It seems like the US has become what the USSR was: companies who publish speech from people in Iran or Crimea are now violating the law by doing so. Moreover, in cases like this one, already-published material is being destroyed, in a way that wasn't practical in the USSR, due to technological limitations (though they did try — famously Beria was airbrushed out of official photographs). The US doesn't yet have massive prison camp systems full of political dissidents — but then, for the first couple of decades, neither did the USSR.
This is a crucially important reason to move away from centralized and proprietary systems and onto decentralized, peer-to-peer, secure, free-software systems.
Learn from history.
(Edit: previously I gave Noam Chomsky as an example of someone sympathetic to the USSR, but that is at best debatable. The Communist Party USA, now in its 101st year, is a much clearer example, one that published continuously throughout the Cold War despite US prosecutions of its leadership.)
For example in that speach he clearly states that USSR was a a flawed totalitarian system from the start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06-XcAiswY4
(he has in fact also stated many times that his political views were indeed censored in the US)
"Wasn't much better than USSR" is such bullshit on so many levels that it's hard to even to begin. In the US:
- you didn't have quotas to write "correct literature"
- you wouldn't disappear in a gulag for 10 years
- you didn't have to worry about standing in a queue for 1-2h to get fresh bread and sausage (it's easier to contemplate stupid shit when you don't have to worry about food)
- you didn't get assigned to a specific workplace where you HAD to work
- the books you read didn't have ideological crap (due to quotas) like "and children stopped starving because country X is a part of a friendly USSR"
I skipped not relevant bits but probably I still missed quite a few because I can only relay what my parents and others told me (I was born in the late 80s so I didn't get to experience the full glory of USSR).
EDIT: I forgot to mention a well-known practice of labelling people physically ill, getting them into physical wards, and pumping them with drugs until they are no longer "a thread". There is no need for a trial, and you can be held there indefinitely.
There was a lot more freedom than in the USSR, but the same shitty phenomena occurred, just less so.
I totally agree. The US is much more better. There's no doubt that an Ecuadorian embassy or a Guantanamo are much better places than a gulag.
Difference of several orders of magnitude, right?
"Sarnoff(chief of book operation, Warner communications) complained that too many of Warner Modular's(small publishing company under Warner communications) works were written by left-wing writers. McCaleb replied that conservative writers were also represented, and that Warner Modular had planned to publish works by Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.
Sarnoff then canceled the ads for CRV, ordered the destruction of the first printing of CRV, as well as the Warner Modular catalog that listed them, and announced that he would not release one copy of CRV to anybody. When McCaleb replied that such an outrageous move would shatter Warner Modular's staff and shock the publishing world, Sarnoff replied that he did not "give a damn what I, my staff, the authors, or the academic community thought and ended by saying that we should destroy the entire inventory of CRV".
Warner Publishing decided to shut down Warner Modular before CRV could be published. The print run was not initially destroyed because of contractual obligations, but the book was passed on to MSS Information Corporation for promotion and distribution after Warner Publishing shut down Warner Modular. However, MSS engaged in no promotion, as it was not a commercial publishing company and had no distribution facilities. Only 500 copies of the 20,000-copy printing survived. Radical America obtained and distributed some copies, because its staff already knew of CRV's existence. According to Chomsky, the rest were "pulped," not burned. Despite its suppression in the United States, it was translated into several European languages, had two printings in France by the time that The Washington Connection was printed, and CRV's suppression became a "minor cause celebre" in France."
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Revolutionary_Violence...
Not to mention that Chomsky was on the verge of being put in prison for protesting Vietnam, while journalists and activists who have either gone to prison or forced to accept terrible plea deals thrown upon them for minor offences. Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz comes to mind.
The FBI assassination of Black Panther leaders being another.
This happened in probably most of our lifetimes.
Preach revolution and pose as a victim of police brutality ...
> when police tried to evict them from their house. A firefight erupted, killing one police officer and injuring several more on both sides.
Oh right, they were just cop killers
> MOVE members boarded up the windows, built a fortified rooftop bunker and broadcasted profanity-laced political lectures with bullhorns at all hours, drawing complaints from neighbors. Members continued to rack up violations from contempt of court to illegal possession of firearms, to the point where they were considered a terrorist organization by the mayor and police commissioner.
> Arriving with arrest warrants for four residents of the house, the police ordered them to come out peacefully. Before long, shooting began.
How exactly was that story supposed to end ?
> The Mayor's failure to call a halt to the operation on May 12, when he knew that children were in the house, was grossly negligent and clearly risked the lives of those children.
What kind of person does this kind of things with their children in the house ?
If I were to transform a house into an armed bunker I would most definitely not take my children there.
Exposing children to such violence ... How is there on earth an excuse for that ?
Reminds one of Google, Twitter, et. al.
What's old is new.
If that's not a free speech issue, there are no free speech issues.
The government also has a mechanism where someone inadvertently impacted by sanctions can appeal to the Treasury Department and be granted an OFAC "license" that gives them permission to operate outside of the sanction(s). If the goal is to silence those who are subject to the sanctions that would be an odd way to do it.
Here's a 2012 law review article (which I haven't read, yet), "Information Wants to be Free (of Sanctions): Why the President Cannot Prohibit Foreign Access to Social Media Under U.S. Export Regulations", https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3...
Arguably, Microsoft and Github are simply choosing to participate more strictly than what is legally required--including what's constitutionally permissible for OFAC to enforce. And of course that's the problem with these large, centralized, free services. They can kick people off whenever they want whether it was legally required by law or not, and they will because they're going to be very risk averse in situations where they're not directly deriving revenue. There are many other areas where corporations, in the pursuit of profits, play fast & loose with the law in the face of far greater potential fines and liability.
Although it may not have a legal obligation under the current menu of precedents, I disagree that it has no obligation tout court.
The real facts on the ground here are that a person's website was censored at the behest of the US Government. This is chilled speech. That the target happens not to be a US National, and also a national of a nation under sanction by the US government does not put it outside the realm of speech.
> The United States government has no obligation to care about the collateral silencing of non-citizen speech in a foreign country subject to economic sanctions.
You have inverted the “care about”: if they simply did not care, it would be fine, as they wouldn’t be interfering with anyone’s rights. However, they are caring quite a lot, in the sense that they are willing to use violence to enforce these prohibitions.
Software export is restricted to varying degrees, mostly encryption but there are other circumstances where export control exists on software (they used to be far more severe but have become considerably reduced). The BIS - https://www.bis.doc.gov - handles this and other CCL items.
Here is the relevant CFR https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/CFR-2012-title15-vol2/CF...
To export anything that contains encryption over 64 bits you have to register with the BIS and be reviewed before you export. Even open-source software requires that you notify the BIS.
Other countries have similar export/import controls, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassenaar_Arrangement
At a lower level, the answer gets close to "no" - I suspect that, in cases like this, something in the ballpark of Kleindienst v. Mandel will be controlling in the eyes of SCOTUS, so no.
