Saturday, March 15, 2014

Russia Vetos UNSC Resolution on Crimea

One day before Crimea holds a referendum to leave Ukraine and join Russia, the Russians vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to affirm Ukraine’s “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.”

Russia cast the sole vote against the resolution. Even China, which normally supports Russia at the Security Council, did not support the Russian position on Crimea and abstained from voting. 

Thirteen of the Council’s 15 members voted in favor of the resolution: United States, Britain, France, Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, South Korea and Rwanda.

Photo credit: Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, casting the sole negative vote against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. (Twitter)


Anonymous said...

Listen to American historian, economist, journalist, author, politician and lecturer Webster Griffin Tarpley on World Crisis Radio, to get the full story on the coup in Ukraine (stuff that's not talked about in Western main stream media).

Nader Uskowi said...

Does the professor suggest that in case of a coup in a country, the people of different regions of the country have the right to secede unilaterally? Even if a "coup" occurred in Kiev, does that give the Crimea the right to secede without going through a nationwide referendum?

What we witnessed in Kiev, live on our TV screens, started as demonstrations and sit-ins at the Independence Square that grew within 2-3 months into a popular uprising against a corrupt dictator, who chose to flee his country. 

People in Crimea or elsewhere might have been unhappy about the turn of the events in Kiev and the politics of the group who came to power after their president fled the country, but I do not believe their unhappiness gave them the right to secede unilaterally. They could have started the process when their own favorite president was in power and secede if both Crimea and the rest of Ukraine voted for secession. (What Scots are trying to do in Britain). Unilateral secession is a dangerous game that will come back to haunt the country, Russia and the region.

Anonymous said...

You do know that Ukraine did the same thing to Russia right? They declared they wanted secession and Russia was not in a position to do anything about it :)

Furthermore, Crimea was not part of Ukraine until Feb 27th 1954 until Nikita Khrushchev (who was an ethnic Ukrainian himself) made it a gift to Ukraine; as if it was nothing more than a slice of Pie or a hand me down old shirt. The Crimean Russians had NO-SAY-SO at all in being gifted.

In the 1959 census of USSR there were 268,000 Ukrainians, and 858,000 Russians living in Crimea. Fastforward to today, and russians are still the undisputed majority in Crimea. Their major economy is the Russian Fleet, their language, history, culture, and mores are all Russian. They Crimeans probably see the Ukrainians as brown-nosings suck-ups to NATO and Western european powers begging for scraps and sloppy seconds.

The ethnic Russians in Crimea see themselves; rightly or wrongly, as legitimate heirs of the USSR, undisputed regional superpowers, and a global superpower as part of the Russian Federation and they are proud of it. To have NATO push all the way to the very heart of Russia; to the very seat of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is an insult they can't ignore. To try to spin this as a Putin Manipulation of Crimea or a Russian coup is either ignorant or disingenuous. Some say that the real coup happened in Ukraine with western backing. I don't know enough about it; but, I would suspect that it's true.

Notice I'm not even bringing up the so called "Russian invasion" because it's not true. Most "troops" are Crimean ethnic Russian irregulars with a few "official" Russians military protecting the Russian infrastructure and bases that were permitted legally under the original terms of the Ukrainian independence.

Another reason for not bringing up the invasion is that after the first gulf war, second gulf war, occupying Afghanistan, and Iraq, sending weapons and "advisors" to Libya, and Currently in Syria ... I believe people who live in glass houses should shut-the-F-up while they are ahead. In other words we don't have a moral leg to stand on and would look like jackasses if we brought it up :) Especially if it's not unquestionably true :) The honest to god truth is that we did all of that because we thought that it was in our national interest to do so. Same goes for the Russians. End of story. To pretend otherwise will destroy our credibility even more.

The bottom line is: Only the people in Crimea should decide what happens there. If the Majority want to be part of Russia, so be it! Why? Let's look at recent history.

