Does Russia need Crimea to be internationally recognized?

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January 18, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

Ruslan Ostashko, LiveJournal – translated by J. Arnoldski –

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Frankly speaking, I don’t really like the revival of the topic of Crimea gaining international recognition that is now filling the Russian and international info-fields. Over just the past few days, future US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Marine Le Pen, and Moldovan President Igor Dodon have all expressed themselves on the topic of Crimea. 

Tillerson hinted that the US might recognize Crimea as part of a big deal with Russia. Marine Le Pen stated that Crimea was never Ukrainian and that if she becomes president, then she will immediately recognize Crimea. Moldovan President Igor Dodon underlined Moldova’s institutional impotence by saying that no one in Moldova would dare recognize Crimea out of fear of Ukraine who, apparently, could greatly complicate life for Transnistria and Moldova.

With the risk of offending those who are working on getting Crimea recognized and are taking European parliamentarians there and organizing other diplomatically useful things, I’ll openly say my position which is shared by the vast majority of Crimeans: we shouldn’t care if Washington or Chisinau recognize Crimea as Russian or not. 

What the governments of Ukraine or France have on their maps should also be our last worry. Over the past two decades, international law has turned into dust and, if you look at things realistically, then the only law which is now genuinely functioning on our planet is the right of might. From the point of view of realpolitik, Russia’s right to Crimea is proved not by maps or historical materials and, unfortunately, not even by the results of the referendum, but by Russian troops on the peninsula. Those wishing to challenge Crimea’s belonging to Russia can be shown Kaliber rockets and S-400’s. Unfortunately, things don’t work any other way in today’s world.

I know that the idea is circulating in political analyst circles that the recognition of Crimea could push the West to lift the sanctions imposed after Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The logic of such is that if Crimea is really Russian, then the sanctions no longer have any grounds and they need to be lifted. I think that this is a very naive position. 

As Vladimir Putin correctly said, even if there had been no crisis in Ukraine, they still would have found a reason to impose sanctions. You don’t think so? Let’s see what else sanctions could be imposed against Russia for: (1) supporting the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, (2) banning gay propaganda, (3) the Dima Yakovlev law on foreign agents, (4) the hacking interference in the American elections, (5) the doping scandal, and so on. The list could go on endlessly. If some countries really want to recognize Crimea as Russia, then wonderful, but paying for this or making concessions in return – no, thanks. We definitely don’t need this. 

They are trying to sell us the recognition of Crimea at an inflated price. A queue has already lined up. Tillerson? Fine, his position obligates this. But even Nadezhda Savchenko is proposing that Ukrainian politicians conclude a deal with Russia in the format “Crimea in exchange for Donbass.” No, thanks. We can go without Ukrainian recognition. 

The question of Crimea being recognized or unrecognized is interesting from another point of view which has no direct relation to Russia. The Crimean issue is a marker of the integrity, courage, and character types of specific politicians. Look, Marine Le Pen has said that Crimea is Russia even though this statement will cause her unnecessary problems. But what does this say about her character? It says that she is a principled and very courageous politician. This is a rare  quality in our time. Rex Tillerson announced a willingness to bargain over Crimea’s recognition. What does this say about him? It says that he is first and foremost a businessman, which is clear from his biography. And what about Nadezhda Savchenko’s position? Savchenko has indicated that she is the only dove of peace in Ukraine. It’s a pity that she’s such an inadequate one, but you get such kinds of doves from such a country, unfortunately. Think about it: what a horror it is that the most peaceful politician in Ukraine with the most constructive, albeit unrealistic position is Nadezhda Savchenko. Meanwhile, the president of Moldova has signed off out of cowardice. Well, fine. If he doesn’t drag his country into NATO, then everything is alright.

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Five to 10 years will pass and the whole world will get used to the fact that Crimea is Russian territory. By that time, enough foreigners and foreign politicians will have visited the peninsula for the question to be off the agenda entirely. It’s just a matter of time. We don’t need to pay or beg for someone’s recognition. We are self-sufficient, Russia is self-sufficient, and Crimea is Russia. 

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