But even if this particular matter is not specifically regarded as protected speech under the 1st amendment by US Courts, it is still a free speech issue in general terms. This person's basic human right of expression has been abridged by the act of a foreign state and a spineless and compliant corporation.
> If that's not a free speech issue, there are no free speech issues.
There are plenty, when exclusion is based on the content. This is not one of them. That's why filing a First Amendment lawsuit against trade embargo wouldn't do you any good.
Using that definition, censoring all publications of a given group (say, black people) would not be censorship. That's a big hole in the definition.
It's not censorship, it's discrimination. Bad thing, but different. If it was censored because these people write about specific racial issues, it'd be censorship. If it's blanket denial regardless of the content, it's racial discrimination, not censorship. It doesn't mean it's not bad - one could argue it's even worse since it doesn't leave you any chance - you could probably talk in another way to route around censorship but you can't stop being black - but it's not that issue, it's a different one.
The definition you use seems to be a legal one rather than the usual one.
Indeed, but it's not for lack of trying.
> exclusion is based on the content
The pretext the speech falls short of inclusion in the category of "protected speech" because a different common thread can be drawn across its particulars is simply not convincing.
Censoring speech in the basis of nationality instead of content doesn't making the underlying expression any less censored.
US companies have to follow US law. I worked for a company that was fined because they still had employees working in Syria when the war started.
Are you saying that you don't think that humans in other regions qualify for this basic human right, which happens to be codified in (among many other places around the world, including the UDHR) the 1st amendment to the US Constitution?
> US companies have to follow US law.
If US law is wrong, companies, like all other people, have an obligation to break it. Whether that's the case here, I'm not sure, but I think that Microsoft can certainly have made a lot more of a stink before just yanking this guy's page.
> I worked for a company that was fined because they still had employees working in Syria when the war started.
What war? The civil war? Are there US sanctions specific to the Syrian civil war?
Rather, it is because there is no sort of tyranny or abuse that is not aided by lies, and indeed usually dependent on them. And, although free speech permits the diffusion of lies just as it permits the diffusion of truth, the liar fears the freedom of the truth-teller far more than the truth-teller fears that of the liar; because the truth can be proved, while the lie cannot. This is why censorship in the USSR was so pervasive and costly: it had to be profound to sustain the profound tyranny of the Soviet system.
As Gorgias points out, a man who can persuade you to believe lies can enslave you and turn you against your closest allies. So freedom of speech, the freedom to demonstrate the falsity of a lie however powerful and popular the liar, is the freedom that underlies the effective enjoyment of any other possible freedom. We must be vigilant against whatever stands in the way of our freedom to be informed, whether the US, Microsoft, Putin, or merely popular opinion.
And if what stands in our way purports to be a law, that law is an immoral, illegitimate law, a law in name only, a law serving not the ends of honest citizens but if tyrants—the end of destroying justice and Law itself. Such a “law” must be utterly destroyed.
Trade policy can reasonably apply to some of GitHub’s services, certainly, but I don’t see how a trade embargo that prevents a publisher from (virtually) printing some material passes Constitutional muster.
Meanwhile for decades I remember many software EULAs saying things vaguely equivalent to "don't use this software in Cuba", etc. That is what I would compare this to.
Github, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Sourceforge, HN, Slashdot... These free services are not public. You might treat them as such, but you are foolish believing they are.
If you cannot see the difference, I suggest to read the excellent Wikipedia article. 
We should be putting our collection of code in something else with a mission around those ideals.
I put it in quotation marks because it is my laymen's understanding of what the sanctions are intended to cover. I could be wrong and the actual boundaries could be subject to debate and disagreement.
I think they've realized that the argument that they are a commercial publisher is quite strong. Thus they are not eager to challenge it and wind up heavily fined for sactions-busting. Especially since Microsoft is a significant supplier to US government entities.
> In 1952, the Supreme Court upheld a lower-court decision in Adler v. Board of Education of New York, thus approving a law that allowed state loyalty review boards to fire teachers deemed "subversive".
It had certainly cooled down from outright McCarythism by 1960 but nobody wanted to be accused of Soviet sympathies back then...
Presumably if the US is beginning to institute Soviet-style censorship, it indicates a strong risk that prisoner numbers will go up and the treatment will get worse.
China is locking up huge numbers of Muslims simply for having a religion and it still comes no where near the number of Americans incarcerated today without even having faced trial.
You won't find that in the US or China. As much as it hurts some people's sensibilities think that's a fair thing to say. I'd be terrified to be a black person in many places in the United States. Hilariously think China is actually more free for the average human. Spent fair amount of time in both and as an outsider is my honest opinion. Where is best to be a political dissident is obviously a very different story.
If certain people want to repeat ad nauseum their respective propaganda media talking points fine. But the world is watching. History will judge you no matter how salty you get on the internet.
Survivorship bias is a very real phenomenon, does anyone disagree that the United States has both the most people incarcerated along with per-capita rates of prisoners?
The numbers are right there, are Americans just bad people in general and deserve to be locked up en masse? Don't think that's the case, would love to see anyone defend the status quo as it exists.
Until you're critical of the party leadership, or have forbidden religious beliefs, and then you get whisked away to a concentration camp (if you're lucky!) or get surgically parted out for organ transplants, often without anaesthetic.
The US has plenty of problems, but to say China is more free is a very distasteful and not particularly funny joke.
Y'all need to take a serious fucking step back and evaluate the words said here. I love America and everyone in it. People stateside are incredibly nice people on the whole and sometimes you need a rude foreigner to say some blunt stuff for the sake of honesty.
Get a grip on these criticisms mate. I stand by everything said above. It's fucking true and challenge you to prove otherwise.
I wouldn't care nor be commenting if I didn't like you guys, leave the nationalism at the door please.
China is far more free. 100% stand by that statement. Have you tried living there lately?
Its astounding how many people are willfully ignoring what's happening in the biggest country on Earth for the sake of some sort of nationalist pride matter. Do so at your peril. Honestly. The media is straight up lying to you about what's happening there and yet people lap it up.
I haven't but I heard from people that did that you can't even connect to the Internet there without government interference. That's some definition of freedom that you don't find in every dictionary.
I gotta push back on this "China is more free" thing. China is definitely a very free place when you roll in as a white foreigner flush with a high value currency. I've been there, I remember thinking it's crazy what you can get away with there.
But this is like arguing you're more free there because you don't have to wear a seatbelt. Sure. Not having the government force you to wear a seatbelt means you are more free, by some definitions of free.
But it also means that when I'm driving around I'm not free to relax as much as I am on an American freeway because I have to watch out for shit falling off uninspected, falling to pieces construction vehicles. It means crossing the road is a game of frogger. It means I have to worry about whether my food will put me out for a week.
And if I'm native Chinese, I don't get nearly the freedoms in China that white dudes teaching English do. Putting aside the cultural restrictions (your family not letting you study art and shit like that) you actually DO have to worry about what you put on social media, because unlike a visiting white tourist, the PRC will have no problems with whisking you off to a reeducation camp.
