Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Arrival in Crimea - pick the 'forbidden fruit'


Despite the western punitive sanctions against Crimea I arrived here Friday about 5:00 pm on a flight from Moscow.  It was snowing at the airport as I left Russia's capital city.  When I arrived in Simferopol, Crimea it was sunny but cold.

I spent the night in the Ukraina Hotel in Simferopol, the same hotel our Russia Study Tour group stayed in last May when we visited the city.  On Saturday morning I had a meeting with one of my hosts to review plans for my time in Crimea, and the conference I was invited to attend.  He told me he is also working to arrange for me to speak at a local university while I am here.

After the meeting I took a taxi to the famous Crimean city of Yalta, about a two-hour ride.  The traffic was quite heavy which indicated that the new bridge Putin had built from the mainland of Russia out to the Crimean peninsula was in fact bringing many tourists to the 'forbidden land'.

The west is now punishing Crimean citizens for their vote in 2014, by a super-majority of  95.7 percent, to rejoin Russia after the US sponsored coup in Kiev, Ukraine.  The US-NATO were licking their chops wishing to grab Crimea (and its Black Sea Russian naval base) after the coup.  But they were thwarted by the people of Crimea.  The US-NATO claimed that Russia annexed (stole) Crimea but that was just propaganda. The mostly Russian ethnic population in Crimea had also voted to rejoin the mother country in 1991 at the time of the Soviet Union's disintegration but they were ignored.

As a result the US and Europe threw severe sanctions on Crimea as punishment for exercising their democratic rights.  My credit card won't work here, Crimean students cannot go to European or US universities like they could in the past, and tourists who used to come here by the droves on cruise ships no longer dock in Yalta.

I've now been here three times, the first exactly one year ago when I came to prepare the way for our Russia Study Tour last spring.  This time I can see big changes.  The roads are much better, new homes and apartment building are being built all over, and many more people (mostly Russian tourists) are on the street here in Yalta. The 2nd largest Muslim Mosque in Russia (being built for the Crimean Tatars) looked to be nearly completed in Simferopol when my taxi drove by it on the way to Yalta.

For the next several nights in Yalta I am staying in the Tavrida Hotel (pictured above) just a few meters from the Black Sea along the promenade area of the city.  Cost of my room in this historic and beautiful hotel?  Came to $52 per night (includes a great breakfast) with a small washing machine in my room, so I did my laundry.  The hotel staff kindly provided the soap and turned the washer on for me.

Yalta is most famous for the 1945 summit conference between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin held at the Livadia Palace (summer residence of the Russian imperial family in the 1860s).  The aim of the big-three conference was to shape a post-war peace that represented not just a collective security order but a plan to give self-determination to the liberated peoples of post-Nazi Europe.  But due to western moves to isolate and demonize the Soviet Union in the post-war period, many of the hopes for the Yalta meeting quickly faded. The Cold War ushered in new tensions that allowed the US to build the permanent war economy and posture itself as the global policeman.  We all know how that turned out.



The conference I will be speaking at on November 7-8 will be held at Livadia Palace.  I will be addressing the topic of  'anti-war motivation, wish of the people to live in peace'.  I am looking forward to it.

Last night I was excited to meet fellow Mainer Regis Tremblay (also now in Yalta) and our friend Tanya Bukharina (our guide earlier this past May when we came to Crimea) for pizza.  They were also recently in the Donbass region doing some film projects so we compared notes about the experience.  Everyone is trying to predict what will happen next in Kiev when it comes to dealing with the two republics on the Russian border who are demanding their independence after being repeatedly attacked since 2014.  The key element in the equation is the US-NATO desire for war on the Russian border.

It's difficult to predict what Washington & Brussels will do.  Are they willing to risk WW III with Russia?  Will any sane thinking emerge in European capitals to help stop this march toward madness?  Will the American people wake up and learn that the Ukrainian 'adventure' is a corrupt and tragic mistake initiated by the Obama administration and now continued by Trump?

Only time will tell.  Meanwhile I will keep writing and posting about Ukraine in hopes that people will catch on to this great modern tragedy.

Bruce

4 Comments:

Blogger Doug Zachary said...

Thank you Bruce. You and egis! Somebody has to do the serious work while VFP national focuses on Identity Politics. We need a serious veterans' peace movement in the US.

11/3/19, 7:29 AM  
Blogger Energy Flow said...

Many people have relatives in Krim.

11/4/19, 12:29 PM  
Blogger Energy Flow said...

From Moscow

11/4/19, 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Elaine G McGillicuddy said...

Simply - thanks so much, Bruce, for letting us in on your third trip to Russia! Blessings on you and your good work. I full expect your talk will be excellent. Any chance we can get a transcript of it?

11/4/19, 11:22 PM  

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