WWII happened mostly because at the end of WWI and the Armistice Germany was not treated fairly. That's the truth condensed in one line with all the fluff taken out. The meddling and politics resulted in an atmosphere where nuts like Hitler had an eager audience that was ready to hear what he had to say.

Hitler had enough truth to pepper his lies with to make his case; and as a result, Germans went along with him until it was too late to stop. All due respect to Ms. Merkel, the sad truth is that MOST of Germany was pro Nazi, and Pro Hitler because of the unfair treatment after the Armistice. Merkel's meddling is cavalier, dangerous, and we have seen it's like before. She of all people should know better.

Today we have a parallel of the past. A proud people, a raw deal, and foreign meddling and politics by the same cast of western european characters + an additional USA. Truly those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Nader Uskowi said...

No matter how we want to spin the news, the reality is that this event is happening in 2014; Ukraine is an independent state. Russia has recognized its independence and territorial integrity as late as 1994. Crimea is part of that Ukraine. If the Crimean people wanted to gain independence or join Russia, they could have started the process when a friendly government was in power in Kiev, or wait now until that would happen again. You don't secede from a country when you don't like the politics of its central government. If you want to secede, you need to gain the support of the whole country as well.

No country at UN Security Council voted in support of Russia. the Africans, Asians and Latin Americans all voted against Crimea's secession and for Ukraine's territorial integrity. Even China did not support Russian position. Russian isolation on this issue is absolute. Only Russians themselves believe what they are doing is proper!

tubtuilayka said...

What whole country supported the secession of East Timor, Kossovo etc? One rule for Western machinations and another for Russian?

Anonymous said...

Crimeans did not feel the need for joining Russia at times where the government in place was not yet a tribune for Neo-Nazis calling for the ouster and murder of "Russian traitors which are not part of Mother Ukraine" and following it with widely documented violent deeds against Russian-speaking/Ethnic Russian populations, including high ranking government officials and state employees on the Ukrainian mainland. Add to that an interim government willing to kill anything making their very language official and a declared will to move to NATO and de-facto wipe away any remaining legal Russian presence on the peninsula.

And no matter how we want to spin the news, the reality is that Vladimir Putin or any other leader has the right to move a limited though significant amount of forces to Crimea under the 1954 deal that was renewed 2 times up until now, and is still below the tolerated limit related to the relevant Treaty sections.

The reality is also that the number of countries having voted against Russia during yesterday's vote comprise only 13 countries in the world, most of which are traditionally aligned with Washington when it comes to bloc-style geopolitical posturing against Russian interests, namely the UK, France, Jordan, South Korea, Lithuania, and Australia, of which we can count three NATO members (UK, France, Lithuania) and four MNNA, or Major Non-NATO Allies (Australia, South Korea, Jordan, and Argentina) which, though not full member states of the Organization, have a privileged status towards it, obviously coming with very close strategic ties depending on US command and deployed forces, hence heeding on its global clout in strategic issues such as this one. That effectively leaves "independent" votes to no more than three African countries plus Luxembourg and Chile, the two latter ones obviously much more integrated within Western power blocs than with Russia.

So what's the big deal ? this vote, like almost every other one occurring within the legal framework of the Security Council is mere political scoring between states, same often happens against the US every time the NAM has a say about their policies specially in the Middle East or Latin America , even though it would make the vote a little more credible considering they represent an immensely more diversified and demographically relevant group of countries in the world.

I would bet the result would be far less polarized against Russia if its traditional allies and satellites like Iran, Syria, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, or even more recently Sisi's Egypt were solicited on the issue. China first abstaining, then making a statement condemning the vote itself for its negative effect in cooling the tensions down is a good existing hint to that assertion I would say.

Anonymous said...

"Only Russians themselves believe what they are doing is proper!" WITHIN THE SCOPE OF 13 COUNTRIES HAVING A SAY ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL :-)

Add Vietnam, Cuba, Iran, Syria, Serbia, Palestine or more importantly BRICS members such as Brazil, South Africa, or India to this vote and "absolute Russian isolation" would be certainly reduced, at least with more abstentions, at most with plain additional support for the Russian initiative. Let's remain objective to the end.