Living in a dictatorship, but feeling more personal freedom than I ever had in the US.
On a day-to-day basis, there's significantly more curtailment of personal freedom in the US than there was in one of the stans.
The one thing I wouldn't feel safe doing there? Openly speaking against the government. Here, however, if I were part of a movement that was gaining any strength or public good will against the political and capitalist powers that run the US, I'd still be afraid for my life.
Like how nearly every leader of the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, MO, has been killed over the last few years. That's not a coincidence, not a random series of killings.
Alicia Garza - alive and well
Patrisse Cullors - alive and well
Opal Tometi - alive and well
Under "key people" - Shaun King, DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie, Tef Poe, Erica Garner. Of those, only Erica Garner is not alive - she died in 2017 of two heart attacks and the following brain damage.
BLM is a decentralized movement, so there are a lot of people that could be called "leaders", but clearly claim that "nearly every leader" has been killed is false. I suspect none were actually killed for any activities related to BLM (I did not check that but consider it plausible), though in large enough group of people there would always be people that die prematurely, either due to illness, or accidents, or crime (many BLM activists live in places where crime situation is not very good).
I think you'd better to put down the conspiracy Kool-Aid for a while.
"The emergent consensus among scholars who utilize official archival data is that of the 18 million who were sent to the Gulag from 1930 to 1953, roughly 1.5 to 1.7 million perished there or as a result of their detention."
yeah... prisons in the US are definitely worse.
But many, perhaps most, of those deaths were during the German invasion, which killed about 25 million of the 169 million subjects of the USSR (most of them not in GULAG). It remains to be seen how well the US cares for the populations of its prisons and concentration camps if it suffers an invasion that kills an eighth of its population. Hopefully such an event will remain safely in the realm of speculation.
Not so much free speech in Russia.
Not it doesn't, unless you want it to seem that way.
but then, for the first couple of decades, neither did the USSR.
The USSR very much had these within the first years, not decades. One of the most famous germinal camps:
We should, but it's useful to get the history right first.
The "massive prison camp system full of political dissidents" I refer to was the GULAG system, which at times contained millions of people, slightly more even than the whole US prison system of today, of which a substantial fraction were suspected of nothing more than political disloyalty. But that didn't happen in ten or twenty years after the Russian Revolution. It took about a quarter century.
And more importantly, it was a system that was both theoretically and practically founded on political violence. It didn't take it a couple of decades to get there and its the expressions of violence weren't limited to prison camps. Politically motivated forced collectivization, for instance, ran concurrently and ended up being exterminatory.
Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, thus criminal. QED.
Still, it seems like a rather desperate rhetorical move to describe even a reckless driver as "a criminal, by definition", much less a person fleeing political persecution and seeking refuge in another country — a right guaranteed to them by international law, even if the US is abrogating its obligations under that law. Technically, it's true that under US law they are guilty of a misdemeanor, just like a wino getting drunk in the park, but clearly neither of these is a central example of the class of people to which we normally refer when we say "a criminal"; it seems more like an argument for disregarding US law.
As somebody who actually lived in the USSR I call bullshit on this. There's a huge difference between arresting people for saying something the powers don't like and restricting business links to certain aggressive dictatorial regimes. True, many citizens of those regimes suffer twice - once because they live under a dictatorial regime and second time because of the effect of economic sanctions. And it is true that economic sanctions disrupt free flow of information and trade. They are a kind of warfare but one where people don't get killed - which is not good, all warfare is bad, but better than the other kind.
It is bad when there is a war between two countries. It is worse when the government wages war on its people, and that what happened in the USSR. It is nothing like what is happening in the US. Nowhere in the US you can be arrested or imprisoned for saying anything - including praising USSR, Russia, Putin, ayatollas, Hezbollah, whatever you like.
> The US doesn't yet have massive prison camp systems full of political dissidents
"Yet" is extremely disingenuous here - there's absolutely no indication US is anywhere close to have it, on the contrary, US has the strongest free speech laws among all developed countries, and the high courts consistently reject any attempt to change that. In fact, what I am hearing every day is how there's too much free speech and how it should be suppressed and restricted for my own good, lest I read something wrong and get offended.
> but then, for the first couple of decades, neither did the USSR.
Technically might be true, if you say reduce first couple of decades to first decade - Gulag started in 1929. But not because the bolsheviks were kind of heart - before, they just murdered whoever they considered the enemy of the people (or, in rare cases, kicked them out of the country). After Stalin came to power, he realized there's a lot of work to be done and he can't use the capitalist way of paying people for the work, and if he just keeps killing everybody there would be nobody left to do his grand projects. So he used the other way - put people in prison and force to work (of course, he still killed plenty but some were spared for prison camps). Even Soviet space program and nuclear program was done by people who were effectively prisoners (word to look for is "sharashka").
You said this in 2 consecutive sentences. Please reconsider your position.
-- another USSRian
There's nothing to reconsider. There are people that hate how free the speech is in the US, but their efforts are largely limited to the environments where they have full cultural and administrative control over - such as certain university campuses, or online platforms they own - and once you go outside these censorship areas, your speech is free, and the government - absent occasional local stupidity outbursts routinely corrected by courts - is not able to suppress speech in any meaningful way, and the courts are determined to keep it this way.
TLDR: some people want speech not to be free in the US, but so far they fail.
You just described what's happening in the UK or Canada. Yet, I give it, neither have "free speech", but moral point remain that what happened in the USSR is happening today in the western world.
UK is a democratic country. In a democratic country, the government is elected by people, and can exist only while people support it. Not literally everybody, of course, but a significant part of people must support any government system for it to be able to function as a democratic society. By attacking the government, you offend these people and their deepest held beliefs, and imply that they are either not smart enough to figure out how the government should be, or are too lazy to go and vote for a proper government. Moreover, if you argue that a particular elected official is stupid, or corrupt, or bigoted, or criminal - you also imply people who voted for that person either are OK with these things or are too stupid to recognize them (at least if these things were known before the election). Both can be deeply offensive to people. Of course, some people would be OK with being called bigots or idiots, but many would take it as a gross offense. Similarly, calling their chosen representative such words would be possibly a less personal, but no less hurtful offense - after all, if somebody insults your friend, you'd be also hurt as if they'd have insulted you, wouldn't you? Maybe a bit less, but same goes for your representative.
Thus, it is clear that political speech can be grossly offensive. Moreover, I would go further and claim that it is more offensive than, for example, a racial insult. You do not choose your race, so if somebody insults you on the base of your race, it has very little to do with you personally - it's not directed at you as a person, but at a vague concept of race which largely exists in the mind of the speaker and nowhere else. You could shrug it off as empty words having nothing to do with you specifically. Insulting your political creed goes much deeper to the core of your identity and hurts on much more personal level - it is offending part of your identity that you yourself chose and built!
Thus, one can consider proven that criticizing the government is as much and maybe more hurtful than regular slurs and insults, and must be prosecuted at least as harshly.
