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Crimea, Crimean Tatars and Russian Invasion of Ukraine

April 2022
ISSUE no. 2
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Crimea: Eight
years later
Viola von
Before Putin’s war
with bombs, there
was a war with
Oshore motive
for the occupation
of Ukraine’s
special issue on
The ght for the
The Pan-European Institute publishes the
Baltic Rim Economies (BRE) review which deals
with the development of the Baltic Sea region. In
the BRE review, public and corporate decision
makers, representatives of Academia, as well as
several other experts contribute to the discussion.
ISSN 1459-9759
Editor-in-Chief | Kari Liuhto
(responsible for writer invitations)
Technical Editor | Sonja Lavonen
University of Turku
Turku School of Economics
Pan-European Institute
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Pan-European Institute
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
expert articles
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko 4
The ght for the future
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel 6
Before Putin’s war with bombs, there
was a war with disinformation
Grigory Yavlinsky 7
Crimea: Eight years later
Mykhailo Gonchar 8
Oshore motive for the occupation of
Ukraine’s Crimea
Neil Kent 9
Orthodoxy, the Kremlin and Ukraine
James Sherr 10
The Putin obsession and the problem
of Russia
Steven Pifer 12
Why Putin went to war against Ukraine
Yana Prymachenko 13
Ukraine is not Russia vs One Nation:
political prose as the prelude to the
Russo-Ukrainian War
Eleanor Knott 14
From annexation to war
Kateryna Ivashchenko-Stadnik 15
Debunking the constructed war
against Ukraine: Evidence from the
pre-invasion Crimea and Donbas
Ihor Hurak 17
"Policy of appeasement" as one of
the factors of Russia's aggression
against Ukraine
Evhen Tsybulenko 18
War of civilizations
Roman Martynovskyy 19
The logic of barbarism and human
Yordan Gunawan 21
The legitimacy and recognition of
Crimea: A conundrum
James Rodgers 22
Russia and Ukraine: War and media
Victor Liakh & Ilona Khmeleva 23
Ukrainian resistance to Russian
aggression: What can civil society
representatives do?
Deborah Sanders 24
The Russian invasion of Ukraine:
Implications for the Black Sea
Kristian Åtland 26
Russia’s maritime expansionism in
the Black Sea region
Borys Babin 27
Legal assessment of Russian
ongoing aggression in the Black and
Azov Seas
Sajal Kabiraj 31
Russia-Ukraine conict and its
impact on global supply chains
Maksym Palamarchuk 32
Occupation of Crimea: Strategic
Kestutis Kilinskas 33
Hybrid warfare: An orientating or
misleading concept in analysing
Russia’s military actions in Ukraine /
in Crimea?
Julia Kazdobina 34
Push for Crimea’s liberation despite
the war
Andrii Ryzhenko 35
Russian Crimean Bastion and its
role in the ongoing invasion in Ukraine
Maksym Kyiak 37
Crimea will be free
Riana Teifukova 38
The geopolitical implications of
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
Mehmet Seyfettin Erol 39
Meanings of Crimean geopolitics
in regional-global politics
Oleksandr Sukhodolia 41
The Ukrainian Crimea and the clash
of liberal democracy and autocracy
Dmitry I. Uznarodov 43
Socio-economic development of
the Republic of Crimea in 2018-2020
Yevheniia Horiunova 44
Social changes in Crimea occupied
by Russia
Eskender Bariiev 46
Violation of the collective rights of
the Crimean Tatar people is a crime
against humanity
Filiz Tutku Aydın 48
Crimea, Crimean Tatars and the
Russian invasion of Ukraine
Natalya Belitser 50
Crimean Tatars and occupation
of Crimea
Veikko Jarmala 51
Crimean Estonians
Serhii Hromenko 52
Putin misuses the history of Crimea
in the war against Ukraine
Nikita Lomagin 53
Russia's historic relations with Crimea
Sergei V. Moshkin 54
Why did Khrushchev transfer Crimea
to Ukraine?
Olena Snigyr 56
Crimean narratives of Russian
historical memory
Elena Kayukova 57
Fresh water of the Crimean Peninsula
Aleksander Panasiuk & Halyna Zubrytska 58
Crisis situation of the tourism
industry in Crimea
Maria Piechowska 59
Cultural heritage under threat
in Ukraine
Elmira Ablyalimova-Chyihoz &
Denys Yashnyi 60
Colonization through destruction
and distortion: the case of the
Bakhchisaray Khan’s Palace
Inga Zaksauskiene 62
Enemies and traitors: The role of
Ukraine in the Soviet Union dissolution
Kari Liuhto 63
A paranoid war with absurd
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko
The ght for the future
n February 24th 2022 Russia ruthlessly bombed and
invaded Ukraine. Russian military encroached into
peace and freedom of Ukraine, killing innocent people,
destroying cities and threatening the security of the
entire civilised world.
They called it a military operation, having fabricated and continuing
to fabricate pretexts for such invasion and seizure of our land.
But this is a real, bloody, brutal, cynical war started by a mad
dictator, a war criminal putin.
The russian aggressor has already killed 150 innocent Ukrainian
children. And that's just according to the ocial information. And how
many more children tortured by the russians died in the temporarily
occupied cities?
Russian soldiers mercilessly shoot columns of civilian Ukrainians
escaping from the hell of the so-called liberators.
Russian missiles and bombs wipe the entire cities o the map.
The whole world already knows Mariupol as a martyr city. Almost
everything is destructed there, its citizens are in real hell!
Why is this happening now? Why is the system of collective
security in Europe and the world so vulnerable today? Why did one
mad dictator make such signicant progress in his invasion plans?
I have one answer. The Western world's policy on pacication of
putin has led to such outcome.
Three surrenders of the Ukrainian Crimea
Actually, the war for Ukraine, for our independence and our belonging
to the European family, and not to the putin-russian empire, began not
on February 24, 2022.
This all began in 2010. It was the rst surrender of our Crimea
Yanukovych signs an agreement with the Russian Federation on
extending the basing of the Russian Navy Black See Fleet in the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol until 2042 (!) —
these are the so-called Kharkiv Agreements ratied in April 2010 by
the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
This was when Yanukovych returned the russian secret services
to the Crimea. It should be noted that according to my decisions as the
Head of the Security Service of Ukraine in 2009, these secret services
were expelled from the peninsula, and the agreement on cooperation
with the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation was
denounced. Let me also recall that even before 2009, during my
rst chairmanship in the Security Service of Ukraine, I initiated and
defended the termination of the agreement on the Russian Navy
Black Sea Fleet basing, closure of the russian military bases and
complete withdrawal of the russian troops and secret services from
Crimea. I have repeatedly warned the Ukrainian leadership of the risk
and threats posed by the continued presence of the russian troops
and Navy the Black Sea Fleet in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The second surrender of Crimea lasted from May 2010 to
January 2014
Then President Yanukovych, his party together with the Communist
Party seized all decision-making positions in the parliament and
government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Yanukovych
assigned russian-oriented ocials and agents of the Russian
Federation as heads of the Security Service of Ukraine, the Ministry
of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Aairs and other law enforcement
agencies in Kyiv and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. They
resumed cooperation with the Federal Security Service of the Russian
Federation and returned its ocers to Crimea.
The third surrender of Crimea was in February 2014. It was a
historic period for Ukraine – a violent confrontation between security
forces and protesters, the nal stage of the Revolution of Dignity. As
a result of these events, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dismissed
the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, on February 22 and
scheduled pre-term presidential elections for May 25th 2014.
President Yanukovych, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine
Yakymenko and his deputies, as well as other security ocers,
defected to the russian aggressor. First from Kyiv to Simferopol
and Sevastopol. In Sevastopol they stayed at a military base of the
Russian Federation.
Later, Yanukovych was hiding in Rostov and submitted a signed
letter to the President of the Russian Federation with a ‘request’ to
send troops. Security ocers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
(ARC) assigned by Yanukovych, 70% of the Security Service of
Ukraine's personnel in the ARC and the Crimean Centre of Special
Operations ‘A’ (Alpha) in full betrayed the oath and defected to the
aggressor, and the head of the Sevastopol Department of the Security
Service of Ukraine entered the service in the Federal Security Service
of the Russian Federation.
All three surrenders of Crimea are the russian occupation project
that has been prepared for many years.
An attack on Ukraine, on which putin has not stopped
The unpunished annexation of Crimea gave rise to putin's big and
ambitious plan to conquer Ukraine.
This was followed by his attack on the East of Ukraine, occupation
of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the creation of controlled
republics — Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.
And what was the response of the civilised nations to the
annexation of our territories, to the open military occupation of a
part of Ukraine, to terrorism against our people in the Donbas, to the
capture and torture of the Ukrainians?
We've heard the world leaders' ‘deep concern’ about the ongoings
in Ukraine, and the package of sanctions imposed against the russian
leader and his henchmen by our American and European partners
was obviously pitiful, and certainly did not stop putin from his desire to
impose pressure on the West and destroy Ukraine.
Today, the world stands with Ukraine
We feel the support of the entire world today. The Armed Forces
of Ukraine courageously and professionally counter the russian
We have already undermined putin's ambitious plans to seize the
capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, in a matter of hours. And Kyiv condently
holds the line. The Armed Forces and the Territorial Defense Forces
kill russian invaders, already accounting to more than 16,000 killed
soldiers of the aggressor. Our military massively and ruthlessly
Expert article 3193
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
destroy the russian military hardware.
The Parliament continues to work in wartime and adopts dozens of
laws which Ukraine requires for its protection and defensive capability.
What else does Ukraine need to end the war victoriously and to
stop the insatiable dictator?
Closed sky and humanitarian corridors
We are calling upon every international organisation and foreign
government to urgently act and help civilians in Ukraine.
The most vital and time-pressing decision is to be made by NATO
- to declare a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine. We all understand the risks
in making this decision, but we are also clear that the risks are much
higher, if such a decision is not made at the right time, which is NOW!
We all see and understand that Russia specically targets civilians
in Ukraine, ring bombs and missiles. Russia’s cruel intention is to
break and kill the Ukrainian people.
Under a No-Fly Zone civilians and assailable areas in Ukraine will be
We urge for a No-Fly Zone to be immediately declared to create
protected areas for civilians.
We urge to stop the genocide of the Ukrainian nation, to preserve
critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants, gas and chemical
industry to avoid a large-scale technogenic disaster.
We urge to protect objects of cultural heritage under the protection
Along with a No-Fly Zone, air-space humanitarian corridors
should be established to rapidly transport injured people and deliver
humanitarian aid.
International humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross
should take a lead in this. Such an ‘air bridge’ successfully worked in
the West Berlin in 1948 saving almost 3 million people that the Soviet
Union tried to starve to death. Just like then, rescue and support
emergency aircrafts should land every 3 minutes!
It is time to establish a No-Fly Zone in Ukraine and stand united
against Russian aggression!
 Iftheworldtodaydoesnotsucientlycounteractthefurious
 BoththeBalticpartnercountriesandourPolishneighbours
feel already threatened by the possible immense growth of
putin's ‘hunger’: to seize and ‘liberate’ their independent and
Expert article 3193
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko
Member of Parliament
Со-Chair of the Inter-parliamentary group
of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on inter-
parliamentary relations with the Republic of
Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee
for Ukraine’s integration into the EU
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3194
In June 2020, the European Parliament decided to combat
disinformation by foreign actors and set up a “Special Committee on
Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European
Union, including Disinformation”, more aptly abbreviated as INGE.
18 months later, the ndings of the Committee, in which I was
rapporteur for the Greens/EFA Group, proved to be unambiguous:
There is an overwhelming lack of awareness in all bres of society
within the EU when it comes to the severity of threat posed by
authoritarian regimes and their disinformation attempts. For too long,
the EU and its Member States have turned a blind eye to increased
attempts of foreign interference in the information space and have
underestimated, how impactful threats of disinformation are.
Since February 24 2022, Putin’s unprovoked and unjustiable war
of aggression against Ukraine has provided undeniable testimony
for INGE’s existence. As part of its myriad tactics of hybrid warfare,
Putin’s regime ghts not only with guns, but also with words. It
actively weaponises energy, economic ties in the EU and especially
information. The Kremlin’s large-scale, coordianated information
manipulation and disinformation campaigns have reached dystopian
Russia was actively spreading disinformation during the height of
the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple EU countries and its neighbours.
When it claimed victory by announcing the half-baked vaccine Sputnik
V, its disinformation machine supported by Russian state media
broadcasting abroad and troll factories started attacking the vaccines
developed in the west.1
As for the current developments, the propagation of ridiculous
narratives about a Nazi Regime in Ukraine led by a President with
Jewish roots and starting a senseless war branded as a “special
military operation” was carefully prepared through selected fabrications
of history. Putin himself published an essay that disregards historic
facts and questions the ethnic and state sovereignty of Ukraine. His
complete reversal of cause and eect, of aggressor and defender, is
based on the denial of Ukraine’s right to exist. In this way, the Kremlin
has prepared the ideological ground for the annexation of Crimea, the
war in Donbass and eventually its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The war thus undoubtedly makes clear: Disinformation has
devastating real-life ramications; it can cost the lives of thousands
of civilians. This is reinforced by the fact that Russian disinformation
is spread without being challenged in certain third countries that have
so far failed to condemn or even facilitated Putin's war of aggression
against Ukraine. It encourages mercenaries to ght against the
democratically elected government of Ukraine and aids Putin’s regime
to evade the justly imposed Western sanctions.