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 3:40 PM,
I gather from the tone of your comment that you were against independence of East Timor and Kosovo the way they happened. then you should be against Crimea secession for the same reasons. You need to base your analysis on matters of principle, not ideology; irrespective of the West or Russia. No?

Anon 3:48 pm,
That's exactly the point: you do not secede if you don't agree with the politics of the government of the day; irrespective of Russian propaganda that the opposition in Kiev which took over the government after the president fled is "Nazi!" That's said to justify the dismemberment of Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

I did not say that they were "all Nazis", only a foolish or intellectually dishonest individual would make such generalization of course. My point is that these Neo-Nazis exist within a significant part of the new political spectrum in Ukraine, had a crucial role in the violent ouster of the formerly elected president, and this no matter how corrupt he was, have now been propped up dramatically to places of power so far with no election whatsoever, and have made numerous spectacular anti-Russian and anti-institutional acts of violent aggression including murder, since their forceful "come to power" along with more moderate colors of Revolutionary Ukrainians, and continue to openly state they plan on killing and/or expelling anything Russian from Ukraine, now that they are at least partly in charge.

It was enough for Kadhafi or Milosevic to merely declare publicly they were going to kill off their opponents for the West to justify unilateral action against them through NATO, why not accept the Russians merely coming to secure what they can along the legal lines of a decades-old cession Treaty when Svoboda leaders simply can't stop shouting that they will cleanse Ukraine from the Russian plague and has been sending groups to the peninsula for that very purpose, long before any Russian solider stepped foot into the territory ? If the West is so keen on preserving territorial integrity in Ukraine for now pro-West Kiev, then why did they act by bombing Serbia on mere suspicion of genocide to come in Kosovo based on fiery PR stunts by some official including Milosevic ? The answer is simple, and remains the same as always : Double Standards. Based on (geo)political agendas and struggled for influence and NATO expansion as far east as possible following a well-known post-cold war doctrine by Washington.

Anonymous said...

Nader UskowiMarch 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM
Anon 3:40 PM was simply pointing out the utter hypocrisy of the wests position on crimea,that this is just another example of western double standards ie "its ok when we do it",it seems to me that the wests adherence to principle depends purely on what is most convenient for it at the time,so if its ok for the west to take that view why should it be wrong for russia,sauce for the goose I think,russia may well be in the wrong but equally the west is in no position to criticize it,unless of course you happen to be a believer in one rule for the west and another for everyone else mr uskowi

Nader Uskowi said...

Do you then believe that Chechnya, or any other regions of Russia, has the right to hold referendum and secede from Russia (declaring independence or joining another neighboring country with close cultural/religious ties), without Moscow's approval? Would Putin agree with it?

Anonymous said...

Guys, call the vote what you may legally speaking, but statistics certified by international observers, and this including western ones (for those not believing in any possible genuine honesty outside of this noble and virtuous circle of renowned democracy lovers and defenders), showed a record turnout of 80% and a final result of close to 97% voting in favor of rejoining Russia. I guess those 97% Crimeans thought that a non-elected interim government did not have the authority to have a say on the matter. For those who say such vote occurred under constraint and threat of military action, there's an interesting article quoting several western representatives present on the peninsula as part of the international monitoring body tasked with validating the process.

Nader Uskowi said...

A lot of comments on history! So let’s look at the issue from that perspective:
When empires collapse, borders are realigned and a number of independent countries are created. This was the case with the Ottoman Empire and later the British Empire. The collapse of Soviet Union was no exception: we witnessed the disappearance of East Germany, disintegration of Yugoslavia, and creation of many independent states bordering Russia.