(for people not watching it closely, the above is not my opinion but a demonstration how one could prove censorship of political opinions is necessary if one is allowed to censor "offensive speech").
The solution of this problem is that government should not ban any speech (with obvious and well-known exceptions, blah blah) and not be allowed to determine what is "offensive" and prosecute people for that.
As with all law, a certain amount of interpretation is unavoidable. Your example doesn't prove anything because it relies on a particular meaning of "grossly offensive" which you have contrived to make it work. It is not generally a gross offense to merely object to or question someone's beliefs. "Gross" in this sense means that the communication must be a flagrant and obvious violation of acceptable language in a tolerant society.
No, but they have several full of people who were trying to escape from countries which were falling to pieces...
I think the intent is not that, and a company could probably argue that the law doesn't mean that because it probably can't mean that.
In this case though, AFAICT it's a restriction on use of private repositories, a feature considered to have commercial value, and thus subject to sanctions.
(P.S. I think your characterization of history is kinda wack [though I understand you can't write an essay before getting to the point], in ways that other commenters will point out in more detail)
You may want to reread that last part of history.
[...] established in 1918 and legalized by a decree "On the creation of the forced-labor camps" on April 15, 1919. The internment system grew rapidly, reaching a population of 100,000 in the 1920s.
Yep... thats my cue to get off hackernews
> Yep... thats my cue to get off hackernews
Surely Fox News will be happy to have you back.
US courts, at least the Supreme Court, have admitted they do not have the expertise to rule on changes of technology. When the courts realize that GitHub is primary the modern equivalent of a printing press for software code and websites. They will view such sanctions - at least for public code, issues, & websites - quite harshly.
Right now, I imagine they view it as a store for the digital equivalent of tools or an advanced technological service that the US has denied it's enemies in the past. Once they realize the communicative aspects: opening issues (coordination), contributing copyrightable expressions in code, even coordinating employment dissent (996), such views will change.
Also, let's not forget that Communist Party sympathizers were purged from various domains of social activity - obviously, and that was indirect legal sanction of promoting pro-socialist/pro-USSR content.
People can, and still do with much regularity, publish criticism of the USA, the US government and the US president.
The NY Times has even published op-eds by Putin himself.
This is about providing commercial services. It has nothing to do with free speech.
The USSR was the thing that executed my great grand parents for being liberals (he was a doctor) when they invaded Budapest.
But I wasn't talking about what the US was during the Cold War. I was talking about new US policies. The invasion of Hungary was in 1956, 39 years after the Russian Revolution. What do you think the US will be doing 39 years after, to take a convenient date, November 2016? That would be 2055. Do you really doubt that they will hesitate to commit genocide after two generations of propaganda, censorship, and repression designed to Make America Great Again?
If someone expressed a concern in 1917 or 1920 that the Communists had become what the czarist autocracy was, would you think it reasonable to respond with a catalogue of czarist crimes that the Communists had not yet had time to match?
This will help you to get the facts straight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4Uu5eyN6VU
Democracy doesn't require a lot of parties, it requires that the people actually have the power to elect someone in charge. The EP is powerless and none of the EC members are elected or can be removed by a public vote.
No, this problem has been studied and democracy (that is, rule by the people) empirically requires an electoral system that had the capacity to support multiple competitive parties; to the extent systems artificially limit the option space they produce results that are not representative of the will of the people.
First democracy: ca. 500 BC
First political parties: ca. 1800 AD
We could discuss in detail whether the EU system or the US system enforces more artificial limits, in the end the EC remains much less democratic due to its relative power and independence from the electorate.
Prototypal modern, organized political parties started to emerge in the 1700's. Do you think before then that everyone was an independent and had no common goals? Political factions predate even the first demcracy. There where a number of competing, and from many accounts solid, factions in both the greek and roman governing systems, which where for all intents and purposes a party.
Isn't the European Commission elected by the European Council, and formed of commissioners nominated by the democratically elected leaders of each member state?
Democracy doesn't have to equal direct election.
More concerning is the inability of the European Parliament to repeal legislation, but things are gradually moving to change this.
And now let's look at the past 3 presidents: always the same routine, the EP gets presented with 1 candidate and can say yes... or yes. Awesome democracy.
Living in a small, entirely democratic EU country, I can't say I'm impressed with how the Commission was formed and it's also obviously an inferior system to that of the USA.
The power to directly elect or remove the top spot is certainly an important facet of democracy, maybe even the most important, but it's still just one of many measures. to be honest I don't think it's really that meaningful to talk about one system being "more democratic" than another, or that "entirely democratic" can apply coherently to anything except some kind of anarchist utopia.
That said, there is such a thing as the global [democracy index](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index) in which the US comes well below the UK and plenty of other EU countries. Note that Norway, also a constitutional and hereditary monarchy, tops the list.
This is rather meaningless as an indicator of the quality of the political system. The USA was downgraded there in 2016 for various reasons (probably mostly "Trump anxiety") while the political system was left unchanged.
Contribution to the free software world should transcend where someone is from whether it be China, Russia, Iran or whatever new "enemy" our leaders decide.
As much as I dislike Facebook for privacy related reasons, maybe it's time that more tech companies setup a Tor Hidden Service and not ask where people are from.
Could this be used to protect them against having to implement sanctions against various countries if they don't actually know where their users are from?
It would also make blocking those websites difficult by repressive regimes too. They could implement the ability to upload a private PGP key so email notifications can be encrypted end-to-end, Facebook also allows for this.
The impending bifurcation of the Internet is something that I hate to think of, but it seems something a lot of governments are hell bent on, particularly with their insistence on "backdoors in encryption". One country's back door will be another country's vulnerability.
Now I think I will go and and donate to Tor Project to make myself feel better.
Not knowing where your customers come from isn’t going to make the regulation go away, but it might make your entire company illegal.
It’s not something I think is good by the way, but the regulation and legislation is likely going to get more and more restrictive as our governments catch up.
I think what we are seeing is the implementation of authoritarian governments, something that has been on the increase nearly everywhere, in the last 20 years.
People have in the developed world had it, too good for too long. Complacency and populism is what led to this.
We voted in "strong leaders" and this is what we're gonna get, strong policies that might not really be all that smart.
What these policies forget is a lot of general citizens don't have much choice over the regime that leads them. They are just often people doing their thing.
Free software is actually something which brings us together, as it's about what we do and have in common, rather than race, religion or politics. I think that's why it feels so awful.
So I’m not convinced it’s really authoritarian. We have a big scandal right now in Denmark, because a company secretly sold jet-fuel to Russians and that’s been illegal since sometime during the Cold War. Because other industries have been regulated on what they could trade with our “enemies” for decades. The tech sector somehow snuck under the radar on this, but that sneaking has certainly ended, and it’s now being regulated like any other industry.
