The only major-league mapping site I know that doesn't do local alterations is OpenStreetMap, and that's because OSM's attitude is "you want the map to show something else? sure, download the raw data and host your own instance".
You have to be careful not to take some random map off the internet when using them in the design.
> The time zone map met a similar fate. The Indian government threatened to ban all Microsoft software from the country because we assigned a disputed region to Pakistan in the time zone map. (Any map that depicts an unfavorable border must bear a government stamp warning the end-user that the borders are incorrect. You can’t stamp software.) We had to make a special version of Windows 95 for them.
Sarcasm aside, it's because India knows it'd lose in the referendum. The area is >60% Muslim, India has committed some horrible atrocities in the area, and there's just no way the majority of people there today would vote for India (decades ago, it would have been the opposite).
Hence, India will do anything it can for the referendum to just not happen.
Hah. Boiler plate blame-the-other-of-your-faults strategy.
Ethnic cleansing of Hindus who were mass-exoded out of their homelands through threat of murder and rape via public loudspeakers in the 90s.
Innumerable terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pak ISI instigated and based agents ever since Independence, through Operation Gibraltar.
Kashmir was divided in partition in 1947. Pakistan didn't like it. They invaded Kashmir. Indian army held them at current Line of Actual Control. Since then they've been attacking it.
Rape is a blotch to be condemned. It's been a unfortunate side effect of every war ever fought, by both sides. WWII - Germany vs Russia, and Russia vs Germany, for example.
Taken from Human Rights Watch Report - "Rape in Kashmir: A Crime of War" 1993: "In some cases, women have been raped by militant forces as a way of punishing other family members believed to be informers or suspected of opposing the militants. In other cases, members of armed militant groups have abducted women and raped them after threatening or murdering other members of the family."
Terrorism is a huge infestation problem, especially in Kashmir Every country has to deal with it strong-handedly as a duty. Every country since the beginning of time has introduced curfews and curbed liberty for security (TSA screenings hello?) for peace keeping. It's no secret the benefits outweigh the risks for the majority of peaceful population.
It's kind of similar to Crimea (maintains access to the Black Sea) and, in historical terms, Thrace or East Prussia or Gdansk. In fact, after both World Wars people kind of decided it was easier to relocate people behind whatever borders were strategically agreed upon rather than try and build borders around which country the people already living there wanted to live in.
Not only is that an oversimplification, but it is also plain wrong at so many levels (but it is the lie that has been spun for a long time now). Successive govts. helmed by a certain sell out (Indian) political party had systematically worked against Indian interests by not only not challenging this false narrative, but actually tacitly endorsing it, until recently. Embarrasingly, people like Tulsi Gabbard have been more sympathetic and supporting of the facts behind the incidents, and calling out the false media spin. But this support has led to India waking up and becoming more assertive in calling out lies and facing more facts on the table for all to see.. See this latest video from Tom Lantos meeting:
Edit: should read sell out Indian political party
> Razumkov characterized Crimeans' views as controversial and unsteady, and therefore vulnerable to internal and external influences.
It's true the Russian run referendum is probably a very corruptible process and unreliable but there's no clear indication that the majority of Crimeans were actually against the idea. Which IMO should matter more than what the foreign UN diplomats and think-tanks believe is best for them.
> Gallup poll found only 1.7% of ethnic Russians and 14.5% of ethnic Ukrainians living in Crimea thought that the referendum results didn't accurately reflect the views of the Crimean people.
The other side of it is whether that even matters with in the context of Ukraine's sovereignty and other issues of statehood. Plus referendums should probably not be happening in moments of anarchy. But it's not a good look for the west when trying to win them over by blaming Russian interference while glossing over potentially legitimate local support.
The other aspect of it is that separatism is illegal under Russian law, period. So, ironically, while it was legal - from the Russian perspective - for Crimea to join, it is not legal for it to leave, or to contemplate leaving. Even vaguely suggesting that there should be a referendum on independence is deemed "extremism", and there are laws making that illegal (and people have been prosecuted under those laws, specifically wrt Crimea).
I'm a big fan of smaller states and more localized governments which closer reflect the people (see: Canada, Scandinavia, Singapore, Taiwan, HK, South Korea, etc). Few people talk about the US's massive population, economic, size/scale of modern western governments growth vs the past when talking about today's political and class divides.
So my general point is that the needs/wants of the Crimeans themselves shouldn't be merely tossed aside and ignored just because Russia played a role. Especially if we're trying to prevent this from happening again. Taking the UN's elitist evil Russian boogieman approach leaves the world more vulnerable to this sort of thing, not less. Just like with ISIS/Iraq/Syria, the locals needs matter a lot more than we give them credit.
I agree with a lot of anti-Russian stuff (their overarching geopolitical approach not the hysteria that’s used as a political tool in the west), but that's a very strange counter-example to use...
International law used to be European law, now it's American law. And perhaps it will be Chinese law, in 50 years.
Russia, China, etc could still block OSM at a firewall if they choose.
The OpenStreetMap Foundation, which supports the OpenStreetMap project, and owns the domain name, trademarks & hardware, is registered in England & Wales
One company hosting the data centrally is responsible for dealing with multiple parties and figuring out a resolution. Often the parties have little recourse but to fine it or block it.
