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Technology and the trappings of statehood May 4, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in International Politics.

The thought struck me looking at the video of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and the image below that it’s presumably never been easier to cobble together the trappings of statehood. It’s not just that near enough anyone can put up a Facebook page, or tweet (I’ve just managed to learn myself recently), video technology is ubiquitous and in a world with multiple media outlets straining at the leash to get as much content as possible there’s always an audience even before one seeks to reach out to actual people.

And look at the flag. I caught myself wondering who designed and printed it, how long did it take? Watching coverage on BBC world news on Friday during the day it was clear the colour scheme – red and black – was pretty much everywhere being used by the separatists. The flag is pretty well designed yet I’d doubt it took all that much time to produce and distribute.

Smoke rises around the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic

In societies where the ability to sew was ubiquitous and cloth was ubiquitous as in the past it wasn’t that difficult, but it just seems somewhat easier, and the reach is definitely much greater. Or perhaps it is that the finish seems better. Of course none of these things necessarily mean very much. Any more than the Ukraine flag now flies over the Crimea (and how does the issue of sovereignty work there, is there an embargo or blockade on the ‘Ukrainian’ side of the ‘border’, or vice versa between the territories?) so these new flags may mean little or nothing should the Ukraine be successful in quelling the insurgency. The ability to project and impose military force is the key determinant after a significant enough pool of support in any given population.

On a broader political note this has been a crisis handled so appallingly badly by all involved, Ukraine, Russia and so on, as to be – were the impacts not so serious – almost laughable. And still it trundles on with no resolution in sight. I’d tend to think that the Russians won’t breach Ukrainian sovereignty outright in the way the process occurred in Crimea. But then again, with this level of volatility who can say?


1. CL - May 4, 2014

“Crimea may be formally and theoretically part of Russia at this point, but it still relies on the Ukraine mainland for the most basic of necessities such as water and electricity. Thus Russian forces may soon resort to an armed southern invasion to take control of the pipelines that feed Crimea, and once that bridge is crossed, as it were, the military campaign could stretch all the way to Transnistria, the breakaway eastern province of Moldova.”


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