I mean I could certainly be wrong, but I really do see it as governments being governments. When I was a child there weren’t seatbelts or airbags in cars. Automakers didn’t suddenly start putting them there because it was the right thing to do, or because it’s sell more cars. They did it because regulation forced them to do it and then they later turned safety into a marketing point.
Then it's the illusion of freedom. Free when they declare freedom, but not when they don't.
Code doesn't have color, race or politics. It is something that brings us together and we have common ground over. We argue over whether it is good code or bad code.
The fact is embargoes do nothing to benefit anyone here. All it results in is less code being available.
Also it is the very thought control, ie a Government telling me how I will make my code available that annoys me.
I didn't vote my government in, and I don't particularly like it when that Government tells me I cannot communicate, or express my intellectual creations with the people that I want, just because I was born within it's borders.
This lawyering also completely undercuts your original "nothing to see here; move along people!" argument.
Crimea and Venezuela are hard to compare. While there's the common point of having an authoritarian government, they're different in many other factors such as public support of the government, geography, pre-existing economy and timing and severity of the sanctions.
Though this is very true for both, I think:
> What these policies forget is a lot of general citizens don't have much choice over the regime that leads them. They are just often people doing their thing.
and from the POV of the authoritarian government on the sanctioned country it makes sense to double down upon receiving sanctions because the sanctioning country(ies) don't have a bigger stick than that (unless they resort to military aggression).
No. That you don't know where an export-restricted good is going when you sell it or give it to someone is not an excuse. If you gave them the stuff and they take it somewhere embargoed, it's still on you for supplying the goods.
I will bet good money that a court will not be impressed by your deliberate choices to avoid being capable of meeting your obligations under the law. That's the sort of clever hack that makes judges quite angry, rather than the sort that makes them go "You got us!".
I think people have a naive cosmopolitanism that assumes knowledge work transcends state loyalty, but there are reasons that it may not do so nor is it safe to rely on the current model of peace to persist.
I personally know some contributors to FOSS, which are helping Russian FSB in their war against USA, by consulting them or by implementing tech to help find dissidents and American spies. For example, Michael Shigorin: https://www.opennet.ru/~Michael%20Shigorin
It was pretty frustrating because US citizens are allowed to visit Ukraine and the Venmo request was made from outside of that territory. From the US perspective, Crimea is "Ukraine" and US citizens are allowed to visit Ukraine visa-free. These types of sanctions, in my opinion, go too far, as they affect regular people.
On another note and politics, despite all their issues, Russia really has improved the infrastructure issue in Crimea significantly. New roads and bridges everywhere, new power plants, hospitals, etc. Ukraine completely neglected the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Additionally, Crimea is pretty spectacular and has huge potential for foreign tourism. Beautiful coastline, granite mountains that shoot up from the water, interesting geography. And the prices are quite cheap from a western perspective.
Did they forget we have modern inventions, like VPN and airplanes? Localising it to Ukraine (in this context) sounds like they're generally just after the low-hanging fruit (read: the poor who can't afford such things).
VPNs don't help you with bank apps that report your GPS position.
Sanctions aren't particularly excellent at stopping bad actors.
Citizens of Ukraine are just "hanging out" in Ukraine? We're still talking about Ukraine being sanctioned because of Crimea, aren't we? Or have you unintentionally broadened the scope of the discussion?
Wouldn't it be more truthful to say that citizens of a country sanctioned and/or that have become war zones are at an increased chanced to do things (however uncolourful) to survive as a direct result of that very same reality?
Compare with, for example:
Iran (from a few days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20493699) https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/programs/...
In fact, it's possible to apply for an exemption to transact business with sanctioned countries. GitHub would probably have a good case for such an exemption and their parent company is already exempted to sell things like Microsoft Office to there.
So everyone runs their own gitlab instance, and there's some sort of gitlab "tracker" that you can search through?
What is this "discoverability" you speak of? If you want a library to do "foo", do you search up "foo" on github and look through the repositories? Is this better than searching up "foo" on google?
The only "interoperability" I can think of is for pull requests, and I do agree that having to make an account on the instance and push to it to make a PR is a pain. This can easily be solved by allowing remote git repos to be used as PR sources, and using social sign in for account creation (so you don't need to create an account to create contribute).
Anyway, hosting is not allowed/feasible on 4G (maybe also won't be allowed on 5G?), which is what everyone has.
The software stack isn't the issue, and smartphones are powerful enough to host contents, the problem comes from the current mobile telcos operators who doesn't allow hosting on their networks because of NAT/bandwidth/political concerns
This restriction is from the U.S. Government, not a "corporation."
The fact is, github adds value because it isn't "decentralized". And any organization that runs something will have people that disagree with it and/or government regulations it will need to follow.
git, however, it nicely distributed and you can host a repo anywhere you want and be discoverable through other means.
Exactly. It's the most popular brand, same as Disney buying Hulu. Not to make Hulu into Disney, but to bring the customers into an arena for control. While I do not use github, npm does, for example.
Hopefully, it will require other countries/organisations to build alternatives and not rely on the US. These new players will grow stronger, on their own market, building their success on US defiance. And might be someday US competitors (hello Baidu, Tencent and co.)
On my toy android app, I'm trying to avoid anything Google-licensed: replacing Maps by OSM for example. Just a small step... but a new mindset.
Problem is: today the US sanctionned some well-known "bad" actors (under UN scrutiny) but will sanction EU too... just because of business or strategical interest (and without any UN consensus).
Before this US administration, EU was considered a "friend" or "allied" of the US, meaning sharing common values, like human rights, universality, or that it's better to have win/win trade than win/loose trade. There was competition AND cooperation.
But now, it seem that the US administration sees the EU only as a competitor and as a foe. This US administration is only restricted to bully the EU because the EU is strong enough to not let it be that way and may retaliate.
So yeah, sadly, I think that US will try to sanction the EU in some or other way (and in fact already started). The more the US is centered on itself, the less it cares about the rest of the world and the more it think that it DOESN4T NEED allies and friends, and it can treat EU like a servant.
And more sadly, I think that EU will have to stand for itself, to not depend nor a Russia or China... but not on US too.
It's not actually wider than recent Administrations, which have had similarly expansive definitions and in at least on case expressly included environmental concerns that this Administration rejects as even real, much less matters of national security.
What does differentiate the current Administration’s view of national security from prior ones is that it is utterly unmoored from reality.
Russia invaded Ukraine, broke into Crimean parliament and held illegal referendum _after_ that.
So, sanctions were not because of the referendum, but because of invasion.
When it comes to the reasons behind sanctions, there's no need to correct me, because I wrote just that: that the international reactions were a response to, in the words of the sanctioning countries, international law being violated (as if that had not happened before, see the Kosovo case), and namely the principle of territorial integrity. All I'm saying is that sanctions targetting the people who expressed their will in the referendum are counter-productive. If there were people left in Crimea, who still haven't made their mind up whose umbrella Crimea would be best off under (though comparing the mayhem state Crimea was left in after the Ukrainian rule and the investments going on there since 2014 – I doubt there are many), then acts like this will surely make them anti-American, not anti-Kremlin. This was my point.
