Friday, February 21, 2014

Ukraine

I presume that most readers are at least vaguely aware of the situation in the Ukraine. While there are many complex reasons for what is happening, I will do as I usually do, and resort to maps to explain things.

Some of you may be familiar with this map
From Big Think's Strange Maps website which shows how Poland's election results can be overlaid with a historic map of Germany (from the WW1 era) and show a striking pattern.

Big Think also goes into Ukraine itself but fails to truly connect on the issue.
Here is some stuff I've prepared.


What is interesting is how much of this pattern can be explained by history.

There are some maps that help explain the modern divide.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ukraine_cencus_2001_Russian.svg
This for example shows where Russian speakers live.

Why do they live there?
http://karty.narod.ru/great/nvr/nvr.html
This map shows a historical part of Ukraine, "New Russia"

However what stands out to me the most is this map
from http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/map.cfm?map_id=3665

The 1994 Election map shows very well how this old divide, one that lasted for almost exactly a century, still play a role in modern Ukraine.


Much like the Poland map, we can see how having different imperial masters can impact the development of a country. Modern Ukraine is the first time that Ukraine has been united as just itself. It has always, in the past, either been a part of a larger nation - like Kieven Rus - or has been divided - as it was between Poland and Russia.

Whoever the leaders of the future may be, this is a divide that will likely last for quite a long time. With such a clear geographic divide, one that is exacerbated by language, there is a real risk for the Ukraine to divide in two.

How this all plays out remains to be seen.

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