Why Crimea is important to Russia?

Why Crimea is important to Russia?

Crimean peninsula,, the territory, about the size of Belgium, is an autonomous region within Ukraine. The Crimean Peninsula is suspended from the south coast of Ukraine by the thin chain of the Perekop Isthmus, embraced by the Black Sea, on the same latitude as the south of France.

Currently known as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, it has its own parliament and capital, Simferopol, but takes its orders from the government of Ukraine since 1991.

Crimea is very important for Russia because of the following reasons among others:

First, Crimea has gone through many foreign hands. Finally on October 18, 1921, the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created as part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic which, in turn, became an integral part of the Soviet Union.

Second, Russian Black Sea Fleet is located in Crimea. The Sevastopol port of Crimea has been crucial for Russia’s navy over the years, providing quick access to the eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and Middle East. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 Russia’s Black Sea Fleet fell into an independent country, Ukraine and it has been an awkward situation for Russia to have its naval fleet in another country. However Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement for lease of the Russian naval base and the lease remains until 2042.

Third, during the Soviet era, in 1954, Crimea was gifted to Ukraine, one of the soviet republics, at the time by Nikita Khrushchev. Now the Ukraininan crisis has provided an excellent opportunity for Russia to get Crimea back to its fold.

Fourth. out of about 2 .3 million people of Crimea, 58% are ethnic Russian, 24% Ukrainian and 12% Crimean Tartar. It is reported that many of its inhabitants, regardless of ethnicity, are actually Russian citizens or dual-passport holders because of the predominance of ethnic Russian population.

Fifth, the climate being subtropical with numerous sea resorts, , it was a jewel of the Russian Empire, the retreat of Romanov tsars, and the playground of Politburo leaders.

Russia justifies its action on Crimea:

Crimea has come under de facto control of Russia and Russia argues that it adopted such steps to protect the Russian speaking people. After the pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed on 21st February, the Ukrainian nationalists MPs made a mistake when one of the first actions of the parliament was to abolish a law which provided legal status for Russian and other minority languages, raising apprehensions among Russian speakers about their personal security and threat to their language.

Russia argues in terms of international law, Russia had to act on the basis of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, which allows intervention in extreme cases to protect human life. Russia says that it is protecting ethnic Russians. In international law terms, one principle, the sovereignty of a ¬nation that is a member of the United Nations, is trumped by the greater moral imperative to protect innocent human life.

When the Ukrainian nationalists dismissed the President on February 22, next day thousands of people rallied in the southern port city of Sevastopol and called for “Mother Russia” to save them. Waving the Russian flag and chanting “Russia! Russia!”, protesters in Crimea have become the last major bastion of resistance to Ukraine’s new rulers.

Russian supporters waving Russian flags welcomed the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship, ‘Moskva’ missile cruiser, entering Sevastopol bay.

Physically, politically, Crimea is Ukraine; mentally and emotionally, it identifies with Russia and provides, a journalist wrote, “a unique opportunity for Ukrainians to feel like strangers on their own territory.”

Meanwhile, on 6th March, the Crimean MPs sought to join the Russian Federation and the leaders of both houses of parliament in Russia said on 7th March that they would support a vote by Crimea on 16th March to become a new region of Russia.

Ukraine’s interim prime minister warned the Crimean parliament “no-one in the civilised world” will recognise its referendum on joining Russia. The US and EU and stated that the Crimean secession would be against the Ukrainian constitution and international law. Some see their position as a double-standard conduct because EU and the US have recognized Kosovo, a break away part of Serbia, as a state.

Other factors

It may be recalled that in recent years, Russia could not take lightly the gradual intrusion into its sphere of influence when NATO has expanded its membership to former soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and the European Union embraced eastern European countries such as Poland and Romania.

Furthermore the Western leaders boycotted the Sochi winter Olympics last February , a pride project of Russian President Putin. The absence of Western leaders annoyed Putin and many analysts say it was a mistake of the West not to attend the inaugural ceremony because Russia, being a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, can make many of the Western actions on global crisis dysfunctional.

Furthermore tension has risen with the US on many issues, such as sheltering in Russia of American Snowden who revealed the secret activities of US National Security Agency, on Syria Egypt and installation anti-missile radar in Eastern European countries and criticism of Russian human rights record..

Can the West bite Russia?

The US, Europe and the other nations in the US alliance system were, taken together, so dominant in the global economic system that they could easily ¬reward and punish nations. The G-7 countries wish to impose sanctions on Russia

This may not work for Russia because the slow-growing Western economies depend on Russian oil and gas. Moreover the US under the law cannot export oil or gas to Europe nor the US will allow Iran to export to Europe. And who on earth will inflict any serious punishment on Russia? Is Germany going to threaten the one third of its oil and gas supplies, which it gets from Russia?


Remember Sam Huntington and the Clash of Civilisations? He prophesied that world conflict would be all about the clash of big civilisational groups, such as Islam and the West, or the Slavs and the West. But almost every conflict since he wrote has actually occurred within his civilisational groups. Russians and Ukrainians are both Slavs. Huntington is found to be wrong.

The Ukrainian crisis indicates the brutal and unchanging reality of international relations: the strong do what they will, the weak accept what they have to accept.

This situation is the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Some analysts believe that the Cold War is back in a new shape and a new form between Russia and the West and it does not augur well for global peace and security.

Place your ads here!

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment