Signing of the Treaty on the adoption of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia. Left to right: S. Aksyonov, V. Konstantinov, V. Putin and A. Chalyi. © Kremlin.ru | Kremlin.ru/news/20604
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

An Anniversary of Crimea Takeover: Borders and the Crime of their Violation

A year ago, Russia occupied Crimea, staged a disputed referendum about seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia, and annexed it to its territory. In postwar history, the annexation of a part of a sovereign country’s territory to the aggressor state has no precedent. There have been several occupations, invasions and secessions since 1945. But until a year ago no part of sovereign state was forcibly acquired by another state and made part of its sovereign territory. …

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin meeting in Novo Ogaryovo near Moscow, 2008 © Vladimir Rodionov | RIA Novosti archive
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Solidarity with Ukraine against Putin’s Reality

We should not be surprised by differences about how to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Understanding reasons for those differences is one critical step toward formulating an effective response. Recognizing both real policy options and the equal importance of political signals is the second. Moving too fast is dangerous in the short run, but not moving at all is the most dangerous in the long run. And that’s what Germany’s leadership promises.

We should not be surprised that the authorities of Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain explicitly resist calls for trade sanctions. Leaderships in Austria and Hungary are likely with them. London seems more concerned with its financial prospects than European well-being. Putin has been pursuing a policy of diplomatic divide and conquer within the EU, sweetened with economic deals powered by the energy business. …

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Map of Ukraine showing Crimea in red © Sven Teschke | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Preaching to the Choir: The Crimea and Putin’s Domestic Audience

On February 28th, the Federal Council, Russia’s upper house, granted Vladimir Putin’s request to use military force in Ukraine. By that time, Russian troops stationed at the Black Sea Naval Base in Crimea had already left their garrisons and secured the area. Russian forces now effectively occupy the Crimea, which is a semi-autonomous and self-governing region of Ukraine with a majority ethnically Russian population.

In response, the U.K., France, the U.S. and Canada have announced that they are suspending their preparatory meetings for the G8 summit due to take place in Sochi this summer. On March 1st, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the crisis in Ukraine. President Barack Obama has warned that Russia’s actions will have “costs.” As several academic and media sources have noted, Russia is potentially in violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which guaranteed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine in exchange the country’s denuclearization. …

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