It being “Thermals’ Thursday”, I open with this great live performance of Never Listen to Me.

David Bell, writing in TNR online published a companion piece illustrating the similarities between current tension in Ukraine and the Vendeen Revolt of 1793(ish) in Revolutionary France.


If the Crimea does turn into the Ukrainian Vendée, however, one large departure from the original template is all too possible. In Vendée, although the rebels pleaded for British intervention, it never came. The British were not in a position, militarily, to land troops in western France. In the Crimea, however, if the province goes up in flames, it is not likely that Russia will just stand by.

The miltiary strength argument of Britain at this time feels like semantics. The British did not intervene in the Vendee because it was not practical to expend resources on a backwater area, and the French Republic teetered on disaster anyways, so a lare scale intervention was not neccesary. David Andress’ opus, “The Terror: The Merciless War for Freedom in Revolutionary France,” illustrates this beautifully. Britain’s inaction was partly pragmatism, partly confusion, but I doubt it had much to do with military neccesity.

In addition, The Vendee crisis was resolved by the butchery of the nobles who led the revolt and quasi acceptence of limited autonomy in religious practices. Lazar Hoche, the Republican military commander, enforced a law passed through the national convention that was somewhat tolerant of the Vendeen peoples practices that ended the mass violence.

So, Putin could of course order the Russian military into the Crimea, kill everybody, and then allow a pacified population to cower in the corner. That seems unlikely, but it’s possible. Wholly a foregone conclusion in my mind however, is that the UK will not intervene. Tories don’t like shedding blood normally. It’s expensive and time consuming. The unfortunate irony of history here is not the Vendee and the Crimea, but that we’re making these allusions and still stuck with the same Tory hostilitiy.