World
Pyotr Iskenderov
March 28, 2014
© Photo: Public domain

At the press-conference held after meeting US State Secretary John Kerry in London, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, «We never avoid diplomatic co-operation. If our partners do not wish it, we cannot make them to do it. I hope that they are aware (and we feel it in private talks) that this case cannot be viewed separately from history. Regardless of the existence of any precedents in international law (and such precedents do exist), I state this out of a sense of responsibility: everybody understands what Crimea means for Russia and that it is much more important than what Comoros means for France or what the Falkland Islands mean for the United Kingdom». These words dot the i's and cross the t's putting an end to the West’s desire to hold back the process of Crimea becoming part of Russia. 

The March 16 referendum resulted in 96, 77% «yes» vote making the signing ceremony of the March 18 Treaty on Crimea joining the Russian Federation a momen-tous event in the world history. It shows that contemporary international situation is undergoing drastic changes. 

The geopolitical changes in Eurasia in the 1990s – early 2000s were mainly influenced by the United States, the European Union and NATO, while starting from the second half of the 2000s they started to be balanced by the growing clout of Russia implementing its integration projects. 

The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo in 2008 and the fol-lowing hasty recognition by the West played an important role influencing the dynam-ics of the process. The Kosovo precedent to large measure defined the following de-velopment of events in the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Caucasus. 

Suffice it to remember the 2010 International Court of Justice ruling on Ko-sovo which in fact recognized as legal this kind of unilateral declarations. The Interna-tional Court found that because there is no international law preventing declarations of independence, Kosovo’s formal declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 «did not violate general international law». International Court of Justice President Hisashi Owada said interna¬tional law contains «no… prohibition of declarations of independ-ence» and therefore Kosovo’s declaration «did not violate general international law».

This ruling coincided with the US stance on the matter. In July 2009 the White House offered its advisory opinion to the International Court saying that the principle of territorial integrity does not contradict the right of non-state entities to peacefully declare independence, «The declaration of independence did not violate any principle of territorial integrity because under international law, only states must comply with this principle, and not internal entities». But that is exactly what Crimea did. 

Valentina Matvienko, the Chairman of the Council of Federation, expressed her confidence that actions of Crimean government are legitimate under the United Nations Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international documents that confirm the right to self-determination of people. «Moreover, there already is an established international case law. Spe-cifically, I would like to recall the decision of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo, dated 22 July 2010, which, according to Article I point 2 of the UN Chapter, set a precedent, according to which an official government mandate is not required to hold a referendum on self-determination of a part of a country. International precedent is law. Therefore, Crimean authori-ties act under international law and the decisions of the International Court of Justice», she said. 

The Crimea’s self-determination is not the first time the «Kosovo precedent» exerts impact on the events in the post-Soviet space. As diplomats in Brussels say, the recognition of Kosovo by the West to large extent influenced the decision of Mikheil Saakashvili, then President of Geor-gia, to unleash war in South Ossetia in 2008 to do away once and for all with the «Kosovo of his own». The result is well known. South Ossetia and Abkhazia implemented their right to self-determination and were recognized by Russia. 

The European Union is doing its best to smooth over the influence of the Crimea’s reunification with Russia on the geopolitical situation in the Balkans – Black Sea – Caucasus region. 

The EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton called on Russia to launch a direct dialog with the leadership in Ukraine, 

«I call Russia to open a dialog with the leadership of Ukraine, to continue talks with the inter-national community so that to reduce tension and find a decision for solving the crisis with po-litical means», she said when arrived in Brussels for the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers. O.K., Russia is ready for talks but on the condition that the accomplished fact will be recognized – Crimea has become part of the Russian Federation. 

Thomas Friedman, an American journalist, columnist and author, wrote in the New York Times that the US did a wrong thing and damaged the relations with Russia from the start by taking the decision to expand NATO to the East in 1999. Having be-come a «hostage» of this decision the US continues to live in the non-existent world. By and large Pat Buchanan says the same thing asking, «Now that Putin has taken Crimea without firing a shot, and 95 percent of a Crimean electorate voted Sunday to reunite with Russia, do his decisions still appear irrational? Was it not predictable that Russia, a great power that had just seen its neighbor yanked out of Russia’s orbit by a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, would move to protect a strategic position on the Black Sea she has held for two centuries?» (1)

The Russia’s success in Crimea shows the world has really changed. The independence of Kosovo has turned to be a pyrrhic victory for the West… 

[1] The American Conservative, 03.18.2014

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
From Kosovo to Crimea

At the press-conference held after meeting US State Secretary John Kerry in London, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, «We never avoid diplomatic co-operation. If our partners do not wish it, we cannot make them to do it. I hope that they are aware (and we feel it in private talks) that this case cannot be viewed separately from history. Regardless of the existence of any precedents in international law (and such precedents do exist), I state this out of a sense of responsibility: everybody understands what Crimea means for Russia and that it is much more important than what Comoros means for France or what the Falkland Islands mean for the United Kingdom». These words dot the i's and cross the t's putting an end to the West’s desire to hold back the process of Crimea becoming part of Russia. 

