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2015: International Year of Light and Soils

Man's evolving understanding of light

Welcome to the year 2015 = MMXV = 13*5*31 (it took me a minute to write the product in this nicely symmetric way). Hours ago, my hometown of Pilsen (along with Mons, Belgium) became the European Capital of Culture. One of the minor advantages is that whatever I will write on this blog in this year will automatically become the official opinion of the European Union.

I could talk for hours about every place shown in this video. For example, around 2:34-2:36, you see the spot where I enjoyed a collision with a big dog in the summer. ;-) Big celebrations of our capital status should begin on January 17th with a mass communist-style rally of 50,000 not only children whose flow through the streets will emulate the 4 rivers whose confluence modern Pilsen was built around in 1295.

The United Nations General Assembly declared the year as the International Year of Soils and the the International Year of Light.

They seem like two differently profound notions: light is the only stream of massless particles we routinely encounter, soil is just another type of mud. But soil is a "major" kind of a solid so we may say that both light and soil were among the ancient "elements".

Although soil scientists, such as Miroslav Kutílek, an old climate skeptic whom I know, might disagree, it's our understanding of the light that was dramatically changed by the centuries of scientific progress, especially in physics.

People have experienced light millions of years before they became people. The previous sentence is tautologically false but in 2015, I am allowed to write lots of rubbish due to the capital status of Pilsen – just like other European Union institutions that constantly emit tons of breathtaking rubbish.

They would notice that the light is coming mostly from the Sun, a hot potato that is apparently revolving around the Earth (let's ignore the question who is revolving whom which is not important here). Objects are reflecting the light. Light is apparently a stream of particles that are moving along straight trajectories. Except for refraction, when light switches from one medium to another. In the 16th century, Willebrord Snellius already knew that the angles obey\[

{\frac {\sin \theta _{1}}{\sin \theta _{2}}}={\frac {v_{1}}{v_{2}}}={\frac {n_{2}}{n_{1}}},

\] Snell's law. Light comes in different colors. At some moment, they would notice the colors in the rainbow

and realize that the same visual perception may be obtained by the combination of three primary colors – red/green/blue when light is added positively (yielding increasingly bright colors as you add the light) or magenta/yellow/cyan when light is being subtracted (with pencils, you are approaching the black non-color as you are adding the ink).

Isaac Newton would consider light to be a flow of particles, corpuscles, but he was also among the first men who actually noticed the wave properties of light, too (Newton's rings). Light may be described as a wave. Interference experiments made it clear and they also allowed the folks to determine the wavelength. The wavelength of the visible light is between 400 nm (violet, blue...) and 700 nm (red). Shorter and longer waves of the same kind exist but can't be seen by the eyes.

Three primary colors are enough because the eye only contains three types of color-sensitive cells – reacting to (mostly) red, green, and blue light, respectively. It's a long time ago when I understood these things – and repeated the history of physics (someone had to understand it as the first woman or more likely the first man in the world, too). It's just cool.

Gases can emit light at very specific frequencies – spectral lines were found and allowed us to (remotely!) determine the chemical composition of almost any mixture of gases. Heated objects emit the black-body radiation whose only parameter is the color – which determines the most represented frequencies, too. \[

B_{\omega }(\omega ,T)={\frac {\hbar \omega ^{{3}}}{4\pi ^{3}c^{2}}}{\frac {1}{e^{{\hbar \omega /(k_{{\mathrm {B}}}T)}}-1}}

\] Max Planck was the guy who explained the Planck curve behind the black body using a statistical physics calculation based on the assumption that the energy carried by frequency-\(f\) waves isn't continuous but a multiple of the quantum \(E=hf=\hbar\omega\). Quantum theory was born.

Quantum mechanics applied to the motion of electrons made it possible to calculate the energy levels and therefore the spectral lines. From some point of view, light was the main driver of every paradigm shift in physics. And I haven't mentioned some of the most important ones yet.

Light used to be thought of as appearing "instantaneously". A few centuries ago, people were able to measure that the speed of light was actually finite. Don't get me wrong, it's fast. But not infinitely fast. Light can orbit the equator 7.5 times per second. In modern SI units, the speed is 299,792,458 meters per second (exactly, due to the definition of the meter that was changed to make the speed of light exactly well-known by definition).

