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Vladimir Putin, who appears to fancy himself as some nationalist reincarnation of Vladimir Lenin mit Vladimir of Kiev wants to turn back the hands of time, to a moment in time, where an Imperial Russian state of Viking origin conquered the region, seemingly so that he can plunder the Ukraine’s wealth, with Westminster-London based BP’s help. BP owns 19.75% of mostly Russian State-owned oil and gas company Rosneft.

But, the Ukraine has a much older history, and any way you turn it around, it did not, and does not, belong to the Russian Vikings at the root of the Russian state. Neither did most of modern-day Russia belong to the Russian Vikings – rather it is a result of historically very late territorial conquest. This territorial conquest provides the basis for Russia’s exploitive, polluting, resource-extraction based economy.

Greater Scythia: Ukraine-Crimea ca 100-50 BC

Scythia, Sarmatia, Bactria and the Parthian Empire in ca.100-50 BC By Dbachmann, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
Scythia, Sarmatia, Bactria and the Parthian Empire in ca.100-50 BC. (Historical spread of Iranian peoples/languages). Modern political boundaries are shown to facilitate orientation“. Map by Dbachmann, CC-BY-SA-3.0. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scythia-Parthia_100_BC.png

Scottish Declaration of Arbroath, 1320,
Declares the Scots Scythian (and Free)

Declaration of Arbroath April 6, 1320
From the above, Scottish, Declaration of Arbroath (April 6, 1320): “Most Holy Father, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. It journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain …, but nowhere could it be subdued by any people, however barbarous. Thence it came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to its home in the west where it still lives today.http://www.nas.gov.uk/about/090401.asp (Emphasis added) See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Arbroath

The similarities between Scythian and Celtic-Pictish art readily jump to the eye even of the non-expert:
Gold Scythian Belt (Minagchevir, Azerbaijan), Photo by Urek Meniashvili, CC-By-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia
Gold Scythian Belt (Minagchevir, Azerbaijan), Photo by Urek Meniashvili, CC-By-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia

Scythian art from the Ukraine around 1,000 years before the Russians came:
Scythians shooting with bows Kertch antique Panticapeum Ukraine 4th century BCE.  Photo by PHGCOM, CC-By-SA, via wikimedia (Cropped by us)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians
Scythian shooting with bows Kertch antique Panticapeum Ukraine 4th century BCE. Photo by PHGCOM, CC-By-SA-3.0, via wikimedia (Cropped-rotated by us) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians
Gold Scythian pectoral, or neckpiece, from a royal kurgan in Tolstaya Mogila, Ordzhonikidze, Ukraine, dated to the second half of the 4th century BC. The central lower tier shows three horses, each being torn apart by two griffins."  Photo by Д.Колосов
Gold Scythian pectoral, or neckpiece, from a royal kurgan in Tolstaya Mogila, Ordzhonikidze, Ukraine, dated to the second half of the 4th century BC. The central lower tier shows three horses, each being torn apart by two griffins.” Photo by Д.Колосов, Copyleft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians

The claim for Crimea and the Ukraine could belong, not simply to the Scottish, but to many European peoples, (including some Americans), claiming Scythian origins and even to Iran, since the Scythians were an Iranian people. Crimean oil and gas wealth could benefit many countries. Why should it be Russia’s? The Alans were Scythians. Some Alans hid in the Swiss Alps, giving the Swiss mountain people a claim, unmentioned in the Wikipedia article below. History tells us that the small part of Ukraine, which was not Scythian was probably German. Recall, as well, that ethnicity is not language. Many use English as a lingua franca these days, but it does not make them Englishmen. Many who should be Gaelic speakers don’t even know that English is not their native tongue, so long ago was it lost.

Who are the Descendants of Scythians?

Any of the following groups would have a stronger claim to the Ukraine-Crimea than the Russian government:
A number of groups have claimed possible descent from the Scythians, including the Ossetians, Pashtuns (in particular, the Sakzai tribe) and the Parthians (whose homelands lay to the east of the Caspian Sea and who were thought to have come there from north of the Caspian). Some legends of the Poles,[61] the Picts, the Gaels, the Hungarians (in particular, the Jassics), the Serbs, Bosniaks and the Croats, among others, also include mention of Scythian origins. Some writers claim that Scythians figured in the formation of the empire of the Medes and likewise of Caucasian Albania.

The Scythians also feature in some national origin-legends of the Celts. In the second paragraph of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath, the élite of Scotland claim Scythia as a former homeland of the Scots. According to the 11th-century Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland), the 14th-century Auraicept na n-Éces and other Irish folklore, the Irish originated in Scythia and were descendants of Fénius Farsaid, a Scythian prince who created the Ogham alphabet and who was one of the principal architects of the Gaelic language.

