Russia (News & Politics)/crimea


QUESTION: I'm hoping you can explain to me what is going on with Russia and Crimea. I SAW President Obama on TV saying that Crimea voted and we need to respect their decision.

The next day I wake up to find out that the U.S. has sanctioned Russia and Russia sanctioned us back, so what did I miss?

I understand why Obama doesn't like Crimea going back to Russia, I read that he was worried in the event of a take over, Russia is the only country that could do it. But I don't understand the sanctions?

So what did I miss between the above 2 paragraphs?

ANSWER: "Crimea problem" is a very complicated issue and I want really to answer your question in depth. Within this week I will answer you with very pleasure. I am sorry for the slight delay but I have an urgent work commitment to be concluded on Thursday. Hi, Cristina.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: no problem. I understand completely. Thank You for getting back to me and I look forward to hearing from you. Take care of your business first.

Crimea, some reference points:

1) Destitution of the democratically elected pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych;
2) Appointment (without any public consultation) of a new political leadership, belonging to the right-wing, populist and conservative party “All-Ukrainian Union/Fatherland” (the largest opposition party in Ukraine) and to the right-wing, nationalist, populist, ukrainophone, political party “Svoboda” (with strong fascist tendencies);  
3) The new political government has also a considerable link with the formation of extra-parliamentary, ukrainophone, ultra-nationalist, anti-Russian and openly anti-Semitic party, Pravyi Sektor (Right Sector), which has played a key role in the protests in Kiev and which is an emerging force in the Ukrainian political and social landscape;
4) Acceleration of the process of signing Association Agreement with the European Union;
5) Just a few hours after the destitution of Yanukovych, the government of Turchinov passed: a) a law abolishing the compulsory bilingualism, so the Russian language as an official language of the Country, alongside the Ukrainian language, was eliminated; b) the intention to review the administrative structure of Ukraine, resizing the local autonomy with the risk of repeal of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In this way, the region would become an administrative district like everyone else, despite its traditional political, historical and social peculiarities;
6) These decisions of the Government  were perceived by the Russian-speaking population as the first step towards a hypothetical persecution to their damage by the ukrainophone  population and political forces emerged victorious from the protests;
7) The direct and violent response of the Russian  Crimean  community to the decisions of Kiev has manifested itself in the occupation, by armed men, of the local parliament of Simferopol - the capital of the region - with the election of a new prime minister, the leader of the Party “Russian Unity”, Sergei Aksyonov, and a referendum to determine the annexation of the Crimean region to Russia (with over half the votes counted, 95,5 percent had chosen the option of annexation by Moscow);
8) The explosion of Russian and russophone secessionism quickly involved other Ukrainian regions where there are strong ties with Moscow. In Odessa, Kharkiv and Donetsk, events took place in favour of annexation to Russia, culminating in the occupation of public buildings and ixing of the Russian flag on the top of them. Like the Crimea, also in the eastern Ukraina were born political movements with paramilitary militias, such as the “Eastern Front”, which explicitly intended to achieve unity with the Russian Federation and that judged “nationalist and fascist” the new government in Kiev;
9) Russia intervenes by placing its troops near the border with Ukraine to support the mobilization of local Russian communities against potential response actions by government authorities.

         The Ukrainian case explodes to the  international level

10) The White House accuses Russia of violating the Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and orders Russia of moving its troops back; the Americans and the West argue that Russia is violating international law;
11) Russia dismisses a U.N. General Assembly resolution that branded Crimea secession referendum invalid, calling it “counterproductive”: in the opinion of the Russian leadership, the Black Sea peninsula, which has a majority ethnic Russian population, was part of Russia until 1954 and has long historical and cultural ties to the country;
12) The Crimean parliament formally asked that Russia “admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a Republic”;
13) The US and EU impose sanctions as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the Crimea region as a Sovereign State;
14) President Vladimir Putin has signed a law formalising Russia’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, despite sanctions from the EU and the US;
15) The USA and the European Union are ready to toughen the sanctions against Russian in case of a further pressures in Ukraine, after the Russian government took steps on annexation of Crimea as a result of the referendum that no one outside Russia does not take seriously.

         Is it really a question of violation of international law?

16) Kosovo had unilaterally declared its independence in 2008. Two years later, in 2010, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated that unilateral declarations of independence were not prohibited under international law and as result Kosovo had every right to declare its independence;
17) The same situation for the case of Northern Cyprus, though the ICJ added in this case that such unilateral claims of sovereignty should not, by any means, have been accompanied by unlawful use of force and/or violation of peace pacts;
18) Russia has already stated that its intervention in the Ukraine crisis is well justified on grounds of self-defence. Much like Turkey’s concern for Turkish Cypriots, Russian attraction towards Russian speaking Crimean population is more a matter of defending a country’s nationals residing abroad and can, as such, be included within the radius of self-defence;
19) There is not much the UNSC (United Nations Security Council)  can do to stop Russia. Even though ICJ’s definitions of acceptable unilateral declarations do not entirely hold true in case of Crimea, the results of referendum shall be binding upon all. Love it or hate it, Crimea will soon be a part of Russia.

         Is it a matter of division of spheres of influence in the world?