We see similar issues when Facebook is blasted by Germany for not censoring a post and by the Trump administration for censoring a similar post. The guys in their boiler room use Google Translate to see if a post in another language is offensive, which is ironic since Facebook is using a Google tool internally.
A more pointed example is when the SESTA / FOSTA bill was passed last year to require platforms to police child pornography being posted and the EFF and other free speech advocates were actually up in arms about it, saying that puts undue burdens on facebook and other platforms which are far too big.
The problem is why are they too big? Because they run all the software and don’t give it to us. And open source software isn’t good enough to compete with what they have. Look at HN, it is able to add whatever rules it needs to police stuff, and runs on Arc.
That’s why Wordpress, Magento, OSM are so important. Eventually they will copy everything the centralized players have and you can CUSTOMIZE them with a marketplace of plugins. Like how the Web replaced AOL.
We need REAL open source alternatives to facebook. What are they today?
GNU Social/Mastodon is by far the most widespread today. It's more like Twitter. (Mastodon is a more modern implementation of the GNU Social protocol, which in turn is the descendent of the Identica mess.)
There was also Diaspora, but that never really caught on.
To break it up, you need to force them into providing outside access. If and when people can run e.g. Diaspora, but seamlessly interact with people on Facebook, Diaspora would become a lot more popular. Think of email, or XMPP and Matrix federation.
Or we can just break them up physically, on the basis that no single entity should control that much of the market, and have that much dominance.
The idea is that OSM captures the multiple views of the boundary in dispute, allowing the user to choose their rendering.
Whilst good in theory, it's probably not different to other's approach in practise. Thinking people can choose to see a boundary as disputed, whilst nationalists on either side can choose to see it as soley theirs, thus amplifying their own echo chamber. The main difference from others is that the choice of rendering is potentially up to the individual, due to the availability of all the data, but in practise most people will be using a provider who has already made the choice for them.
Exactly. Couple days ago, I have entered "Palestine" into google maps. It did not highlight any territory and just showed me generic location of Middle East. On mobile it did not relocate map view at all.
AFAIK with disputed territories it was always like that - it depends what you search and from where you search. Names, borders will be different and IMO it's fine as reality is that regarding locations there's sometimes no clear answer who controls it and what name it has.
IIRC there's an island on a river in Europe where it is exchanged between countries weekly (or daily, don't remember)..
I guess Aussies just don’t complain enough to be worth pandering to.
Google.com.ua users see a state/province border (top image)
Google.de users a disputed international boundary (middle image)
Google.ru users see an undisputed international boundary and Russian spellings of city names (bottom image).
(and I think there are generally no borders shown in the oceans)
I made the screenshots using proxies or maybe just changing the domains about a year ago (don't remember what exactly I did).
There is an objective truth here, though, that could be shown (if it were allowed). You could show it as disputed. That the dispute exists is an objective truth. The very fact that different states require you to display it differently is proof of that.
> presents the "most true" version of reality based on where you're coming from
Normally I shy away from this terminology, but let's call it what it is: propaganda. Tech companies (Google, Apple) don't custom-tailor their maps because they want to. They do it because the states use leverage to force them into it. And the states do it to promote the idea that the disputed territory is theirs.
"Legitimacy" is a subjective moral argument in and of itself, and is subjective, and likely to wind up on the wrong side of history. Hiter's annexaction of sudetenland was generally discussed through the lens of legitimacy in pretty mainstream conversations. Obviously history looks at his actions through another lens.
If Russia stops at Crimea, it might be an interesting footnote or a hard pub quiz question 30 years from now. If Putin sets his sights next on Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania, and the West lets him have it, it's going to be remembered much differently. By the way I'm not ominously promising future-Hitler. I don't think Putin wants the west, or any more than that, and I don't think any genocide is in the future.
But I do fear that he wants to rebuild as much of the former soviet block as possible, and I do think the EU won't stop him, which will itself be the final nail in the coffin of its legitimacy, and eventual dissolution.
So what? Google wants people to use their map software. By showing variations of the map depending on what the official stance of the regional government is, they are ensuring that their map software is available in that region and fits the context of that country.
There is a Russian narrative for Crimea being theirs. There is a Ukrainian narrative for Crimea being theirs. It's not Google's place to decide between them, it's their place to create a map people can find things on.
It does not matter what you, I or Sundar Pichai believe is the truth of whom Crimea should belong to. Their product is a map and it's available in Russia, Ukraine and Crimea. In fact, by presenting all the credible alternatives in this case (for Russia's side, they currently administrate the region and for Ukraine's, it was very recently their territory), they are being apolitical about it.
Would Native Americans start petitioning Google to alter maps of Arizona?
So if you take Crimea, for both Russia and Ukraine it's undisputed. Both think it's theirs. For other countries not, making it no longer objective.
Apple could show both, but why take a side and care? This would lead to more problems then they care. (China, India, Pakistan are next in line)
Maps are usually supposed to represent aspects of reality, in particular those relevant to moving around and understanding places (e.g. whether someone will stop and check your passport, or which country's laws you should consult in a particular location to minimise your chances of getting thrown in a dungeon). I get that many people get fuzzy feelings from looking at pictures that look like maps but instead represent a hypothetical reality they would prefer to be in, but there must be a better term for those than "maps".
