Regarding the mysterious poisoning in Russia, which opnes are you refering to exactly?

  6. Янукович не отдавал приказа расстреливать народ

  7. 1) Ukraine joining EU does not necessarily mean they'll join NATO (there are EU countries that are not part of NATO).
    2) Even if Ukraine joined NATO, does not mean there'll be NATO missiles on Russian border…there are already NATO countries on Russian border and non of them have any missiles because that would be an unnecessary provocation..
    NATO military presence on Russian border has only ever been a deterrent (even after Rus-Crimean invasion); most military experts (including Russian) have already determined that if Russian military really wanted to, they could easily stream-roll through those NATO military outposts without much resistance…but then that will be an act of war by Russia against NATO (hence the term "deterrent")..

  8. We bought Alaska stupid. So no it should not be a part of Canada. Canada is full of stupid cunts! We should actually invade kill and remove those bitches and take that land!

  9. Russia and Ukraine needs each other like bread and butter but some evil rich people uses Ukraine to poke Russia like Soros and his buddies ,Russia and Ukraine are the same people they must work together for peace ,two great Nations

  10. There's no reason for ignoring the fact that Jews composed 5% of the Russian population yet 70% of the Bolshevik leadership that killed more Christians than German Socialists killed Jews. Jews designed and carried out Stalin's holodomore atrocities.

  11. Ukraine is just a fiction, a rump state with no history of independence. It is one of the most xenophobic and anti semitic places on Earth. The Crimean people are predominantly ethically Russia as are the area in the East that wish to break away. What happened to the Wilsonean policies used to dismember the German, Austro Hungarian, and Ottoman empires. That ethnically similar and language homogenous areas had a right to affiliate with Poland, or France, or Italy, or the Yugoslavian mess? No body wants to live in Ukraine, a polluted, economically backward and bankrupt, xenophobic hell. The Russian economy is much better and they at least make their living allowance payments to the poor and old.

  12. How was the Crimean War between Orthodox and Catholics? The Russians were (yes Orthodox) but the only main opposition that was Catholic fighting in that war was France, the other armies was mainly British (Anglican) and the Ottomans (muslim). Others contributed to a minor extent. The declining Ottoman Empire being the main reason for the war. The war was to prevent Russian expansion into Asia minor and the Middle-East and would determine who would be the protector of Middle-East Christians and therefore who influenced them.

  13. The mob in Kiev, that forced out a duly elected President Viktor Yanukovych, is responsible for everything that has transpired since. In other words, Ukrainians brought about their own misfortune. I don't blame the ethnic Russians in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for rebelling against the mob rulers in Kiev.

  14. Hey John. I noticed that a lot of the replacements for the elected Ukrainian politicians who were ousted from office after the Maidan Revolution were Jews. Why was that? Was it an amazing coincidence? Or was there some sort of conspiracy, hatched or aided by Zionists, to convert Ukraine into a stage on which to perform political plays intended to make Russia seem a villain? Oh, by the way, I also noticed that these new Jewish officials scraped up all of Ukraine's gold stockpiles and shipped them to the New York Federal Reserve Bank. You know, where Germany had previously sent its gold and then couldn't get it back again when they asked for it?

  15. how can one person get everything wrong? oh I see he's a yank and since he made this garbage Crimea is now a wonderful place to live and will never be handed over to the nazi.s in Ukraine again.Hail Putin the saviour of the people.

  16. I am a an American born with five hundred years of Ukranian heritage and I can tell you that you have just delivered an Americanized view of the Ukraine. Your history is correct but, you know so little about the Ukrainian people and its involvement with Russia and the west. My family suffered greatly under the soviet empire. Nonetheless, I can tell you that your video is missing so much truth. By the way, you forgot to mention how the USA spent $5 billion dollars trying to overthrow an elected Ukranian government that was pro-Russian and install a pro-EU government. The U.S. Is more at fault with the troubles the Ukraine has than modern day Russia. Both nations are using Ukraine as a chess piece.

  17. Nobody mentions Assistant US secretary of State Victoria Nuland 's admission on camera that the US spent 5 billion dollars over 10 years to overthrow the gotv. of Ukraine
    because it was not joining the EU. Once again the US creates the situation and then blames Russia for it's reaction in trying to save Ukrain from an illegal govt.

  18. Complete chaos. THIS is why Russia, and Ukraine would have both benefited from direct German control.

  19. So, how many people died in this Russian 'invasion' of Crimea? One would expect at least a fatal traffic accident. ZERO people died in this invasion because there was no invasion. Russia already had a huge naval base there so why would they invade? Russia is not going to give up this Russian base and port, ever.