Light and the revolutions in physics

It's hard to disagree with God: the light was a key product at the root of the world. Genesis 1 says

3 Kaj Dio diris: Estu lumo; kaj farigxis lumo.
4 Kaj Dio vidis la lumon, ke gxi estas bona; kaj Dio apartigis la lumon de la mallumo.
5 Kaj Dio nomis la lumon Tago, kaj la mallumon Li nomis Nokto. Kaj estis vespero, kaj estis mateno, unu tago.
If you need an English translation:
3 And God said, Let there be lumo: and there was lumo.
4 And God saw the lumo, that it was good: and God divided the lumo from the darkness.
5 And God called the lumo Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
God created lumo and He saw that it was good. Lumo is light (and also, symmetrically: Lumo is right), if you haven't gotten this point yet – that's why we talk about "luminescence" and similar effects and about "luminosity" (at the LHC that will bring us either very interesting or very uninteresting results in 2015). You may see that light was the central player in astronomy – it's the light emitted by the stars or reflected by the planets that astronomers had to observe.

Physicists realized that light – the corpuscles – were moving according to some laws. Snell's law may be viewed as a non-dynamical (because "infinitely fast") predecessor of Newton's laws.

Let there be light. The video shows the fireworks above downtown Pilsen last night. My understanding is that everything was privately funded and organized although the location surely looks "official". The fireworks above our jungles of concrete were apparently longer and more intense than one year ago. People are wealthy enough – and/or the rockets have become cheap. ;-)

Light was also found to be a wave, due to the interference. This allowed James Clerk Maxwell and friends to complete the classical theory of electromagnetism that unified electricity, magnetism, and light, among other things.

Now, very importantly, the speed of light was found to play a very special role by Einstein.

The theory of relativity is all about the speed of light – and, in this sense, about light, too, even though one must realize that other massless particles such as gravitons are moving by the speed of light, too.

The black body radiation depends on the ratio \(\hbar\omega/kT\), of the photon energy and (twice) the energy per degree of freedom at temperature \(T\) in statistical physics, so light was also shining on people's understanding of thermodynamics in terms of statistical physics.

Quantum field theory unified the particle-like (corpuscular) and wave-like properties of light.

According to this theory of nearly everything, light (much like the flow of any other particle species) may either be viewed as a wave whose frequency-\(f\) mode is described by a quantum harmonic oscillator whose energy isn't continuous but quantized in units of \(E=hf=\hbar\omega\): note that the spectrum of the harmonic oscillator in quantum mechanics is equally spaced.

Or light may be described as a flow of particles, photons, that also have wave-like properties because each photon has to be described by a wave function of a sort. This description and the description in the previous paragraph are mathematically equivalent and both of them include particle-like and wave-like properties. That's what we mean by the wave-particle duality.

Light has played a key role for some additional important technical aspects of quantum mechanics.

For centuries, light was known to be a transverse wave – because it could have been linearly or circularly polarized. Quantum mechanically, this is what is responsible for the nonzero spin \(j=1\) of the photons, the particles of light.

This spin is integer and that's why photons are bosons. Light may also be quoted as the "simplest" example of Bose-Einstein statistics for the identical particles (in this case bosons). The Fermi-Dirac distribution is a remarkably different biological sister of the Bose-Einstein distribution.

If we look at the quantum field theory in detail, we see that light – and electromagnetism – follows from the \(U(1)\) "Abelian" gauge symmetry.

The phase of the wave function for charged particles (or charged fields) may be said to be a "matter of convention" at each point. Redefine the phase by the multiplicative factor of \(\exp(iQ\lambda)\). If the electromagnetic potential \(A_\mu\) is changed to \(A_\mu-\partial_\mu \lambda\), all equations describing the laws of physics will remain valid. So there is a lot of redundancy in the phases of charged particles and the choice of the electromagnetic four-potential.

String theory proves that the photons are strings in a particular vibration mode and that these particles, light, and all related phenomena admit lots of new, physically deep and mathematically equivalent (dual), descriptions.