And if you try to cross the border from Crimea to Ukraine, the Ukrainian side will not ask you if you "want to enter Ukraine". They consider Crimea to be Ukrainian, so they'll treat you as somebody who is already on Ukrainian territory, just passing through an internal checkpoint. Which means that you must have had entered Ukraine legally before, and then traveled from there to Crimea, and back. If you try to enter Crimea from Russia, and then from there to Ukraine, then as far as Ukraine is concerned, you have committed an illegal entry at the moment you entered Crimea without going through a legitimate border checkpoint - so they'll just arrest you for that.
Furthermore, if you try to enter Ukraine at any other border crossing, but they have evidence that you have previously entered Crimea from Russia, they will also treat that as a past illegal entry.
This is true.
A few years ago I flew from Moscow to Simferopol (Crimea) and was advised that to not visit Ukraine in the future, for risk of arrest at the border. I'm not sure how Ukrainian border authorities would know of my visit to Crimea, since there is no record of it in my Australian passport, but I would not want to take the risk.
Don't limit the the definition and use of (navigational) maps by minimizing the "fuzzy feelings" created by (political) maps. Your hypothetical doesn't work, who goes to some contested territory and then wonder where they'll end up in jail or when they'll fall on a military checkpoint? Most of these areas are not ideal for foreign tourists. If you want a map to navigate immediately around Yemen, Syria, Morocco, northern India, Aceh, South Sudan etc you're in trouble.
Entire countries with nationalistic pride and a populist/authoritarian leader like China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Morocco... fight tooth and nails to have maps that conform to their world-representation. Because they can suppress speech and justify violence against populations usually in these territories or manufacture causes for military confrontations. That's usually what political maps are for and they matter if you're a tech company.
> The region is now displayed as Russian territory on Apple Maps and Weather, when viewed from inside Russia.
Knowing whether or not you're going to be crossing a border is useful information when you're physically close to that border. When you're viewing the same map from 1000km away, the political status of the border is probably more important to you than whether or not you're going to be stopped by border guards.
Maybe you are right and it's the best way, I however also see how everyone is deeper in their own bubble with their own reality. Something that can easily cause a very skewed post-fact world view.
The fact of which country controls a territory, which country's laws apply there, which is the local currency, etc. does not change based on your politics. What google is doing is just PR/politics - they are just taking what they see as the least risky path for their business. It's not useful to say Crimea is part of Ukraine because for all practical purposes it is not. If China decided to crush Hong Kong protests with military and establish full control - would it make sense to pretend it is an independent state if Western nations decided to declare it so for political purposes?
The difference matters for things like GDPR.
Correction, it shows you whatever your government wants/ allows you to see.
Here’s the thing, once enough time passes, you have to start to consider that Crimea may never return to Ukrainian control.
Just because Russia’s actions have been condemned by the international community doesn’t mean those actions weren’t taken and weren’t successful.
We have to admit at some point that Russia controls this territory now because, sadly, nobody did anything significant to stop it. Russia essentially fought a brief war and won, and took territory as a result.
It’s getting to the point where a map saying that this land is inside the Ukraine is an inaccurate statement.
Growing a spine to stand up for what is right helps. Appeasing a bully is certainly going to cement status quo.
Poland was established in 966, to lose independence in 1795, to regain it in 1918.
Hungary existed since 895, then merged with Austria (at least in theory as equals, not subjects).
They are nothing like, say, Kosovo which was created 10 years ago by arbitrary UN decision, for no good reason.
It's not same as separatism. It was similar to fall of other empires.
Take Finland: it gained independence in much the same circumstances as Baltic states. The only difference was that USSR was not able to fully occupy it in 1940. That's it, there is no other reason an average Russian would scoff at Balts and respect Finland than getting a bloody nose there once.
So I call bullshit any attempts to paint things black and white here.
It was not officially recognized as such by anyone, but de facto it was very much a state, and their goal was to maintain that de facto sovereignty.
Russian Federation ≠ Russian Empire (doesn't exist) ≠ Russia (now Ukraine) ≠ town of Russia (now Old Russa).
BTW. Romania ≠ Rome (now Italy).
Or perhaps, are you saying that the Russian empire isn't truly Russian because the Romanovs were German?
I get what you're saying about country boundaries and composition changing over time, but it seems like a stretch to call Ukraine the true Russia.
880-1240 — Russia - Russia, Русь, modern name: Kievan Rus` (to avoid confusion with Russian Empire), now: Ukraine. Built on remnants of eastern part of Volynnia (Free People) kingdom (now: Volyn` region of Ukraine). Rus`-sia means "Rus` there/this" in Slavic, so "-sia" suffix is dropped in Slavic languages, thus Russia transformed into Rus` (BTW: s(с) and s`(сь) are different consonants). In Western Europe traditional name was used: Russia. They used Eastern Slavic Languages.
