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Ukraine: Moscow Mayor's Sevastopol Controversy

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Digital Activism, Ethnicity & Race, Freedom of Speech, Governance, History, International Relations, Law, Politics, Protest, War & Conflict

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov [1] got himself barred from Ukraine [2] this week, after announcing during a trip to Sevastopol – “a Ukrainian naval base mutually used by the Ukrainian Navy and Russian Navy [3]” – that the city did not belong to Ukraine.

Below are a few opinions from the Russophone blogosphere.

LJ user shusharin wrote this [4] (RUS) in the ru_politics LJ community:

[…] SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] has told him: come here no more […]. And they were right. Basically, they've done what the Russian federal authorities are supposed to do. Look in the [Constitution [5]]. Russia's foreign policy is an exclusive prerogative of the head of our state.

But, of course, the state is weak, the vertical of power is a fiction. [Chukotka [6]]'s governor [billionaire Roman Abramovich [7]] lives in London and doesn't give a damn. In Chechnya, the federal government is not working. As for Luzhkov – he's got his own foreign policy.

Which serves his business. Of which they reminded him:

“SBU is investigating the circumstances of the controversial statements that Luzhkov made in Sevastopol on May 11, which may be related to his alleged involvement in “dirty money” laundering in Sevastopol.” [link to a Gazeta.ru text [8], in Russian]

And what nonsense was he saying about Sevastopol. That it was the city subordinated to the [Soviet] state [and not to Ukraine]. But this only confirms Ukraine's rights! [Ukrainian SSR [9]] was not [the least significant] republic within the Soviet Union. A UN member, by the way, unlike RSFSR [Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic [10]].

In the comments section, LJ user pan_andriy seems to have proved Luzhkov wrong, by a linking [11] to a Soviet-time article on Sevastopol from the Big Soviet Encyclopedia (RUS), which described Sevastopol as “a city of republican subordination to the Crimean region of the [Ukrainaian SSR].”

LJ user reverendsfd wrote this [12] (RUS) in the ukraine LJ community:

SBU is SBU, but those who are giving orders to them should know well that there could be no better PR action to help achieve national consensus on Ukraine's NATO membership than the presence of Mr. Luzhkov with his long tongue in Crimea!

Everyone would've felt good –

Luzhkov, earning his political capital for the chauvinistic segment of the Russian population of the Russian Federation; his state bosses need this kind of screaming badly now, the country really needs to have as many enemies as possible, to distract the people; and for Ukrainian politicians it would've been a blessing, too – because only in Moscow they believe that the coal miners of Donetsk as well as the Crimean residents desire to become part of their “state”… […]

LJ user irek_murtazin wrote this (RUS) in the ru_politics LJ community:

[…] [Yuri Luzhkov] flew to Sevastopol and … prolonged his mayor's term for an unspecified period of time. What kind of extraordinary things did he say there? Nothing extraordinary. It's common knowledge that Sevastopol is Russia's city. But [Luzhkov] managed to present it in a way that made Ukraine declare him a persona non grata… And how after this are you supposed to rid Luzhkov of his Moscow mayor's post? No way. Even if [president Dmitry Medvedev] had had plans to [make Luzhkov retire], he'll have to postpone these plans now. Seriously, [we can't be ordered around] by Ukraine, thus hurting [Luzhkov's feeling]. […]

Like LJ user irek_murtazin, LJ user den-shi seems to believe [13] (RUS) that Luzhkov's Sevastopol speech was meant to help him keep his mayor's post:

[…] Well, how can you fire this hero now? […]

In the comments section, LJ user vatasi made a rather humorous suggestion that, perhaps, Luzhkov would be appointed to Sevastopol next, following his dismissal as the mayor of Moscow.