Texas Tech Expert can Discuss Russia/Ukraine Situation
March 4, 2014
Frank C. Thames is an associate professor of political science and expert on Russian
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.
Frank C. Thames, associate professor of political science and expert on Russian politics, (806) 742-4049
- 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
- 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
- “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
- “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