Then Russia fall apart into 1) Red Russia, or Ruthenia (Rose People Land), now: Western Ukraine, 2) White Russia, or White Ruthenia, now: Belarus`, 3) Black Russia or Black Ruthenia, now: Grodno region of Belarus`, 4) Carphatian Russia or Carpathian Ruthenia, now: Zakarpattia, western part of Western Ukraine.
1721-1917 — Petro I conquered Russia, so he got title "Emperor of All Russia" (Царь всея Руси). Then Catherine II renamed Moscow kingdom into "All Russia Empire" (Всероссийская Империя), which then simplified to Russian Empire(Российская Империя), or just Russia (Россия).
So Russia can mean Russia/Русся (<541), Rus`/Русь (880-1240), Red, White, Black Rus`, or Russian Empire/Российская Империя (1721-1917).
Slavic people of Russia/Русь are called "Rusyns/русины" (y as in lynx), literally: "they are Rus`", or "Russish/руські", literally: "belongs to Rus`". Name "Rusyns" was popular in Habsburg Monarchy, while name "Russish" was popular in Russian Empire.
People of Russian Federation are called "Russish/руские", literally: "belongs to Rus`", or "Rossiiane/россияне", literaly: People of Russia/Россия, "Russish" means here believers of Russian Church, mostly Tatars, Erzan`, Mordva, and many other peoples, known as "Russificated peoples/обрусевшие народы".
So, Ukrainians are not "real Russians". Real Russians are assimilated and now are called Ukrainians, Belorussians, Cossacks, Russians, Lithuanians, etc.
A US-adversary might want to call Puerto Rico a US-occupied independent state and they’d have similar justification.
What is “right” in global politics is highly subjective.
Even in present-day India I believe maps are required to show Kashmir with the Indian view, and customs may theoretically confiscate differing printed maps.
Pretty much the same. Map is tailored to its audience.
Visit a mid-tier antiques shop in a large global city (New York, London, Vienna) and you may see some old maps with some interesting borders.
One of the walls in my home office has one of those big pull-down school maps of the Middle East. There isn't a date on it, but based on the borders it's probably about 80 years old. A number of... unconventional... names and borders on it.
Why "sadly"? By all reliable accounts, the Crimean people would rather be a part of Russia. Obviously we'd prefer that land and people be transferred between countries via diplomacy rather than military action, but I don't feel like expecting that to happen in this case is realistic.
(Obviously Russia didn't annex Crimea out of the goodness of its heart, of course. I imagine it was primarily for some form of strategic advantage, and Crimea being largely populated by ethnic Russians just made it both easier to accomplish and justify.)
The vast majority of people in Crimea are Russian speakers (as well as being ethnically Russian). It's been that way since the Russian Empire conquered the peninsula from the Ottomans in 1783. In fact, there's nearly as many Tartar (descendents of Ottomans) speakers in Crimea than Ukrainian. Last time I was there (early this year), I saw a number of new mosques under construction.
I'm not justifying the recent annexation, just noting the linguist realities on the ground. Also, politics aside, if you ever have the chance to visit, do it. The peninsula is very beautiful and there's lots of interesting geographical features and historical sights to see. Also, the infrastructure has improved significantly since the Russian takeover (unfortunately Ukraine being poor, neglected the peninsula after the collapse of the USSR) so getting around is easier now.
Also, the argument "well it was like that since <some time t>" does not really have traction. Why choose an arbitrary time point? Usually, these arguments fall apart when you suggest to look at <t - dt>.
This was very different from for example Baltic states.
To this day in Baltic states there are places where people were moved in by Soviet Union and even today most of the people hardly speak the language of the country they live in. Because of this they mostly watch Russian national tv and think that Soviet Union was the best place in the world.
The Baltics are still very vurnerable to Russian propaganda, for Ukraine it's even harder to escape propaganda, because of Slavic roots and similar languages.
Edit: If there's a majority of former Soviet nationals thinking that they are somehow "abused" by living in the independent Baltic state, so do you think father putin should save them by occupying the country? Or should those people need to buy one way ticket to their motherland and never come back?
Why not? Use the most common local language as well as Russian.
All recorded witnesses share same main narrative: it was year with high yield, but everything edible, even in very small quantities, like handful of seeds, was confiscated by state multiple times per month, until people starved to death.
It's not a Great Famine, like in 1921. It's Holodomor ("Mass-murder by Famine").
More information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5YjztNdRwk
And then Stalin launched the Great Terror in 37. Snyder estimates the death count as 750K.
In the West we have a propaganda hangover from WWII - the "Uncle Joe" view of Stalin. Many wonder at what was going on in Hitler's mind. For me Stalin is far more incomprehensible. Utterly cold, cynical and calculating. Must have been some kind of sociopath or psychopath.
Every agricultural region with Russian(Ukrainian or Belorussian included) population suffered, not only Ukraine.
Number of Russians jumped from 77 millions to 99 millions between 1926 and 1939. It doesn't looks like genocide.
Russians were supported by government. Villages of dead Ukrainians were granted to Russians, including free transfer by rail road from central Russia to Ukraine, free seeds, free equipment, and free cattle, confiscated by government prior to that.
Russia had very traditional society at that time, with large number of children. If you have 5 kids, and two dies from commie-induced hunger, the population would still grow and it would still be genocide.
