Russian UN Ambassador Churkin: Russia does not want to return Yanukovych to power

According to gazeta.ru, citing RIA-Novosti (this is an old name, the agency is now known as Rossiia segodnia or “Russia Today” — affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Communications), Russian UN envoy Vitalii Churkin has denied that Russia wants to return former Ukrainian president Yanukovych to power.  Churkin implies Russia wants new elections so that the Ukrainian people can determine their country’s government.

Churkin also claims to have information about a planned Ukrainian provocation against the Russian Black Sea fleet overnight tonight.  On the face of it, this is preposterous, given the weakness of the Ukrainian military position in the Crimea.  Perhaps this is a response to Ukrainian claims to information about planned Russian provocations aimed at providing a pretext for military action on the peninsula and possibly beyond it.

Suspicions that a shadowy enemy is planning a “provocation” that would implicate oneself falsely and lead to a reaction are epidemic in the former Soviet world.  The strength of the conspiratorial mindset may be due to centuries of government behind closed doors, in which motives for action were almost completely opaque.

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