20) American establishment said that Putin’s dream of Empire doesn’t stop at Crimea, or even Ukraine;
21) Since 1995, the year NATO waged its first war against Yugoslavia, NATO has expanded into nine countries of Eastern Europe and three former republics of the former Soviet Union;
22) The Maidan Square occupation in Kiev (Ukraine) aimed at stampeding the government into joining the EU and NATO. Fascist ultra-right paramilitary organizations, such as “Right Sector”, and “Svoboda” party took the lead; the new interim government post-Euromaidan has declared its intention to proceed with European integration;
23) European leaders have signed with the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseny Yatsenyuk the policy chapters of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The signature symbolizes the importance of the relationship between EU and Ukraine and the willingness to go forward;
24) Throughout the Eastern Ukraine, but also in southern Ukraine (Odessa), the legitimacy of the government in Kiev has been questioned: “the Euromaidan revolution was a coup”. The referendum in the Crimea will lay the foundation for the integration of Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine with the Russian Federation? This is yet not known…;
25) What is known for sure? Since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has expanded until it is now the biggest political-military alliance in history, with 28 member countries. And Russia? For the moment Russia has confined itself to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries;
26) Certainly Russia is expanding in Europe (and in the future in other geopolitical areas, such as China, Vietnam) with the monopoly on gas.

         Energy competition?

27) In the meantime, four central European countries have already asked the U.S. Congress to make it easier for them to import natural gas from the United States and reduce their dependence on supplies from Russia. And four days ago the European leaders asked Barack Obama to share the US’s shale gas bonanza with Europe by facilitating gas exports to help counter the stranglehold Russia has on the continent's energy needs. They asked Obama to come up with measures that would favour European companies obtaining license to export US shale gas in liquid form to Europe. Obama while not ruling out the possibility, stressed the need for Europe to diversify its sources of energy in order to make it less vulnerable to Russian blackmail, and said Europe should open up to fracking to develop its own gas supply. The European leaders said: “The situation in Ukraine proves the need to reinforce energy security in Europe and we are considering new collaborative efforts to achieve this goal. We welcome the prospect of US liquid natural gas exports in the future since additional global supplies will benefit Europe and other strategic partners (…) We agree on the importance of redoubling transatlantic efforts to support European energy security to further diversify energy sources and suppliers".

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dr. Cristina Carpinelli


Cristina Carpinelli is a sociologist/politologist. She deals with research works from economic and social point of view, concerning Central-Est Europe (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland), South-Est Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, balkan Countries), Russia and all Former Soviet Union Countries. She has also become an expert on social welfare and gender and family politics in Countries mentioned above. She can't answer the questions relative to other geo-economic and political areas or about other questions outside her competence/knowledge. She lives and works in Milan (Italy).


Cristina Carpinelli wrote many articles and essays on the Ussr and on the transition of the Fsu from a planned economic system to a free market one. She wrote some books published by Nuovi Autori, Franco Angeli, Achab, Sedizioni, Zambon, Mimesis, Amazon.

She is a Scientific Committee Member of CeSPI (International Problems Study Center of Sesto San Giovanni - Milan ) as an expert on CEE (Central-Eastern Europe) and South-Eastern Europe (including Russia), and a monthly contributor to “noidonne” Magazine for gender and family politics in CEE (including Russia). She is part of the team experts of the U.S. Site “AllExperts” for the categories: “Sociology” and “Russia (News & Politics)”. She was part of the teaching staff for the training module “Objective Russia” (professional diploma for economic operators - ISPI school; module suspended from 2015) and now She is part of the teaching staff for the training module “European Union and ethnic and national minorities” (diploma in “European Affairs” - ISPI school). She is a member of the Italian Association for History Studies on Central and Eastern Europe (AISSECO - Since May 2015) and a member of the editorial staff of Mitteleuropean Social Watch (OSME - since January 2016).

La società sovietica negli anni della perestroika (Nuovi Autori, 1991); Donne e famiglia nella Russia sovietica (F. Angeli, 1998); Donne e povertà nella Russia di El’cin: l'era della transizione liberale (Franco Angeli, 2004); “Identities in Transition: Fsu Countries after the Collapse of Real Socialism” (CeSPI, 2004); La Russia a pezzi (Achab, 2008); “L’allargamento dell’Europa ai paesi dell’Est” (CeSPI, 2008), paper presented at the Conference “Quo vadis, Europe?”, organized by Municipality of Sesto San Giovanni - Milan, November 18, 2011; “Paesi Baltici tra integrazione europea e ‘apartheid’” in: Ripensare l’Europa dalle fondamenta, Mimesis, 2014 (Conference proceedings “Ripensare l’Europa dalle fondamenta”. Conference was organized by CeSPI and Municipality of Sesto San Giovanni - Milan; November 30, 2013); “Ucraina: un paese spaccato in due” (CeSPI, 2014), paper prepared for the Conference “Crisi Ucraina: quali possibili chiavi di lettura?” (May 16, 2014) organized by the Municipality of Sesto San Giovanni (Milan) and by CeSPI; “Nato, Ucraina, Russia” (CeSPI, 2014); L’Unione Europea e le minoranze etniche: Case Studies: Ungheria, Romania e Paesi Baltici, co-author Massimo Congiu (CreateSpace - an Company, May 18, 2016). Coming soon: Russia as told through the history of its mass media.

Cristina Carpinelli graduated during the academic year 1983/84 with the thesis "Alcuni aspetti del processo di invecchiamento della popolazione in Unione Sovietica: demografia, previdenza sociale, occupazione e salute" (Some aspects of the ageing process of the population in the Soviet Union: demography, social security, jobs and health) - State University of Milan, Faculty of Political Sciences (Statistics Department). The thesis of degree was elaborated in the Ussr, at the State University Lomonosov of Moscow.

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