Holodomor Genocide Museum
Lavrska St, 3, Kyiv, Ukraine, 02000
This is a pretty decent English language history of the area:
Also, I didn't know about "mova", neat - this language or dialect was spoken in Crimea?
However, leaders of folk movement, later known as Ukrainians, developed and enhanced folk language, which then was renamed into Ukrainian language, and used as one of symbols of independence from Moscow, so it was systematically suppressed by government of Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and Russian Federation.
Crimean Tatars constituted the majority of the population of Crimea before the Russian conquest. They became the minority partly through genocide, and partly because the peninsula was settled by Russian colonists.
Ukrainians, on the other hand, were never indigenous in Crimea. It was not a part of Kievan Rus, so any Ukrainians who lived there, immigrated there after the Russian occupation of it. And there are so few mostly because most immigration to it was orchestrated, and the Imperial government preferred to settle it with Russian rather than Ukrainian colonists.
So in one case, you can talk about genocide of the indigenous population. In the other case, it's preferential treatment of one ethnicity over another for colonization purposes.
Where did you find population data before 1879? I have looked at the linked data before and it was called the first Russian census . If I am not mistaken, the data at that time shows Tatars still being the biggest group at 35.6%.
In the context of this topic I think it is fair to also include the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars by Lavrentiy Beria, which is one of the reasons for their numbers dwindling to less than one percent in '45 .
The link  also shows that Crimean Tatars made up 98% of Crimea in 1783. From the linked authors, Tanner [3, p. 21–22], wrote:
> Ever since the first Russian conquest of the Crimean Khanate, the Tatars had faced striking and gradual colonization of Crimea by Slavs, mainly Russians and Ukrainians. At the time of the Russian annexation of the Crimean Khanate in 1783, Crimea was an almost uniformly Tatar country, Crimeans constituting 98% of the population (about 500,000) people.
With the other author, Drohobycky [4, p. 73], writing:
> Until the end of the eighteenth century, the Crimean Tatars were the largest ethnic group based on size. The process of formation of the Crimean Tatar people had been completed in the sixteenth century. After Crimeas annexation by Russia in 1873, Crimea was intensively colonized by the Russians and less intensively by the Ukrainians, Germans, Bulgarians, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, and other ethnic groups.
3. Tanner, A. (2004). The Forgotten minorities of Eastern Europe: the history and today of selected ethnic groups in five countries. Helsinki: East-West Books.
4. Drohobycky, M. (1995). Crimea: Dynamics, Challenges and Prospects. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
This is misleading and factually incorrect. Everyone who speaks Russian also speaks Ukrainian in Ukraine, except for people who literally moved there recently from Russia and other countries.
Just because you don't agree with Russian politics doesn't change the facts about which languages are spoken:
No, most Crimeans do speak both Russian and Ukrainian, just like everyone else in Ukraine, since Ukrainian is the only official language and it's pretty much impossible to not be exposed to both languages, especially in education and media. After the fall of Soviet Union all the ethnic Russians in Ukraine (incl. Crimea) had no way of avoiding it and do speak Ukrainian.
Ukraine, after Soviet Union crumbled was always under the foot of Russian Federation. It is the poorest performer of any country which became independent after Soviet occupation. It never managed to properly "westernize", because Russian influence and bullying was strong. Russian cronies in the government and Crimea was literally a Russian naval base. Due to strong influence from the East, eastern Ukraine population was mentally stuck in the "good old Soviet times".
After Maidan in 2014 and Russian friendly Ukrainian president was toppled for dropping trade agreements from EU, Putin clearly saw that he may lose control of the naval bases to the Black Sea, so decided to take Crimea by power.
Crimea to Russia right now is just propaganda to push agenda for the rest of Ukraine and to the Russians as well (oh look how great you'll live in the Mother Russia). Most of the Russia except for Moscow and St. Petersburg is in pretty poor and rough state.
P.S. sorry for my English. Non native speaker. Also opinion is mine and speaking from my memory, if I am not correct please correct me.
I am talking as a person whose country was at the same position as Ukraine 30 years ago, but now average Joe is economically 5-10 times better than average Ukrainian. Ukraine is poor because it's 20-30 years late to free itself from Soviet/Russian shambles.
Edit: also I want to add that for Russia this stunt did cost huge amounts from cash reserves and rubble have lost half of it's value which has not recovered to this day, which made locals "very happy".
> Crimeans that I've spoken to are mostly happy with the annexation
1. They won't tell you otherwise. Ask N. Korean citizen if it likes to live there. Of course it does - either because it does not want to end up in a work camp lasting for 3 generations or at best - that the person does not know any better.
2. I guess the most important thing is - Russification of Ukraine lasting more than a century. Crimea suffered the worst . I could bet that former Soviet citizens living in Baltic states  would have asked for "help" from Kremlin and would've successfully and "happily" voted for regions with biggest Russian population to secede from Baltic country into Russia. That's what happened in Crimea and thank god that Baltics are in NATO.
3. Sevastopol is a major naval base for Russia  that they leased from Ukraine (oh how generous of them) and was one of the initial attack vectors to annex peninsula in 2014.
