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The Crimean Crisis in the Context of New Russian Geopolitics

Over the past months, the crisis in Crimea presented the world with a case study on how rapidly national borders may shift in the 21st century. The turmoil in Ukraine began in November 2013 as widespread protests erupted following a last-minute decision by former president Viktor Yanukovych’s to suspend talks on a trade pact with the European Union under pressure from the Russian government. The pro-Russian leadership in Crimea organized an impromptu referendum where the vast majority of participants voted in favor of uniting with the Russian Federation. This article provides an analysis of recent developments in Crimea in the context of Russian policy in the region.

The Crimean Crisis in the Context of New Russian Geopolitics
Putin while signing a treaty about the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. AA / A. Nikolskiy
 

Introduction

A number of relatively stable parts of the world began to experience previously unseen problems in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s disintegration. During this period, Crimea, a peninsula of particular strategic and geopolitical importance, was contested by Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Having deported the native Tatar population from the peninsula in the 1940s, the Russian government embarked on an ambitious plan to reclaim Crimea and pushed the region to the top of its global political agenda. Currently, ethnic Russians – which constitute a majority – seek to control the future of the Crimean peninsula, as Moscow’s open and covert support for Russian separatists in the area continues to pay off. In response, the Crimean Tatars, who were removed from their homeland during the Stalin era, voiced their concern about Russia’s annexation of Crimea as they believe that the latest developments will affect their future negatively.

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