This is not the case with Crimea, whose territorial integrity was recognized by Russian Federation in 1994. This is a deliberate attempt by Russia and its supporters to breakup Ukraine, because of their disagreement with the central government of the day. Russians were not after the independent aspirations of Crimean people as they could have done this during the previous government in Kiev, by observing norms that are being applied by Scotland and Britain. Moreover, I argue that Russia would not recognize the same right for its own regions. Do you believe that would recognize a referendum by Chechnya to secede from Russia and become independent or join a neighboring country with closer cultural and religious ties? I think not. Talking about hypocrisy!

Nader Uskowi said...

Have you ever thought why those 97% Crimean did not start the process of secession under the former government in Kiev; then they could follow the norms that the Scots are doing. They are seceding now because they are unhappy with their central government of the day. Isn't that a dangerous precedent for all?

Anonymous said...

Well for my part I never went counter to the assertion that Putin is anything other than imperialistic and opportunistic in his rush to secure Crimea off Ukraine. My assertion was precisely it : he is no better than US leaders supporting the Kurdish government in Iraq or independant Kosovo ! And yes of course Putin would hate the same rationale applied to his own regions, but that isnt the point, the point is you constantly refuse such parallels drawn against western leaders, instead systematically pointing fingers at Moscow in some sort of historical vaccum where only Russia made bad deeds and the West stands right in all regards, and support their leaders gesticulating hysterically over the UN Charter they otherwise trumple daily themselvesin countless countries, thats is in turn what I call certified hyprocrisy sir ! Anything you might say about Putin's evil applies to its US counterparts by your own standards specially within the past decade to the very present day, Barack Obama, John Kerry, the likes of John McCain or Hilary Clinton being on top of a very long list in that regard. But rather than underlining or even vocally acknowledging that fact you rather resort to bizarre praises for the West going as far as finding noblety towards the Iraqi invasion and occupation period in a so-called "integrity safeguarding", that's incredible a stance !

Back on topic , take those 97% separatists you seemingly can't stand witnessing can basically be perceived as a Crimean counter-Revolution if you wish. At least they did their thing through a ballout box, without beating or stabbings and without masks covering their faces. Western Ukrainians didn't like their govt and as a result they litterally took it down. Crimeans relied on votes to express the same discontent, who are we to call one more rightous than another ?

To me, 97% of a given region's population is undisputed legitimacy by itself one cannot disqualify easily, it amounts to some sort of civil uprising. And count the number of dead Crimeans so far in such a scandalous process?

Anonymous said... --- Crimea referendum: 93% of voters want Crimea to re-attach to Russia.

Anonymous said...

The Cremia region did not secede under the former government because

1. it is a democratically elected government

2. they feel secured and protected under that government

If we can try and see beyond our sentiment tainted opinion it is obvious that under this unelected regime there is clear and present danger towards ethnic Russians in Ukraine made obvious by some of the actions of this regime. My opinion may not count but if a region under Russia feels their life as become unsecure under the central government I say yes let them secede, as secession is more preferred to watching another inhumanity of man to man.

Nader Uskowi said...

Pointing fingers at Moscow, because Crimea is the subject of this post!

Nader Uskowi said...

The Iranian interim government, after the Shah fled Tehran, was not democratically elected, but appointed by Khomeini, after a popular uprising. In some regions in the country, the minorities felt more secure and protected not to continue under the new government. Could they secede form Iran?

Should we have some norms on how secessions occur?

This argument on Crimea is going for long here. The point I've been trying to make is that we should not hide under sloganeering; that the Kiev government was not elected (which is true as it came to power through revolution) and Crimean people did not like its politics (calling it Fascist, which is not true) and wanted to live under Putin. (Not a symbol of democracy either!) I am not saying Crimeans do not have the right to national self determination, but we need to follow some norms (like what Scots are doing in Britain) if we do not want to see so many regions secede for the same reasons as you have argued, and on their own. Very destabilizing. Thanks for following this debate.

Anonymous said...