The March 16 referendum resulted in 96, 77% «yes» vote making the signing ceremony of the March 18 Treaty on Crimea joining the Russian Federation a momen-tous event in the world history. It shows that contemporary international situation is undergoing drastic changes. 

The geopolitical changes in Eurasia in the 1990s – early 2000s were mainly influenced by the United States, the European Union and NATO, while starting from the second half of the 2000s they started to be balanced by the growing clout of Russia implementing its integration projects. 

The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo in 2008 and the fol-lowing hasty recognition by the West played an important role influencing the dynam-ics of the process. The Kosovo precedent to large measure defined the following de-velopment of events in the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Caucasus. 

Suffice it to remember the 2010 International Court of Justice ruling on Ko-sovo which in fact recognized as legal this kind of unilateral declarations. The Interna-tional Court found that because there is no international law preventing declarations of independence, Kosovo’s formal declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 «did not violate general international law». International Court of Justice President Hisashi Owada said interna¬tional law contains «no… prohibition of declarations of independ-ence» and therefore Kosovo’s declaration «did not violate general international law».

This ruling coincided with the US stance on the matter. In July 2009 the White House offered its advisory opinion to the International Court saying that the principle of territorial integrity does not contradict the right of non-state entities to peacefully declare independence, «The declaration of independence did not violate any principle of territorial integrity because under international law, only states must comply with this principle, and not internal entities». But that is exactly what Crimea did. 

Valentina Matvienko, the Chairman of the Council of Federation, expressed her confidence that actions of Crimean government are legitimate under the United Nations Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international documents that confirm the right to self-determination of people. «Moreover, there already is an established international case law. Spe-cifically, I would like to recall the decision of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo, dated 22 July 2010, which, according to Article I point 2 of the UN Chapter, set a precedent, according to which an official government mandate is not required to hold a referendum on self-determination of a part of a country. International precedent is law. Therefore, Crimean authori-ties act under international law and the decisions of the International Court of Justice», she said. 

The Crimea’s self-determination is not the first time the «Kosovo precedent» exerts impact on the events in the post-Soviet space. As diplomats in Brussels say, the recognition of Kosovo by the West to large extent influenced the decision of Mikheil Saakashvili, then President of Geor-gia, to unleash war in South Ossetia in 2008 to do away once and for all with the «Kosovo of his own». The result is well known. South Ossetia and Abkhazia implemented their right to self-determination and were recognized by Russia. 

The European Union is doing its best to smooth over the influence of the Crimea’s reunification with Russia on the geopolitical situation in the Balkans – Black Sea – Caucasus region. 

The EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton called on Russia to launch a direct dialog with the leadership in Ukraine, 

«I call Russia to open a dialog with the leadership of Ukraine, to continue talks with the inter-national community so that to reduce tension and find a decision for solving the crisis with po-litical means», she said when arrived in Brussels for the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers. O.K., Russia is ready for talks but on the condition that the accomplished fact will be recognized – Crimea has become part of the Russian Federation. 

Thomas Friedman, an American journalist, columnist and author, wrote in the New York Times that the US did a wrong thing and damaged the relations with Russia from the start by taking the decision to expand NATO to the East in 1999. Having be-come a «hostage» of this decision the US continues to live in the non-existent world. By and large Pat Buchanan says the same thing asking, «Now that Putin has taken Crimea without firing a shot, and 95 percent of a Crimean electorate voted Sunday to reunite with Russia, do his decisions still appear irrational? Was it not predictable that Russia, a great power that had just seen its neighbor yanked out of Russia’s orbit by a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, would move to protect a strategic position on the Black Sea she has held for two centuries?» (1)

The Russia’s success in Crimea shows the world has really changed. The independence of Kosovo has turned to be a pyrrhic victory for the West… 

[1] The American Conservative, 03.18.2014