Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Crimea will vote today to become part of Russia

The referendum is taking place in Crimea today and it seems it will be fair if for no other reason than that there  will be no need to rig it.
"What's sauce for Kosovo's goose is certainly sauce for Crimea's gander," 
said Serbian-American writer Serge Trifkovic and it's hard to disagree with that. Recognising Kosovo was very stupid. 

Vladimir Putin is less justified in what he is doing than the UK and France were in Libya, because Putin was foolish enough to vote for a Security Council Resolution which the UK and France used to pretend their intervention was legal and also because they had a genuine humanitarian reason for doing so. This does not justify our intervention in Libya either legally, morally or most important politically. Putin is about as justified as the USA and UK were in 2003 in Iraq. 

Like England and France in Libya and like the Allies in Iraq in 2003 Putin is making a big mistake, for understandable reasons. He stands to lose most of Ukraine by doing this, even if he intends to annex more of the part where the ethnic Russians live. However the moral outrage I felt when he first intervened has entirely gone. I encourage you to read this excellent analysis of the situation, to see Putin's point of view.

I have just been rereading Neal Ascherson's wonderfully erudite and poetic 'Black Sea' which is very topical. I have wanted for years to get to the Crimea and had hoped to do so this year. i still do and hope the border between Ukraine and Russia is not closed by the time summer comes. But the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been closed for more than twenty years.


  1. "What's sauce for Kosovo's goose is certainly sauce for Crimea's gander"

    If Kosovo serves as precedent, then could we not turn this around and say that Crimea constitutes Putin's (retroactive) endorsement of Kosovo? Do we have perhaps the makings of a compromise, however unsatisfying?

  2. Hardly an excellent analysis of the situation - more like an apology for Russian aggression and an inability to accept that the days of empire are now over. One would have thought that fellow travellers had woken up.