I could rant for hours on this, but in short - Russian Empire and Soviet union have destroyed major percentage of natives from the occupied territories and have relocated great numbers of native Russians into the occupied territories.
In the Baltics every person knows at least some relative or a friend that during Soviet times were exiled to Siberia, mysteriously disappeared or KGB kicked out the door at 3am ant told to go "for a drive". If the person does not know anyone with such faith - I could give 99.9% that the person (or it's ancestors) were/are Russian/Soviet citizens.
To this day Russia uses those former Russian/Soviet citizen as a fifth column, these people are very susceptible to Russian propaganda and they have very idilic image of Soviet way of life (oh those great young days). Soviet/Russian propaganda is strong, intelligent and witty. Goebbels would be so jealous of how good they are.
So how does this make Crimea Russian then?
I am pointing out from the top of my head, but in 2014 I've heard these top excuses for annexing Crimea:
1. Crimea was given to Soviet Ukraine, by Soviet Russia, thus Crimea is Russian and Russian Federation is taking it back, because they "suddenly realised" it was a mistake.
2. "Crimean people asked" for protection from "Ukrainian nazi junta" and they had "independent" vote on integrating themselves into Russia.
How about Lithuanians should take over the Kaliningrad Oblast  as it was Minor Lithuania many years ago? Maybe Germans should come to the negotiations as it was territory of Prussia too?
It really sounds like you are, though. I mean the principle most of us care about here isn't about matching iOS app text to "the linguistic realities on the ground", it's about not condoning the literal invasion of neighboring countries (by a nuclear power, no less).
> Also, the infrastructure has improved significantly since the Russian takeover
Also sounds very much like a justification for an invasion.
Anyways, that was taken outside of an interesting museum in Sevastopol. The entire bay there is pretty cool. You can take a boat tour around it. There's a bunch of old USSR ships in various levels of decay as well as some of the newer stuff (the main reason for the annexation was for control of this warm water port btw):
Museum of the Black Sea Fleet
Lenina St, 11, Sevastopol
My favorite is the "secret" underground submarine base in Balaklava. Fascinating place that until recently was off limits to Westerners:
Voyenno-Istoricheskiy Muzey Fortifikatsionnykh Sooruzheniy
1 99000, Marmurova St, Sevastopol
But I guess strong helping hand from father putin was just too convenient for them..
What are you doing on hn?
It's either a member of fifth column  (could be unwillingly - by accident) or a troll/bot 
Yes, the Crimean vote was a scam. The way that Crimea was forcefully annexed is certainly not ideal and out of line with modern norms. But that doesn't mean that Crimeans didn't want to rejoin Russia. Both can be true.
this line of thinking is not irrational but still very harmful to civilization as a whole. a belief that some chunk of population wants to secede can never be used as grounds for annexation, it should only be used to influence internal political affairs. calling annexation on such grounds "not ideal" is understating it to the point where i can rationally conclude your goal is to just see the civilization burn to the ground.
which coincidentally is exactly the kind of views that russian government trolls promote in all corners of the internet.
yes, "Both can be true", but you don't know if the latter is true without holding a proper referendum with both sides of the question represented fairly and debated widely so that citizens are well informed/educated when going to vote. and that means you should condemn in strongest terms what russia has done (or any other country involved in similar conflict), not just meekly call it "not ideal".
> A joint survey by American government agency Broadcasting Board of Governors and polling firm Gallup was taken during April 2014. It polled 500 residents of Crimea. The survey found that 82.8% of those polled believed that the results of the Crimean status referendum reflected the views of most residents of Crimea, whereas 6.7% said that it did not. 73.9% of those polled said that they thought that the annexation would have a positive impact on their lives, whereas 5.5% said that it would not.
>IPhones are great products. Seriously, though,
@Apple, please, please, stick to high-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side. #CrimeaIsUkraine
I'll also note that thoughts and prayers are not terribly useful in these situations. Force responds to force, nothing else. I expect Russia to continue doing these sorts of things while the world frets.
I think the situation with Crimea is unique as there is a set of multiple historical, racial, political etc. etc. factors not present anywhere else. What else could Russia possibly annex without triggering major war and world mayhem?
I am curious here about one thing here. Government leaders supposed to be smart people. Where did Saakashvili (Georgian president at the time) loose his last 2 brain cells before allowing military attack on stationed Russian peacekeepers. Try to imagine Syrian soldiers attacking US military and see what happens.
Yeah, no that's highly unlikely.
Ukraine started full-blown military operation. Not a problem, because war was triggered on Donbass, part of Ukraine which is not annexed.
Ukraine is post-nuclear country, so it can nuke Russia. Not a problem, because of fear of MAD.
Please, invent something new.
Two governments not agreeing with each other is a problem for them to work out amongst themselves. Apple just has to maintain a system that allows them to stay in compliance with every government's view at once, and appear to be doing that. (I can type the Hong Kong flag on my iPhone, after all.) That's not politics, that's just self-preservation.
I think what people really want are for corporations to advocate for the political views that they happen to agree with. I was like that up until the whole NBA/China, Apple/China, and Blizzard/China controversy. After being deeply upset for a while, I came to terms with the fact that Fortune 500 companies are not going to be the guiding force towards a better world. They are just going to play basketball or make phones or make computer games. And I'm OK with that. Not thrilled, but I accept it.
