On May 19, the US Congress approved a bill banning the US administration from defining Crimea as a legal part of the Russian Federation. This is not surprising: denial of the legality of the Crimean referendum by the countries of the “collective West” is another card in the global game of confrontation between these countries and Russia. But is the persistent application of this trump card justified in the reality in which Crimea will never become Ukrainian again?
Washington’s aspirations to hold Russia accountable for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity, interfering in its internal affairs and abuse of power are regularly exposed by Russian government officials as meaningless. Gradually, Western politicians began to join the assertions about the legality of Crimea’s entry into Russia. For example, the position on the full legality of the referendum is supported by deputies of the German Bundestag from the Alternative for Germany party. Waldemar Gerdt recently announced that the referendum was held in accordance with the norms of international law, and the recognition of this fact by Western countries is only a matter of replacing the political elites existing in Europe. Gunnar Lindemann, who took part as an observer during the referendum in 2014 and during the voting on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, often speaks about the fact that “Crimea is Russian”.
A round table was held in the Crimea in march, with the participation of a delegation of Chinese businessmen interested in cooperation with Crimean enterprises, and this also speaks volumes. The Verkhovna Rada became worried about this, saying that against the background of the scandal with the Ukrainian Motor Sich enterprise, China could change its position on Crimea from neutral to positive. For this reason, members of the Beijing Export-Import Commission arrived in Crimea “to establish partnerships”.
It should be noted that holding of the referendum did not contradict the Constitution of Ukraine, since in the absence of a legally elected government in Ukraine at that time, the Crimean people took advantage of the right to self-determination provided by the UN Charter, as well as to the establishment, according to the people’s will, of political status and free provision of cultural and socio-economic development. The results of the referendum fully corresponded to the will of the people and amounted to 96.7% of the votes in support for the entry of the Crimea into the Russian Federation. The majority of ethnic composition of the peninsula is made up of Russians, the Russian language has always been the main means of communication among the Crimeans. Historically, Crimea has always belonged to Russia – it developed as a part of the Russian Empire, then – the USSR. The Ukrainian SSR was transferred in 1954, then, since 1991, it became a part of the independent Ukraine.
Another important fact, rarely covered by the Western media, but of no small importance: Ukraine violated the Crimean sovereignty back in the 1990s. In January 1991, a referendum was held in Crimea with a turnout of more than 83%, as a result of which the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was formed within the USSR. On May 5, 1992, the Supreme Soviet of Crimea adopted a declaration on state sovereignty. But in 1995, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine canceled all the normative acts of Crimea, including the Constitution. Thus, de facto for the last decades, Crimea was an illegally occupied territory by Ukraine.
It is clear that it is unprofitable for the countries of the Western world to recognize such a point of view, fully substantiated legally. However, a more global constant in this issue – the line of behavior of the United States in the course of confrontation with Russia – is beginning to cause concern even among the American press.
In an article by the conservative publication The National Interest, published under the catchy headline “America, Crimea and the dangers of hypocrisy,” the author poses a logical question: why does the United States recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, proclaimed unilaterally in 1981, which was preceded by its illegal occupation and annexation? Where are the tough sanctions against Turkey related to the seizure of the territory of Northern Cyprus by this Middle Eastern state in 1974?
The blatant policy of double standards pursued by the United States is a sign of unfair play, which over time is increasingly recognized by the American community itself. With the strengthening of the Russian-Chinese partnership, such actions are threatened with gradual failure. Indeed, according to the direct assertion of the NI correspondents, “the current rigid stance regarding Crimea makes no sense from a practical standpoint either. U.S. leaders need to accept the reality that Russia will not relinquish Crimea”.