The fact that we see a stronger recognition, discussion and
contextualisation of the nexus between disinformation and the course
of the war in recent weeks is important. Beyond this, however, it must
also become clearer: There is an urgent need for rm and resolved
action by the EU to increase its resilience as well as support Ukraine in
the ght against disinformation. The European Parliament’s earlier call
1 We have commissioned a study on this subject that can
be accessed here:
for deterrence tools, particularly sanctions, has proven to be on spot
through the dramatic events. As the underlying problem persists, the
European Parliament’s urge to introduce an eective legal sanctions
regime against foreign actors spreading disinformation remains valid:
Actors such as Russia or China will continue to act with impunity as
without deterrence their disinformation campaigns within the EU face
an attractive calculation of very low costs and high rewards.
While continuous eort is needed to tackle this problem, the
EU needs to take further steps in the short-term to counter Russian
disinformation. The EU-wide ban of RT and Sputnik as well as
sanctions against crucial gures of government propaganda (among
them Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and RT editor-in-chief
Margarita Simonyan) was a necessary action. Without contesting that
media bans are far-reaching measures that should never be decided
lightly and as any other action to counter disinformation must itself
respect fundamental freedoms of expression, we must communicate
clearly: What we face aren’t dierences in opinions, but blatant lies
and conspiracy theories disguised as journalistic reporting as part of
the Russian regime’s disinformation machinery supporting its war of
aggression in Ukraine.
Beyond that, the implementation of other measures that INGE
calls for in principle must be accelerated in the face of the war. The
EU must use and extend its institutional resources to combat foreign
interference. Until more comprehensive legal regulatory mechanisms
are in place, we must urge social media platforms, which are easy
targets for manipulation by foreign hostile actors and play a crucial
role in spreading disinformation, to actively contain lies used for
political ends. Moreover, the EU must advocate for the best possible
protection of the journalists, xers and other media personnel active
on the ground in Ukraine. Since information is the best antidote to
disinformation, independent, fact-based journalism within and outside
the EU is crucial. Let me also emphasize, that although our access
is further limited by Putin’s crackdown on civil society, the EU must
engage in tackling disinformation within Russia too, as we observe
that the Kremlin is stepping up its propaganda campaign on its
domestic audience given its military failures.
It is self-evident that neither this nor any other war can be won
only by ghting propaganda. Nevertheless, the EU’s comprehensive
support for Ukraine against Putin’s aggression must also encompass
its cooperation in combatting Russian disinformation in the short-,
medium- and long-term. Too long treated as a hollow platitude, the
war in Ukraine is a painful reminder that disinformation not countered
undermines the core of democracy and constitutes a serious threat to
our security and sovereignty.
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel
Before Putin’s war with bombs, there
was a war with disinformation
Viola von Cramon-
Member of the European Parliament
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Grigory Yavlinsky
Crimea: Eight years later
The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 laid the
foundation for the current "special military operation in
Ukraine”, or rather, aggression against an independent and
democratic state. Watching the unfolding tragedy, we must
remember this step as the rst clear violation, when Russia
ceased to comply with universally recognized laws and standards,
and brute force played a decisive role.
The seizure of the territory of a neighboring country was
presented in ocial propaganda as a major "geopolitical victory" and
the restoration of historical justice”" In fact, it marked the moment
when Russia began to separate from the modern world, broke with
reality and began to rudely destroy relations between the Ukrainian
and Russian peoples.
What has happened in Crimea since 2014? According to various
estimates, by the beginning of 2022, direct investments under
the Federal Target Program "Socio-economic development of the
Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol until 2022" exceeded
1.3 trillion rubles ($11.1 billion as on March 8, 2022). Crimea also
receives annual aid from the Russian budget in the amount of
more than 700 billion rubles ($ 6.3 billion), and Sevastopol - 140
billion rubles ($ 1.2 billion). Major infrastructure projects have been
implemented: the Crimean Bridge, the Tavrida highway, two power
plants, an airport terminal in Simferopol, an energy bridge to Crimea,
reconstruction of social infrastructure, etc. Approximately 70% of the
regional budget of Crimea and Sevastopol comes from the federal
budget of Russia. The region is among the ve most subsidized in
Russia. And yet Crimea has not become the gold standard for resorts,
or a hotbed of innovative technologies, or even a gambling mecca that
local politicians have been touting for so long.
Meanwhile, world-famous Crimean wine brands are being sold
for a song to the Kremlin elite as a reward for loyalty. Similarly,
state sanatoriums are distributed to oligarchs for the construction of
private resorts, especially since more and more Russian ocials and
businessmen are blacklisted.
Politically, the regime implements three proven strategies in the
"Russian Crimea".
Politics and the media were eradicated: even the loyal articial
opposition, acting as "courtiers", was sometimes allowed to utter
only meaningless statements. The work of an objective press, not to
mention independent media, is impossible, while hundreds of public
activists are constantly harassed by law enforcement agencies and
receive prison sentences.
The border region is being militarized: according to open sources,
the concentration of military formations and weapons has increased
many times compared to the period before 2014. Crimea has turned
into an "unsinkable aircraft carrier."
Even by Russian standards, the complete incompetence of
Crimean ocials stands out (which is conrmed by the numerous
resignations of ”ministers" of the Crimean "government" – some
positions changed hands seven times in eight years), as well as
the level of corruption, conrmed by regular reports of the arrest of
ocials for bribery or abuse of oce - and I mean here only the last
four months of 2021.
One could say that Russia has completed the assimilation of the
region, although it is very doubtful that the population of Crimea
expected such integration.
What's going on now? Since the beginning of the "military
special operation in Ukraine” Crimea is moving from a "gray zone"
to a black one - a territory that will never attract investment and new
technologies. After losing the opportunity to travel freely around the
world in 2014, now its residents will have to wait forever to do so.
The Russian authorities demand that the Ukrainian leadership
recognize Crimea as part of Russia as one of the key conditions
for ending the "special operation". Most likely, this will not happen,
because Kiev will not succumb to direct political pressure and threats
from Russia. Any other scenarios crystallize a single act: eight years
later, the "Crimean issue" is still unresolved; Russia's public separation
from the whole world only exacerbates the problems created in
2014 and leads to a dead end. In fact, current events will postpone
the decision indenitely. However, the answer must be found. The
solution of the "Crimean issue" with due consideration for the interests
of the local population depends on holding a special international
conference and making a decision that will not only set a precedent
for Crimea and Sevastopol, but also serve as a roadmap for resolving
similar issues between other countries.
However, what is crucial now is how the current tragic so-called
"special military operation" will end. A lot depends on this, and not only
for Crimea.
Expert article 3195
Grigory Yavlinsky
Russian United Democratic Party “Yabloko"
Higher School of Economics
Moscow, Russia
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3196
The renewed Russian military invasion of Ukraine on Feb
24, 2022 goes along with the war on the sea. The activity of
Russia`s eet poses a threat not only to Ukraine, but also
to other neighboring countries bordering the Black Sea. In
particular, this concerns oshore gas exploration projects.
Minelaying in the north-western sector of the Black Sea is aimed at
blockage of the Ukrainian ports. Another threat is that mines drift
towards the Bosphorus through the Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish
sectors, where the oshore exploration by investors takes place.
The most extensive oshore exploration took place in the Ukrainian
sector. The rst Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) were signed
between the Ukrainian Government and companies from the US and
the EU at the beginning of 2010`s. One of them related to the Black
Sea shelf. The development of the Ukrainian Black Sea sector could
fully provide country's demand for natural gas. Ukraine was estimated
to possess natural gas reserves around 2.3 trillion cubic meters. A
consortium comprising ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, OMV Petrom
has won a tender on extraction of hydrocarbons within the Scythian
gas area in the Black Sea.
According to American IHS CERA forecast made in 2012, by 2030
Ukraine`s gas production could have surpassed (!) 70 bcm annually.
This is comparable to gas production of all EU member-states. In
such circumstances, this domestic gas production could not only have
met Ukraine`s needs, but also be exported to the neighboring EU
countries, displacing Russian gas.
American forecast regarding Ukraine`s prospects to increase gas
production as well as strong international consortium and purchase
of two modern drilling rigs by Naftogaz in Singapore have not
gone unnoticed in Russia. Moscow considered that such scenario
could lead to the loss of the Ukrainian market for Gazprom, which
additionally may lose its EU market share.
The occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and exclusive economic
zone of Ukraine gave Russia an opportunity to put an end to ambitious
gas development projects of American and European investors in the
Black Sea region and simultaneously displace western competitors
to Russian state companies. This has also made Ukraine`s access to
the majority of oshore gas elds impossible.
Captured in March 2014 Ukrainian extraction platforms and drilling
rigs still remain under Russian control. The illegal economic activity
on the Ukraine shelf is covered-up by the eorts of the Russian Black
Sea Fleet and missile boats of the FSB Coast Guard. The drilling rigs
are under constant guard of Russian Special Forces and Navy.
Russians illegally extract gas. They have already extracted about
15 bcm in the oshore gas elds since the occupation. Ukraine has
respectively appealed to the international judicial institutions.
Despite the dicult security situation in the north-western sector
of the Black Sea, the Ukrainian government has made an attempt to
continue exploration and attract investors to oshore projects. Taking
into account high military and political risks, it was dicult to hope
for serious foreign investments. Consequently, in 2020 Naftogaz of
Ukraine received permission for exploration and production. However,
the new wave of Russian aggression undermines these plans to
develop oshore elds.
In August 2020, Turkey announced discovery of the largest-
ever Black Sea gas eld Tuna-1. If Turkey manages to put it into
operation in 2023, the country will be able to slash Russian gas
imports. The Russian Federation will make every eort to not allow
success of Ukrainian oshore projects and complicate oshore gas
extraction in Turkey and Romania. Creating unacceptable military
risks for investors - one of the reasons why Russia is intensifying the
militarization of the Black Sea.
Another reason for further militarization is the protection of
Russia's energy and transport infrastructure, which is allegedly under
threat coming from Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO. The pipelines Blue
Stream, TurkStream, underwater energy bridge and gas pipeline from
Russian Taman to Ukrainian Kerch as well as the bridge across the
Kerch Strait are meant.
The conclusion, made by the Center for Global Studies Strategy
XXI and Center for Defense Strategies within the joint project aimed at
assistance to the Crimea Platform, is that with militarization of Crimea
and the Black Sea, Russia tries to transform it into the ‘Russian lake’
and displace NATO and the EU from it.
In order to counteract Russia`s military plans, it is necessary to
create A2/AD in north-west sector of the Black Sea from Constanta
(Romania) to Skadovsk (Ukraine). NATO should increase its military
presence in the Black Sea, rst of all the U.S. and the UK, providing
naval and air patrols from the Bosphorus to Constanta, Odesa and
Mykhailo Gonchar
CGS Strategy XXI
Chief Editor
Black Sea Security Journal
Mykhailo Gonchar
Oshore motive for the occupation of
Ukraine’s Crimea
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Neil Kent
Orthodoxy, the Kremlin and Ukraine
The Invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has shocked
most of the world by reason of its extreme brutality, an
event taking place at this very moment in the bosom of
Europe. Like the invasion of Sudetenland by Hitler and
Nazi Germany, it’s raison d’etre is two fold: the pretense of
coming to the aid of one’s racial brothers, said to be persecuted by
others amongst whom they live in the same state, but, in reality, an
attempt to recreate a deceased empire, a political entity loathed by its
neighbours and buried over a generation ago in ignominy. However,
whereas the ideology of Nazi Germany was based on an atheistic
deication of the German nation, this one is based on a messianic
ideology of Holy Mother Russia, wedded to the Russian Orthodox
Church. It purports to see itself in a life and death struggle with an alien
and hostile ideology in the west, one in which atheistic secular values,
amongst the most scandalous of which is toleration of sexual diversity
and a rejection of traditional Christian values. This is why, in part, in
2012, Patriarch Kirill, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church,
notoriously praised President Vladimir as a saviour of Russia. Others,
however, like the late Vladimir Sharov in his novels, lament this. As
the Moscow liberal commentator Mikhail Epstein has written an essay
on Sharov, translated by Oliver Ready, Putin’s sees a nuclear war in
messianic terms, of the saints versus the sinners: “We’ll go to heaven
as martyrs, while they’ll just die”. If this is true, then President Putin
has much in common with modern Islamists.
Yet a closer examination of the Kremlin presents a rather
dierent picture than one of Russian holy men promoting ancient and
venerated Orthodox values to the decadent West. After all, many of
the most prominent members of the Kremlin are in long and short
term relationships with mistresses, some with ospring. According to
the teachings of Orthodoxy this is a grievous commission of the sin of
adultery, but in these cases nobody seems to mind. Also, strange is
the fact that the ospring of many live and have much of their wealth
in the very same western countries excoriated for their decadence.
They even send their children there to school - a seeming paradox!
Moreover, in the territories of Russia’s closest allies, North Korea,
Eritrea and Venezuela, for example, none have set up residence.
Yet in Ukraine the Russian military bomb and set re to entire cities,
wreaking a devastation not seen in Europe since the Second World
War, making the bombing of Serbia by NATO during the 1990s seem
like a few mosquito bites in comparison, a military action, if must be
said, now generally regretted in the West. Interestingly, however,
whereas in Russian imperial days, before the Revolution, members of
the imperial family and others of the higher nobility frequently fought
and died in their wars, this seems never to be the case with Russia’s
current ruling and economic elite who leave it to the poor to ght and
Of course, the threat of NATO increasing its forces on Russia’s
western littoral is also seen as a major reason for war by the Kremlin.