The legality of the Crimean referendum might be an interesting question for lawyers or political scientists (especially the double standards observed in the rhetoric of the US and its satellite states). Or for us, not living there. For the people who voted in the referendum and have seen their lives improve as a result of their vote – it just doesn't matter. And that's the reality some should accept, while rejecting it leads to sloppy analysis of issues like the one discussed in this very post.
I agree with the sanctions.
Also, it was an annexation with somewhat-questionable merit rather than an occupation.
Do impose sanctions on individuals who are associated with the rules of undemocratic regimes. But punishing whole populations (especially if they don’t have a democratic voice in the matter) is dumb and immoral.
Keeping the status quo and pretending like nothing significant happened when some country decides to annex another country's soil in 21th century?
In that case loosing moral ground would alienate people from US/West even more.
Again, to some soft-hearted people, this might look like a terrible story when alone dev in Crimea can't access his GitHub but I have 0 sentiments here.
Ukraine's sovereignty was guaranteed by the UK, the US, and Russia when they gave up their nukes. So somebody had to at least pretend to do something. The US (compared to the UK) showed a much stronger response.
Now Russia came and claimed a part of Ukraine as their own. If there is 0 response to that, you know how it makes all the small countries feel that have borders with Russia? Ask Estonians or Georgians.
So when the next time they gonna occupy Tallinn or Riga, we all gonna be really happy that some dimwits are really concerned that our developers can't access GitHub. Great.
You're making it sound as if people were suffering and running away from there. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but the net migration is positive and rising.
Companies like Siemens are doing business there. For now, they have to pretend that they don't even know about it, but that is going to change too as the U.S. continue to lose their hegemony in Europe.
Possibly also BL, BY, CF, CI, CD, IQ, LB, LY,, SO, SS, UA, VE, YE and ZW which have current sanctions.
HTTP and other centralized protocols are the weapon of choice of the powerful players: large corporations and states.
While it was definitely engineered by Russia doing things to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine
1) The US and all the powerful nations around the world do this kind of crap all the time and have a long history of it
2) It appears as though the people living in Crimea generally prefer being Russian to being Ukrainian, at least there doesn't seem to be any major opposition to the change.
3) Crimea was only part of Ukraine from 1992 to 2014, before that it was it's own entity under the umbrella of Russian empire or the USSR for hundreds of years
I'm not pro-Russia but I am pro-reality, and this sanctions game seems to be about highschool-level-bullshit between world leaders and nothing else. It certainly has made politicians on both sides much more popular with their bases as a result. Having "enemies" does that rallying well.
If you want to sanction Russia, do it over corruption, election meddling, or human rights abuses (although maybe put a higher priority on your own country's faults along those lines first so you have a platform to stand on)
I'm here feeling like Fangorn "I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side"
Russia pressured people, but they could refuse accepting citizenship (though those doing so get a lot of practical troubles there, up to persecution). They can't really force citizenship on unwilling people, despite trying.
Crimea fell off the tree without single shot fired. that tells something. also, do not forget famous saying by Ukrainian nationalists - "Crimea will be Ukrainian territory or uninhabited":
where the danger for people of Crimea was really coming from?
The only target for annexation would be Quebec (there's a small minority party there that has talked about this for a long time) but that's extremely unlikely. Anything else would be colonization which isn't fashionable.
Russian annexation is targeting places with large ethnically Russian people who speak Russian and identify more with Moscow than their local government.
If you believe the line, there is a significant population in these places that want to be annexed.
Anyone who is saying that is probably exaggerating the support but it's hard to deny that support exists.
I believe in self determination more than border immutability. Free and fair elections would be preferable, of course. I don't know what the Crimeans want but it's plausible that they prefer their current situation.
It would be nice to hear actual Crimean voices instead of Moscow or Washington. Anything the latter two say seems only in self interest.
Putin doesn't care in the least about Russian people in those territories. He only cares about destabilizing countries that don't want to be his vassals. This happened in Moldavia (where Russian army is present in Pridnestrovian region), Georgia (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) and Ukraine (Donbass, Crimea). Armenia came close to it when they removed previous government controlled by Putin, but since they didn't demand that Russian army should leave (they have military bases there), so far it didn't erupt in armed conflict. See also how Armenia still backs Putin's policies in UN and the like. If they won't, Putin will come knocking.
The sanctions are for the most part per the request of the Ukrainian government.
If Catalonia becomes a separatist state tomorrow and Spain and its allies sanction it everyone in it will be under sanctions regardless of who or what they support.
This is what happens when your sanctions are geographical in nature.
No one has the capability to validate if a person in Crimea is a Russian supporter or not.
The idea behind the sanctions is in the end to make the life of the populous sufficiently difficult so they will rebel.
If anyone ever dared to assert that I support US war mongering just because I live the US..... lord
It's not the same, the majority of the population are ethnic Russians, a large number of them actively support what Russia did.
There was a referendum, and countless polls, it doesn't excuse the annexation but reality isn't black and white.
You need to be intentionally misleading to not acknowledge the fact the Russian presence in Crimea and in fact their actions are supported by a sufficiently large part of the Crimean population to make this situation very problematic.
This isn't Russia occupying Belgium, the geopolitics behind this situation don't make anyone look good.
Hence why I gave the example of Catalonia not only it's a good western analogy but it appears that Crimea has more pro-Russian support than what the separatist movements in Spain or other places in Europe like Italy have.
However our current legal system does not allow individuals to simply say "i don't want to be part of your legal system any more" hence why these referendums are essentially illegal.
And while we do need to face reality sometimes and make exceptions these have to be exception otherwise the "sovereign citizens" movement would actually become a reality since you can't simply put a cap on how many people want to break away from the existing legal system you enforce on them.
I'm not saying "get out if you're not all in", I'm not trying to be dismissive. But your citizenship and temperament are accidents of your birth, and you have the power to rectify the former.
This is an incredibly naive/somewhat condescending statement, considering that it is far beyond the reach of the vast majority of people.
... how about we agree that I personally did not want the government to use my tax money to bomb civilians in Eurasia and I desperately would like to find a way to prevent those weapons from being launched.
But I think we would have to replace something like 70% of our elected representatives to force that to happen
Can we also agree that zero civilian casualties during war is at least adjacent to impossible?
Can we also agree that a country unwilling to protect its people and interests with military action would be a much less secure country than the ones we have today? Indeed, that the threat of rapid, devastating response is the key reason why we are as close to world peace as we are today and have been for decades?
The only path to citizenship that's open to anybody is naturalization, and that requires you to already be a legal (often permanent) resident. While there are a few countries where you become eligible after two or three years - notably Canada - many require five, ten or even fifteen years. So before you even start the process, you have to deal with immigrating to your country of choice from your current country of citizenship/residence. And while that's not exactly the cheapest of undertakings, the real problem is that your application first of all generally needs to be sponsored by someone (typically strictly a relative or employer, so good luck if you don't have family in the country in question or don't work in a field that tends to hire across borders) and secondly is most often quite literally at the mercy of bored officials behind glass walls who have the power to deny you on a whim and owe you no explanation.