The other non-gravitational forces, strong and weak nuclear forces, may be described by a slight, "non-Abelian" generalization of the gauge theory describing light.

Originally, I wanted this blog post to be much more detailed, to explain the black-body radiation quantitatively (including the Stefan-Boltzmann law for the total irradiated energy) and add the photoelectric effect, Compton effect, LED diodes, and a special discussion of radio waves, infrared radiation, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma-rays. But I also knew that the punch line was supposed to be:
As you can see, even though the photon is "just another particle species", almost the whole history of physics is the history of light.
Apparently, I was unable to figure out that this punch line made a comprehensive treatment unrealistic.

Soils notwithstanding, this International Year of Lumo combined with Pilsen's role as the European Capital of Culture could make 2015 an interesting year for the TRF community.

Happy New Year!

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snail feedback (58) :

reader Peter F. said...

Dear Laudable Luboš,

That was a fun, promising and - not least - brilliant, introduction to our new calendar year!

Am looking forward to many TRäFfsäkra official EU opinions during 13*5*31! :-)

reader Eclectikus said...

"Laudable Luboš..." given the tone of the entry, many people might confuse the word and think that it comes from "Laudanum" (8()=

Happy 2015 to everyone!!

reader Rehbock said...

Happy 11111011111

reader Dilaton said...

A Year of Lumo is happy by definition :-)!

I wish all a good start into it, and congratulations to Pilsen

reader Uncle Al said...

Light is social empowerment, and therefore a political construct. Physics is cultural aggression prosecuted by paternalistic White Protestant European-descended despots oppressing Peoples of Colour and Sexual Preference.

All knowledge is subjective and based on one's position in society. Anybody who disagrees is thus proven unqualified to comment. 2015 is the Year of the Congenitally Inconsequential!

reader Gene Day said...

What a delightful and entertaining blog you have written here, Lubos.
And the Pilsen video shows that your town is quite a wonderful place to be.
Happy New Year, my friend.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Pretty nice, Rehbock!


reader Luboš Motl said...

Happy New Year, Gene, and thanks!

I was thinking of you (also) when I was copying the comment from the Bible that God saw that Lumo was Day ;-) and the Darkness was Night.

reader Dilaton said...

In my personal opinion, the nonsense and gibbersish this spammer always posts below every TRF article seems to become a bit too agressive and offending in this case now ... :-/

reader Giotis said...

"Long is the way and hard that out of Hell leads up to light"
Milton 'Paradise lost'.
Happy New Year Lubos and everybody.

reader Cogniscentum said...

One sided history from the leftypedia. Ha ha ha!

reader Tony said...

The impression that I get, from actively visiting and commenting in this blog for about a month, is that you may devise an algorithm to simulate Uncle Al.

The algorithm may take only a few permutations of nouns and verbs (for example, insert opposite verb) to produce something that makes sense.

In contrast, there are several others that, IMHO, have much more complex, or even chaotic structure, defying any hope for simple, algorithmic simulation.

There seems to be a mapping between the crackpots and AI simulations. Or, maybe Nature is attempting Monte Carlo with actual human brains?

As you can see, I am still far away from the Unified Theory of Crackpotism, but I am sure random permutations are the way to approach this issue.

reader Tony said...

I agree that his message could have been delivered much more effectively if he didn't use such strong words from the outset.

A strong message doesn't necessarily require strong words.

OTOH, comparing Crimea with Iraq:

- no military threat to the US

- no cultural/historical similarities/connections between the Iraqis and the Americans justifying military involvement
- hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties
- the final result is even worse mess that it was before


- clear military threat to Russia if effectively controlled by NATO
- clear cultural/historical similarities/connections between the people in Crimea and in Russia
- practically no civilian casualties
- the final result is fine (stability) as long as NATO doesn't interfere

reader John F. Hultquist said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR to 13*5*31

Some years ago Stephen Jay Gould wrote an essay (I no longer have a ref.) about the wording often used
“Let there be light.”
He commented on the part
“and God divided the lumo from the darkness.”

I recall the inclusion in the paper of an ancient drawing
of this division with Gould making the point that it was important to make the distinction of separating light from darkness from what sounds like “creating” light.
I don't recall much else.