The Carolingian kings of the Franks traced Merovingian ancestry to the Germanic tribe of the Sicambri. Gregory of Tours documents in his History of the Franks that when Clovis was baptised, he was referred to as a Sicamber with the words “Mitis depone colla, Sicamber, adora quod incendisti, incendi quod adorasti.” The Chronicle of Fredegar in turn reveals that the Franks believed the Sicambri to be a tribe of Scythian or Cimmerian descent, who had changed their name to Franks in honour of their chieftain Franco in 11 BC.

Tadeusz Sulimirski notes that the Sacae also invaded parts of Northern India, where it is theorised that a number of groups may have encountered historical Scythian influence.[63]

Based on such accounts of Scythian founders of certain Germanic as well as Celtic tribes, British historiography in the British Empire period such as Sharon Turner in his History of the Anglo-Saxons, made them the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons.

Linguistically, only modern-day Ossetian and Pashto as well as Yaghnobi and Pamiri languages are similar to old Eastern Iranian languages once spoken by Scythians.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians#Descent_claims (Emphasis added) See related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimmerians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossetia (Putin claims Ossetia too!) No Russians mentioned in this list! No Vikings either.

Very Late Arrival of the Russians

Map showing the major Varangian trade routes, the Volga trade route (in red) and the Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Other trade routes of the 8th-11th centuries shown in orange.  Map by Electionworld, CC-By-SA, via Wikimedia
Map showing the major Varangian trade routes, the Volga trade route (in red) and the Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Other trade routes of the 8th-11th centuries AD (CE) shown in orange. Map by Electionworld, CC-By-SA, via Wikimedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Varangian_routes.png

The Rurik dynasty or Rurikids (Russian: Рю́риковичи, Ukrainian: Рю́риковичі, Belarusian: Ру́рыковичи) was a dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, who established himself in Novgorod around the year 862 AD. The Rurikids were the ruling dynasty of Kievan Rus’ (after 862), the successor principalities of Galicia-Volhynia (after 1199), Chernigov, Vladimir-Suzdal, and the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and the founders of the Tsardom of Russia. They are one of Europe’s oldest royal houses, with numerous existing cadet branches.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rurik_dynasty (Emphasis added).

The Varangians or Varyags (Old Norse: Væringjar; Greek: Βάραγγοι, Βαριάγοι, Varangoi, Variagoi) was the name given by Greeks and East Slavs to Vikings, who between the 9th and 11th centuries ruled the medieval state of Rus’ and formed the Byzantine Varangian Guard. According to the 12th century Kievan Primary Chronicle, a group of Varangians known as the Rus’ settled in Novgorod in 862 under the leadership of Rurik. Before Rurik, the Rus’ might have ruled an earlier hypothetical polity. Rurik’s relative Oleg conquered Kiev in 882 and established the state of Kievan Rus’, which was later ruled by Rurik’s descendants.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian (Emphasis added)

From this map it is clear that the Russian Rulers were Imperial Conquerors. Not surprising that the Russian economy is built upon exploitation, sucking the vast resources of a vast hinterland to Moscow.

Territory of MuscovyRussia in 1500, 1600 and 1700.  Map Dbachmann, Copyleft, via Wikimedia
Territory of MuscovyRussia in 1500, 1600 and 1700. Map Dbachmann, Copyleft, via Wikimedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Empire

In 1654 the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, offered to ally Ukraine with the Russian tsar, Aleksey I. Aleksey’s acceptance of this offer, which was ratified in the Treaty of Pereyaslav, led to a protracted war between Poland and Russia. The Truce of Andrusovo, which ended the war in 1667, split Ukraine along the Dnieper River, reuniting the western sector (or Right-bank Ukraine) with Poland and leaving the eastern sector (Left-bank Ukraine) as the Cossack Hetmanate, self-governing under the sovereignty of the tsar. However, the self-government did not last long and Eastern Ukraine was eventually fully incorporated into the Russian Empire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsardom_of_Russia#Acquisition_of_Ukraine

We can always call in the Italians, who, because of the Roman Empire, also predate Russia in Crimea and Ukraine. Italy could claim a lot of other places too, as parts of the Roman Empire.

In the long view of history the Ukraine is not Russian, but was rather conquered by Russia multiple times. If Vladimir Putin fancies himself as Tsar Vladimir of Kiev (980 AD – 1015 AD), he could keep going to Kiev. If he is to be stopped then everyone, especially the Swiss, need to impose stricter economic sanctions. Only universal sanctions work against tyranny, as proven in World War II, when Switzerland kept Hitler going to the bitter end, with early help from Sweden, who had the good sense to bail out, when it was clear that Hitler was losing.

