The Nuland-Pyatt recording[The following is an extract, authored by me, from the WikiPedia page on this topic. My text has been deleted twice by someone with a Russian-sounding name, NazariyKaminski, so I am placing the text here in case it is deleted again.]
Multiple versions of the phone recordingThere are at least two versions of the audio recording of the Nuland-Pyatt conversation in circulation at YouTube and elsewhere, with quite different meanings. The wording and syntax of one of them, that was published on 7 February 2014 by GlobalTVz, reveals that Nuland's expletive remark can be understood not as her insulting the EU, but rather her response to Pyatt's statement that the Russians will try to torpedo the process of increasing EU influence in Ukraine.[Recording and transcription at The Archive.] In this version, she is agreeing with Pyatt, and her expletive expresses her view of the Russian position on EU influence in Ukraine. The Russians don't care what the EU thinks or does. In other versions of the audio recording, for example that transcribed on the BBC website, the F*** phrase expresses Nuland's own opinion of the EU. It it not presently known which version corresponds most closely to what Nuland and Pyatt actually said. The fact that various versions of this controversial recording are in circulation has not (as of 28 Feb 2014) been publicly addressed, and is part of the larger "cui bono" question about who recorded and who released this phone conversation.
I feel impotent saying this, but I'll say it nonetheless. I'm horrified and dismayed by the Russian theft of Crimea. I can scarcely believe that it has happened. Russia's aggression and willingness to invade a neighbouring country seems so archaic, so orthogonal to the direction of contemporary world politics. People go to prison for stealing a car, but Putin and his cabinet have stolen a whole region. The method was so sly, so fast, so relentlessly prosecuted with lies and threats. I wonder if the Russian soldiers felt any shame when their commanders told them to strip off their identifications and patrol the streets without saying they were Russian? I thought this kind of "Russian Bear" behaviour was history. But no, we should still fear Russia, and our governments should prepare for further aggression, bullying and lies. Maybe Crimea will be free again one day, after Putin is dead and a new leader reinstates Khruschev's transfer of Crimea to Ukraine (Khruschev was a Ukrainian himself).
The word "Crimea" is a Tatar word, and Tatars ruled the area from the early middle ages until 1783, the first time that Russia annexed the region. Supporting the Ottoman Empire, France and Britain went to war against Russia in 1854 (the Crimean War), and beat Russia. In the Russian Civil War, after the Revolution, the Red Army murdered 50,000 White Russians in Crimea in 1920, and annexed Crimea again to the USSR the following year. Under Russian rule, Crimea experienced two devastating famines. The first was immediately after annexation, 1921-1922, when the Bolsheviks forced the requisitioning to Moscow of grain and foodstuff from the Crimean countryside. 100,000 Crimean Tatars died of starvation. Only ten years later, the man-made disaster of the Great Famine of 1932-33 was the direct result of the Soviet policies of collectivization and industrialization, and Moscow's policy of exporting Crimean grain at below-market prices in order to destabilize world prices. It killed between six and seven million Ukrainians and Crimeans. Russia started handing out Russian passports to Crimeans in 2008, and promoting its international policy of militarily protecting "Russian citizens" in other countries.