While light is nice, doesn't the UN have better things to spend money and effort on?

reader BMWA1 said...

Actually, the 'City of Culture' thingy isn't all bad (I was able to pick-up a few free outdoor concerts in Kosice (east SK) a few years ago (enroute back and forth to and from UA by way of Uzhgorod). Plus the Slovak folk costumes are sort of cute. But then again, we are talking about the very periphery of the EU as a political and geographic unit as such.

I remember back in 2008 also all the ugly sculptures in Liverpool, UK, and thought less of that event. The EurophileUK-sters have no taste.

reader Uncle Al said...

Sarcasm is the art of making one's enemies look ridiculous. There is no social advocate/Envirowhiner who should not be slowly lowered naked into a cauldron of fry oil at 180°C (OK, first the bramboráček bread, then the advocates.)

I am impressed by somebody who takes my foregoing post seriously. Do you support Hillary Clinton for US President in 2016, as in sending your own money rather than gathered others' monies?

reader Tony said...

Ahh, the periphery:

reader Vangel said...

In the particular case that is covered by the letter the fault is clearly with the US government. It spent billions trying to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and backed right wing extremist groups that killed people from both sides in order to generate an incident that would cause the president to step aside. That worked perfectly but in the aftermath the Ukraine was ruined. Not only did the Crimean voters choose to split with Ukraine but the eastern regions where Russian speakers are the majority decided that their future did not lie with Kiev.

Add to this the massive expenditures that will have to be paid for by the EU or US taxpayers and we have a huge mess that has generated turmoil and losses for most while limiting the gains to the few who benefit from higher military spending and cosy relationships with the new power elite in Kiev. The fact that Joe Biden's son, Hunter was appointed as a director to Ukrainian gas firm Burisma Holdings Ltd. shortly after he was thrown out of the US Navy reserves for using cocaine tells us a great deal about what this is all about.

made a member of the board of directors of a huge Ukrainian company shortly after being kicked out of the U.S. Navy Reserve.

reader Andy Everett said...

Great post to start the New Year. Thanks, all the best!

reader BMWA1 said...

Since Radetsky was actually a Moravian, can I post this?

reader Shannon said...

Cogniscentum, just so you know shit happens on both sides.

reader Shannon said...

When did Putin threaten the US ?

reader Shannon said...

Then back off and keep your cows in your fields.

reader Cogniscentum said...

All of this stuff Obama did to get fascists in power in the Ukraine? And the result was that Putin got a prime piece of real estate, which was only just recompense for this unitedstatesian perfidy?

OK, You guys are smoking a different level of propaganda.

I guess everybody is bored, so it is time for another war in Europe.

reader Cogniscentum said...

Well, there was a movie made about assassinating George W Bush, and nobody got too upset about it.

reader Cogniscentum said...

Jooooos. Behind all evil in the world.

reader Cogniscentum said...

War in Europe always ends up dragging us in. Nobody can predict what will happen after war breaks out.

reader Cogniscentum said...

Right. And Poland is your field, I take it.

reader Cogniscentum said...

I do know that shit happens both sides. I also know that people can get whipped up into a war frenzy very easily by calling the other side the "aggressor" and then calling for "justice." You should think about that.

reader Shannon said...

Well so far Putin hasn't been whipped up into the war that you desperately want with your Ukrainian Nazi friends.

reader Shannon said...

No, behind the monkeys ;-)

reader Shannon said...

Just go for it huh? and see what happens.

reader Cogniscentum said...

Keep waving the bloody shirt. I am sure it will be pretty simple to get the war you clearly want started, and extremely difficult to stop it.

reader Vangel said...

Obama? The policy on Ukraine predates Obama. While he could have done something different a president has limited power in the US and much of what happens is driven by policy decisions made by entrenched bureaucrats who have common goals. And Putin did not 'get' anything. Crimea was not a part of Ukraine until a few decades ago. Its people have every right to decide to go their own way. They were clever and chose to side with Putin, who will pay well and avoid Kiev, which would have robbed Crimea of resources for the benefit of the ruling elite.