However, the logic of the invasion seems faulty. Not only has the
so-called ‘operation’ left both patient and doctor severely wounded
but it has led to the creating of unied NATO not seen in decades
and one which is rearming, including formerly more or less pacist
Germany, to an extraordinary degree. Thus, the eect of Russia’s on-
going invasion has achieved the opposite to what was the desired
goal. Moreover, it has devastated the economy of an already feeble
Russian economy to a degree that was undreamed of a few months
ago. Furthermore, if the goal of the promotion of Orthodox values
was paramount, it has led to the almost complete destruction of the
Moscow led Church in Ukraine, with even the most conservative and
formerly loyal prelates of the country heaping opprobrium upon the
patriarch, not only there but worldwide. In late September, just before
the invasion began, Metropolitan Hillarion of Volokolamsk, the second
most senior prelate in the Moscow-led Russian Orthodox Church,
warned on the Patriarchal Internet Site that war in Ukraine should be
avoided at all costs, not least because its outcome could turn out very
dierently to what was desired. How sad then that his wise words -
crying in the wilderness - found no resonance at the time in either the
Kremlin or the Patriarchal Palace itself.
Expert article 3197
Neil Kent
University of Cambridge
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3198
In the early 1990s a great lady asked me, “why do you disagree
with me about Yeltsin?” My reply provoked a pronounced pause:
“I don’t disagree with you about Yeltsin; I disagree with you about
Russia”. “What do you mean to say?”, she asked. My answer
then is one that I would repeat now: “If Yeltsin cannot change the
interests and outlook of the elites and institutions that govern Russia,
he will fail, however reformist or radical his aims are”.
On the face of it, the rise of Putin’s autocracy vindicated my
prognosis. But it also reproduced the mythology it sought to discredit.
Today ‘Putin’ has displaced ‘Russia’ in public discourse. The view that
everything in Russia is decided by one man is endlessly repeated. To
those transxed by images of Security Council members quivering
before the President, it is self-evident. Yet the perspective is deeply
Vladimir Putin is not an existential phenomenon, but the product
of a historical experience and an institutional milieu. That his outlook
and methodology were shaped by the KGB is widely accepted. Yet he
also is the product of the ‘chaos’ of the 1990s (which he excoriates)
and a member of the ‘new class’ that it produced: monied, self-
condent, nationalistic, ‘pragmatic’ (which in Russia is synonymous
with ‘unprincipled’) and freed from any nostalgia about Communism.
And like much of this milieu, he is also in fair part a product of Russia’s
criminal world (as Alexei Navalny’s videos amply demonstrate).
Moreover, he was what Russians call a ‘project’. Listen to
Metropolitan (now Patriarch) Kirill’s speech to the military collegium
in January 1992, well before the all-powerful Putin was known even
to himself. There you will hear the leitmotifs of ‘his’ political theology:
the Motherland, erected on the pillars of ‘Orthodoxy, army and state’,
obshchnost’ (the ‘historical communion’ of its peoples) and not least,
the ‘common baptism of Kiev’. To say that Putin was ‘specially
selected’ as perestroyka and the USSR were collapsing and Russian
democracy barely established is not to deny him agency or even the
power at his disposal. But it does explain how he became president of
Russia, and it helps to explain the consolidation of his authority from
that moment onwards. For want of a simple alternative, the author
devised the term ‘the collective Putin’: ‘the Russia of grievance,
ambition and resentment…that was born the day the Soviet Union
died’. In the view of the Russian historian Andrey Zorin, its seeds were
planted well before, during the era of Brezhnevite ‘stagnation’.
Therefore, to understand ‘Putin’, we need to understand the
diverse establishments and elites that make up the Putin system, and
we need to understand a large portion of Russian society as well.
This contention stands in marked contradiction to a second myth,
articulated by President Biden in his Warsaw speech: the myth of
‘the Russian people’. Yet these people are not an ‘anti-Putin’. As
Igor Gretskiy has painstakingly documented, they are in the main
subservient supporters of ‘strong’ leadership and a ‘strong’ Russia’,
but they also embrace a diverse assortment of interests, aspirations
and apprehensions, with pronounced divergences across social
and generational lines. Moreover, as Biden doubtless knows, these
people nd themselves in a psychotropic information environment.
Where, then, does Biden’s faith in ‘the Russian people’ come from?
Given this assortment of factors, we are obliged to ask what
‘regime change’ actually means. The fullment of Biden’s wish
‘this man cannot remain in power’ — would represent an essential
prerequisite of regime change, but a great deal more would have to
take place before its consummation. Well before the USSR collapsed,
the Soviet elite had become frayed and demoralised. Yet under Putin,
the opposite has occurred; elites have been pruned, purged, narrowed
and consolidated. Only that part of the business establishment that
derives its wealth from the West diverges from the premises of the
reconsolidated Putin system that emerged after 2012 — and far from
all of them.
Today of course, views regarding Ukraine are especially salient.
Putin’s views are little more than a doctrinal restatement of the
ideology formulated by advisers to Nikolay I and Aleksandr II. Some
of the tenets of Putin’s orthodoxy are word-for-word plagiarisms. Yet
there is a dierence between the views of these tsarist advisers and
those of Putin. In the nineteenth century, not to say the eighteenth,
the ‘common’ identity of Ukrainians and Russians had to be created.
Catherine the Great’s absorption of the territory that became known
as Novorossiya was, like many of Russia’s imperial wars, what we
have called ‘a war of narratives and arms’. As she dened it, the aim
of the war was to ‘eradicate from memory’ the period of the Hetmans.
But by the time of Gorbachev’s perestroyka, this ‘common’ identity
was taken for granted by the Russian establishment. From this
ideational and ‘moral’ perspective, the views of Yeltsin and Putin are
indistinguishable. As Yeltsin stated in 1997: “We cannot get it out of
our system that Ukrainians are the same as we are … It is in our hearts
that Ukrainians are our own people. Our identities are inseparable.”
It will be objected that by then, Ukraine was recognised
internationally (and by Russia itself) as an independent state.
Nevertheless, Yeltsin’s reformists assumed (in the words of his State
Secretary, Gennadiy Burbulis), that ‘there is a logic’ that would lead
Ukraine to pursue close integration with Russia, and that the West
would encourage this process. By the end of Yeltsin’s tenure, he
understood that this ‘logic’ would not prevail without pressure and
‘independence’ from the West itself. From the outset, Putin was
resolved to make this pressure irresistible. Nevertheless, its ‘logic’ did
not produce submission but resistance. By 2014, the only tool left in
Russia’s tool box was war.
Therefore, the view that Putin’s departure will produce ‘normal’
relations with Ukraine is possibly the greatest fallacy of them all.
History from the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav, perhaps Russia itself,
would have to be reinvented for this prognosis to make any sense. To
be sure, a case can be made — and the author has made it himself
that a dierent successor to Yeltsin, and a dierent leadership
group, might have gradually accepted Ukraine’s independence with
James Sherr
The Putin obsession and the problem
of Russia
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3198
disgruntled civility; indeed, in these circumstances, Ukraine might
have had no need to abandon the ‘multi-vector’ policy that Leonid
Kuchma made his own. But on the morrow of Putin’s departure, we
will be left with his leadership group and the elites they empowered:
autocratic, predatory, messianic and embittered. The ‘logic’ in this
case does not point towards a comforting ‘normality’ but a new time
of troubles and strife. At the least, as we wrote in 2013, Russia’s
internal order will remain ‘in a state of tension with its international
surroundings’. The West will need a policy for Russia as well as its
James Sherr
OBE, Senior Fellow
Estonian Foreign Policy Institute,
International Centre for Defence and
Tallinn, Estonia
To receive a free copy,
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Pan-European Institute
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3199
Vladimir Putin laid out the Kremlin’s rationale for going to
war against Ukraine early on February 24, just as Russia’s
armed forces invaded its neighbor. He justied the
invasion by citing NATO enlargement and false charges
of genocide, neo-Nazis and nuclear weapons. None of
those reasons were true.
In reality, the Kremlin launched this war because it feared that
Ukraine was slipping irretrievably out of Moscow’s orbit. Domestic
political concerns provided a second key motivating factor. Finally,
there was Putin’s badly distorted view of Ukraine.
What threat?
To be clear, Ukraine posed no security threat to Russia. Active duty
personnel in Russia’s armed forces number four times as many as in
Ukraine’s military, and the Russian military enjoyed a defense budget
ten times larger. By 2021, the Russian military had almost completed
a large-scale modernization of its conventional ground and air forces.
Moreover, Russia has 4,400 nuclear weapons in its active
stockpile. Ukraine has none. In the early 1990s, Ukraine had on its
territory the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal. However, it gave
up the nuclear weapons—in large part because Russia committed to
respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to not use or
threaten to use force against Ukraine.
This was no war of necessity. It was a war of choice. Putin’s
NATO enlargement
In explaining his decision to go to war, Putin pointed to NATO
enlargement and the movement of its military infrastructure toward
Russian borders. However, the last NATO member that borders
Russia or the Kaliningrad exclave to join the Alliance did so in 2004,
more than 17 years ago. NATO maintained virtually no ground forces
on the territory of the new member states until 2014, when it deployed
small multinational battlegroups in the Baltic states and Poland
following the Russian military’s seizure of Crimea and involvement in
the conict in Donbas.
Putin did not always regard NATO enlargement as a problem.
In May 2002, he joined a summit with NATO leaders and signed a
declaration entitled “NATO-Russia Relations: A New Quality.” He did
so despite knowing that the Alliance later that year would issue a new
round of membership invitations, most likely including to the Baltic
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s attitude toward
NATO membership has evolved from ambivalence to strong support,
virtually everyone knew Ukraine had no near-term prospects. With
Russian forces occupying Ukrainian territory, Ukraine’s entry would
have raised immediate Article 5 considerations, and allies were not
ready to go to war with Russia.
More falsehoods
Putin oered a string of outright lies to justify war. He claimed that
Kyiv was committing genocide in eastern Ukraine. The murder of six
million Jews during World War II was genocide. The death of some
14,000 Ukrainians in an eight-year conict in Donbas sparked and
sustained by Russia is a tragedy but certainly not genocide.
Putin charged that neo-Nazis were in charge in Kyiv. Zelensky,
who won a run-o election with 73 percent, is Jewish, as is the former
prime minister. Like many countries, Ukraine has a far-right element,
but far-right candidates collectively received less than two percent of
the vote in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections.
Putin claimed without evidence that Ukraine aspired to acquire
nuclear arms. True, many Ukrainians regret giving up a nuclear arsenal
in the 1990s, but they do not seek nuclear arms now. If they did, Putin
could have pointed to a facility to enrich uranium or reprocess spent
nuclear fuel to extract plutonium. He did not and could not.
Motives for war
Three reasons explain why Russia attacked Ukraine. First, the inner
circle in the Kremlin wants Ukraine in Moscow’s sphere of inuence
but feared Ukraine was irretrievably moving away from Russia and
toward the West. That was true, but nothing has done more to push
Kyiv away from Moscow and toward the West than Russia’s seizure
of Crimea and the Donbas conict. In 2010, the Rada (Ukraine’s
parliament) adopted a law on non-bloc status. At that time, less than
20 percent of Ukrainians favored joining NATO. In late 2014, the Rada
overturned the law in light of Russian actions in Crimea and Donbas.
Earlier this year, just before Russia invaded, polls showed that as
many as 62 percent supporting NATO membership.
A second major driver behind Russia’s war is fear of a successful
neighboring state. A European-oriented, democratic and economically
robust Ukraine poses a nightmare for the Kremlin. Russians might well
ask why they could not have the same political voice and democratic
rights as Ukrainians. This war is in part about regime survival for the
The third factor is Putin himself. He wrote a lengthy essay
on Ukraine in July 2021 that all but denied a right for a sovereign
Ukrainian state to exist and presented a history of the country that few
historians would recognize. Ukraine and its stubborn desire to set its
own foreign and domestic policy course draw emotional, even angry,
responses from the Russian president.
The Kremlin has tried to construct a narrative justifying its
unjustiable attack on Ukraine. It is a false narrative that seeks to hide
the real and illegitimate reasons for this tragic war.
Steven Pifer
William J. Perry Fellow
Stanford’s Center for International Security
and Cooperation
Former U.S. ambassador to
Steven Pifer
Why Putin went to war against
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Yana Prymachenko
Ukraine is not Russia vs One Nation:
political prose as the prelude to the
Russo-Ukrainian War
In September 2003, the publishing house Vremya in Moscow
published a book with the eloquent title Ukraine Is Not Russia.
The author of the book was Leonid Kuchma who was nishing his
second term as president of Ukraine. The book was written in the
genre of political prose and presented views of Ukraine’s second
president on the events of the twentieth century as well as dierences
between Russians and Ukrainians. Kuchma concluded that most
Russians, even highly educated, perceived Ukraine as “historically
an inseparable part of Russia, ceded only through some strange
misunderstanding or even crankiness, as just a lost child. Russians
see Ukrainians as village kinsfolk. But these nice kinsfolk let some
‘Banderites’ confuse them...”
Kuchma did not mistake the Russian perception of Ukraine,
but he believed that this misunderstanding was caused by “lack of
knowledge, not excessive arrogance”. His optimism can be explained
by the fact that in 2003 the Weimar Syndrome of post-Soviet Russia
was not so obvious. Kuchma’s attempt to present Ukrainians as a
separate nation with their own history, culture, and language found
response neither among Russian elites nor among ordinary Russians.
A 2005 Russian opinion poll showed that 74% of Russians felt
ressentiment for the loss of the great power status, while in 2007
Russians supported economic and political pressure of the Russian
Federation on the former Soviet republics as a method of restoring
Russian inuence. The instrumentalization of this ressentiment
turned into a new Russian “national idea”. In 2008 another opinion poll
showed that 81% of Russians supported the idea of the annexation of
Crimea as “an act of restoring historical justice”.
The Weimar Syndrome had become clearly outlined with the
creation of the “Russian world” idea in 2007. Based on the concept of
common cultural identity, the “Russian world” had to extend Russian
neo-imperial ambitions not only in the post-Soviet space but also all
over the world. According to this concept, Ukrainians were treated like
a “fraternal nation” that has been deceived and duped by the West.