Like for Hitler, Switzerland plays a critical role in Putin’s survival:
… an estimated $15bn (£9bn) of Russian assets invested in Swiss banks… 75% of Russian oil and 66% of Russian grain is traded through the city of Genevahttp://www.bbc.com/news/business-28833360 (19 August 2014, “Swiss sanctions dilemma over Russia“, By Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva) While Switzerland has increased sanctions since this BBC article was written, we see nothing in news suggesting that they are stopping Russian oil or grain commodities trade, which is Russia’s lifeline. However, if Switzerland sanctions and China does not, then Putin can probably trade oil and grain to China.

The Ukrainian conflict was triggered over closeness to the EU vs. Russia. That the EU was a better deal is crystal clear, especially if the Ukraine enters the Schengen area, allowing free movement of people and employment opportunities throughout a large 26 country area. Russia itself is in debt. If they “help” the Ukraine or Crimea it will be only with crumbs from Crimea-Ukraine’s stolen resources. Bloggers do not have to register in Europe, as they do in Russia; nor are they subject to arbitrary searches, nor psychiatric evaluations, as in Russia (read about Blogger 51 in Murmansk). If you don’t like one European country, there are 25 others to choose from, if you are in Schengen.

In Europe there is still the option to opt out of nuclear, whereas Putin’s Russia (Rosatom is government owned) is imposing and selling nuclear power plants and mining uranium the world over. Russia, Japan, and France are the big nuclear pushers.

The French have been mucking about in Africa to protect their uranium and other mines. This, of course, raises the question of if we turn the clock back to human’s origins in Africa? Is this the excuse for France’s recent African military excursions-invasions? The French should keep their military might in Europe as deterrence to Russia. Will Vladimir Putin invade Africa next to save his African cousins?

If we are going to make ethnicity the center focus of the world then the focus should NOT be conquest, as is apparently Vladimir Putin’s game. Rather the focus should be the right to return to ethnic homeland by those living in colonial settler states, and the return of colonial settler states to the Native Peoples or, at the minimum, a respect and gratitude to the Native Peoples, and for the land, which is currently lacking in colonial settler states.

One of the only European countries willing to take its exiles back for unlimited generations seems to be Italy, still only back to 1861. [Update: This is only true for those with Italian fathers. For those with Italian mothers it started applying for those born sometime in the 1940s.] Will Ireland take back all of those booted out by the British throughout almost 1,000 years of British occupation of Ireland? Mostly not, thought they have much room and plenty of non-Irish immigrants. Ireland continues to exclude the descendants of exiles from the Great (potato) Famine, and earlier, from return. Only descendants of very recent migrants have the right to return. Will the UK take back any of its exiles, chased and booted out to North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and elsewhere, over 100s of years? No. And, if they were to do it, then all of the modern-day immigrants to the UK would need to go back to their ethnic homelands to make room, and even then the entire island might sink from the weight. Even still, the UK finds room for those with no indigenous ties to the British Isles, which is patently unfair. Germany might be able to take the 15% of Americans claiming German origin, but where are the offers? The only offer coming from Germany is the dumping of its high level nuclear waste on the USA. First Europe dumped its unwanted peoples on others and then its nuclear waste.

Russia has plenty of territory, the greatest land area in the world, so why are they trying to take more? Russia is like a grossly obese person gobbling down more cake. If we are to learn anything by Vladimir Putin’s silly, albeit deadly serious, show of force, it should be that many of us are visitors to the land, we are guests, and, as such, should give more rights and more respect to both the environment and the Indigenous Peoples. As more than one songwriter has said “I am a pilgrim and a stranger“.

(Note that this post was written on the 22 of May 2014 and updated only slightly. This was when there were even fewer sanctions against Russia. Reading about Willie MacRae, who was shot on the 6th of April 1985, 665 years after the Declaration of Arbroath, as well as the ongoing violence in the Ukraine, reminded us of this post. Willie MacRae had announced to one or more friends (e.g. Mary Johnston) that he had found something major regarding the Dounreay Nuclear Facility in Scotland, shortly before he was shot. He had been an important player in the stopping of a nuclear waste dump in the Ayrshire hills, as well. The UK ran so many people out of Scotland from ca 1603 up through the mid to late 1800s. They cleared the land, only to destroy it. That’s how the British and Russian Empires worked and appear to still work – two exploitative peas in a pod. BP, located less than one mile from 10 Downing St., owns almost 20% of Russia’s Rosneft.)

Postscript: Even as we were editing, the Ukrainian President and Putin agreed a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/31152.html
This still is not returning Crimea, however.