Note that it is the American taxpayer who will have to pay for Ukrainian government spending programs. And all that will be received in return is a promise to join NATO and allow NATO troops on Russia's border. But as time passes I wonder what Germany will have to say about all this. After all Germans of all people should be sensitive to the tactics being used because they were used against Germany not all that long ago. They do not way to pay Kiev's bills just so that the US could station missiles closer to Russia's borders.

reader Cogniscentum said...

Your trenchant analysis of things otherwise unseen is amazing!

To an outsider like myself, it would almost seem self serving justification for armed conflict, but in your hands, with your keen insight, it is a wonderful explication of the world as it truly is. I say it again, amazing!

So what happens next? Is the Warsaw Pact going to get back together? Those were great days.

reader Vangel said...

What 'unseen things' are you talking about? The fact was that it has been established that a succession of different administrations were working on destabilizing the Ukrainian regime so that NATO could station its missiles on Russia's borders. Victoria Nuland made a speech in which she boasted of the $5 billion spent by the US on Ukraine. She was recorded planning who should be in power after the president was thrown out by the rebels. And Russia's right to be in Crimea was also seen because it had leased the base from the Ukrainian government. The secession vote was also seen. A very large majority of Crimean voters decided to choose an alignment with Russia over direct rule by Kiev. That was their right.

Putin has no desire for a new Warsaw Pact. He wants more cooperation with the West and has been trying to improve relations with Germany and France for a long time. He knows that military adventurism is expensive and knows that all expansionist empires run out of money sooner or later. I suspect that he can see the writing on the wall for the USD as a reserve currency and will be working with a number of nations to reduce trade in dollars and replace it with a new currency backed by reserves that are in something other than just the USD.

reader Cogniscentum said...

“Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government - all that is necessary to achieve the objectives of Ukraine’s European. We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals. ” Nuland said the United States will continue to “promote Ukraine to the future it deserves.”

Oh my goodness. This is worse than the terror famine!

How dare the United States provide aid to an independent and sovereign country!

reader Karel Strašný said...

4/4 on Iraq, 2-3/4 on Crimea...

But it does not change the fact that Russia has broken its promise... and I don't like that.

Anyway NATO has no reason to interfere... as well as Russia had no reason to interfere in Crimea.

reader Vangel said...

The US did not provide 'aid to the country.' It funded the activities of the opposition groups that ultimately overthrew the elected government by the use of force. That would include the groups who use Nazi symbols on their uniforms and have wanted to expel non-Ukrainians by force from the country.

The fact is that the US has been funding extremist groups all over the world. The United States funded the Mujahideen, al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It funded the Sunni rebels in Syria and Libya. Many of those rebels are now a part of ISIS. The American taxpayer and American troops would be much better off if their government minded its own business and brought the troops back home.

reader Vangel said...

What promise did Russia break again?

reader Oleg said...

"But I really have my doubts about Russia being the right way to go... Their ability to respect other peoples opinion was demonstrated on multiple occasions (e.g. 56 in Hungary, 68 in Czechoslovakia)."

-- just to refresh your memory: Russia did nothing like that, it was the Soviet Union (e.g. Ukraine, Georgia, etc. should then be blamed to the same extent as Russia). Also, according to your logic Germany should be surrounded by a concrete wall due to all the atrocities that have committed in the past.

"In 1994 a memorandum was signed in Budapest where USA, UK and Russian federation commited to "respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine" in Article 1."

-- you somehow failed to noticed that US has signed the same treaty, yet they have orchestrated the coup against the democratically elected government (check e.g. with Nuland et al.). Does that breach the Budapest memorandum?
The gloves were off and the Russians had no options left but to minimise the damage (that is, to do what Crimeans have wanted for the past 20 years).

"If memory serves the guys on holiday were carrying weapons."

-- right, the same kind of weapons that Blackwater and US volunteers used against Ukrainians who opposed the coup. By the way, if the "guys NOT on holidays" had been involved, the whole story would have lasted a week.

"And as for a "self-declared Ukraine government" there have been general elections recently so while the statement was true in the past I don't think it applies anymore."

-- I am not sure what a "democratically elected government during a civil war" is ...

reader Cogniscentum said...

