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International powers play poker over Crimea
International powers play poker over Crimea
Аспирантка кафедры международных отношений и внешней политики России Мария Дубовикова — о воссоединении Крыма с Россией.
This week, the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, ratified the Crimea reunification treaty: 443 votes in favor vs. one vote against.
For Russia and Crimea, the referendum has corrected the huge mistake committed by Nikita Khrushchev when, in 1954, he transferred the Russian territory of Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This led to its loss due to the collapse of the USSR, regardless of the Crimean residents’ will. Populated by a Russian ethnic majority, which represent 1.5 million of the total population of 2.2 million, as well as by Ukrainians (about 350,000) and Crimean Tatars (about 290,000), these primarily Russian speaking ethnic groups have not changed their minds regarding loyalty to Russia.
It should be said that the Ukrainian governments have done nothing
to build a united nation on its territory in 20 years
of Ukrainian independence. The consequences of such
Tatars and Russia
However, it should be mentioned that Tatars had a grudge against Russia, as the USSR assignee, for the deportation of the whole ethnic group from the peninsula in 1944 after having been accused of collaboration with the fascists. But in his speech delivered on March 18, Vladimir Putin promised to «restore the Tatars in their rights and clear their good name." Russia is doing it by way of an apology for the cruel methods of punishment used in Stalin’s USSR. Numerous ethnic groups suffered under Stalin, including Russians.
In this regard, Putin stated that there will be three national
languages in Crimea: Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar, thus showing «respect
for people of all ethnic groups in Crimea." Furthermore, this
is fixed in the treaties ratified by the Russian State Duma this
week. However, the Tatar Mejlis recognized neither the Crimean referendum, nor
the Crimean accession to Russia. This decision is not
a surprise, taking into account the political affiliation of its
leaders to the Kiev authorities and the collaboration with the leaders
of Praviy Sector (the
The Crimean people were able to run a fair referendum, in spite of the lack of time to prepare, and its results cannot be called into question as the aspirations of Crimean residents, who always had a historical attachment to Russia, were widely known even before the crisis. Crimea, especially the city of Sevastopol, is a symbol of Russian glory — a legendary place steeped in history, practically washed by the blood of thousands of Russian soldiers of different times; a fortress that was the birthplace of the Russian fleet. It has a great moral value for the Russian Federation and its people, as well as a great strategic one. The naval base in Sevastopol was always considered a strategic strength of the Russian presence in the Black Sea and it would be a great defeat for Russia if it looses it one day due to Kiev’s decision.
National interests should not prevail upon international law, you could say
that and you would be right. Western politicians, who criticize and refuse
to recognize the Crimean referendum, declare that it violates the
Constitution of Ukraine as well as international law. But
we are missing two points in this case. First of all;
politicians currently governing from Kiev came into power violating the
constitution of the country in an army coup d’état. Wherever
such a coup d’état takes place, it is unconstitutional. And
Russia now uses the same instruments that were previously used. Russia
is not cunning when it declares that the referendum and the demand
of the Crimean government to join the Russian Federation do not
violate international law, and even defends one of its principles —
By the way, the Crimean case would have not even taken place
if the current government was not backed
Interestingly, Barak Obama called for the respect of principles of state integrity and noninterference in his speech this week, following the Russian State Duma vote. This shows not only hypocrisy, that is weighing heavy on modern international relations, but also a great problem with international law itself, which lets different actors interpret it as they want. The United States itself systematically violates these principles. Cases of Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Libya will never be forgotten.
This year, we will see one more referendum for independence —
in Scotland. And to be sure, it is just the beginning.
This is a new trend: the return to the idea
To sum up, the current geopolitical game is reminiscent of a chess game, but with elements of poker as each player hides some of their pieces up their sleeve. The rules of the game are invented on the fly and this does not bode well for international stability.
Maria Dubovikova is a
«Говорят эксперты МГИМО», может не совпадать с мнением редакции портала.