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What exactly is Putins new New Russia?

Prof. Ralph Clem: there is no serious basis in fact for considering any part of
any version of Novorossiya as ethnic Russian lands, and it is time to dismiss
that canard for what it is and stop giving it attention and legitimacy.

< Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Seliger youth camp

The following is a guest post from Florida International University Emeritus Professor of
Geography Ralph Clem as published in the Washington Post, Sep 4, 2014

[]

It is certainly possible, and probably likely that Putins New Russia rhetoric is just that,
and is intended to keep his geopolitical opponents off balance and to stimulate his Russian
nationalist domestic political base. Or perhaps he seriously intends to either annex at least
Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (unlikely) or to create another frozen conflict pseudo-state
along the lines of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia (even less likely).

As regards the latter option, on Aug. 31 Putin hinted at this, referring to the need to
consider statehood for Donetsk and Luhansk, but his spokesman quickly walked that
back, stating that what Putin really wanted to say was that the pro-Russian separatists
must be included in talks aimed at ending the crisis and the regions interests must be
taken into account by the Ukrainian government, which is a long-standing demand by the
Russian side.

Regardless, there is no serious basis in fact for considering any part of any version of
Novorossiya as ethnic Russian lands, and it is time to dismiss that canard for what it is
and stop giving it attention and legitimacy. In keeping with this thinking, in his speech in
Tallinn, Estonia, on Sept. 3, in which he evinced a new, tougher line with regard to recent
Russian actions in eastern Ukraine, President Obama made it clear that trying to reclaim
lands lost in the 19th century is surely not the way to secure Russias greatness in the
21st century. Clearly there is a pressing need to work toward a negotiated settlement to
this dreadful war, but that process should not begin with Novorossiya on the table.

For complete text, link below:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/09/04/what-exactly-is-putins-new-new-russia/

Photo: the Presidential Press and Information Office, Moscow