Pre-Summit Report: Is Russia justified in annexing Crimea?

Posted by Unknown on Saturday, July 12, 2014 with No comments
“They are constantly trying to drive us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it and because we tell it like it is and don't engage in hypocrisy. But there is a limit to everything. And with Ukraine, our Western partners have crossed the line, playing the bear and acting irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”- Vladimir Putin.

The current crisis of Russia and Ukraine is a rapidly evolving issue. The Crimean peninsula, the main flashpoint in Ukraine's crisis, is a pro-Russia part of Ukraine, separated from the rest of the country geographically, historically and politically. It also hosts Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine has accused Russia of invading it. Ukraine’s representative described the 16 March referendum in Crimea as “illegitimate” and in violation of his country’s Constitution.

Russia and Crimea have deep historical times. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a recent speech that “Everything in Crimea speaks of our history and pride”. As, due to this reason that Vladimir Putin has stated, Russia wants Crimea to join them, although I tend to think there is much more to it than that.

There were problems before Ukraine and Russia started fighting over Crimea. Ukrainians were trying to decide whether they should be closer to Russia or to Europe. There were huge protests, and then last month, Ukraine’s president fled to Russia. The country’s new leaders signed an agreement with the European Union last week.
About 2 million people live in Crimea. Around 60 percent see themselves as ethnic Russians and speak Russian. The population also includes ethnic Ukrainians — they tend to feel closer to Ukraine — and a group called the Crimean Tatars. The Tatars, who are mostly Muslim, suffered under Russian rule and were forced to leave Crimea in the 1940s. Some have returned; today there are about 300,000 Tatars in Crimea.
Russia’s parliament voted to admit Crimea last week, and Putin signed a law to complete the process. But Russia had been moving to take the peninsula, and it took control of several Ukrainian military bases. Ukraine is angry about the developments, but I wonder whether it can do anything, seeing that Russia is a superpower, and a much bigger force than Ukraine. Although, The United States of America is siding with Ukraine in the war, the war too has China in a fix, although now China has decided to back Russia. United Kingdom and France has not taken a step to get involved in the current crisis, and most probably will not.

However, I think that, given Crimea's economic underdevelopment and the perception of power in Russia, the seizure of Crimea was done primarily for the political purpose and not for the economic one, because since a major reason why Russia invaded Crimea was not for the economic benefits; instead, it was a way for Vladimir Putin to raise his popularity in Russia. Putin's primary goal is to maintain his power; he is much less concerned about raising the standard of living of the citizens through economic reforms. However, I believe that Russians will realise the annexation of Crimea, will do them no good as there will be high economic costs of the Crimea annexation. Vladimir Putin is only going to be his country’s condition worse by the planning the annexation of Crimea. Russia’ economy already went down after the 2008 crisis. Now, the Crimea annexation might put down Russia economy even more.
“’ If you press the spring too hard, it will snap back’ You must always remember this”- Vladimir Putin, referring to the Russia- Ukraine crisis. 
Rhea Rehani

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