Before getting to my main theme today, I just wanted to share this piece from Scott Ritter, in case you have not seen it yet. Scott is one of the best analysts of this war, in my opinion. His analysis is fairly brutal, ripping into Russian mistakes (or possibly even a hint of treason) at the start of the war. With all the faulty Intel, etc., resulting in unnecessary deaths among the Russian soldiers. One silver lining, in my opinion, is that, at the very least, while dicking around near Kiev, Russian forces discovered those American biowarfare labs; which discovery and proof, in turn, consolidated the Chinese alliance and support for the Russian side. So, there is that.
But moving on to the theme of normal life, this piece is by reporters Darya Volkova and Alyona Zadorozhnaya. The Kherson Oblast was peacefully annexed by Russian forces quite early in the war. This Oblast was clearly on the “Must Have” list for Russia, along with the Donbass. Without Kherson, the residents of Crimea were cut off from fresh water, for years. Kherson guarantees fresh water, electricity, and a land bridge from the Russian mainland to Crimea; hence its strategic importance.
The Russian forces quickly appointed a leader for the Kherson Oblast (Vladimir Saldo), as well as a Mayor for the main city, also called Kherson, just to make things confusing. The new Mayor is a man named Alexander Kobets. Kobets used to be a Deputy in the city Soviet. Originally it was thought that the old Mayor (Igor Kolykhaev) would keep his job. But Igor himself didn’t want the job, for whatever reason, so Alexander stepped up to the plate.
Effective yesterday (May 1) the entire Oblast switched currencies from the Ukrainian hryvna to the Russian ruble. This was announced by a man named Kirill Stremousov, who is Deputy Head of the Military-Civilian administration of the region. There will be a transitional period lasting around 4 months, to give banks and other institutions time to adjust. During that period, both rubles and hryvnas will be accepted as payments. But after that time is over, only rubles will be accepted.
Never Again A Water Blockade!
One of the major tasks laid upon the new Kherson administration is this: Their job is to guarantee the arrival of fresh water into Crimea. Stremousov: “The Kherson Oblast is prepared, and will guarantee the secure supply of water into Crimea along the Severo-Krymsk canal. That canal [in English called “North Crimean Irrigation Canal”] was built by the hands of our grandfathers. We will never again allow a water blockade of Crimea.”
For some historical background, I found this very interesting piece on the history of the canal.
This is actually the largest artificial river in the world! It was the brainchild of Stalin and Khrushchev and meant to be a shining symbol of the socialist vision. Of water, irrigation, turning arid land into fruitful farmlands, feeding the planet. According to mythology, Stalin sketched out the first draft on a map using a blue pencil to show where the line would go. But Khrushchev gets credit for the actual implementation, which began in the early 1950’s.
On October 17, 1963 thousands of Soviet citizens gathered for the opening ceremony of the canal, in the town of Armyansk, with General-Secretary Khrushchev himself in attendance. With a single blast of TNT the construction was complete, and the Dnipro River began to flow through the gap. These lands were previously considered unfit for agriculture, but now they would become fruitful, thanks to the efforts of Soviet engineers and construction workers.
[to be continued]
Thank you, yalensis – both for the Scott Ritter interview and for the history regarding the canal bringing water to the Crimea.
Stopping up that canal ought to come under war crimes.
Since we’re only a week away from the Victory celebration over the defeat of Nazi Germany, here’s a piece which was written in 1941:
It’s as if Khachaturian already heard the cannons and felt the pain of the war approaching.
Thanks for the music, colliemum. (That sounds like the title of a Broadway play!)
Khachaturian was a genius, that’s for sure. He knew how to build up the emotions, and there is something excitingly exotic in his style.
Agree about the canal. Everything these Ukrainian Nationalists do goes against basic rules of human nature. You NEVER withhold water from another human being, not even an enemy. I don’t want this to sound racist, because I don’t mean Ukrainians as a people, but just their rotten government over the past 30 years; but to me it’s just like Planet of the Apes. Those great Soviet engineers and builders constructed all this fantastic stuff, and then, due to reasons of pure dumb chance, this brilliant legacy got passed down into the hands of ignorant monkeys.
I’ve said it before: It’s like the Forgotten Parable of the Gospels: the one where a wealthy farmer endows his son with every possible wealth and benefit; and that son just tosses a grenade and destroys everything. Out of pure vanity and spite.
Thanks for this. Super cool. Maybe it will get finished now. There’s a lot of economic potential in crimea.
That whole region can be a booming center of agriculture and industry, all it needs is to unleash the creativity and energy of the working classes. The growth of wealth can be enormous.
Speaking of which, I was just reading today that the new authorities have declared a sort of Jubilee for the people in this region: A cancelling of all of their accumulated debts as accrued under Ukrainian jurisdiction. In other words, the IMF had put this nation under so much debt, that every average Ukrainian felt the yoke of owing, for rent, communal services (water, gas), etc. With the region passing onto the ruble, it was announced that all these communal debts have been cancelled. Which means that ordinary working people can start with a fresh slate. They are still going to be poor and struggling from paycheck to paycheck, but at least they can sleep at night, knowing they are free and clear of debt.
Thanks Yalensis for this, really interesting, I didn’t find much in English about history, will go and read your link. I hope the new environmental initiatives get a chance to succeed. A climate change modelling investigation in 2020 shows with rising temperatures and less rain there could be “notably lower water availability in southern Ukraine” which will affect agriculture. Crimean canal not included in river study though https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrh.2020.100761
Hi, Nicola, from what I understand, agriculture is going to be horrible this year. The war is going to affect grain supplies all over the world, particularly in Africa. There may be real hunger, which is a ghastly prospect.
Ukraine itself may suffer a partial famine, due to Zelensky’s ill-advised decision to deliver the lion’s share of the Ukrainian harvest to Europe, in return for weapons.
I plan to do a post on that in the near future.
LikeLiked by 1 person