1. This History Thread is about Burma (Myanmar) relations with Russia. Over many years the relationship has had some interesting twists & turns. Currently the connection consists mainly of Russian arms deals + diplomatic enabling for Myanmar coup regime. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar ImageImageImage
2. Among earliest descriptions of lands that would become Burma by travelers from far away: 15th C. Russian merchant Athanasius Nikitin told his readers about Pegu, “a not inconsiderable port” inhabited by “Indian dervishes” (Muslim mystics) who traded in rubies & other gems. Image
3. Britain colonized Burma in late 19th C. during a time when Britain & Russia were rivals in HImalayas & Central Asia “Great Game.” Ivan Minayev of the Russian Geographical Society traveled in Burma 1885-6 to study Buddhist manuscripts & archeology. Image
4. Burma’s independence leader Aung San’s anti-colonial political/economic viewpoint was inspired by Russian Communists. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) recognized Union of Burma on its post-WW2 1948 independence from Britain, opened embassy there in 1951. Image
5. Among Burma’s post-WW2 Communists differences re Soviet Union exacerbated split betw. Thakin Soe's Red Flag & Thakin Than Tun’s White Flag parties. Early Soviet influence wd be replaced for most Communists in Burma by Communist China as inspiration, supporter, weapons source. Image
6. USSR, an ally of Burma’s neighbor India, maintained a substantial Cold War diplomatic presence & KGB budget in Burma. Prime Minister U Nu visited Moscow in 1955. Soviet PM Khrushchev visited Burma in 1955 & ’60, predicting “Sooner or later new people would come to power.” Image
7. Khrushchev’s interest in Burma came with gifts: 3 kg. caviar for U Nu, campus for Rangoon Institute of Technology. And the Inya Lake Hotel for Burma government: “Soviet-style hideous concrete abomination” (Tripadvisor) or midcentury modern landmark? yangongui.de/inya-lake-hote… Image
8. 1959 2 unusual Burma/USSR incidents. May 1959 Col. Mikhail Stryguine, Soviet military attache of Rangoon embassy was hospitalized for drug overdose, forced onto plane back to USSR. Soviet embassy toughs beat reporters at airport, Burma reporters pelted embassy w. tomatoes. Image
9. June 1959, Rangoon: As recounted in his interesting memoir “Inside a Soviet Embassy” Burmese-speaking Russian diplomat/KGB agent Aleksandr Kaznacheev defected to the United States with Burma government consent. Image
10. After Gen. Ne Win 1962 coup Burma was Cold War neutral & quit Non-Aligned Movement. Avoided allying w. USSR as feared USSR’s rival China could retaliate by increasing backing for Burma's Communist armed groups. Soviet aid: poorly designed Kyetmauktaung irrigation dam project. Image
11. When Shan St. narcotrafficker Khun Sa was in jail in 1973, 2 Russian doctors were kidnapped from the Soviet-built hospital in Taunggyi and held hostage for his release. Thai General Kriangsak Chamanan mediated the release of the doctors. Khun Sa got released later. ImageImage
12. Post-Communist Russia strengthened ties w. Myanmar (Burma) military. Numerous Myanmar officers trained at Russian military academies. Russia announced planned Myanmar nuclear reactor, reportedly trained hundreds of Myanmar “nuclear-energy specialists.” content.time.com/time/world/art…
13. In 2010s despite elections & National League for Democracy role, Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) retained crucial powers & its wars continued. With assistance from Myanmar crony tycoon Tay Za, Russia outpaced China’s arms sales to Myanmar. irrawaddy.com/news/burma/bur…
14. Russia became Myanmar’s largest weapons source. Russian MiG-29 jets, helicopters, Yak-130 training/attack jets, air defense missile systems. Ordered Su-30 fighter/attack aircraft, drones. Russian helicopters in Kachin war, my 2013 Project Maje report: projectmaje.org/airwar.htm Image
15. Russia & China block UN Security Council efforts to hold Myanmar govt/military accountable for severe human rights violations. Vetoed 2007 resolution. Blocked UNSC response to Rohingya genocide. Removed call for action from March 2021 UNSC statement.
16. Coup dictator Gen. Min Aung Hlaing has close Russia relationship. Russia’s Defense Min. Gen. Sergei Shoigu visited Myanmar just before Feb. 1, 2021 coup. Armed Forces Day March 27, Russia’s Deputy Defense Min. Col-Gen. Alexander Fomin an honored guest. bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinio…
17. In addition to Russia, former USSR nations Ukraine and Belarus have also sold weapons to the Myanmar military. Belarus was only UN General Assembly member to vote against June 18, 2021 resolution regarding Myanmar coup (Russia abstained.) justiceformyanmar.org/stories/belaru…
18. Report revealing June 13-19, 2021 Russian delegation visit to Myanmar, Vice-Admiral Vladimir Lvovich Kasatonov as well as “at least one representative of Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport.” myanmar-now.org/en/news/russia…
19. Russian arms deals have continued since Myanmar coup. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s 7th Russia trip took place June 2021, not head of state visit (no Putin/Lavrov mtg) but security conference, shipbuilding factory tour & honors from a Military University. asiatimes.com/2021/07/russia…
20/20. Thanks @hmarston4 for this thread idea! Sources on Russia/Burma include: Ludmila Lutz-Auras, @AjayKamalakaran, @JusticeMyanmar, Kanbawza Win, @gardlunden. My previous History Threads are at projectmaje.org. My 5th year on Twitter, thanks for following,❤️& retweets! Image