When we start talking about giving back those territories, I'll start taking everyone's opinion on Crimea seriously.
I don't really see the issue in this case because borders are legal fictions and thus for contested borders between major factions there is no single source of truth, so the most accurate thing is indeed simply to display to Russian users the state of the map as understood by Russians and to other parties the way they see it.
Survival is an overriding value for everyone, but acting in accordance with other values can be a part of how that's achieved--ideally corporations are rewarded with profitability when they act in accordance with society's values. How best to achieve this, though, is a matter of some disagreement.
But if you’re not being literal when you ask about values beyond profit, then as an easy example: Valve. They believe in promoting PC gaming and moving it forward. I think their service (and products) represents that value fairly well, and sometimes at the expense of profit.
Still, I’m sorry to hear of that situation.
all these aspects that apple markets in the USA seem to be completely negotiable anywhere in the world, and i wonder how long before they can also become negotiable in the USA.
in the USA, because of fairly well established democracy and general freedom of speech apple is able to push back on government "requests" blatantly in the open and use this openness to their advantage. everywhere else where no such transparency exists because the government completely controls the communication medium these pushbacks simply don't happen -- apple really has no interest of ever stepping out on a limb if that limb will cost them calculated market share.
it's really sad because they as a company are speaking/acting out of both of their ends, depending on the convenience of the local market. it's convenient and possible to push back in the USA, it's convenient and impossible to push back with other totalitarian regimes so they fold.
From a "change from the inside" perspective, Apple can make more of a positive difference in pushing forward their agenda for countries like Russia, by staying in the Russian market, complying with a few government demands, and thus offering a sub-optimal form of their products/services—but still a form that has nonzero privacy/democracy/etc.-enhancing effects, relative to the alternatives that would fill the market in their absence.
For example, iOS devices at least have a universal base image where Apple knowingly makes these changes, and as few of them as possible; whereas Android devices get their firmware tampered with in each country by that country's OEMs, and so can be made arbitrarily compromised, including making those same changes to the maps on the client side.
Or, to put a finer point on it: a company like Apple that offers privacy/security-enhancing products, opting out of a market because that market's government sees them as a threat and wants to neuter their abilities, would be like a peacekeeping organization opting out of a country because of the very things that make countries need peacekeeping (e.g. a failed state.)
Would you pressure KFOR to leave Kosovo because the Kosovo government doesn't let them do their jobs? No, that'd be reason for them to stay.
What's suddenly different if it's a profit-motivated corporation? They're still helping citizens evade state surveillance, even if entirely for selfish reasons.
How did that work in China?
More to the point, companies are not nations or governments. Having agendas for countries is not their place.
China is mostly what I was referring to, honestly. An iOS device that can run five secure-messaging apps instead of ten is still better than an Android device that's been potentially wiretapped during last-mile delivery to the customer.
(This is the same reason that contracts from Western governments propped up RIM for a while, before Apple became a viable replacement for them. A US government official could trust a Blackberry they acquired in China, far more than they could trust a regular Chinese cellphone.)
> More to the point, companies are not nations or governments. Having agendas for countries is not their place.
Companies (at least S-corps) don't have agendas per se; but their employees, as citizens of countries, certainly do. When everybody behind the design of an iPhone lives in the US, you'd better believe that the iPhone is being designed to put forward an implicit "agenda" carried by the cultural beliefs of citizens of the US, whether Apple-as-a-profit-motivated-corporation likes it or not. (You know how there's a recent trend in the US with corporations adopting social-justice messaging in their community guidelines? Think about how that kind of support develops in a corporation, and then replace "social justice" with "foreign policy.")
I associate democracy with choice and Apple isn't really too active in that domain. As for the services their products provide, I think that is more in line with all alternatives.
That said, Apple at least seems to have protected user data from government access. Let's see if that holds.
But in practice government would have more difficulties to include backdoors in Android for example and Apple has a single point of failure.
I was using "democracy" here to refer specifically to political influence of a citizen (or citizenry in the aggregate) over a state. "Democracy-enhancing" thus means "enabling or easing participation in acts of democracy" or "protecting the individual from things that would prevent them from participating in acts of democracy" (where "acts of democracy" are things like votes, campaigns, debates, referendums, demonstrations, and any associated acts of evangelism/recruitment toward those activities — basically anything listed in the "Ways citizens can participate" list here: https://www.civiced.org/resources/curriculum/lesson-plans/45...)
Most communications technologies are democracy-enhancing, even when they are actively surveilled by a state actor, since there are always some democratic acts that the state either doesn't really care about, or doesn't know how to watch for. But, of course, non-surveillable communications technologies are more democracy-enhancing.
> But in practice government would have more difficulties to include backdoors in Android for example
Note that the Chinese intelligence apparatus need not actually put any backdoors into individual Android devices, nor put any backdoors into upstream Android as an OS. They just need to request that Chinese OEMs like Huawei backdoor their own Android distributions, and then let the state shoulder-surf the results; while also helping the OEMs out with funding for PR campaigns that encourage the use of domestic OEM brands over foreign OEM brands. The government doesn't even need any developers to do this; just money and strongly-worded letters!
