“Putin will come riding a bear”
Well… that sounds terrifying. Or is it? The Constituent Assembly of Myanmar was faced with an interesting proposition by a visiting Russian representative: either remove the presence of US military troops or give more power to ethnic minorities. If neither of the options are fulfilled, the wrath of “mother Russia” will come for the Assembly.
Last night, the Assembly was called back to their assembly room for a crisis: a cyclone had hit the country and damaged the land. In the end, the Assembly decided to allow the United States military to enter Myanmar in order to help the country rebuild. However, it is obvious from the Russian delegate’s visit that certain forces oppose this aid.
Many delegates leapt at the chance to provide ethnic minorities recognized by the shadow government more rights. The New Minister of Border Affairs proposed granting minorities land rights and emphasized the importance of unity within the country. We must “make Myanmar strong and legitimate so other countries will respect us,” the delegate stated. Other delegates, like the Minister of Defense echoed this sentiment, offering to negotiate with minorities in return for their loyalty, and a promise to put down their arms.
The minority groups in question welcomed the chance for more equality. As delegate Bao Youxiang of the United Wa State Party lamented, the most “disgusting” thing is the lack of simple voting rights in the Assembly. Many of the minority groups were open to negotiation in the hopes of gaining more recognition.
Others in the room took Russia’s threat to extremes. The representative of the Rohingya peoples ominously reminded the Assembly that the Rohingya had “no friends on this committee,” and their only ally was the United States. Should the committee attempt to remove US troops, the Rohingya would ensure that the US had a presence in making sure the Rohingya people got their rights. The Minister of Ethnic Affairs stated that there is “no reasons to remove US troops,” and considering the Rohingyan threat, she may be right. Giving ethnic minority groups their rights seems to be the simpler solution.
On a complete opposite note, the Shan representative spoke of allowing Russia into the country. “How bad is the Russian federation [anyways]?” the delegate challenged. Not responding to Russia’s threat and essentially welcoming the country in, “offers us a unique opportunity to reshape this government,” said the representative, commenting that the Russian invasion would make way for the states would become the leaders.
The Russian threat – fix your country or we will invade – was a sinister one (although it was snarled in a remarkably good Russian accent by a crisis member). Nearly all the delegates of the Constituent Assembly of Myanmar were pro-giving ethnic minorities rights. To agree, however, is the easy part. Now, they must get to compromising.