The idea of the “Russian world” reached its climax during the
Revolution of Dignity, when Russian media narratives divided
Ukrainians into the good and the bad ones (the mythological neo-
Nazis and direct descendants of “Banderites”), who allegedly installed
a “fascist junta” to eliminate the Russian-speaking people. Of course,
neither of that was true. But these narratives were used to justify the
annexation of Crimea and the aggression in Donbas.
Before subjecting the Ukrainian population to indiscriminate
shelling since 24 February 2022, the Russian “special military
operation” to “denazify” Ukraine was preceded by two articles signed
by Vladimir Putin. They were written in the pseudo-political prose
genre and signaled the upcoming war.
The rst article, “The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of
World War II”, was published in June 2020 in The National Interest,
the American conservative magazine published by the American-
Russian political scientist Dmitry Simes. Putin used standard
arguments of Soviet historiography, which placed the primary
responsibility for World War II incitement on Western countries. In
particular, the emphasis was on the “Munich Betrayal” – the 1938
Munich Agreement that liquidated Czechoslovak statehood.
It is no coincidence that Putin draws parallels between the Red
Army, which fought against Nazism, and modern Russian soldiers
who are “ghting international terrorism” in the North Caucasus and
Syria. As experts rightly note, Putin used historical arguments to bring
UN Security Council members to the negotiating table and divide
the world again. It was an invitation to Yalta-2 that Western powers
In July 2021, a new article has appeared directly on the Kremlin
website. This time it was published in Russian and Ukrainian and had
an eloquent title “On the Historical Unity of Russian and Ukrainian
Peoples”. The key message of the article is that Ukrainians and
Russians are one nation separated due to the inuence of external
factors. The modern Ukrainian state was presented as nationalistic
and Russophobic. Putin accused the West of turning Ukraine into
a barrier between Europe and Russia. He stated that “the time
inevitably came when the concept of ‘Ukraine is not Russia’ was no
longer satisfactory. An ‘anti-Russia’ was needed, which we will never
Thus, Putin openly declared the destruction of independent
Ukraine as a Russian policy objective. It was also called “the nal
solution of the Ukrainian question” in February 2022 Russian
propagandistic materials. This statement has shown that the neo-
imperial ambitions of the Russian elites will have never allowed them
to accept the fact that Ukraine is an independent sovereign state, as
well as that Ukrainians even are a separate nation. So, the only way
for Ukraine to remain a state and avoid incorporation into Russia or
a puppet statelet is to win this war. Otherwise, Ukrainians will face
genocide and forced conversion into “one nation”.
Expert article 3200
Yana Prymachenko
Senior Researcher
Institute of history of Ukraine, National
Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Eleanor Knott
From annexation to war
With Russia seeking to invade, “neutralise”, and wage
war against Ukraine in 2022, it is also eight years
since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. It is
eight years since Russia occupied Crimea’s streets
with “little green men” as part of the “Operation Polite
People”. It is eight years since Russia claimed it was saving Crimea
from the alleged horrors of Ukrainization of language and culture, and
a supposed Kosovo-like massacre.
Before annexation, ethnic Russians and Russian speakers faced
no such threat. In Crimea, they could speak Russian freely, work in
Russian freely, and receive education in Russian freely. One Crimean
resident told me in 2012 that there was neither a “gagging” of Russian
language nor “strangulation” of Russian culture. Indeed, Ukrainian
and Crimean Tatar languages were less protected by local legislation.
Pro-Russian or corrupt?
Arguments that Crimeans were threatened and discriminated against
by Ukrainization were made only by those on the pro-Russian fringe
of Crimean politics, by politicians like Sergei Aksenov. Prior to
annexation, Aksenov headed Russkoe Edinstvo (Russian Unity) – a
party that only received 4% of votes in Crimea’s 2010 parliamentary
elections. In 2014, Aksenov would be catapulted into power by his
support for annexation and remains Crimea’s republican leader since
But one cannot talk about Aksenov’s pro-Russian credentials
without mentioning his criminal past (and present). Known also as
Goblin”, Aksenov has been highly implicated in organised crime and
corruption schemes as a member of Crimea’s renowned “Salem”
While the 1990s was a period of conict between Crimea’s rival
gangs, the 2000s was about their transition to semi-legitimacy as
suit-wearing businessmen-come-politicians. As Mark Galeotti argued
in 2014, “gangsters-turned-businessmen” like Aksenov came to
dominate Crimea because such a transformation oered “protection
and privileged access to upperworld and underworld resources”.
Crimean residents across the political spectrum explained to me
how pro-Russian politicians and organisations in Crimea were little
more than “professional Russians”. They saw such pro-Russian
organisations, like Russkoe Edinstvo and its cultural sister Russkaia
Obshchina Kryma (Russian Community of Crimea), as corrupt and
nepotistic laundering schemes for money from Russia.
The grim realities of annexation
On the one hand, annexation caused little ghting and few deaths,
partly because Ukrainian forces – following orders from Kyiv – did
not resist in order to avoid escalation and protect mainland Ukraine.
On the other hand, annexation brought a new violent reality: armed
occupation, arrests, repression and human rights abuses, especially
for dissident and Crimean Tatars.
For example, it is also eight years since the Putin regime claimed
Crimean Tatars – a community of pacicist and largely secular
Muslims native to Crimea – were extremist and needed to be policed
as such, including banning the Mejlis.
It is eight years since 50,000-60,000 left their homes in Crimea as
formally and informally internally displaced people (IDPs) for mainland
Ukraine ¬– both Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainian citizens – afraid
and disgusted by the new and violent realities of annexation. As
the journalist Ayder Muzdabaev wrote in 2016, for Crimean Tatars
residing in Crimea: “There are no barbed-wire fences in this new
hybrid ghetto of Vladimir Putin’s – yet. Instead of wire there is hate-
lled TV propaganda, total surveillance and constant harassment.”
Annexation forced Crimea’s residents to choose under duress:
remain and become a Russian citizen, or register as a foreigner.
Those who refused Russian citizenship lacked equality before the
law. Meanwhile, Russia breached the Geneva Convention by making
several thousand state employees in Crimea forcibly renounce
Ukrainian citizenship.
Annexation, conict, war
It was not long after annexation that Russian-sponsored conict
spread to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Such conict included
the downing of the MH17 plane, an act for which the Putin regime is
It is important to remember these acts of pertained conict since
2014 because Russian-sponsored violence never went away in
Moreover, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent
militarisation of the peninsula no doubt facilitated their engagement in
conict in Syria. Would the scale and scope of Russia’s engagement
in Syria have been possible without annexation of Crimea?
While many forgot about Russia’s conict in Crimea, Donetsk and
Luhansk in the last eight years, would Russia’s war against Ukraine
be possible without these acts? If the EU, Canada, US, and UK had
reacted more strongly than targeted sanctions to Russia’s illegal
actions since 2014, would Ukraine be facing an invasion?
Lastly, we must remember the violence wrought against Crimean
Tatars, a community that was deported en masse and decimated in
1944 for propagandic and false claims they were “Nazi collaborators”.
Crimean Tatars were only able to return to Crimea in the late 1980s.
Many now live in exile again. Chillingly, Russia is coming once again
with renewed force against Crimean Tatars, claiming they are the very
“Nazis” that Russia is seeking to “de-Nazify” Ukraine of.
Expert article 3201
Eleanor Knott
Assistant Professor
London School of Economics
Author of Kin Majorities: Identity and
Citizenship in Crimea and Moldova
(forthcoming, MQUP).
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Kateryna Ivashchenko-Stadnik
Debunking the constructed war
against Ukraine: Evidence from the
pre-invasion Crimea and Donbas
It has been over a month now since the Russian Federation started
its unprovoked premeditated war against Ukraine. Cities across
the country are being bombed, causing growing civilian casualties
among adults and children, destroyed infrastructure, and
demolished residential areas. According to the UN, 10.5 million
people (which is more than a quarter of the Ukrainian population)
have been forcibly displaced, among those nearly 6.5 million IDPs
and more than 4 million refugees.
The Russian list of ceasere conditions is transforming now
from a paradoxical demand for Ukraine to be ‘de-Nazied’ and
‘demilitarized’ to ‘keeping non-aligned’ status (something which was a
part of Ukraine’s geopolitical doctrine for a long time but, apparently,
failed to provide long-term security and peace nearby the neighbor
whose leadership publicly denies the country’s right for sovereignty).
Yet, the two cornerstones are being kept as the main alleged pretext
for escalation and as a last resort to give some meaning to this war:
it is ‘defense’ of Crimea and ‘liberation’ Donbas ‘suering genocide of
the Russian-speaking population’.
During the years of escalation, the myth of the ‘primordially
pro-Russian and anti-West’ regions, poorly studied but willingly
exploited in discussions, inltrated public perceptions, both locally
and internationally. As a result, the vague usage of the terms “civil
war”, “conict”, “separatists insurgency” in the context of the ongoing
war have been widely legalized not only by Russian ocials but,
occasionally, by the international community (including the UN high
representatives, politicians, foreign observers and scholars). Sadly,
such false reality paved the way to the other blatant lie, blaming
Ukrainian authorities for being ‘fascists’ and physically threatening
Russia itself.
The ongoing escalation of February-March 2022 should be seen
and understood in a context of a longer-term Russian conquest
scenario based on the distorted picture of the historical legacies.
Punishing and dismantling the Ukrainian state which does not t the
colonialist design of the Russian totalitarian project, has become an
idée xe for the Russian dictator. For decades, it has been dispersed
by the blaring propaganda machine and, as the Russian public polls
demonstrate, is widely supported by the domestic public. Those
who resist totalitalization and brainwashing face intimidation and
Since the illegal annexation of Crimea in February-March 2014
(as the rst phase of aggression) and the creeping occupation of
Donbas from April 2014 onwards (second phase), Russia has used
its diverse yet habitual military, political, and informational tactics to
construct false justications for its imperialistic expansion in the post-
Soviet space. Construction of a parallel social reality as a pretext
for its predatory revisionism at the expense of the sovereign states
involved, among other tools, the violation of the human rights of the
local population (including widely reported illegal detentions, forced
displacement, kidnapping, persecution, tortures, and murders of
Ukrainian citizens, including the representatives of ethnic minorities
and religious groups, who refused to cooperate); deployment of shock
troops made of mercenaries, paramilitary detachments and other
hybrid forces as well as the regular army playing assigned roles in
a way that ignores the international legal standards for humanitarian
treatment in war; and, on and on, massive disinformation, censorship,
and punishment to disloyal.
Such oppressive policies leave little room for objective analysis:
social consequences of the war and attitudes of the occupied areas
remain hard to study. However, what can be analyzed is the pre-
war situation in Crimea and Donbas before the Russian invasion,
which during those years was anything but unanimous anti-West
and anti-Ukrainian rhetoric. First, during the 1991 referendum, the
call for Ukraine’s National Independence was supported, although
with a dierent enthusiasm, by a majority of the local population in all
‘disputed’ now regions: 84% of the voters in the Donetsk and Luhansk
oblasts, 57% in Sevastopol, and 54% in the Autonomous Republic
of Crimea said ‘yes’ to the sovereign Ukrainian state (compare this
to 76% in Kharkiv, another largely Russian-speaking border region
in the east, and 90% national average). The results of the social
surveys conducted in Ukraine prior to 2014 were a reection of the
uneasy but progressive democratic processes marked over the
years with the uctuating public trust in the government and local
authorities and a high pluralism of thoughts (with some ‘drops and
downs’ during the pro-Russian Yanukovych’s rule, though). Although
a need to shape regional consciousness in Donbas and Crimea as
an integral part of the Ukrainian political nation has never become
a priority, neither for the local nor for the central authority (at least
not until the Russian aggression in 2014), the available Ukrainian
Society Survey data (conducted by the Institute of Sociology annually
from the early 1990s) showed a colorful picture of changing public
attitudes that confronts the black-and-white Russian narratives.
Besides a signicant role of local mindsets, Ukrainian political identity
(in a hierarchy of other personal identities, “being a citizen of Ukraine
rst”) has been increasing in all regions over time, including Donbas
and Crimea. Although it remains the lowest as compared to the other
macroregions, the progress over the decades was rather impressive.
In Donbas, it has grown from 27% in 1992 to 37% in 2012 (in 2021 in
the government-controlled areas (GCA) of Donbas it reached 57%).
In Crimea, the Ukrainian identity has increased from 27% in 1992
to 34% in 2012 (no data were available since the annexation). The
pro-EU attitudes have been steadily strong since the early 2000s,
with 49% of supporters in Donbas and 47% and Crimea in 2000 (in
Expert article 3202
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
2012, during the Yanukovych period, it dropped to 27% in Donbas
and 37% in Crimea). In 2000, 13% of respondents in both regions had
positive attitudes toward Ukraine joining NATO. Due to the massive
anti-NATO rhetoric in the Yanukovych-time media, this dropped to 6%
in both regions in 2012 (and increased to 27% in Donbas GCA in
2021; while no data are available for Crimea since then). Importantly,
before the annexation of Crimea and occupation of Donbas, the
number of respondents who reported that they would leave their
place of residents because of the langue issue remained below the
signicance level (from 0,3 to 0,6%).
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues and is getting closer
to the West, the international community should nally learn the bitter
lessons of the rst two phases of aggression in Crimea and Donbas,
which have been poorly digested so far. Apparently, Russia plays
similar conquest scenarios across other regions of Ukraine now (from
Mariupol in the east to Kherson and other cities in the south, north
and center of Ukraine) and, likely, will go beyond (to the Baltic states,
Poland, etc.), using the same ‘constructed’ pretexts and justications.
Will the international actors accept that? What should be done now to
prevent this catastrophic scenario(s)? The rst essential step involves
stopping being trapped in the imposed Kremlin’s narratives and
developing a critical perception of the Russian state that can never
again be treated and heard as usual while its constructed wars are
spreading across the world.