If by some convening of application strength and sheer luck you do get a residence permit, you then get to have your freedom of movement curtailed for however many years during which simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time can set you back to square zero and you still get slapped by the effect of sanctions like these, as you're still a citizen of whatever country you came from. Or you could also just make some exorbitant "investment" (often hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth) and effectively straight-up buy citizenship.
So yeah, the vast majority of people are rather powerless to do anything about their citizenship, especially when they don't have passports that let them travel anywhere on a whim (as tends to be the case for people in the sort of countries that one would want to escape citizenship of lol).
0: The cost of a passport, visa, plane ticket and rent deposit is easily $2000 plus depending on the part of the world (a friend of mine recently spent close to $4000 out of pocket relocating to Germany).
1: It's not enough to simply hold residency - there are often requirements for how much time you must have spent in the country in order to be eligible for naturalization, and leaving the country for an extended period of time will often itself jeopardise one's residency status.
2: In the US, for example, various misdemeanours - for instance drug possession - are grounds for deportation, after which you might as well forget about legally entering the country to talk of becoming a permanent resident again.
Sanctions were pushed by the US for the most part.
> The idea behind the sanctions is in the end to make the life of the populous sufficiently difficult so they will rebel.
The idea is to flex power for the enemy government and other countries, nobody cares about the people. People are definitely not going to be happy about the west after that and even less likely to participate in organized rebellion against the government, as all sides are bad now.
Nothing is stopping this person from sending email patches like they do in the Linux kernel project. No sanctions are involved in this person hosting a Git installation in Crimea that the rest of the world can access.
The problem isn't politics. The problem is that programmer culture currently conflates "access to Github" (which is a service run at the whims of an American defense contractor) with "free or open-source software" (which is a spectrum of opinions about copyright law). They are not related concepts, no matter what Github's marketing team has convinced the world.
I therefore agree with the view that 'free software' is a social movement, while 'open source' is a development methodology.
OSS is full of commercial interests well beyond hobby interests. Joel Spolsky pointed that out in https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2002/06/12/strategy-letter-v/ :
> I noticed something interesting about open source software, which is this: most of the companies spending big money to develop open source software are doing it because it’s a good business strategy for them, not because they suddenly stopped believing in capitalism and fell in love with freedom-as-in-speech.
The free software movement is itself political - as are all social movements. For example, the emphasis on end-user freedoms related to copyright protection conflict with the emphasis on worker rights embodied in the Anti 996 License.
This isn't a free speech issue. It's not even a corporate free speech issue. This is commercial activity.
Whether this is good policy or not, is another matter but it isn't a free speech matter.
Seeing free/open source software in the same light ideologically is not that much of a leap. There is precedent.
GitHub is a subsidiary of Microsoft, a US company with lucrative interests in the US government. While this does indeed stifle OSS activity for people in Crimea it isn't really about OSS.
These sanctions tend not to be universal and some services can continue to be provided, however the price of violating said sanctions can be very severe.
I don’t know how many people who work at Github or PayPal especially senior management are willing to risk fines not to mention jail time for something as simple as some Russian officer buying a DVD on the internet while being stationed in Crimea or a local IT guy from the current pro-Russian government making a pull request.
Then don't use github. I don't. It's completely toxic.
Isn't it evil?
I mean, if you don't believe the results of referendum and subsequent Gallop's poll, than sanctions are intentionally hurting people who are victims of Russian occupation. And if you do believe that overwhelming majority of Crimean people support reunification with Russia, the sanctions punish Crimeans for exercising their right of self-determination and reek of double standards. I don't remember any sanctions on Chechen republic after it separated from Russia, for example.
The double standards are all explained by geopolitical maneuvering. Western powers pulled Kiev into their orbit and threatened to use that influence to harm Russia's economic and military capabilities.
The tl;dr is that Russia needs access to warm water ports. They were happy to lease a port from the Ukraine until rumors began spreading in Kiev that Russia's lease would be ended. Because the Russian economy and military couldn't afford to lose access to a naval base with a warm water port they decided to take drastic action.
Another odd footnote about this situation is that Crimea was given as a "symbolic" gift to the Ukraine while the USSR was still strong. It's not like it's some ancient sacred Ukranian land. It's just very valuable for trade and military purposes.
> A separatist candidate who wants Crimea to leave Ukraine and integrate with Russia won more than 70 percent of the vote today in run-off presidential elections, preliminary results showed. His victory sets the stage for a direct confrontation between Ukraine and Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula that is dominated by ethnic Russians.
Russia took Crimea illegally by force, but people of Crimea are hardly victims. Ultimately, the goal of sanctions is to signal that the US is not accepting Crimea as part of Russia. To allow US companies to operate in Crimea would legitimize the annexation. (And as far as the people go - I don't think anyone cares for the people, particularly.)
They obviously don't "punish the Russian government" when they prevent the people living in Crimea contributing to the open source project.
In general, this thread demonstrates that here there's very little understanding about the mass psychology of Russians, and, really, any nation other than Americans. No one in Crimea is going to rebel against the Russian government because of the U.S. sanctions against them exclusively. A policy like this only validates the Russian government's narrative of the U.S. going after Russia as such. If the U.S. government wanted to seek allies in Crimeans, they could perhaps focus on sanctioning Moscovian oligarchs. Well, except they won't, because Russian oligarchs that lose leverage in the Kremlin later make for good dissidents to be used by the U.S. as an ideological tool against Russia. And the oligarchic system is keeping Russia from modernizing, which is also in the U.S. interest.
I disagree with you, Russia has clear intent to move/restore navy projects in Crimea: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/russian-navy-resu...
US government doesn't specifically target github, but all commercial activities in Crimea.
> Well, except they won't
This is not correct, current sanctions target specific list of people and major companies in financial, military and oil industries.
The goal of sanctions is to weaken Russia's economy in specific sectors.
And the only "commercial activity" in this case is if GitHub earns some advertising money from the data collection about its user from Crimea.
> The goal of sanctions is to weaken Russia's economy in specific sectors.
And Crimea is not Russia. It's a region which voted to separate itself from the bigger state, just like Kosovo, votes of which were even militarily supported by the U.S. And if the U.S. equates Crimea with Russia... it's as wrong as equating Kosovo with Albania.
And Crimea users can use github as a tool in their commercial endeavors, and military and government applications.
> just like Kosovo, votes of which were even militarily supported by the U.S.
You make things up, Kosovo voted 10 years after US operation, when was under observation of UN peacekeepers which were located there by UN security council resolution (Russia voted for that too).
At the moment of the US "operation" (honestly, war) those who had direct military support were some paramilitary troops attempting to escalate the conflict to the level to be taken seriously (specifically by the US) with the agenda of changing the established existing borders.