You should look at who actually benefited from the actions in the Ukraine.

reader Vangel said...

I did. Joe Biden's son Hunter was made a director of Ukraine's largest energy company. Natalie Jaresko, an American State Department employee who helped Nuland disperse some of the $5 billion spent to overthrow the Ukrainian government and other insiders got jobs that made them richer. Jaresko was granted Ukrainian citizenship the day that she was appointed as the new Finance Minister in the new pro-Western government. I am sure that she will do a good job convincing Obama to have American taxpayers finance Ukraine's deficits and pay Russia for the gas that Ukraine will burn this winter.

Other people associated with the war parties have clearly benefitted. More weapons were given to the Ukrainian government and new bases will probably be constructed closer to Russia's borders. That requires taxpayer funds as payment to the contractors who do the bidding of the government and the Pentagon planners. On the whole the war party members and their friends will do very well. The taxpayers will get fleeced again.

reader Karel Strašný said...

If you don't recognize elections because there is a conflict in a small portion of the country then how can you accept a referendum with military presence from a different state???

Either both are valid or neither of them.

US volunteers - seriously? I've heard reports about volunteers from Europe (on both sides), and I actually saw an RT video about (a single) US volunteer fighting along with pro-Russian people.

And last I read an article about 8 "experts" from US - I mean what a help :)

And about economic pressures - I remember some custom regulation changes, offers of loans, gas prices ...

reader Karel Strašný said...

Respect of the existing borders (as of 94).

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Karle, there are two reasons why the recent elections in Ukraine aren't kosher:

1) a part of the country - with significantly different attitudes - didn't participate at all

2) even the part of the country that did participate wasn't allowed to choose freely because the main parties that would be preferred in Donbas - and nearby regions - were banned from politics.

Both of these things affect the list of the candidates and/or the percentage of voters who support these candidates.

On the other hand, the presence of the Russian troops on the peninsula didn't affect any of these two things. After all, it was the same number of troops that were present there for many previous decades (and pretty much centuries) according to a clear contract.

So if Ukrainian elections or referenda could be declared illegitimate because of these troops, then clearly *all* previous elections in the history of Ukraine were illegitimate as well. All these suggestions of yours are silly.

Moreover, your wording became doubly manipulative now when you call the Russian troops "military units from a different state". They were military units from a state with an unknown relationship at the moment of the referendum, and after the referendum, they became military units of the *same* state.

reader Oleg said...

Luboš replied to these points quite extensively (below). I just want to add a couple of things:

Crimea wanted to be part of Russia for years (check the UN polls at,_2014 ), so the decision of Crimeans was not influenced by the presence of the military. In the the case of the Ukraine elections, there was a full-fledged civil war which clearly was a major factor. Ukranians who dared to disagree with the Maidan government were simply burned to death (Odessa massacre) or bombed (Donetsk,Lugansk). Is that not a factor ?

Concerning Blackwater in Ukraine, see "Spiegel"/"Bild am Sonntag" (apart from many other sources) :
Not to mention, for instance, a covert visit of the CIA director to Kiev, who apparently advised on how to kill the opposition more efficiently :
One example of an American volunteer fighting for Kiev:

And I can go on...

reader Vangel said...

But Putin did respect the borders. Russia had every right to occupy its military bases in Crimea and once the Crimean people chose independence from Kiev the new border was also respected. The fact is that the people in Crimea have just as much of a right to leave Ukraine as Quebeckers do to leave Canada or Scotts do to leave the UK.

reader Karel Strašný said...

Well, they rebanned Communist party and of course to quote:
"The Party of Regions made a decision not to participate in the
elections. That is why if the elections will still take place and Donbas
will not vote, than, in the given circumstances we will be saying that
the level of legitimacy [of the elections] does not meet the people's

On the other hand turnout was only about 5% lower (compared to 2012) and still above 50%.
E.g. Opposition block received nearly 40% in east areas.

Also I would very much like to know how many of the people voting in the Crimea referendum were actually Ukraine citizens. Another point is that the Constitution demanded that all Ukraine citizens were allowed to vote - this is the same argument you raised (only this time a real majority could not vote).
This is an important point because nobody would recognize a state if I declared one in my appartment because 100% people in it voted so.