A view from the author’s window in Kyiv after the Russian rocket hit
the residential building on Saturday morning, 26 February 2022.
Expert article 3202
Kateryna Ivashchenko-
Dr., Senior Research Fellow
Institute of Sociology, National Academy of
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Ihor Hurak
"Policy of appeasement" as one of the
factors of Russia's aggression against
Shortly after the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine,
Western ocials, diplomats, and experts have voiced
concerns that V. Putin may soon order an attack on an EU/
NATO country. As the incumbent Russian president has
crossed a number of "red lines" over the past twenty years,
such a development is quite possible. In the context of the threats
outlined above, the article focuses on the steps the West has taken to
heighten the Kremlin's geopolitical ambitions and indirectly contribute
to what is happening in Ukraine.
For a long time, politicians and diplomats of the leading Western
countries did not understand or pretended not to understand the
threatening trends in Russia's development. Back in 2004, having
analysed Russian internal changes under Putin's rule, Z. Brzezinski
called him the "Moscow Mussolini". Putin's words that the collapse of
the USSR was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the XX century
(2005) made political scientists and experts suspect him of seeking
to restore the Soviet Union1. In February 2007, the Russian president
delivered the infamous "Munich speech", which is considered a
turning point in Russia's foreign policy. The above-mentioned steps of
the ocial Kremlin did not receive a proper reaction from the West.
Western leaders also failed to respond adequately to Russia's
illegal actions against Georgia in August 2008. Leaders of the leading
EU countries blocked the granting of MAP to Ukraine and Georgia in
April 2008, yet during the EU-Russia summit in November 2008 they
have expressed their support for the Russian Federation, including
plans to build new foundations for European security together with
Moscow. In July 2009, Presidents B. Obama and D. Medvedev
ocially launched a policy of "reset", and in September 2009 the US
President announced that the United States was abandoning plans to
build radars and missile interceptors bases in Poland and the Czech
Republic. In November 2009, the European Union and the Russian
Federation launched the Partnership for Modernization initiative. In
October 2010, the leaders of Germany, Russia and France discussed
the creation of a united area of cooperation in the eld of economy
and security. Such steps of the West gave the Kremlin leadership
condence and they were one of the reasons why Putin ordered to
invade and occupy Crimea in February 2014.
For several months after the Russian blitzkrieg in Crimea, the
West continued to pursue the “policy of appeasementˮ. The situation
changed after the plane on an MH-17 ight was shot. Then Russia
faced sectoral sanctions, it was excluded from the G8, the EU refused
to hold summits with Russia and suspended negotiations on a new
agreement, the Russian delegation was denied access to the PACE.
In democracy, such restrictions would become a severe blow to its
leadership and force it to renounce illegal actions. However, Putin's
authoritarian regime, strengthened by petrodollars and systematic
1 It is worth noting that a number of Putin's allegations and
actions indicate that he prefers the Russian Empire with
its unitary system over the formally federal USSR.
propaganda, has coped with them. However, it is important to state
that the restrictions were not aimed at Russia's leadership directly, the
government managed to evade many sanctions, while sanctions on
the Kremlin's important energy bloc had little eect2.
The limited sanctions policy has proved ineective, and the
West has been willing to restart the dialogue with Moscow instead of
stepping up in response to further Russian violations and misconduct.
This was the pattern created mainly by the idea of the President
of France to build a new security and defense architecture" (2018)
together with Russia ", the return of the Russian delegation to full
participation in PACE (2019), the US President's proposal to return
Russia to the G7 (2019). Russia saw such initiatives as manifestations
of the West's weakness, and in February 2022, Putin ordered a large-
scale invasion of Ukraine. In response to this move, leading Western
powers have imposed an unprecedented list of sanctions against
Russia. Economic experts agree that sanctions pressure could lead
to Russia's default in the near future. Combined with the negative
eects of the military campaign in Ukraine, this could potentially lead
to the disappearance of Russia as it is now from the modern world
In conclusion, it should be noted that the "policy of appeasement"
that the leading Western capitals have long demonstrated toward
Russia has not been a key factor in Russia's aggression against
Ukraine. At the same time, such a misguided approach certainly
played a negative role. Now there is a need for right conclusions. The
current events around Ukraine marked the beginning of the formation
of a new world order. In this context, it is fundamentally important
to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine that
renounced nuclear weapons back in 1994 and became the object of
aggression later. To form a sustainable "coordinate system" on the
European continent, the United States and the EU must change their
approach to addressing issues in Eastern Europe. Along with nancial,
humanitarian and military assistance, Ukraine should receive at least
the EU candidate status. Ukrainians also deserve a MAP. On the other
hand, given Russia's barbaric treatment of Ukraine, the question of
Russia's role in the UN Security Council must be raised. It should be
borne in mind that the current UN Charter lists the USSR, not Russia,
among the ve permanent members of this body.
2 The EU has not imposed restrictions on
Gazprom, which since Putin's presidency has
been and remains the nancial base and
instrument of inuence for his team.
Expert article 3203
Ihor Hurak
Associate Professor
Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Evhen Tsybulenko
War of civilizations
This article was submitted for publication in the middle of
March. I do not know what the current situation on the fronts
of the Russo-Ukrainian war is, but I am absolutely sure –
Ukraine will never surrender, and Russia will be defeated.
Russia's attack on Ukraine is not merely a local
high-intensity armed conict. This is not Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria.
A full-scale invasion of independent Ukraine, with the use of its full
arsenal, alongside Russia's demonstrable grave breaches of all
possible rules and customs of war, is in fact an attack on the whole of
The fact that Russian missiles and bombs are not hitting Suomi
just yet, should not mislead you. Hybrid warfare is always followed
by a kinetic phase. The hybrid war reached its climax in the Euro-
Atlantic world. The choice that Europeans are facing is very simple – it
is either to fall victim or resist.
How does this aect Finland, a non-NATO nation? The Ukrainian
example shows that no informal status, like the one laid down in the
Budapest Memorandum, can in practice protect a country from a
Russian attack.
Therefore, what is the ominous prospect for the Finns? Russia is
rapidly turning into North Korea. That is, it will soon close its markets.
In particular, Russian raw materials will no longer be supplied to
The rapid deterioration of Russia’s economy will lead to an outow
of economic refugees to neighbouring countries, where they could
hypothetically be accepted. We all know what a Russian tourist is.
Now, there will be economic refugees with their infamous customs
and claims. The need for the de-Putinization of Russian society,
similar to the denazication of Germany after WWII, is imperative,
as the brainwashed Russian population is a dangerous mixture of
nazism, fascism, communism, religious obscurantism and imperial
Russia's seizure of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and
attacks on other nuclear facilities, including missile attacks on nuclear
reactors, make the prospect of a nuclear fallout look terrifyingly
realistic. It should also be remembered that in Ukraine, the winds
traditionally lead the airows from the southwest in the northerly
direction. We will thus be forced to forget about the world’s long-term
ght for a clean environment as it is just hot air for Russia.
Now that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has nally revealed a
deep systemic crisis in international relations in the political, economic,
and social spheres, it has called into question the existing outlines
of global security. A similar situation was observed in regard to the
League of Nations before WWII. Today, however, the devastating
eects of Russia's war will hit all nations, at all levels. Everyone will be
aected by this shock wave, and now it is only a matter of time.
Russia's infamous objective is to re-establish the USSR. The
military tools of this re-establishment are aimed at not only seizing
territory, but also at blackmailing the West. Russia has long considered
European democracies its geopolitical periphery. To this end, Moscow
has been for years corrupting European politicians and planting
its agents of inuence. And now it has resorted to an act of armed
aggression, which it is prepared to pursue until it gains the required
The oensive potential of the Russian army is currently being
exhausted. Serious tactical blunders and a lack of human and material
military resources were exposed during the initial period of hostilities.
Russia is now demonstrating preparations for a protracted, positional
war of attrition. At the same time, the Kremlin simply is not ready for
this – either mentally or physically.
Therefore, scorched earth tactics are being applied, aimed at the
total destruction of civil infrastructure and residential areas. Artillery
shelling and air strikes have led to massive civilian casualties,
accompanied by ever increasing cases of extrajudicial executions
of unarmed civilians out in the streets. This, in turn, increases the
already massive outow of internally displaced persons to the western
regions of Ukraine and refugees – to the EU. NATO is reluctant to
introduce a no-y zone and confront Russia, even if Russia does
not have either the economic, or military capacity to confront NATO.
Innocent Ukrainian civilians, women, and children die from Russian
bombs, and it is a growing source of shame for the Western allies.
Russia sees no other solution to a problem, than the use of force.
Europe will soon face the largest inux of refugees since World War II
and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
The scale of this war will only continue to grow. This will inevitably
hinder the spring sowing campaigns of Ukrainian farmers. Russian
farmers will also be aected. Food and feed grain shortages will soon
hit global markets. Europe and the Middle East, as well as parts of
China, could face a major food crisis.
The war that Russia is waging in Ukraine is a war of civilizations.
It is a frontier between the past and the future. The path the world will
have to walk now depends on all of us.
Expert article 3204
Evhen Tsybulenko
Ph.D., Professor
Kyiv International University
Kyiv, Ukraine
Senior Lecturer
TalTech Law School
Tallinn, Estonia
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3205
Human rights today are a product of the civilized
development of mankind. At the same time, any rights
are, after all, just a declaration if their implementation and
observance are not protected by special mechanisms that
provide adequate protection. They need to be constantly
improved or substituted in the spirit of the times.
In conditions of armed conict, human rights continue to be
observed but in conjunction with international humanitarian law, based
on the principle of lex specialis. This is explained by the nature of IHL,
based on the principle of humanism, which is also characteristic of
human rights in general.
In the recent eight years, the world community has witnessed how
the Russian Federation ignored almost all the obligations imposed on
it by IHL and violated human rights on a massive scale in the territory
of occupied Crimea. All attempts to use the existing mechanisms for
the protection of human rights not only did not bring a positive result
but also convinced the “international bully“ of complete impunity for
their massive violations, including war crimes.
Impunity became the reason for the subsequent large-scale
armed aggression against Ukraine, which the Russian Federation
resorted to from February 24, 2022.
After the Second World War, most countries of the world adopted
fundamental acts of peaceful coexistence of various systems.
They created appropriate mechanisms for their maintenance and
observance, including acts in the eld of human rights protection. By
the end of the 70s - the beginning of the 90s, the world, or rather, its
civilized part, began to perceive human rights as a value. The paradox
of the situation lies in the fact that at the same time, the number of
conict situations in the world, which resulted in large-scale violations
of human rights, has increased markedly.
The behaviour of the leaders of the countries that are pacesetting
in terms of the scale of such violations t into the logic of barbarism.
They execute seizure, suppression, enslavement, plunder, and
humiliation. These goals, in essence, are the antipodes of such
a value as human rights. The logic of barbarism, which forms the
basis of their domestic policy, cannot eventually exist only within its
framework and therefore extends to the sphere of foreign policy. This
sooner or later leads to wars, destruction, and large-scale human
suering. The names of Milosevic, Hussein, Gadda as well as Assad
and Putin, who joined them, evoke horror and disgust throughout the
civilized world.
At the turn of the rst and second decade of the 21st century,
it turned out that the existing mechanisms cannot protect against
gross violations of human rights generated by regimes based on the
logic of barbarism. Judicial decisions proved powerless in the face of
behaviour based on such logic.
The problem is that unlike the situation with an ordinary thief,
murderer, or rapist, it is impossible to negotiate with a kleptomaniac,
a serial killer, and a serial rapist since their behaviour is often based
on the motive of barbarism that they realize and internally justify. Any
conversations with them lead only to the loss of time and strengthen
them in their impunity. Obviously, the main goal in such cases should
be the isolation of the “bully”, a harsh collective reaction to such
behaviour, and the creation of safe living conditions for others.
Today, the leader of the Russian Federation, who adheres to the
principles of barbarism and who has questioned the very existence
of the Ukrainian nation and state, gives orders for the massacres of
civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of its economy, its historical and
cultural values. This behaviour is also reinforced by threats of the use
of nuclear weapons.
It is quite obvious that the previously accumulated problems with
the eectiveness of the mechanisms used to protect human rights, as
well as the unjustied and brutal aggression of the Russian Federation
towards Ukraine, should result in a revision of these mechanisms
and the current system of world security. The ultimate goal of this
revision should be to achieve the greater eciency of the existing
mechanisms and to create new ones that can inuence the behaviour
of “troublemaking states”, keep the world within a civilized framework,
and oppose the logic of barbarism. This thesis is also conrmed by the
publicly announced intentions of the Russian Federation to withdraw
from the system of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In this regard, the expansion of methods of collective coercion
and severe nancial sanctions seems preferable, capable of cooling
hot heads.
The March vote in the UN General Assembly on the issue of
condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine indicates the
existence of a universal consensus regarding the role of the Russian
Federation in the armed conict as an aggressor in relation to Ukraine,
and a complete rejection of the use of force as a method of resolving
The existing consensus provides a unique opportunity to put the
following issues on the international community’s agenda, which
could strengthen the foundations of sustainable peace and human
rights protection.
Firstly, the issue of the permanent membership of the Russian
Federation in the UN Security Council, the role of the Council itself
as a whole, and the principles of its design and functioning should
be reconsidered. The right of veto has long become a vestige of
the past – the fate of mankind should not depend on the will of one
state, especially in conditions when this state itself poses a threat to
Secondly, more attention needs to be paid to the enforcement of
decisions of regional and international judicial bodies by the countries
to which they concern. Justice is done not when the decision of the
court is announced but when it is executed. All coercive mechanisms
to enforce the decisions should be activated as soon as the deadline
for voluntary enforcement expires. It is not worth wasting human and
material resources on the generation of decisions that cost nothing.
