On 1st March 2014, the day Mars turned retrograde, President Putin ordered Russian troops to mobilise in Crimea. So Mars is the planet to watch out for in this crisis, and he will be retrograde until 20th May.
A retrograde period can be a time to turn inwards and reflect, and by the same token a period for going over old ground. And the status of the Crimea has been anomalous since the end of the Cold War. During Soviet times, Crimea was transferred to the Ukraine, though still under control of the USSR/Russian Empire. And during the 20th century, her demographic changed from 35% Russian to 55%. In 1991, as the Cold War ended and the USSR fell apart, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Ukraine.
As the Ukraine has moved towards Europe, the divided loyalties of the country have been exacerbated. And Russia, like the US, is protective of its sphere of influence. As the Ukraine underwent a revolution in favour of moving towards Europe, so did Russia act.
There are many possibilities for a chart for Russia, as the USSR’s collapse occurred in a number of stages. One chart I have used is for 19 August 1991, when Yeltsin stood on a tank and proclaimed his resistance to an attempted coup by the old guard. That was arguably the decisive shift in power from the USSR to Mother Russia. It occurred at about 11am, giving 23 Libra Rising, which Mars has been retrograding over in the current crisis. By progression, the MC is approaching Jupiter, so Russia’s expansionism is not going away anytime soon. And Vladimir Putin has a stellium of Sun-Saturn-Neptune-Mercury between 14 and 23 Libra, close to Russia’s Asc, making him the mouthpiece of Russia’s self-expression.
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Meanwhile the West is wringing its hands and imposing sanctions on Russia for its annexation of the Crimea. Putin is not someone to be pressurised. He acts on behalf of Russia with the straightforward ruthlessness of a country that has 1st House Pluto in Scorpio square to proud Sun in Leo.
Of course the ‘referendum’ in favour of Crimea joining Russia was rigged. But that was probably just a sop to the West. Russia doesn’t think in terms of our democratic niceties. Crimea is mainly Russian, we want Crimea, so we will take it.
And you can see their logic. What would be the democratic alternative? Crimea perhaps having a referendum, after years of bombings and atrocities by Russians who want to be part of Russia, versus a Ukraine that doesn’t want to lose any territory. That is what democracy often produces. When Russia has a breakaway region, it stamps on it ruthlessly, as it has done in Chechnya. That was what the US needed to do if it was to have any chance in Afghanistan. Unless you are prepared to do that, then don’t invade. Democracies are too accountable to be able to have this degree of ruthlessness.
Now I’m not speaking out in favour of these brutalities. I’d much rather live in a western democracy. But it occurred to me in the case of the Crimea that this straightforward assertion of power by Russia may in the long-term give a better result than the democratic approach.
The chart I’m using for the Ukraine is for 24 August 1991, when Independence was proclaimed. All 3 outer planets conjunct the 2 main Angles, which suggests to me a country that is liable to be swept along by wider forces. And Uranus Rising suggests a country that is not stable and settled, that is liable to split – much as the UK, with its Uranus Rising in the 1801 Chart, has been subject to calls for independence from Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Pluto and Uranus are activating Ukraine’s natal Uranus by transit – just as they have been for the UK, where we have a referendum on Scottish Independence later this year.
The East of the Ukraine leans politically towards Russia, though it is only in the Crimea that Russians form a majority.
The crisis is likely to continue in its present form until Mars stations in May at 8 Libra – square the Ukrainian Asc, Uranus and Neptune.
As far as Russia is concerned, that is that, Crimea belongs to Russia. The only negotiations will be over the sanctions the West is for now imposing. The noise will probably have mostly died down by the time Mars returns to 27 Libra, the point from it which it began retrograding, in late July. At that point Mars will have crossed 3 times over the Russian Ascendant between February and July, a cycle of assertion and aggression. But in the sign of Libra, traditionally a sign in which Mars finds it hard do well, being opposite the sign it rules, Aries. Russia, however, seems to have been able to use Mars in Libra to its advantage, using the thoughtful quality of the sign to wait until the right time before seizing the Crimea. And creating an illusion of ‘fairness’ through the referendum. Well, from Russia's point of view, and from the point of view of the Russians in the Crimea, what has happened probably does seem fair. It really is Mars in Libra.
After its cooked-up invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US is not in a position to claim the moral high ground over Russia’s actions. And Russia knows this.
Putin is not a man who explains his actions. America is the opposite, producing copious justifications – many of them spurious – when it infringes the sovereignty of other countries. America feels secretly ashamed where Russia does not.
So what is the future for the Ukraine? The Crimea has considerable strategic importance, as well as having a population that is mostly Russian. These conditions do not apply to the East of the country, which though it leans towards Russia, has a slender majority of Ukrainians, and far fewer Russians.
So though the country will continue to feel divided – as evidenced by the natal Uranus Rising – for demographic reasons this doesn’t seem likely to result in another split.
The Solar Returns for this year and next year are interesting. This year’s (starting last August) has Angular Sun, Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter, as well as a Moon (the people)-Uranus (division) conjunction. We don’t need to interpret all this to see that it is pretty tumultuous.