Jamie Dettmer at The Daily Beast claims that organized crime is heavily involved in the Crimean takeover. I'd heard on the news that former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych amassed $12 billion while "serving" as president. This was my introduction to corruption on the ground in Eastern Ukraine. I hadn't known that Sergei Aksyonov, the current Crimea Prime Minister had a criminal background. <sigh> It's all rather depressing, organized crime versus Neonazis. It's surreal that a European breadbasket is also a cesspool.
A public prosecutor, who declined to be named in this article for reasons of personal safety, says local hoodlums are operating among the pro-Russian protests in the restive eastern Ukraine, helping to direct them on the instructions of Kremlin-linked organized crime groups. He points the finger specifically at the notorious Seilem mob, which has been closely tied over the years to ousted Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, a onetime governor of Donetsk, who is now in exile in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
“We have already seen organized crime working hand-in-hand with the Russians in Crimea,” says the prosecutor. In that breakaway Black Sea peninsula, Moscow helped install former gangland lieutenant Sergei Aksyonov as prime minister, and his background is well known. Aksyonov and his Russian separatist associates share sordid pasts that mix politics, graft and extortion in equal measure and together they helped steer Crimea into the Russian Federation. Police investigations leaked to the Ukrainian press accuse Aksyonov of past involvement in contract killings. Back in January 1996, Aksyonov was himself injured after his car overturned on the Simferopol-Moscow road during a shootout.
“Why should it surprise you,” the prosecutor in Donetsk asks, “if the same dynamic [as in Crimea] is playing out here? … Maybe there are Russian intelligence agents on the ground, but Moscow through crime networks has an army of hoodlums it can use, too.”
The international media were late to pick up on Crimea’s toxic nexus of organized crime, political corruption and politics. But across post-Soviet Ukraine the three have long been regarded as interchangeable and inseparable. And the eastern and southern parts of the country are the worst of all. “Political corruption is ingrained in eastern Ukrainian political culture,” the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, noted in a 2012 study. [emphasis mine]
I believe there is always an element of crime, the degree of which is determined by the country you are talking about or dealing with. America has crime and the rest of the world does also.
It was no secret that Crimea had it's problems along with also having a bad leader. I watched the voting process in being returned to Russia on RT and Al Jazeera and it appeared to me that most of the Crimeans wanted to go back to Russia, and that voting was done fairly. Whether or not this was all a big power play between 2 crime factions is hard to say, as Russia does have some strong tactics. One side may have been played against the other. America and the EU do not like this one bit and will impose sanctions which may hurt all of us in the end.
I do know this much. America could not annex Crimea and neither could the EU. This would mean that if they do not like their government, it is up to them to change the government. If the majority has voted to annex with Russia, and Crimea returns, then so be it. They were part of Russia before. Where else would they go? The way everything played out, what other options did they really have?