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Observers Say Russia Had Crimea Plan for Years

Published: March 27, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Crimea reunification supporters holding a banner of Putin at a concert on Red Square last week.
    Photo: Maxim Stulov / Vedomosti

As fallout from Russia's annexation of Crimea continues to build with economic sanctions and diplomatic spats, speculation has grown over whether the Kremlin's decision to take the Ukrainian territory was really as spontaneous as it seemed. Observers say plans to return lost Russian territories, including Crimea, have been sitting on the shelf for years.

According to former Kremlin insiders and military specialists, since the mid-2000s Russia had several plans on Ukraine, but it was the disorder that broke out in Kiev in November and the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22 that prompted Moscow to take military action in Crimea.

"The annexation of Crimea was a well-elaborated plan, it is impossible to send Main Intelligence Directorate special forces to a foreign territory without a plan," said former Kremlin spin doctor Gleb Pavlovsky.

"The fact that the operation was brilliantly implemented proves that the plan was created long ago and was kept at the General Staff's office for years," he said.

Apparently, Kremlin maneuvers to keep Ukraine in Russia's orbit after unrest first erupted in Kiev were noticed even by Western powers.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that U.S. Intelligence told the White House that Putin had an interest in Crimea becoming part of Russia as early as December, with U.S. officials suspecting that Russia might have been moving highly trained units into Crimea in small quantities over the last few months.

President Vladimir Putin's interest in lands that formerly belonged to Russia is no secret. Once calling the Soviet Union's collapse the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century," he has said on numerous occasions that he wanted to restore Russia's glory as a world superpower.

"Putin wants to go down in history as a person who brought Russia's lost territories back. He has had this idea for a long time," said Gennady Gudkov, former deputy head of the State Duma's Security Committee and a colonel of the Federal Security Service in reserve.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, July 23


SPIBA’s Legislation & Lobbying Committee invites everyone interested in the practical aspects of courts and procedural law to today’s Legal Debating Club at 9:30 a.m. at the Mertens House, 21 Nevsky Prospekt, office 506. Visit spiba.ru for more details.


Take advantage of the sunny summer days and participate in Beach Games 2014, which runs through July 27 in Sestroretsk’s Dubki Park.



Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM centre, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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