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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, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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