Sunday, March 9, 2014


Ein Unwort geht um in der Welt, das Unwort Anschluss (A monstrous word is haunting the World - the monstrous word Anschluss)*
* I apologize to Marx for persiflaging the Communist Manifesto: A specter is haunting Europe - the specter of Communism.

Why is it so that so many "bad" German words find their way into the English language? To cite a few: Berufsverbot, Blitzkrieg, Dummkopf, Kristallnacht, Lebensraum, Luftwaffe, Realpolitik, Rinderpest, Waldsterben, and Wehrmacht. The list is barely compensated by somewhat better words like Bockwurst, Doppelgänger, Kindergarten, Lederhosen, Mannschaft, Oktoberfest, Sauerbraten, Weltschmerz, and Wunderkind. One reason that foreign languages adopt such words is the possibility in German to create new and handy words by gluing two "old" words together and giving this combination a new and precise meaning. Other languages sometimes need a whole phrase to describe the same thing.

When these days the world press uses the word Anschluss it refers to the imminent integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation. With this Unwort in mind Hillary Clinton even compared Putin to Hitler but the Anschluss of Austria in 1938 must not be compared with what is happening in Ukraine in 2014.

When I leave out all the propaganda roar - here: the West subverted the elected Kiev government and fascists ousted the pro-Russian president, there: Putin's troops were needed to protect a Russian majority against Ukrainian and Tatar minorities on Crimea - I note when looking at the linguistic map that Ukraine is a melting pot of people with a majority of them speaking Russian in some parts of the territory. As in Yugoslavia such a multi-ethnic mix will cohere under a strict communist regime but breaks up when the oppressive forces slacken.

Percentage of Russian speaking people in Ukraine. Map thanks to ©BILD
What complicates the situation in Ukraine even further is that on 19 February 1954 communist Chairman Nikita Khrushchev - being born and having lived in a village near the Ukrainian border - transferred the peninsula Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. For Nikita this transfer had some logic with the peninsula connected to Ukrainian land whereas to reach Russian territory from Crimea you need to take a ferry boat. By the way, Putin has already announced that in no time he will have a bridge built spanning the Kerch Strait between Russia and Crimea.

Ukraine and Russia for all eternity (©Wikipedia)
In 1954 Tsarina Katharina must have turned in her grave, she who declared when she had defeated the Crimean Tatars on April 8, 1783: From now on and eternally Crimea will belong to the Russian Empire. The idea of eternity apparently was on Khrushchev's mind too. The fact is that 60 years were too short for Ukrainians to populate "their" new peninsula with the result that ethnic Russian living there still hold a majority of 60% while ethnic Ukrainians are trailing with 25%. The rest are Muslim Tatars. Therefore, the scheduled referendum whether Crimeans would like to join the Russian Federation is nothing other than window dressing. There even is no need to manipulate the people nor the voting; in short, the referendum is just a waste but is it illegal too because the Ukrainian government in Kiev was not asked? In the a priori referendum Putin may expect a solid majority of two thirds of the votes. Hitler wanted to be on the safe side. In an a posteriori referendum he obtained more than 99% of the Austrian votes in favor of the Anschluss to the Reich in 1938.

Ukranian soldier, too young to die (©Die Zeit)
What I fear most is that the Crimea referendum is just the start of a new trouble spot. Will there be ethnic cleansing? Will the Muslim Tatars, where they left off in 1783, start a new guerrilla warfare?

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting estimation (and Information), thank you.