    Ukraine would be best off having good relations with both the EU and Russia. That was not good enough for the US and NATO so they ruined it. Now there are sanctions on Ukraine trade with Russia so Russia has found other partners. Ukraine was taking Russian gas but not paying for it so Russia is building the Nordstream pipelines direct to Germany. EU did not want much trade with Ukraine but the US wanted to screw with Russia.

    Ukraine will end up with little trade and little gas. US and EU will toss them aside when they are done playing with them. The US will help Ukraine like they helped Libya.

  20. a paid counterfeiter: likely on the payroll of today´s occupiers of Ukraine, the Judeo-Zionists.

  21. To "understand" a scramble for Ukraine between the US/EU and Russia his sources are the BBC, CIA, and wikipedia. ¡¿He doesn't see a problem with this?!
    4,200,000 views, 3,200,000 subscribers. For christ sake! ¿Who is promoting this guy?

  22. https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/russia-demands-ukraine-pay-overdue-gas-bill-raising-fears-of-gas-war-1.2286634

  23. Crimea has always been more Russian than Ukrainian, and Kruschev gave it to Ukraine to administer – because it made logistical sense within the USSR which he thought would last forever. Had it been two independent countries, Kruschev would never have done this.

  24. The problem with Ukraine is in the hatred of its people towards their neighbors. The slavic people always fight each other polaks ukrainian Russian. Mainly over religion. Polish mostly roman catholic Russian ukrainian orthodox they both hate protestant Christians. Because they don't drink alcohol and no sex before marriage. Today the biggest mistake Ukrainian people make is looking to western Europe. It's drowning in moral decay. It needs to look inward get rid of coraption not blame some one else for own mistakes.
    I talk to men look who you fight for? what kind of country has your government given you is it worth dying for? The people that have been in charge since orange revolution and before that you voted for them they lied to you stole from you. Thousands of people wanted to return to ukrainian that left before 1991 with money to start business but corrapt politicians made it impossible they want bribes. You have no one to blame but your self for voting for them and fighting for them. STOP HATING YOUR OWN NEIGHBOR the one next door to you and put the blame in its proper place.

  25. The far western part of Ukraine called Karpatalja in Hungarian, was part of historic Hungary for 1,100 years. The population of Karpatalja is predominantly non-Ukrainian, and consists of ethnic Hungarians and Ruthenians, and they don't want to be part of the artificial country of Ukraine, and should be given back to Hungary.

  26. Ukraine = Russian – by the edge (hem) , Ukraine = Ukrainian – by the country. Same word two meanings.

  27. No, you are not excused for this very ill-informed 7 minute summary. You Failed the bias test completely!

  28. This is stupid because he doesn't mention USA and NATO interference and meddling that supported the Ukrainian fascists and fomented the violence.

  29. Another Massmedia Dummy like Msnbc: Russia Russia Russia
    What you don't say is the Glovalists Zionists took over and are currently running the country.

  30. Голлопом по Европам
    Очень поверхностно
    Western view 👎👎👎👎👎

  31. I am an American who keeps a second home in Khersonska. Your take is interesting but please…. you talk too fast. Slow it down. Put spaces between words. Take it easy. The world is not going to end in three minutes. Relax and speak your piece.

    In a very large portion of central and eastern Ukraine the people are mostly ethnic Russians and that language is dominant. In the west Ukrainian and Polish are much more common. My people on the Dnieper river are all ethnic Russians but they hate communism and have mixed opinions about Putin. If they wanted to live in Russia they'd move. But they want to be Ukrainians so they stay and support Ukraine. There are really only a few regions where most folks would rather be a part of Russia. All that I have spoken with by far consider themselves Ukrainian first. There is a new president now who considers himself the "servant of the people". We shall see. Russia plainly covets that part of Ukraine that borders on the Sea of Azov. That much is obvious. Will it be ceded? We have to wait and see. Hopefully the conflict will end soon in a manner which is sensible. And… it seems sensible to me to allow the people to decide their own fate since they are the ones who have to live with that decision. No matter the decision some will be upset. It can't be helped. It's more important to move forward, establish friendly relations and trade with the Russian federation and to behave like adults.

    I think you should take those paintings down behind you and replace them with a map of Ukraine so you can refer to it when you get your compass directions wrong.

  32. 2014 not 2004. Not western Ukraine…Eastern Ukraine. Western. Part does not want to be closer to Russia.

  33. Your report has significant omissions and out-right falsehoods that make it apparent that the authors have not done the necessary independent research, but have relied exclusively on Western, main-stream coverage.
    For example, to call the Maidan demonstrators "peaceful" is just pure ignorance.

  34. The CIA organised the 2003 Orange Revolution. The Russians said it would happen two weeks before it happened, by observing the activities of the central actors.

  35. You are missing too many crucial facts like: 1. 80% of population of Crimea are ethnical russians 2. Crimea did not vote for separation from Russia in 1991. There has been almost a war for staying a Russia’s part and that’s why it was given a status of autonomous republic inside Ukraine 3. Stalin did not move ethnical russians to Crimea and eastern Ukraine. For Crimea it was done by queen in 18th Century after taking the peninsula from Turkey, as for eastern Ukraine it was the russian territory given to Ukraine by USSR to administrate and then ‘forgotten’ there after USSR collapsed. Thats why these territories are not only russian speaking but mostly ethnical russians live there. 4. Technically Russia did not invade Ukraine as it had there its largest military base longer then the USA actually exist. 5. There were never made any investigation who shooted during revolution but you accuse one side of the conflict. Actually you have a lot of mistakes in dates, figures, east and west and what is very important reasons that I won’t watch another videos not to be mislead.

  36. Yeah, that is right! There is no such country as Ukraine, only borderland of Russia.. Unless, it's proven otherwise… All rise! The court session is over…

  37. West?
    This was a coup instigated by USA and Germany. FFS how did you miss this?
    You also missed the Polish part of Ukraine & the massacre of them by the Ukrainians.

  38. this guy DOES KNOW SHIT about what he's talking about. He seems to be informed by purely western sources, which based on the anti Russia PR campaign carried out by BRITISH intel op's. Ukraine was,: and is full of Nazis to this day.

  39. Please learn the difference between east and west parts of Ukraine. It will also help in other geographical matters.

    I can assure you that few residents of Crimea have any desire to be part of Ukraine, again.

    "Twenty years of neglect." And characterizing Russian actions as an invasion serves the false (((Neocon))) narrative. The overwhelming number of Crimean residents saw it as a rescue from Ukraine and its illegal coup d'Etat government.

  40. How can you educate people on something such as this when you dont know where west and east is you fucking nobhead

  41. A good followup to watching this is to watch the Winter on Fire Documentary on Netflix for an idea of what the Maidin protests were actually like. Also to clarify again: Western Ukraine = Speaks Ukrainian. Eastern Ukraine = Speaks Russian.

  42. America overthrew a government and the main argument going is about East or west position on the map. 😕 No wonder America does so much f'd up stuff. The voters are asleep at the wheel.

  43. it is a rare thing to see that level of ukraine situation understanding. thank you. CRIMEA=UKRAINE

  44. You should remake this video, confusing east & west in your narrative is a fundamental error, very sloppy not to correct this.

  45. Such a biased garbage overview. Not only were there a lot of errors, but Russia and specifically Putin was blamed for everything, including things that occurred before he came to power.

  46. Everything is completely wrong, all the facts are misplaced. For example, the Crimea became a part of the Russian Empire a hundred years before the Crimean War, at the end of the 18th century, under Catherine II. The states "Ukraine" did not exist either in the 18th century or in the 19th century. The territory of modern Ukraine was also part of the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution of 1917. Another myth is the myth about the famine, when ONLY the inhabitants of Ukraine starved. In the 20s and 30s of the 20th century, the inhabitants of many regions of the former USSR starved. Etc.

  47. Juschenko is living, he is At the moment over 65 and has a farm with bees and honey. Where did you get you informations? Maybe only from US Internet? You have to visit Eastern Europe, learn the languages and speak with the people

  48. Ukraine does not mean 'borderland'
    Країна (pronounced: krayina) in Ukrainian means 'country' and it comes from the word край which translates to both 'land' and 'edge' but Україна does NOT use the second translation i.e. it's not 'the land on the edge' or 'the land on the border' it is JUST 'the land'

  49. Russia did not invade Crimea. It was through the referendum that the people of Crimea agreed to join Russia as one country. The Marinas Islands is connected to Argentina why Britain is allow to own the Island? Guam is far from America why is it America is the owner of the Island?

  50. Crimea is really said like Cxim in Ukrainian
    I should know that cuz I am from Ukraine


  51. nice try, I say as Ukrainian.
    two corrections I would make: there was no revolution in 1917 in Moskovia and word "Ukraine" never meant "boarder land".
    somewhat misleading, but for a westerner not the worst try.

  52. All wrong stop spreading fake propaganda. The shooters were sent by American scums only to destabilize the region and take over Ukraine.

  53. Ukraine badgeRs hideout is being compromised by Hungarian miscegenated muslim/austrian  intrudeRs trying to make ukrainE' unrecognizable and destroying ukrainEs language by pushing Hungarian language into badgeRs country.

  54. Ну называть коллективизацию глупой-это реальный тупняк, как впрочем, и многое другое в этом видэо

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