The war itself was against all UN decisions, it was unilaterally started by the US and NATO. The US fought for the right to enter Kosovo (and make its military bases there) and it won that as the result of its war, not from the UN.
The country from which those on Kosovo voted "out" was already economically destroyed by the actions of the U.S. -- the equivalent would be if Russia managed to not only control Crimea for a decade but also economically destroy Ukraine for two decades and then let the people vote if they want to stay in such Ukraine.
What do I "make up"? And how is that "better" from inhabitants of Crimea wanting to separate from Ukraine, where the political regime just illegally changed before that, exactly in the direction of suppressing politically all ethnic Russians in Ukraine? The inhabitants in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine could surely point to Kosovo as a precedent which gives them right to separate (and even get the military support for that). And contrary to the US in Kosovo, Russia already had a big military base on Crimea.
The facts are:
- US had 0 intention to join Kosovo as 51th state, and election were performed under observation of UN peacekeepers which were there per UN resolution
- Russia invaded Crimea using regular army, and within two weeks merged territory in violation of UN statute
> where the political regime just illegally changed before that, exactly in the direction of suppressing politically all ethnic Russians in Ukraine
I disagree with your assessment. Ukraine is a mess, old pro-Russia president and his party illegally changed constitution, which caused chain of events.
Who ever claimed that?
> Russia invaded Crimea using regular army
No. The Russian military base https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sevastopol_Naval_Base was always there, and especially it was there as a Russian base since the breakup of Ukraine from USSR, so already for a decade and a half before 2014. Moreover, even before 2014 Crimea was an Autonomous Republic in Ukraine, since 1991.
Compared to that, Kosovo was not even a republic, but an "autonomous area" in the Republic of Serbia before the U.S. war, and there was surely zero U.S. military bases there before. Which says something, seeing:
https://i2.wp.com/www.ukprogressive.co.uk/wp-content/uploads... ( found on: https://www.ukprogressive.co.uk/pentagon-keeps-building-over... ) All these also aren't the "fifty first state."
You can see it on several levels:
- People in power are interested to hold the power as long as they can, and that's why they suppress separatists movements
- Countries which allows such separations become weaker and don't survive, because separation is manipulatable process, and damage country's economy and power
- concept of ethics is very driven by government: they tell people that it is their land, and nobody can take it from them
However look and HK and China. I definetely agree for HK to be independent after a referendum.
Because Ukraine is pro-west and Crimea is pro-Russia. West good, Russia bad. Sanctions are black and white. The political situation is less-so:
The Crimea voted in a (illegal) referendum to rejoin Russia after a coup in Ukraine (also illegal, obviously) had replaced the elected but somewhat pro-Russian president with an unelected pro-European government.
While this revolution was popular with the west (funny how we support coups that overthrow elected governments when they go our way), it was unpopular in the south of Ukraine, which is mostly ethically Russian (the previous ethnic population having all been ‘relocated’).
Nobody asked population of Crimea anything. Nobody asks a sheep is it agree to be shaved.
Even the Wikipedia on Dugin's older book says, "The book has had a large influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and it has been used as a textbook in the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military."
The correlation between suggestions in the Fourth Political Theory book align a little too perfectly with recent events:
- Break GB from the EU 
- Heightened racial tension in the US 
- Annexation of Crimea and Ukraine
Hard to ignore how much Russia operates "by the book".
Also in the Wikipedia for FPT I linked earlier, "The book has been cited as an inspiration for Russian policy in events such as the War in Donbass..."
Russian Federation tries to pretend like they are the only right owners of everything, viewing others nations as traitors, who need to be executed for their act of stealing from Mother Russia.
In reality, Russian Empire (AKA Jail of Nations) was disbanded. Each nation had right to create their own country. Actual Russia renamed itself into Ukraine. Russian Federation has same rights on territory of Russian Empire as other nations, but RF uses lies and fakes to pretend like it has more rights than others, then start wars and captures or tries to capture territories, which they newer owned in first place.
Catherine the Great celebrates the victory over Turks in Crimea in 1772.
here is the text:
Russian empire took Crimea from Ottoman empire in late 1700's.
Say what you will, the US government at least paid out to the victims (although never officially apologized). While Russia denies all involvement to this day and lawsuits are still ongoing.
The Russian government is likewise selective in its interpretation of the Budapest agreement (1994) , in which Russia guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity in return for Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons.
Edit: I incorrectly wrote "Bucharest agreement"; fixed it (thanks jotm)
Interestingly, Spain is somewhat consistent here: they don't recognize Kosovo, because they have their own separatist troubles in Catalonia.
That's the crux of the issue I think. To be consistent you would surely have to support both Chechnya and Crimea having the right to self-determination - or neither having the right to self-determination.
EDIT: So let me ask you - do you support both, or neither?
I do (retrospectively) support the US decision in 1861 to prevent the Confederate states from seceding, despite the expressed will of the white, property-owning part of the local population, so there's that.
Ethnic conflicts aren't soccer matches where you should pick a team to support.
We should instead sanction people associated with Russia’s totalitarian government.
You might also spare some sympathy for those residents of Crimea who did not wish to join the Russian Federation, for example, many Crimean Tatars. Not only have they suffered the loss of access to github, they also have to contend with a campaign of political repression. 
Perhaps you should spare some sympathy for the majority of the Crimean populace who wished to rejoin Russia- I notice you have none.
So what? They don't do the same to Turkey(Cyprus) or Israel(Golan Heights).
"The Ukraine" referred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union.
The Ukrainian government requests that people stop putting "the" in front of the country's name, but it's difficult to force people to change the way they speak.
This is misinformation. "The Ukraine" precedes the USSR. It comes from the fact that "Ukraine" is derived from "borderland". Hence, "the Ukraine" - "the borderland".
no disrespect, but there is this coming from?!
Being unable to fix roads or economy, they have directed their frustration towards symbolic things, fighting everyone who calls Kiev "Kiev" instead of "Kyiv", renaming streets, etc. Now they have decided that "the Ukraine" is somehow referencing Ukraine as a territory and not a state. God knows where any of this comes from, but any "patriotic" idea gets boosted immediately no matter how stupid.
Source: am Ukrainian.
Renaming streets is also part of decommunisation process, which is common among post-Soviet countries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decommunization
Also, calling society "ill" is offensive, and if your goal is to have a meaningful discussion, you'd rather avoid offending your fellow citizens (unless you identify yourself more as Russian, of course).
Source: I'm also Ukrainian
It's an organized effort, part of government propaganda, not an ill society. Society is so healthy, that it didn't trust the government at all and voted all those people out. Really, it doesn't get healthier than that.
who do you think Benya is - not a power hungry oligarch? who is Ze's chief of staff? ahem, Benya's personal lawyer... will you ever see the pattern?
> "That's why the Ukraine suddenly lost its article in the last 20 years, it's a sort of linguistic independence in Europe, it's hugely symbolic."
(Oksana Kyzyma of the Embassy of Ukraine in London is being quoted in the sections of the article that I'm quoting.)