Roman Martynovskyy
The logic of barbarism and human
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3205
Thirdly, the methods of collective coercion and the application of
nancial sanctions for human rights violations should be expanded.
The funds received from the application of such sanctions could go to
a special fund. It could be used both to pay compensation to victims
of violations and to nance activities to promote respect for human
In the modern world and in the world of the future, there can be no
place for the behaviour based on the logic of barbarism. And it doesn't
matter where it is coming from, a third world state or a state that is still
a member of the UN Security Council.
At the same time, a society that is ready to get rid of dictators
and tyrants that has embarked (or returned) on the path of civilized
development should not be subjected to an unbearable burden for the
mistakes of the past. Punishment should not turn into an instrument
of humiliation and destruction. Otherwise, a humiliated society may
eventually return to the path of dictatorship and war.
Roman Martynovskyy
Lawyer, Leading Expert
NGO “Regional Centre for Human Rights”
Working Group on the Reintegration of
Temporarily Occupied Territories of the of
the Legal Reform Commission under the
President of Ukraine
Interdepartmental Working Group under the
Oce of the Prosecutor General on Crimes
Committed in the Conditions of Armed
Conict (International Advisory Board of
Experts on War Crimes)
Interdepartmental Commission on the
Application and Implementation of IHL
Rules under the Ministry of Reintegration
of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3206
The Crimean Peninsula was an autonomous territory of
the Crimean Soviet Socialist Republic in October 1921,
as part of the territory of the Russian Soviet Federative
Socialist Republic. By a unilateral decision from the highest
Soviet Presidium in 1954, Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet
leader at the time, transferred the Peninsula to the Ukrainian Soviet
Socialist Republic. Such issue hardly mattered until the Soviet Union
broke up in 1991. Following the referendum on independence held
by Ukraine at the end of the year, Crimea agreed to remain part of
Ukraine, but with signicant autonomy, including its own constitution
and legislature.
Due to nancial problems faced by Ukraine in 2013, the State
tried to work out a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
but Russia oered them a $15 billion bailout and subsidies for oil. The
majority of people in Ukraine wanted to work with the European Union
(EU). The Ukrainian Government, however, opposed working out
the trade deal with the EU and took side with Russia instead on the
grounds Ukraine did not have its own independent source for oil and
had been dependent on Russia to provide it. Such decision then was
protested by a lot of people. The protests which were peaceful turned
violent and even escalated the urgency of the crisis. Accordingly, the
Government negotiated with the protestors.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who was establishing
a post-communist Eurasian Union at the time was enraged since it
meant that Ukraine would switch its allegiance from Russia to the
European Union and the IMF. Even though Putin had earned support
for the Union in other post-communist States, the protests in Ukraine
might undo some of his gains. Moreover, such situation could deter
potential post-communist States from joining the Union. In response,
he exerted military pressure to ensure that the protests would not leak
to the other Eastern European States. Subsequently, Russian forces
dramatically escalated the stando between the two States. Russia’s
military interventions started with sending troops to two military
bases in Crimea. Following that, about 150 Russian troops and more
than 20 military vehicles were reported to be dispatched around the
Perevalnoe base, where a heated stando was taking place.
International law generally recognizes a “defense of nationals”
concept, under which one State may enter another State without
consent in order to protect its nationals against an imminent threat,
at least where the territorial State is unwilling or unable to protect
those nationals itself. Although the use of armed force in conducting
humanitarian intervention may be acceptable, the use of such
intervention shall be conducted as the last resort. Therefore, Russia’s
humanitarian intervention through aggression against Ukraine is
considered a breach of international law. It is due to the fact that Article
2 (4) of the UN Charter states there is a rm prohibition to not using
force or other means that fundamentally would violate the territorial
integrity or political independence of a State. Consequently, the
armed forces identied as Russian Special Forces that took over the
Crimean Peninsula were considered a breach of territorial integrity.
Moreover, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 also emphasized that
the signatories, including the Russian Federation, should respect the
independence and sovereignty of Ukraine’s territory.
Furthermore, Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter also prohibits any
State to intervene in domestic aairs such as politics, law, economics,
social, and culture of other States. Nevertheless, there is an exception
for the non-intervention principle i.e., the Security Council or State,
either individually or collectively, may conduct the use of armed force
based on the authorization of all members of the Security Council.
The intervention, however, cannot be done unilaterally and it also
should be applied in the case of Russian aggression. Since the United
States, as one of the members of the Security Council, condemned
Russia's action and did not authorize Russia to intervene in the
sovereignty of Ukraine, Russia's intervention was considered against
Article 2 (4) and Article 2 (7) of UN Charter.
In addition to the use of force authorized by the UN Security
Council, Article 51 of the UN Charter permits the use of armed force
in the form of self-defense against armed attacks from other States.
Thereof, Ukraine as a member of the UN is entitled to the right to
self-defense against the armed attack that was conducted by Russia.
In fact, Ukraine had asked for the help from North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) to look at all possible means to help in protecting
its territorial integrity, sovereignty, people, and nuclear facilities within
Ukrainian territory. Even so, Ukraine is only allowed to use armed
force to defend itself until the Security Council takes the necessary
actions to preserve and maintain international peace and security.
Yordan Gunawan
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Law, Universitas Muhammadiyah
Association of International Relations Oce
of Muhammadiyah and ‘Aisyiyah Higher
Yordan Gunawan
The legitimacy and recognition of
Crimea: A conundrum
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
James Rodgers
Russia and Ukraine: War and media
The ill-advised boast from the then Russian Defence
Minister, Pavel Grachev, in late 1994 that a single regiment
of paratroopers could capture Grozny in two hours came
back to haunt him. In fact, the army took heavy casualties
as it sought to subdue the rebellious city at Russia’s
southern edge.
Thereafter, the Russian military started to learn lessons: both
in the need to adapt its Soviet-era forces to the changing demands
of modern warfare, and in improving the ecacy of its engagement
with the news media. In our 2021 paper, ‘Russia’s rising military and
communication power, from Chechnya to Crimea’ my co-author Dr
Alexander Lanoszka and I argued that since that rst war in Chechnya
in the mid-1990s, ‘Russia has developed its military and media policies
in a coordinated manner: learning from its mistakes and failures as it
went along, and becoming more ecient each time.’
In particular, we considered the war against Georgia in the
summer of 2008—over the separatist territories of South Ossetia
and Abkhazia—and the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
We wrote that the campaign in Georgia ended in a strategic victory
for Russia, even if that victory was delivered, ‘ultimately by dint of
enjoying signicant numerical superiority over an adversary in a
conventional war.’
Unless you are inside President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle—or
perhaps even inside his head—it is impossible to know whether the
opening stages of the invasion of Ukraine went according to plan. It
is reasonable to speculate, though, that it has not gone according to
schedule. Surely this was supposed to be over in a matter of days: the
Ukrainian government capitulating, and Russian troops greeted as
liberators by a signicant section of the population. Neither happened,
of course.
On February 28th, the respected scholar of Russia and the
Caucasus, Thomas de Waal, shared on Twitter a remarkable news
story prepared by the RIA Novosti news agency, and apparently
published in error, with a date of 0800 on February 26th (around 48
hours, in other words, after the start of the invasion). The author of the
extraordinary article hailed, ‘A new world being born before our eyes,’
and went on to praise the achievements of the ‘military operation.’
Things did not turn out that way. Two days after the Russian
army launched the invasion, the world was instead waking up to the
reality of Ukrainian resistance in the face of much larger and more
powerful enemy. Questions about the Russian army’s capabilities had
already started to creep in, though. Opening my copy of the British
newspaper The Times in the early days of the war, I saw a photograph
that recalled the decade of sometimes violent chaos that followed
the collapse of the Soviet Union. Two very young-looking Russian
soldiers—presumably hapless conscripts who had not expected
their compulsory military service to involve invading a neighbouring
country—stared into the photographer’s lens. They had been captured
by the Ukrainian army—their part in the war over almost as soon as it
had begun.
The picture took me back to the most terrifying day of my 20 years
in journalism: a cold day in the Chechen capital Grozny, in January
1995. That day, Chechen ghters brought out young conscripts they
had captured to show the news media. Shortly afterwards, Russian
warplanes attacked the square where we stood. We were lucky to
escape. Others close by were killed in the strike. I reected that
the young men I saw in the paper in February this year would not
even have been born that day—yet perhaps, in respect of the use of
conscripts in major combat operations, not everything had changed in
the intervening 27 years.
That rst Chechen campaign was the low point of Russia’s post-
Soviet military history. The second Chechen war, beginning in the fall
of 1999, changed Russia in many ways. Firstly, it provided Putin—
then prime minister—with the opportunity to take a tough line with the
restive region—and that in turn helped him to victory in the presidential
election in March 2000. It also marked the start of the rebuilding of
the Russian military—slowly at rst—accompanied by a determined
attempt to control the narratives that would shape public perceptions
of future campaigns in Georgia in 2008, in Crimea in 2014, and in
Syria from 2015.
Looking back, all these campaigns may be seen as preparation
for the invasion of Ukraine. In the same way, the chaotically free news
media of Russia in the 1990s have been brought under control, or
even—in the case of Radio Ekho Moskvy or TV Rain, Russia’s last
two proudly independent broadcast voices—simply closed down. All
combatants since the dawn of time have tried to tell the stories of war
the way they want them told. In our media-saturated age, it seems to
have become even more of a priority.
The Kremlin has launched the kind of war that Europe hoped it
had left back in history. It was not supposed to happen in the 21st
century. The Kremlin is also trying to defy conventional wisdom about
our age by controlling information in the era of the smartphone.
Expert article 3207
James Rodgers
Ph.D., Associate Professor of International
City, University of London
United Kingdom
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Victor Liakh & Ilona Khmeleva
Ukrainian resistance to Russian
aggression: What can civil society
representatives do?
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began in 2014.
Crimea, as well as part of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
were occupied. Thousands of Ukrainians were killed,
thousands of our citizens became internally displaced
persons or refugees. Political persecutions, large-scale
human rights violations, and torture have become commonplace in
the occupied territories.
In accordance with the right to self-defense, enshrined in the
Article 51 of the UN Charter, the Ukrainian armed forces have been
defending our country since 2014. From the very beginning of the
international armed conict, the occupying army of the Russian
Federation has been neglecting international humanitarian law,
committing crimes against humanity and war crimes.
At the same time, Ukraine has consistently sought to resolve
the conict through diplomacy. Respecting the principle of peaceful
settlement of international disputes (which is a peremptory norm of
international law / jus cogens), Ukraine tried to hold negotiations at
various levels. In particular, the Minsk process (negotiations in the
Normandy format) began, and the Minsk arrangements were signed.
However, the aggressor state did not adhere to any agreements.
The most important part of the Minsk arrangements was the security
component. Unfortunately, these provisions were never implemented
due to the position of the Russian Federation.
With a view to increasing the eectiveness of the international
response to the ongoing Russian aggression and achieving de-
occupation of Crimea and full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty
over the peninsula, the Crimea Platform (as a new consultative and
coordination format) was initiated by Ukraine. The Crimea Platform
was launched at its inaugural summit on August 23, 2021, in Kyiv, and
became one of the biggest diplomatic successes of Ukraine.
It is important that the Crimea Platform was based on several
levels (governmental, parliamentary, expert). In fact, civil society has
become the driving force behind this initiative, and the synergies of
dierent levels of the Platform have made this initiative unique. That
is why it was crucial for East Europe Foundation to join this process.
In particular, the Crimea Platform Support Program was established,
ensuring cooperation between state institutions, civil society, and
international partners of Ukraine. The main goal of the Program
was to provide support to the Crimea Platform Expert Network
activities. The Program included such areas: 1) expert research; 2)
expert diplomacy; 3) capacity building of the Crimea Platform Expert
Network; 4) communication support to the Crimea Platform.
Unfortunately, ecient implementation of the Program was
stopped by the Russian invasion. February 24, 2022 is a date
that changed Ukraine forever. Russia has launched a full-scale
aggression, bombing Ukrainian peaceful cities, killing civilians and
destroying infrastructure. Thousands were killed and millions were
forced to ee their homes. At the same time, Russian aggression
united the entire Ukrainian people, and civil society became a reliable
assistant and support for the Ukrainian army. Humanitarian aid,
organization of arms supplies, documentation of Russian crimes –
these are just a few of the areas in which civil society helps the state.
East Europe Foundation also keeps working to support the country in
these hard times. The Shelter Project, aimed at supporting IDPs (safe
spaces, psycho-social support, reintegration, etc.) was launched.
East Europe Foundation is also focused on the following areas: 1)
building community resilience (the needs assessment and outline are
under development); 2) introducing e-tools for community mobilization
and emergency communication; 3) developing e-learning materials
on the emerging issues. All Ukrainian civil society is united as never
before. Our goal is the victory of Ukraine, as well as its successful
It can be predicted that after the war the civil society will focus its
eorts on the following areas:
implementation of the legal responsibility of the aggressor state,
ensuring justice, assisting Ukrainian authorities in preparing the
appropriate legal framework for post-conict settlement;
Taking an active part in community mobilisation activities during
the recovery and development phase, namely:
facilitation of the restoration of destroyed infrastructure;
control (oversight and scrutiny) over the use of nances provided
to Ukraine by international partners;
helping in establishing the best business environment in
Ukrainian communities;
creation and promotion promoting the development of new small
businesses and social entrepreneurship;
Continue to promote volunteering at various levels.
In general, civil society is making a vital contribution to Ukraine’s
future victory. Today, Ukrainian civil society activists protect not only
democracy in Ukraine, but also the freedom of Europe and the world.