As for presidential elections - Party of regions had its candidate who clearly lost.

How can you claim that presence of Russian troops didn't affect anything is beyond me.
Btw it must be a great job to be a Russian soldier, you get a medal just for sitting on your ass :-)
But if you really want to look for the truth you should start by examining behavior of Russia around the time Ukraine was planning to sign Association Agreement with EU.

My opinion on the whole thing is that Russia became worried that Ukraine might eventually join EU and NATO and that _could_ mean removal of their base so they took it back.
They have done it in a rather elegant way, but the end result is the same.

Anyway it is more then likely now that Ukraine will eventualy join both NATO and EU - not sure if this is really a desirable result from Russian point out view.

And this is my last post on this topic...
Clearly you are under the impression that the whole world is plotting against Russia (I am just not sure what would be the right motive - it is not oil for sure this time :) ).

reader Oleg said...

"How can you claim that presence of Russian troops didn't affect anything is beyond me."

-- well, it appears quite a few things are "beyond you", like numbers, for instance. I just showed above that the UN polls over the years favored Crimea being part of Russia
(you can ask the UN if all who voted were Ukranian citizens). The result of the 2014 referendum was the same. So, no difference there. Is there any other way to explain that ?

The percentages you quote above make absolutely no sense for obvious reasons. During a civil war, the whole political map is completely different, with a different pool of candidates and different expectations. Mass murders and intimidation from the self-proclaimed authorities play a major role too.

You want to examine the behaviour of Russia during the
the time Ukraine was contemplating signing the EU agreement ? Sure : it offered a huge loan and gas discounts. What did US and EU do ? They supported violent anti-governmental groups led by neo-Nazis.

I know, facts are a very uncomfortable thing...

reader Cogniscentum said...

For you Putin Apologists: Team Canada

reader Vangel said...

It was a wonderful game and the team with the more talent won. But the game had nothing to do with Putin. It was a game between a collection of kids born in one country and a collection of kids born in another. It told us nothing about any other kids in either country or the leaders of those countries.

As Mark Twain pointed out, loyalty to a country is very different than loyalty to its government. Or as Chesterton, one of the best writers in our language as far as I am concerned stated, “My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Karle, it seems that you live in a parallel Universe.

Most crazily, you suggest that the people in Crimea voting to join Russia were mostly not Ukrainian citizens at that moment. Wow!

The referendum was join by 1.2 million people and there were just tens of thousands of Russian troops. Do you think that the remaining million of the non-Ukrainian citizens were allowed to enter Ukraine through Crimea, so that they can throw illegitimate votes? Or did the million of people swim through the channel in the East? Were the million people transported by airplanes before the referendum? You must surely realize that what you are saying seriously questions your basic sanity, mustn't you?

Also,at the beginning, you say that everything was fine about the way how the Party of Regions was treated. It won the previous elections, didn't it? It would surely be expected to score high numbers but it wasn't safe for them to participate. After all, their president was forced to exile. Many other people were otherwise punished for ideological reasons. Your claim that everything was democratic about these matters was just like if communists said that all the people who disagreed with them after 1948 were able to influence politics - even though hundreds of thousands were forced to exile and a thousand like Horakova were executed. Sorry, I don't consider it proper democracy.

Yanukovitch was far from perfect but the treatment he got is totally unacceptable - and it's a fact that an increasing people will force to realize that his management of the country was vastly better than what is happening under the current regime. They have absolutely no moral credentials or results to put themselves above him.

reader Oleg said...

Thank you, Cogniscrotum, it is indeed an eye-opener. Now I understand how bad Putin is.

reader Cogniscentum said...

It is more about how we are all alike and war between us is stupid. But for that sentiment, I am labeled a "shit stirrer."

reader Cogniscentum said...

Quite a few apologists for Putin could also benefit from your lesson, Vengel.

reader Oleg said...

Oh, that's quite an unorthodox interpretation of "For you Putin Apologists: Team Canada"...

reader Cogniscentum said...

The Putin apologists seem to be calling for war.