Is the EU closer to recognizing Crimea as Russia?

The ECHR's admission of 60 claimants as Russian nationals raises the spectre of Europe's final recognition

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The ECHR’s admission of 60 claimants as Russian nationals raises the spectre of Europe’s final recognition of the Crimea as an integral part of Russia. 

Today we have confirmed reports that the European Court for Human Rights has finally admitted the status of 60 claimants regarding land issues, as Russian nationals. Natalia Poklonskaya, deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, in fact told journalists this very same thing today during a reception in Sevastopol.

Earlier today, she was quoted in the online daily Novy Sevastopol:

“To date, about 60 applications have been sent to the European Court of Human Rights from Sevastopol as citizens of the Russian Federation. These applications are accepted for consideration by the ECHR. I believe that this does not increase the authority of the executive power (Sevastopol), because these are issues that need to be considered here, inside,”

While the cases themselves are rather mundane, and in any other case would be entirely unworthy of note. In short, it is a standard land dispute between citizen land-owners and a state-held nature reserve.  The ECHR is independent of the EU, although every founding member of the EU was a part of the treaty which empowers the authorities of the ECHR, the similarly named European Commission on Human Rights.

As we know from any other number of land disputes and their related conflicts around the world. the fact that the ECHR took claimants on the basis of their nationality as recognized by the Russian Federation and not as recognized by Ukraine – as Ukraine considers Sevastopol to be Ukraine and so, at least officially, does Europe.

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Therefore the precedent already established is one where eventually there arrives some predominating view, collectively, by a range of functionally existing national and supranational organizations, which in turn effectively creates a living treaty. This living treaty of sorts recognizes these entities as sovereign or in fact of belonging to another entity in fact, de facto even if not de jure.

The fact that the EU has expressed its desire ultimately to wind down or end the sanctions regime on Russia, and that it is now involved in a trade war with the US, all seems to point to or at least be reinforced by this ECHR ruling.

There has been of course always and from the very start, the more or less confirmed whispers and rumors that Germany and France had few practical problems with the Crimean referendum which led the country ultimately to rejoin the Russian Federation.

All of these pieces eventually fit together, if not intentionally, then by some other laws of alignment under which these incremental changes – which in real-time are adjusting to the reality on the ground – eventually give rise to the sudden realization that Europe has recognized Crimea as Russia.



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