The way the Crimean bridge steals sense of the Ukrainian authorities

The Crimean bridge has become a fetish for the Ukrainian authorities

The way the Crimean bridge steals sense of the Ukrainian authorities
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The leadership of Ukraine comes up with new threats against the Crimean bridge and expresses a desire to destroy it. Kyiv’s hatred of Russia’s most important infrastructure facility has both rational and irrational explanations. However, these statements look especially revealing against the background of what the Russian Armed Forces are doing with bridges in Ukraine.

“This is an illegal construction and the main gate for the supply of the Russian army to Crimea” – we are talking, of course, about the Crimean bridge. “Such facilities must be destroyed,” says adviser to the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak. A rare Ukrainian politician has bypassed the Crimean Bridge by refraining from threats to bomb, blow up or destroy this grandiose infrastructure facility in any other way.

Someone at the same time appeals to military significance, someone is hiding behind the environment or the restrictions imposed by the bridge on shipping in the Kerch Strait. There are no only those who would offer to keep it. But destroying and even damaging the bridge is somewhat more difficult than it seems to hotheads in Ukraine.

20 years of talking and 4 years of construction

The Crimean bridge is a special page in Russian-Ukrainian relations. It was built quite recently, but has almost 30 years of prehistory (except for wartime and the 1949 project, which was never taken seriously).

The protocol of intentions for the construction of the bridge was signed back in November 1993, and then the French were going to be involved in the project. But it didn’t take off. The second approach to the projectile took place in 2000 – Yuri Luzhkov and the then head of the Supreme Council of Crimea Leonid Grach agreed on the construction. But everything came down to money: at that time the construction was estimated at $1 billion, Crimea did not have that kind of money.

However, a feasibility study conducted in 2002 confirmed the desirability of building such a facility. At the same time, Giprostroymost presented several projects. But it turned out that Ukraine had its own ideas about the expediency, and after the conflict over the island/spit of Tuzla, the project was shelved. The issue continued to be discussed (in 2008, 2010 and even in 2013), but the matter moved forward only in 2014, after the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

While the bridge was being built in 2015–2019, a lot of things were said from Ukraine. They said that there would be no bridge, the photos were photoshop, and the videos were made at Mosfilm. Then they began to exaggerate the objectively existing difficulties of construction – all these tectonic faults, mud volcanoes, bottom sediments, karst cavities, currents, etc. With an indispensable lament “only Speer could build a bridge there.” Speer could only build a cable car crossing there, but the reasons for the Ukrainians’ admiration for the gloomy German genius are understandable and no longer cause surprise. In the end, it is the Third Reich that Ukraine tries to cosplay ineptly.

But here’s the problem. Behind the constant threats to the Crimean bridge, Ukrainian politicians are forgetting one of their own myths: the supposedly Ukrainian Kuban.

Lip no fool

The plot is well-known. At the end of the 18th century, Catherine II liquidated the Zaporizhzhya Sich, resettling the Cossacks in the Kuban, and granted them new lands in eternal possession. They resettled and complained there not only to the Cossacks, but also to the Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbs, Germans and many others. However, neither Bulgaria, nor Serbia, nor anyone else, on this basis, believe that something belongs to them on the territory of modern Russia.

The Ukrainians believed – and in May 1918 even negotiated a merger with the leadership of the Kuban People’s Republic. The negotiations had no result, but the Ukrainians remembered the fact. And later, during the Paris Peace Conference, they rolled out claims, including to the Kuban.

They continue to roll out to this day. In 2019, the Kuban parliamentary association was even created in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. And after the start of the military operation, they tried (more for trolling) to declare the proclamation of people’s republics in the Kuban, in Rostov, Voronezh – that is, in territories that are considered ethnically Ukrainian among Ukrainian nationalists.

Okay, let’s try to get into this skin and this logic. Moreover, 100 years ago, some representatives of the Kuban People’s Republic did not really exclude such an option (not because of their Ukrainianness, but rather as a way to resist the Bolsheviks, but nonetheless). Suppose you consider these lands to be yours. And you don’t even rule out attempts to “return” them (after the “return” of Crimea and Donbass). Maps and borders have long been outlined, for a hundred years they lie and gather dust. So why blow up the bridge?

Deal after all even not in military moments. Here is the Crimea, here is the Kuban. There is a bridge between them. It’s comfortable. No need to carry trains and cars by ferry. The deficit can be quickly resolved, there is no transport collapse.

Poor and suffering from the Crimean bridge, the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol immediately becomes Ukraine does not need (for whining as well). Why this Azov shallow water when there is Novorossiysk? Together with the ports of the Crimea, and most importantly, the bridge between the Crimea and the Kuban, it gives such Ukraine a unique position among other states of the Black Sea basin. No, we’ll blow it up. For what? Build a new one then?

Ukraine is known for its bridge building traditions. The Podolsko-Voskresensky bridge in Kyiv has been under construction since the early 1990s. Next year, the anniversary – 30 years began and still cannot be completed.

Otherwise they can’t

Ukrainian politicians, it seems, are simply organically incapable of thinking in such categories. They are only enough to make them blow in the direction of the Crimean bridge and threaten to blow them up. By the way, they began to threaten long before the special operation. Either combat swimmers-saboteurs appeared there, then dolphins, then the “mosquito fleet”. And the threats against Crimea, the Russian Black Sea Fleet and the Crimean Bridge in the form of Naval Forces bases in Berdyansk and Ochakovo became one of the reasons for the start of the current special operation: the Naval Forces base turns into a NATO proxy base with a flick of the wrist. Would have turned. But it didn’t work out.

And this one of them can no longer be eradicated. The Russians were building the bridge, which meant blowing it up. And not to blow up, so to ruin, bring to a decline.

“We personally spoke with people from Rosatom, who told us that the Zaporizhzhya NPP near Ukraine is in a terrible state. Security measures have been massively violated, IAEA cameras are installed everywhere, but they seem to not see violations or simply do not work,” writes the Ukrainian Telegram channel “Signal”. Yes, yes, the same Zaporizhzhya NPP, about which Ukraine today screams from every iron. Let’s leave aside even the issue of shelling. The station, and in addition to shelling, after returning under the arm of Moscow, needs to be brought into a divine form, just as since 2014, Crimea has been reaching the average Russian level.

Against this background, by the way, Russia’s approach to conducting military operations and strikes on Ukrainian territory is sharply different.

No, it’s not without destruction. Both the residential sector and infrastructure suffer. But we strongly recommend to remember the war in Yugoslavia. If desired, Ukraine could arrange a massive blackout in the spring, cold batteries and a transport collapse (locomotives without electricity will not go far either). To do this, you don’t even need to touch the nuclear power plant, it would be enough to hit the shunting capacities. Not to mention the center of Kyiv, turned into small rubble. We see nothing of the kind. It’s not even about kindness or prudence. Banal calculation. Anything is possible, but so what?

Ukraine, if we are talking about its leadership, needs Crimea and Donbass no more than Kuban, which, of course, they will never get. But if this happens at some incredible bend in history, the fate of these lands will be unenviable. In the same way that Russia is pulling Crimea to the average Russian level (and Donbass will soon begin to pull), Ukraine will lower the Kuban to the average Ukrainian level.

“I’ll set fire to the hut, let your neighbor’s kluny burn down” – this is about today’s Ukraine. And the fixation of the Ukrainian elite on the explosion of the Crimean bridge demonstrates this perfectly.

Nikolay Storozhenko, VIEW

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