The Crimean precedent
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, March 18
The Crimean referendum and its results might become a very dangerous example for the world. On the one hand, this fact has proved Russia’s strength to the world community. It has also given birth to the expectation that it can continue its policy of unification of “Great Russia” and it could integrate other separatist-inclined territories into the Russian Federation.
The same can be applied to Georgia’s breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which, after the August War of 2008, were recognized by Russia as the independent states.
The world community did not accept either Abkhazia or South Ossetia as independent states, recognizing them instead as integral parts of sovereign Georgia. Only despotic countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Nauru have recognized their independence.
The results of the Crimean referendum of March 16 have activated discussions (particularly in South Ossetia) of uniting South Ossetia with the North Ossetia under the umbrella of the Russian Federation.
The idea of uniting with Russia is rather humble in Abkhazia. Abkhaz leaders are concerned about the possibility of being integrated to the Russian Federation, as they prefer to be independent. But at the same time they realize that essentially they will do whatever the Kremlin will decide.
So, apart from the euphoria of Russia’s victory in the Crimean referendum, there are some realities, which create extra headaches for Moscow.
Much depends on the position of the West, including US, Canada, Japan and South Korea. How consistent they will be in imposing economic and other relevant sanctions towards Russia? And how much Russia will be hurt by supporting separatism and taking imperialistic steps.
The separatist’s sentiments within Russia itself could become an issue of its own. Signals are coming from the Russian Federation that in certain areas the separatist mood has started appearing and this is not only in the north Caucasus region.
For the time being, Russia will pose as a powerful state able to regain back its territories and conquer some others, but history teaches us that this can’t last forever. Eventually it will backfire on Russia itself.