Expert article 3208
Ilona Khmeleva
Ph.D., Program Coordinator
East Europe Foundation
Victor Liakh
East Europe Foundation
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3209
The war President Putin is ghting in Ukraine isn’t the war
he expected, or, as we have seen, planned for. Russia
expected a quick and decisive ‘special military operation’
that would seize key political centres and decapitate the
Ukrainian government. They assumed that Ukrainian
morale would be quickly broken, and resistance would evaporate
without requiring extended and costly military operations. What
Russia has actually faced on the ground, however, is a protracted and
attritional campaign. Where Russian forces have had some success,
however, is on Ukraine’s coast, although Ukrainian resistance is
notable here as well as in major cities. Given that Russia has seized
swathes of Ukraine’s coastline what does this mean for the Black
Starting with Ukraine, it is clear that Kyiv has lost all access to the
Sea of Azov. This was always likely to be a prime Russian objective in
any conict. Over the last few years, Russia has engaged in aggressive
action to limit Ukraine’s access to the sea, including building a bridge
to Crimea which limits the height of maritime transport into the area,
imposing an inspection regime on all commercial vessels transiting
the Kerch Straits heading to Ukrainian ports, actually attacking and
then capturing three Ukrainian naval vessels and its sailors in 2018,
and, perhaps most signicantly, closing o the Sea of Azov to all
maritime trac under the pretext of military exercises.
Russia has long wanted a land bridge linking Crimea to Russia
and due to its success in seizing Ukrainian territory it is now on the
verge of obtaining one. The loss of key Ukrainian ports in the Sea
of Azov, in particular Berdyansk and Mariupol, will have a damaging
eect on the Ukrainian economy as Ukraine is highly dependent on
exports and much of its grain and sunower oil goes by sea – these
losses will, of course, aect Ukraine’s ability to rebuild economically
after the war.1
The recent demands by Russia that Ukraine accept the
independence of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk
as part of any ceasere agreement will also reinforce the loss of
Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov, its commercial ports, and
planned new naval base there. The constitutional border of Donetsk
oblast, as opposed to the former line of contact that Ukrainian forces
held against the separatists, includes Mariupol.2 Working closely with
the UK, Ukraine was looking to build a new Ukrainian naval base in
the Sea of Azov; this clearly is no longer an option and the Ukrainian
navy, or at least what remains of the navy after this conict, will be
forced to relocate to the Black Sea.3
1 ‘Explainer: Will Ukraine lose Sea of Azov to Russia?’, 20
July 2018, as reported on BBC Monitoring, monitoring.
2 ‘Ukraine: The line’, The International Crisis Group, Brieng
number 81, 18 July 2016.
3 Claire Mills, ‘Military assistance to Ukraine’, House of
Commons Library Research Brieng, 7135, 14 February
Picking up on the previous point, Ukraine will forfeit the progress it
has made in restructuring its maritime forces. Navies are dicult and
costly to construct, and Ukraine has faced many challenges rebuilding
its capabilities since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.4 The
scuttling of the Ukrainian agship, Hetman Sahaidachny (U130),
was a huge psychological blow to the navy and a clear sign of the
immense challenges small navies face when confronted by reality of
the application of superior maritime power.5 Ukraine’s ability to rebuild
its navy will ultimately be dependent on the outcome of the conict
and what ‘ceasing military action’ and ‘neutrality’ (two key demands
Russia has made to end hostilities) actually mean in practise.6
The Russian Federation has moderated its initial stated war
objective of ‘demilitarising’ Ukraine and more recently President
Putin has settled for ‘ceasing military action’. It is not clear at the
moment what the relationship is between these two objectives.
The demilitarisation of Ukraine would aect the type of maritime
capabilities and assets Ukraine could be allowed to retain or be
able to acquire in the near future. Whereas ‘ceasing military action’
suggests that Ukraine will be allowed to retain whatever is left of its
maritime power (albeit in truncated form) and will be able to continue
to operate and protect its interests in the maritime domain. Ukraine’s
ability to protect its interests in the maritime domain and address what
are also pressing non-traditional maritime security challenges in the
Black Sea will be severely aected if it does not retain its navy.7
A change to the Ukrainian constitution to enshrine neutrality could
have a pernicious eect on the ability of the Ukrainian government
to rebuild its military forces, including its navy and coastal defence
systems. The Ukrainian navy has beneted enormously from capacity
building, most notably with the UK, from the donation of maritime
platforms from the US and from the Ukrainian navy’s participation
in NATO maritime training and maritime security operations. It is
not clear if any of these options will be allowed to continue under
Moscow’s interpretation of what constitutes a ‘neutral state’ on its
border. While neutral states, such as Finland, do actively engage with
NATO training exercises, it is worth remembering that neutrality was
not imposed on Helsinki by a larger more powerful neighbour and
Finland is not Ukraine.
4 Deborah Sanders, ‘Rebuilding the Ukrainian Navy’, in
Robert McCabe et al, Europe, Small Navies and Maritime
Security, (Routledge, 2020), 168-184.
5 Tyler Rogoway, ‘The Ukrainian navy’s agship appears to
have been scuttled’, The War Zone, 3 March 2022.
6 Holly Bancroft, ‘Russia issue four key demands Ukraine
must follow to halt invasion ahead of peace talks’, The
Independent, 8 March 2022.
7 Deborah Sanders, ‘Maritime Security in the Black Sea:
Out with the new, In with the Old’, Mediterranean
Quarterly, 28/2 Autumn 2017, 4-29.
Deborah Sanders
The Russian invasion of Ukraine:
Implications for the Black Sea
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3209
So what are the wider implications for the Black Sea from the
Russian invasion of Ukraine? If Russian ceasere demands are met
and Ukraine is forced to recognise Crimea as Russian, then Romania
will share a maritime border with Moscow. As Romania and Bulgaria,
like Ukraine, operate what can best be described as small navies and
have limited coastal defence capabilities, they will be forced to develop
more advanced land-based options to substitute and augment their
limited maritime power, creating an even more militarised maritime
domain. Suggestions have included looking at how Bulgaria, Romania
and Turkey, enhance their coastal defence systems and their ability to
counter Russian sea control with overlapping Coastal Defence Cruise
Missile coverage.8 There is also highly likely to be a further increase
in NATO, and in particular US, forward presence in Romania and
Bulgaria to send a very clear message about what NATO’s red lines
are in the Black Sea.
Further Russian advances along Ukraine’s coastline in the west,
including the seizure of Odesa, will also give Russian control of both
the western and eastern side of the Black Sea, in essence giving it
sea control over the whole of the Black Sea. While Russia’s ability to
project power in the Black Sea has increased signicantly since the
illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, control over the western side of
the Black Sea could make this enclosed sea a no-go area for NATO
More widely, and whatever the outcome of the current conict,
the enmity that now characterises Russia’s relationship with the West
will make the Black Sea an even more hostile environment for the
operation of NATO maritime forces, with even the most peaceful of
deployments likely to result in dicult confrontations.
8 Brian Harrington, ‘The US and NATO must counter
Russia’s dominance in the Black Sea’, The Hill,
4 November 2021.
Deborah Sanders
Dr., Reader in Defence and Security Studies
Defence Studies Department, King's
College London
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3210
The geopolitical landscape in Europe’s southeastern corner
has undergone dramatic changes in the more than eight
years that have passed since the Russia’s illegal occupation
and annexation of the Crimean peninsula in February-
March 2014. The country’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine,
which started on 24 February this year, has further contributed to a
deterioration of the security situation in this and other parts of Europe.
Europe’s second largest country, Ukraine, has become the victim
of an unprovoked and unjustiable war of aggression. Russia’s
territorial expansionism, on land as well as at sea, has already had a
devastating eect on Ukraine’s economy and security. Russia, for its
part, is being faced with an international sanctions package, which will
soon bring the Russian economy to its knees.
Much has been said and written about the underlying causes of
the Russia-Ukraine conict and the way in which it has played out in
the period between 2014 and 2022. In short, the situation has gone
from bad to worse at every possible opportunity, particularly in the
winter of 2021–2022. At every crossroad, Russia chose escalation
over de-escalation, and ignored all possible “o-ramps” that could
have been taken. Putin was dead set on invading Ukraine.
The long-term geopolitical impacts of this invasion are hard
to assess at this point. The humanitarian repercussions of the war
are certainly massive, with large numbers of civilian and military
casualties, refugees, and internally displaced people. The amount
of damage done to Ukraine’s infrastructure and civilian property is
also horric, particularly in the northern, eastern, and southern parts
of the country. And, perhaps most importantly, the war has caused
irreparable harm to the bilateral relationship between Russia and
Ukraine, not to mention Russia’s relationship with the West.
Within the maritime domain, Ukraine currently nds itself in a
blockade-like situation. Ever since the Russian annexation of Crimea
in 2014, Russia has strengthened its military presence in the region
and sought to assert dominance over the maritime spaces of the Azov-
Black Sea basin. Massively violating the Law of the Sea Convention
and previous bilateral agreements with Ukraine, Russia has not only
taken control of most of Ukraine’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) o
the coast of Crimea, but also eectively strangled much of Ukraine’s
sea-born foreign trade through the Azov Sea ports of Mariupol and
Berdyansk. The Russia-controlled Kerch Strait, which connects the
Black Sea with the Sea of Azov, has become an almost impenetrable
choke point for Ukrainian and third-country merchant and naval
In order to get a better understanding of the driving forces behind
Russia’s maritime expansionism in the northern part of the Black Sea
region, and how it has aected Ukraine and the four other coastal
states (Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia) in the past eight
years, we have to go back to the annexation of Crimea. Russia’s
post-2014 quest for regional dominance in and around the Black
Sea has been – and remains – a multidimensional endeavor. Backed
by military and economic power, eorts have been made to replace
the previously functioning legal order of the region with a new order,
dened and enforced by Russia.
Russia does not share what seems to be the prevailing view
among Western scholars and political leaders, namely that the
country’s 2014 annexation of Crimea was “unlawful and therefore
invalid”. Exercising de facto authority over the peninsula, Russia
claims that a legal transfer of the territory has taken place, implying
that Crimea is no longer a part of Ukraine, and that the legal status
of the maritime zones o the coast of the peninsula has changed
because of this.
West of Crimea, Russia’s illegally claimed EEZ is now directly
adjacent to the EEZ of Romania. In this area, Ukraine and Romania
had earlier agreed on a maritime boundary, established with the
help of the International Court of Justice. In Ukraine’s view, the 2009
delimitation agreement with Romania is still in force, and Ukraine still
holds a legal claim to this and other parts of its pre-2014 EEZ.
East of Crimea, Russia has since March 2014 been in control of
both sides of the Kerch Strait. This has made it easier for Russia to
impose restrictions on the commercial ship trac between the Black
Sea and the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, which is an important
export route for Ukrainian coal, steel, and agricultural products. As
demonstrated during the “Kerch Strait clash” in November 2018,
Russia has also taken forcible measures to restrict Ukrainian naval
vessels’ ability to transit the strait. Thus, the transit restrictions in this
area has clearly also become a security issue for Ukraine.
As regards the economic dimensions of Russia’s maritime
expansionism in the Black Sea, it seems to have been an important
strategic objective for the Kremlin to get access to petroleum deposits
on the Ukrainian continental shelf. By annexing Crimea, tripling the
length of its Black Sea coastline, expropriating Chornomornaftogaz
(the Crimean arm of Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company
Naftogaz), and pushing Russia’s maritime boundaries well into
the Black Sea, Russia has been able to signicantly increase its
economic potential in the region and deal a devastating blow to
Ukraine’s hopes for energy independence. By pursuing its revisionist
objectives through the use of military force, Russia has also upended
the security environment in – and well beyond – the Black Sea region.
Kristian Åtland
Senior Research Fellow, PhD
Norwegian Defence Research
Establishment (FFI)
Kristian Åtland
Russia’s maritime expansionism in
the Black Sea region
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Borys Babin
Legal assessment of Russian ongoing
aggression in the Black and Azov
Until 2022, domestic and foreign experts have repeatedly
written about the excessive militarization of Crimea by the
aggressor since 2014, primarily in expanding the capacity
of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The aggressor’s eet was
saturated with new weapons and ships throughout the
years of occupation of Crimea, and before invading mainland Ukraine
in February 2022, Russia concentrated an unprecedented group of
ships in the Black Sea – more than 40 units, including more than 10
landing ships.1
It is crucial for the aggressor state to take full control of the entire
coast of the Sea of Azov. Under such conditions, aggressor state
prepared for new encroachments on the territorial integrity of Ukraine
in a covert form. As for the Kherson Region, these criminal intentions
are currently considered by the aggressor in a criminal “alternative”:
either in forms of forming another fake “people’s republic”, or in an
attempt to “join” these territories to the Russia-controlled so-called
“Republic of Crimea”2. The occupied Crimean peninsula is used by
Russian troops as a key bridgehead for military operations at sea.
The aggressor uses ‘Tu-22’ bombers to bomb mainland
Ukraine, which maneuver over the sea3. The Russian Navy’s 636.3
‘Varshavyanka’ submarines, which launch ‘Caliber’ missiles, were
also used for rocket attacks to hit mainland Ukraine's facilities,
including civilian infrastructure,4 and Russia actively uses Black Sea
Fleet bombing and ghter aircraft where the Russian army suers
signicant losses also5. For operations in the sea, the Russians are
actively using surface ships, with occupied Sevastopol as the basis
of their base6. In particular, on March 15, a group of the Russian eet
red missiles at settlements in the Belgorod-Dniester region, which
caused casualties, and the aggressor state continues to prepare for
landing operations in Odessa and Mykolaiv regions of Ukraine7.
Russia continues to store weapons on the maritime oil platforms
of ‘Chornomornaftogaz’ and at the same time Russian troops prepare
them for destruction in the event of a change in the strategic situation.