Doing otherwise is "bias" and "politics". Now, you may argue that Apple should be biased towards the Western view of the world, and have its own politics of national recognition, but there is substantial pushback against big tech companies having a political bias.
on top of that, i'll still have to rely on google for map /traffic data as i'm not aware of any other well established alternatives -- but what's worse is that i'm still in the USA and while google shows me a free and liberated map of a world it obviously can be showing someone in russia/iran/china something completely different and 'local' to them.
how does one really fight this?
...because then get ready for Xiaomi sending the floor plan from your Roomba straight to the chinese government.
...or what if Telegram suddenly started banning gay users because that's obviously wrong and immoral by Russian standards?
...or what if American Ad-Companies decided that they "morally disagree" with GDPR.
Just like any individual person, Companies can fight for their ideals as long as they follow the law of wherever they are.
If the USA proposed a law that forced them to hand over all user data, they would of course try to fight it. But if it was passed, do you really think they would suddenly stop doing business in the USA because of their ideals?
It's not true. There are some laws against LGBT in Russia, but being gay is not prosecuted.
But there are sure some anti-gay laws in Saudi Arabia, which, AFAIK is not suppressed by any of US sanctions.
Off the top of my head:
* Persian/Arabian Gulf
* Western Sahara/Morocco
Every map you see in Chile & Argentina includes a large pie-slice of the continent... and pretty close to being the same pie slice as each other's.
Not to mention some islands which one of them tried to take over, once upon a time.
Note the overlapping borders that makes a bit of sea part of both countries.
This is strictly a non-violent matter of differing border interpretations though, with almost no judicial or maritime consequences.
Not to mention myriad of minor border disputes pretty much everywhere across the world.
Russia sold Alaska to America to pay for the debt accrued from the Crimean War.
It was Nikita Khrushchev who decided to hand over Crimea as territory of Ukraine.
Ukraine was never considered non-Russian state until the fall of Soviets in 199x. Even when it gained short independency in 1917 by the rulings of the Brest Peace, it proclaimed itself as part of some new Russian Federation(that idea was not really liked by bolsheviks and they eliminated that state).
Even then Crimea wasn't the part of the Ukraine. It was added to Ukraine only in 1954, when Ukrainian-born Khruschev gave it to Ukraine without some plebiscite or other voting.
There were some lands that were really given to Ukraine for exchange for Kuban - the West Ukraine, which belonged to Poland before WWII.
Crimea and Cuban were part of Ukraine prior to soviet invasion. Look at maps of Ukraine in 1919-1920: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_People%27s_Republic .
It's meaningless to look at maps of Ukraine in 1919-1920, because it was failed state at that time, born by total chaos brought by Bolshevik's rebellion and defeat in WWI, caused by it. Also Crimea was not a part of Ukraine even then, they had their very own independent republic.
Ukrainians considered Russians in the Empire, at least those who lived on the left bank of Dnieper.
BTW: can you explain meaning of "scratch Russish and you will find Tatar/поскреби русского и найдёш татарина"? WTF is "russificated peoples/обрусевшие народы"?
About Russian and Tatar - the original usage of that phrase differs from current. It was used in 19 century to present Russia as some barbarian horde, not European country it was these days.
I think the origins of the phrase was in the book "La Russie en 1839", which is basically a piece of anti-Russian propaganda of 19 century.
Обрусевшие народы - ethnicities that lost(sometimes partially) their identities and now are considered Russians.
Russia is actually a melting pot of quite different ethnicities, including mongoloid and slavic ones. For convenience some of these ethnicities are considered just Russians.
Being Russian is not really an ethnic thing - it's more of cultural one.
It could be a bit like the timezones, the locale, or the decimal point separator, or other things like that. It should be an option at the OS level that you can configure, not be forced into.
There should be a common database that you can integrate in your map, a bit like timezone historical records, and the user should be able to see the map as claimed by any given country/territory. By default this could depend on your location or locale but it should definitely be possible to always see the map as the other side of the dispute has it, and to configure your device so that it shows maps (for all map software on the device), from a given perspective.
Also, it's eye opening to read or watch news from other countries. There's a big country-specific bias in the selection of international news stories. This bias is a necessary evil, but it can have a huge political and cultural impact.
Think what would happen if the UK took back Hong Kong, or if Hong Kong declared itself independent. We - westerners - would all love that and accept it immediately. Would we have a problem then with Apple if they showed HK as a separate country?
That's not how international law works. By all means maps may be tailored to suit the preferences of markets/countries, but military conquest of a territory doesn't convert it to a "disputed" status. Currently the internationally-recognised borders between Ukraine/Russia are well-defined.
> We - westerners - would all love [the UK invading and annexing Hong Kong] and accept it immediately.
> but military conquest of a territory doesn't convert it to a "disputed" status.
Many territories are disputed without conflict. If military conquest, occupation and de facto control of a territory doesn't reify a dispute, then nothing does.
For examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_territorial_disputes
It should be no more surprising than having a British English dictionary and an American English dictionary, only with higher stakes.