Analysis by “Delta” section of the Information Resistance group
March 19, 2014
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Events in Crimea, without exaggeration, are the events that resonate now and will have resonance in the world with large-scale effects. Without claiming to have a deep understanding of all of the events, I would like to draw attention to several historical trends we are now immediately facing.
1. There is a constant trend in history, which neither the international organizations nor the existing world order are able to resist – state borders are constantly changing. This process, caused by religious, cultural, ethnic, and political motives, bursts into the course of historical events and any attempts to preserve the integrity of the territories come to naught. It would seem that in recent historical terms, the world of the past received hope from the inviolability of its borders. In 1975, the Helsinki Act that established the inviolability of borders in Europe was adopted. And in 1990, the unification of Germany took place. In 1993, the so-called Velvet Divorce, of Czechoslovakia took place, and Yugoslavia broke apart from 1991–2008. And this process does not stop.
2. Trend #2 – for the past 100 years, the number of sovereign states has been constantly increasing. In 1914, there were 56 sovereign states; in 1964 – 115 states were members of the United Nations, in 2014 – 195.
Ukraine is not the only country where the mentality, culture, and religious views of residents in certain regions are significantly different and may result in a revision of state borders. Modern Europe will have another transformation of its borders. For example, in the autumn of this year a referendum is planned regarding the independence of Catalonia and Scotland. But the decision about the conduct of referendums is the result of long and civilized social and political debates and discussions.
It goes without saying that the referendum on the change of the status of Crimea was not discussed at length and in advance; that holding this referendum was not a decision made by the Ukrainian government; that the referendum was not carried out in all of Ukraine. And that the referendum happened under the pressure (read “scope”) of 20,000 to 30,000 “little green men,” and that its results are drawn out of thin air. The very fact that the current events in Crimea are nothing but an annexation is already recognized.
It’s all the same history, since the end of World War II there have been a total of eight annexations, not counting Crimea (annexation of the remnants of the Portuguese Empire [in the early 60s of the 20th century, India occupied the territories of Goa and Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and was recognized in 1974], Sikkim [annexed by India in 1975], East Timor [as a result of the occupation of Indonesia, which lasted from December 7, 1975 to October 1999], the Spanish Sahara [occupied and annexed by Morocco and Mauritania in 1975], the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem [annexed by Israel in 1980 and 1981], Kuwait [annexed by Iraq in 1990] and Kosovo ) and most of them [annexations] were imposed on the colonies. Whereas Crimea is a territory of an independent and sovereign state.
Only two of the annexed territories have been recognized by other states (Goa et al. and Kosovo), two gained independence (Kuwait, East Timor), two territories are still in conflict, including armed conflicts (the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem), two have disputed status (since 2003, the status of Sikkim is considered “an issue left over from history” by China, and the legal status of Spanish Sahara remains uncertain).
Crimea will not become another sovereign state, whose numbers in the world keep so actively growing. The independence and the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation remain unrecognized by Ukraine and the international community. For Crimea, it means no cultural, sports, political, or tourist interaction (passports of unrecognized states usually are not considered documents that allow access to UN member-states) with the international community. For us it is the inevitability of war, for other countries – it is the inciting of the fire of instability in the world order.
Despite the fact that Crimea is not the first victim of Putin’s aggression, it does constitute a historical precedent. At present, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria are formally independent, truly unrecognized states. By “swallowing” Crimea and Sevastopol (almost 2.5 million population), it will not be difficult for the Russian Federation to annex Abkhazia (about 100,000 people), South Ossetia (up to 80,000 people), and Transnistria (less than 500,000 people). Also, annexing Transnistria will result in an enclave that carries military and political threat to Ukraine. If there are currently about 1,500 Russian military stationed there, then after the annexation the territory can be converted into a massive military base.
Therefore, the conflict in Crimea and its further escalation – is not just a conflict between two states. It exposed the vulnerability not only in Ukraine, but also of peace in the face of aggression and calls into question the nuclear agreements and the legitimacy of international organizations established to maintain and promote peace and security.