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More from @EdithMirante

24 Jun
1. This History Thread is about the music of resistance in Myanmar (Burma.) This is a brief overview, not including all important bands or songs. It is a multi-ethnic array of many musical styles — put your headphones on & pump up the volume. 🎧 #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar 🌿
2. In the independent (often warring) lands that would become Burma, music was created by different cultures, absorbed, captured, traveling. Royal courts sponsored musicians. Resistance to tyrannical rulers was sometimes expressed in subversive, satirical folksongs & chants.
3. Early 20th C. defiance of British colonial rule of Burma was expressed in songs extolling glorious past of Burman (Bamar) ethnic group. “Dobama” by YMB Saya Khin, imprisoned for incitement. Unfortunately some nationalist songs attacked Muslims, Indians. myanmore.com/2020/05/the-st…
Read 25 tweets
10 Apr
1. This History Thread is about sabotage in Burma (Myanmar) from cutting British colonial telegraph lines to hacking websites. Sabotage as a tactic is: destroying or damaging infrastructure or other property (not people) to prevent use by an opponent.
#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar 🌿
2. From 1880s through 1930s there were rebellions against British colonial rule in Burma. Saya San rebellion 1930-32 challenged British control w. tactics including destroying cutting telegraph lines & destroying telegraph stations, timber industry facilities & railway bridges.
3. World War 2, as Japanese forces invaded Burma 1942, British 17th Indian Infantry Div. attempted to halt Japanese advance on Rangoon in battle at Sittang River. British destroyed Sittang bridge but that stranded 17th & other units in a major defeat. thisworldrocks.com/war-history/un…
Read 17 tweets
19 Mar
1. This thread is about responses by Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) vs Myanmar coup. #R2P (Responsibility to Protect) not only international, can also apply to EAOs within borders. EAOs have various capabilities. Not all have taken a stand vs. coup. #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar 🌿
2. EAOs did little to support previous civil uprisings vs Burma/Myanmar military. Failure to join in 1988 uprising other than sanctuary for fleeing students. Failure to support 2007 “Saffron Revolution.” Few EAOs spoke out against 2016-17 govt/mil genocidal attacks on Rohingyas.
3. After Feb. 1 Myanmar coup, Restoration Council of Shan State (Shan State Army - South) spokesperson on Feb. 2: “We oppose the coup. The RCSS wants federalism and democratic norms & the overthrowing of a democratically elected government goes against democratic norms.”
Read 12 tweets
7 Mar
1. This History Thread is about the poetry of Burma (Myanmar) + political resistance. Myanmar is a place where poets are significant politically as well as culturally. This is a brief overview & doesn’t include all important poets. Inspired by K Zar Win: #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
2. From ancient times lands which would become Burma resounded with poetry. Bards like Kachin Jaiwas recited epics. Court poets incl. Arakan’s Muslim poets such as Alaol & 16th C. Lanna’s Queen Hsinbyushin Medaw composed odes, ballads, verse plays. Ainggyin were sung in villages.
3. When Britain colonized Burma late 18th C. some poets resisted with words. Thakin Kodaw Hmaing wrote influential Laygyo gyi poems incl. “On Boycott.” 1930s Khitsan poetry movement used formal rhyme structure, emphasized local culture. Min Thu Wun was a prominent Khitsan poet.
Read 23 tweets
18 Feb
1. This History Thread is a brief history of labor organizing in Burma (Myanmar.) This relates to the crucial forefront role that organized labor is taking in resistance to the Feb. 2021 military coup. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
2. For power-amassing kingdoms in lands that would eventually become Burma, controlling agricultural production & other types of work was a key function of the nation state. Conquered & other captive people were often used for skilled work or manual labor.
3. British colonized Burma late 19th C, commenced extractive industry & agricultural production for export. Land dispossession, taxation, economic crises caused sporadic rebellion by farmers, most notably brutally suppressed 1930 Saya San peasant uprising. irrawaddy.com/specials/on-th…
Read 17 tweets
10 Feb
1. This History Thread is about a few of Myanmar's murdered & missing women. Rest in Power: Myat Thet Thet Khine who stood against dictatorship Feb. 9 2021. 1 of thousands of women killed by/for Burma/Myanmar military & business interests. This must end. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
2. September 19, 1988 Win Maw Oo bled to death, one of many female students & other women who were killed by Burma military suppressing 1988 uprising, suffocated, shot, drowned (Red Bridge Incident.) apnews.com/article/dfc91e…
3. September 2004: This data from “Unsafe State: State-sanctioned Sexual Violence Against Chin Women in Burma” 2007 report by Women's League of Chinland is one of countless murders of women by Burma/Myanmar military documented by NGOs & INGOs for decades. burmalibrary.org/docs4/UnsafeSt…
Read 10 tweets

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