Texas Tech Expert can Discuss Russia/Ukraine Situation

Frank C. Thames is an associate professor of political science and expert on Russian politics.

Thames.

Thames

Pitch

Though Vladimir Putin says Russia is not interested in taking over Ukraine’s Crimea region, that still didn’t stop him from telling Russian-speaking Ukrainians that Russia will intervene if asked for help.

A Texas Tech University political scientist can discuss the issues the media hasn’t covered in the recent standoff, discuss the different cultures that make up Ukraine and explain what prompted Putin’s recent military push into the Crimea.

Expert

Frank C. Thames, associate professor of political science and expert on Russian politics, (806) 742-4049 or frank.thames@ttu.edu.

Talking Points

  • Putin hopes to keep countries formerly under Russian control in orbit with Russia.
  • Recent expansion of NATO and and the EU into Baltic States put Russia and Putin on the defensive.
  • Varied cultures within Ukraine may cause confusion. Those who view themselves as ethnic Russians may not be as vested in the new Ukraine as Western Ukrainians who see themselves as Europeans.

Quotes

  • “Much of the mainstream media does not adequately present the interests and concerns of the ethnic Russians in Ukraine. They have legitimate concerns about how some nationalist Ukrainians might treat them in the future. In addition, there is not enough coverage of Russia’s strategic interests. The Russians were upset about the expansion of Nato and the EU into the Baltic states. Putin clearly overreacted to the EU Association Agreement.  However, this reaction was predictable.”
  • “For the Ukrainians who speak Russian and see themselves as ethnic Russians, they have concerns about the dominance of western Ukrainians. However, it is unclear that they support military intervention. For western Ukrainians, they fear Russian influence. For them, the Russian intervention demonstrates why Putin and Russia is not to be trusted.”
  • “Putin has been trying to create a customs union among former Soviet states. The goal of which was to keep them in the Russian orbit. If Ukraine joins the EU, Russia will definitely have less influence in Ukraine. In the end, it is hard to see how Russia benefits from occupying Crimea or more of Ukraine. The occupation itself demonstrates that Russia is a threat to these countries. I imagine that Russia will keep its military in Crimea for a while, but not annex the country. This will give them influence, but fall short of a full invasion. This would be similar to the situations in Moldova and Georgia.”