If I may, if there is one thing that is clear in this whole affair, and no matter whom hold what degree of (ill)legitimacy on both side of the fence, it is that the revolutionary/interim/non-elected/coup government (depending on who's talking) has its full share of responsibility in polarizing Russians and non-Russian against one another.

Firstly, by invalidating the status of the Russian language as their very first reflex after forcefully coming to power, a genuine violation of the 1954 Treaty at least in spirit.

Furthermore, by turning a blind eye to repeated assaults and hostile declarations by Neo Nazi leaders and their militants against Russian elements of the Ukrainian population, would it be from Svoboda or the Right Sector, both ultra reactionary, swastika waiving political groups highly and openly nostalgic of the short-lived Nazi reign in Ukraine.

Now to the question : is Putin a cunning opportunist who viciously took advantage of the global tide of events ? Yes, absolutely, I'll be the first to say ! but the other question is : who wouldn't at this level, when there's nothing less at stake than crystal clear geopolitical lines, with NATO willing to replace Russia ever more eastward all the way to its physical frontiers ? you can expect no less from a Russian leader, no matter who is in charge at the moment, short of Mafia/Western puppet Yeltsin selling pieces of the country to the highest bidder while having his share of expensive vodka + caviar, those days are fortunately long gone !

Let me ask another one while I'm at it : would all these nice and caring Western leaders all cry in anger in such a perfectly orchestrated chorus along with their allies regarding Laws and Treaties, should they be able to contemplate integrating Ukraine within their military alliance, just like Tymushenko officially declares willing it, thus violating the 1954 Treaty even further in the process, beyond the spirit, but to the letter ? I strongly doubt that. In fact I don't doubt they would hail the winds of change if that ever was to happen.

The interim government was as hasty as it was reckless, almost amateurish from the very start in its management and comprehension of highly sensitive issues of the Ukrainian national and cultural fabric in relation to the Russian side, they now consequently pay the price in full. Indeed a sad development for them, state sovereignty and all, but not quite a "dangerous precedent" since when it comes to their own action through NATO, western states have demonstrated an eagerness to stomp upon every possible regulation and move forward with military intervention and tracing borders for weaker states since the peak of the colonial era. To the risk appearing as highly cynical, it is in my opinion what has always been the world all about so far, barring some exceptions that confirm the rule through bloody liberation wars only to become economically enslaved afterwards.

About Crimea in particular, we indeed witness an expected scenario and partly understandable issue that also explains the huge turnout and immense majority vote that occurred under full international supervision in Crimea.

Bottom line for me is : The interim government could have so easily avoided handing Putin over such a golden-plated opportunity to steer the masses the way he did via the element of fear, and rally so many people behind his initiative in the process it's totally crazy. A story to meditate for any future government having to deal with an "identity balance" with clear ethnocultural lines such as Ukraine (or Iran for that matter).

This is no time to celebrate today, any more than it was the case when Yanukovictch was toppled the way he was, just occasion to witness and learn.


Anonymous said...

Nader UskowiMarch 17, 2014 at 9:45 AM
No more or less dangerous than a group of revolutionaries overthrowing the elected government because they didnt like its political direction and couldnt be bothered waiting a year for new elections,as for why the crimeans didnt follow the scottish route,I imagine that was because they felt that the elected government was at least to some degree representing and looking out for their interests,its obvious that they do not feel the same way about the revolutionaries.What do you think the scots would do in the same situation,if there was a revolution and that some of those groups taking part were anti scottish?

Anonymous said...

AnonymousMarch 17, 2014 at 2:54 PM
Well said

Anonymous said...


Comparing Iran revolution to that of Ukraine would give a false or subjective analysis.

Iran revolution was against a monarchical (read unelected) government while that of Ukraine was against an elected government. Now does the citizens have the right to remove this corrupt government, I would say yes they do. So does the semi autonomous region of Crimea have the right to secede after the childish acts of the new unelected, interim (or whatever anybody choose to call it) government? I would say yes they have already earn the right under the preexisting agreement with the central government. What is good for the goose is good for the gender.