The occupiers are also urgently calculating the logistics of a signicant
increase in the capacity of the Kerch Strait for military needs, and
are working on blocking all approaches to the Strait for commercial
shipping. The aggressor’s navy captured the Ukraine’s Zmiiny island
in Black Sea and ensures the blockade of Ukrainian ports and the
capture of individual merchant ships that came out of them8, using
anchored and oating mines.
The Russian aggressor threatened several merchant ships ying
Ukrainian ags, such as the AFINA bulk carrier IMO number 8029272
and the PRINCESS NIKOL bulk carrier IMO number 8319392, and
it promised to destroy the ships with missile weapons. The military
authorities of the aggressor announced a so-called “anti-terrorist
operation” in the Black Sea region adjacent to mainland Ukraine,
where any merchant ship could be destroyed by the aggressor’s navy
and aviation. Maritime looting is taking place, for example, on March
13, the occupiers took a oating dredger and two merchant ships from
the part of Berdyansk to occupied Kerch, and then the tug “Korets”
Russia’s aggressive military actions are causing signicant
environmental damage, including an unprecedented number of
dead dolphins killed o the coast of the Western Crimea, which were
apparently damaged during active Russian naval operations in the
Northwestern Black Sea. In addition, ornithologists noted that the
traditional annual migration of birds did not take place through the
Crimea as birds chose other routes from south to north10.
The aggressor state also began broadcasting propaganda
statements through maritime communication channels from
Novorossiysk, intended for navigational messages. Examples include
the coastal warning from the Russian Federation AA89, which does
not contain specic information for merchant shipping, but states the
alleged “genocide of the civilian population of Donbass, which was
carried out by Ukraine for eight years”, and it also points on Russia’s
military operation on alleged “denazication and demilitarization of
Ukraine” since February 24.
In particular, the AA89 warning of the aggressor’s maritime
administration provides information about the alleged losses of Ukraine
during the conict, and thus Russia uses maritime communications
for its propaganda, designed exclusively to ensure maritime security.
It is noteworthy that the aggressor claimed in the corresponding
warning AA89 and other broadcasts on maritime security channels
about the alleged “genocide”, disinformation about which has already
been considered by the UN International Court of Justice at the suit
of Ukraine. The aggressor also points out in the warning about the
“military” and not about the “special” operation against Ukraine11.
Thus, the escalation of Russian aggression since February 24
has radically worsened the state of maritime security in the Black
Sea region. Under such conditions, the Maritime Administration of
Ukraine, trade unions, expert and human rights structures appealed
to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and called on almost
all foreign administrations and shipping registers to stop cooperating
with the shipping companies of the aggressor state.
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Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
The Association of Reintegration of Crimea also appealed to
the IMO and its member states to suspend Russia’s membership
in the organization, to stop any cooperation between the IMO and
the aggressor, including nancial, and it recommend the maritime
administrations to not recognize documents. issued by Russian
classication societies. Similar appeals were addressed to the
world’s leading maritime administrations12. On March 16, the Minister
of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov addressed the residents
of Crimea and Sevastopol whom the occupiers are involving in
aggression at sea, including forcibly conscription13.
On February 27, Turkey approved a decision to apply a wartime
regime to the Black Sea straits, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.
This means, according to the Montreux Convention, which Turkey
declares to be a key normative act in this area, that it may prohibit
military trade in Black Sea14.
Also, the current Russian aggression has led to the collapse of
the entire OSCE system, formed in the 1970s, and to the destruction
of relevant security mechanisms in Europe, particularly at sea. In
particular, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which
had a mandate and oces in Odesa, Kherson and Mariupol, was
suspended on 7 March15.
These crimes violate the requirements of international
humanitarian law, including the Hague and Geneva Conventions, as
well as the requirements of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
and International Law on Saving Human Life at Sea and Preventing
Marine Pollution. This led to the response of international structures, in
particular, taking into account the appeals of the Ukrainian authorities,
human rights and expert structures.
For example, due to Russian aggression, the UN Human Rights
Council (HRC) on March 4, 2022 adopted Resolution 49/116. In this
resolution, the UN HRC called for the rapid and controlled withdrawal
of Russian troops and Russian-backed armed forces from all over
Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and territorial
waters to prevent further human rights abuses and abuses and
violations of international humanitarian law. UN HRC stressed
the urgent need for an immediate cessation of hostilities against
Ukraine17. Those demands were totally ignored by Russia.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held an
extraordinary session of its Council on March 10 and 11 to consider
the impact of the situation in the Black and Azov Seas on merchant
shipping and seafarers18. At this session, the IMO Council adopted
resolution C/ES.35, which strongly condemned Russia’s violation
of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, which extends to its
territorial waters, contrary to the principles of the UN Charter and IMO
principles, and poses a serious threat to life and safety of navigation
and marine environment. The IMO expressed regret over Russia’s
attacks on commercial vessels, their seizures, including search
and rescue vessels, which endangered the safety and well-being of
seafarers and the marine environment19.
The IMO Council called on Russia to cease its illegal activities to
ensure the safety and well-being of seafarers, as well as the safety
of international shipping and the marine environment in all aected
areas, and to honor its obligations under relevant international treaties
and conventions. The IMO also emphasized the crucial importance
of maintaining the safety and well-being of seafarers and called on
IMO Member States and observer organizations to provide maximum
assistance to seafarers in conict.
The IMO Council stressed the need to maintain the security of
international shipping and the maritime community, as well as supply
chains supported by other countries, including those that provide the
population of Ukraine with essential food and medicine. The IMO
expressed serious concern about the side eects of hostilities in
Ukraine on global shipping, logistics and supply chains, including the
impact on the supply of goods and food to developing countries and
the impact on energy supply; the organization stressed that ships,
seafarers and port workers engaged in legitimate trade should not be
side victims of the political and military crisis.
The IMO reminded that Ukraine has the right to exercise without
delay all its rights to implement the documents adopted under the IMO,
as ag state, port state and coastal state. The IMO also requested its
committees to consider ways to strengthen the eorts of own Member
States and observer organizations to support aected seafarers and
commercial vessels, and to consider the implications of this situation
for the implementation of IMO instruments.
The IMO Council agreed to encourage the establishment, as a
temporary and urgent measure, of a blue safe maritime corridor to
allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from high-risk areas
and aected areas in the Black and Azov Seas to a safe place to
protect seafarers’ lives and commercialize navigation of vessels
intending to use this corridor, avoiding military attacks, as well as
protecting and securing the maritime economy.
The IMO Council welcomed the proposal to take a number of
steps to reduce the suering of seafarers and their families, and
noted that ships should be allowed to leave Ukrainian ports as
Expert article 3211
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
soon as possible without the threat of attack. The IMO stated that
humanitarian corridors should be established for those ships that
could not leave immediately, or where this would be dangerous due
to the presence of sea mines or other dangers, to ensure the safety of
seafarers, allowing them to leave the conict zone and return home if
necessary; and seafarers aected by the conict should be given free
access to contact with their families.
The IMO stated in the resolution that if port State control ocers
are presented with overdue documentation, a pragmatic approach to
the inspection should be taken, given the exceptional nature of the
In response to the violations described above, on March 9,
the European Union imposed sanctions on the Russian Maritime
Register of Shipping (RMSC) by approving EU Council Regulation
2022/394. This not only means corresponding restrictions on Russian
commercial shipping and shipbuilding, but also deprives Russia of
at least tens of millions of dollars in direct revenue each year. It also
destroys the network of Russian special services that operated under
the umbrella of “oces” of the register in many European countries20.
Also on March 11, the International Association of Classication
Societies, after relevant appeals from the state authorities and the
expert community of Ukraine, expelled RMRS from its membership21.
After the beginning of the broad Russian aggression against
Ukraine, the authorized state authorities, non-governmental
organizations, including our Association, reasonably appealed to
the Danube Commission to assess Russia’s participation in this
organization, incompatible with the principles of international law,
maritime and river safety and interstate transport.
On March 17, the twelfth extraordinary session of the Danube
Commission took place in connection with Russia’s military aggression
against Ukraine, at which a special decision was made. The Danube
Commission rejected the powers of any Russian representative on
the Commission, as well as any of their deputies, and it removed
Russian representatives from all meetings of the Danube Commission
and its working bodies until the restoration of peace, sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized
The Commission asked the Contracting States to begin
preparations for the revision of the Belgrade Convention with a
request to examine whether Russia, as a state without the Danube,
could continue to be a Contracting State to the Convention. Danube
Commission also instructed the Director-General of its Secretariat to
draw up proposals for the implementation of Article 9 of the Belgrade
Convention in order to prepare for the dismissal of all Russian
Secretariat sta in compliance with the Rules of Procedure and
existing employment agreements22.
Thus, Russia's aggression on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov is
another gross violation of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of
the Sea, the International Convention on Training and Certication
of Seafarers and Watchkeeping, 1978, the International Convention
on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979, and the Agreement on
Cooperation regarding Maritime Search and Rescue Services among
Black Sea Coastal States, 1998, the Memorandum of Understanding
on Port State Control in the Black Sea Region, the V, VI, VII and
IX Hague Conventions of 1907, the II Geneva Convention of 1949.
Russia’s actions mean the aggressor’s disregard for the San Remo
Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conict at Sea,
1995 and Russia’s waiver of all bilateral agreements on the status
of the Sea of Azov, including the 2003 Agreement on Cooperation
in the Use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and the 1993
Interdepartmental Agreement on Fisheries in the Sea of Azov.
These violations have already received legal assessment from the
International Maritime Organization, the Danube Commission, the EU,
UN agencies and civilized maritime nations. Such recommendations
to the authorities of Ukraine seem to be important. Denunciation of
the 2003 Agreement on Cooperation in the Use of the Sea of Azov
and the Kerch Strait and the 1993 Interdepartmental Agreement on
Fisheries in the Sea of Azov must be done.
Ukraine must commence proceedings against Russia at the
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on captured, damaged
and destroyed merchant vessels ying ag of Ukraine and other
relevant states. Initiation of similar proceedings by third countries
under whose ag the vessels have been damaged, blocked or seized
is also important.
Interaction with the maritime administrations of all civilized
countries of the world on the strict implementation of IMO Resolution
C/ES.35 and the decision of the Danube Commission to suspend
membership of the Russian Federation must be hold. Ukraine and
other states must enforce the cooperation with EU countries on the
implementation of sanctions against Russia in the maritime sector
against Russian shipping and insurance companies and RMRS,
promoting the spread of these sanctions.
Discussion of Russia's aggression at sea, with the adoption of
relevant resolutions by specialized UN agencies such as FAO (on
violations of the rights of Ukrainian shermen), ILO (on violations of
the rights of Ukrainian seafarers) and the World Telecommunication
Union (on violations of maritime communications) communication
and communication systems) and the Paris Memorandum of
Understanding on Port State Control must be started; immediate
Ukraine’s ratication of the UN Maritime Labor Convention is important
for this.
Expert article 3211
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Ukraine’s ocials, trade unions and experts should inform the
Oce of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court about
Russian war crimes at sea committed in violation of the requirements
of V, VI, VII and IX Hague Conventions of 1907, II Geneva Convention
of 1949. Lobbying for humanitarian “blue” corridors to the ports of
Ukraine under the ags of the UN and the ICRC for the delivery of
humanitarian goods, including basic necessities and food, medicines
must be iniciated by the civilized nation and intergovernmental
agencies, maritime labour and business associations.
Expert article 3211
Borys Babin
Doctor of Law, Professor, Expert
Association of Reintegration of Crimea
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Pan-European Institute
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3212
Supply chains are likely to be disrupted causing system
inecacies, disrupting production and delivery schedules
due to the Russia-Ukraine conict and the need of the
hour is to build supply chain resilience. The conict has
emphasized the importance of having crisis plans when
uncertain times occur, as humanitarian logistics will take the center
stage to compensate signicant losses. The supply chains must be
designed based on an adaptive modelling technique with RIA viz;
Response – Speed of delivery, Impact – Lives of people impacted per
population density and Assessment – Economic damage assessment
and monitoring as future supply chain tactics.
Ukraine is a top exporter of corn, wheat, barley, and rye. Exports
are likely to be aected, which would cause food security issues
across the globe, especially in Middle East and African countries.
Crops that could have a potential impact are sunower and rapeseed,
which will also escalate cooking oil prices. Procurement spending
would increase as would government spending toward supply chain
expenses, resulting in reduced competitiveness.
Supply disruption on oil markets from the conict would result in
surging crude prices across the EU. Russia caters to about 30% of
oil and 35% of natural gas demand of Europe and 50% of Germany's
natural gas supply. More than 40% of the gas supply to the EU from
Russia runs through pipelines, many passing through Ukraine. This
would be cut o if the conict escalates, which will manifest as higher
oil and gas prices at the wholesale level. Long term eect may persist
if the EU imposes sanctions on Russian gas. The Russian economy
relies heavily on the oil and gas industry and hence complete supply
disruption to the EU is undesirable. The main buyers of Russian crude
include EU countries like Germany, Hungary, and Italy, which will try
to secure supplies through advance procurement thereby increasing
prices. Reduced gas supplies from Russia will lead to higher input
cost and transporting natural gas from the USA to EU is feasible only
via specialized LNG tankers, which will involve higher freight costs,
once again escalating price pressures.
Due to sanctions, Russia will not be able to access the payment
mechanisms, which in turn will reduce exports and imports, thereby
impacting its economic growth. Russia being a major producer and
exporter of fertilizers such as ammonia, potash, urea, and phosphates,
the conict could aect Russian exports of fertilizers, which would
cause global supply shortages, aecting crop production in countries
like Australia. Similarly, the metals market would be heavily impacted,
which will aect exports of raw material and intermediate goods
for manufacturing industries, lead to supply constraints for semi-
conductors and cause price hikes in kitchenware, mobile phones,
medical equipment, vehicles, electronics, construction materials,
and metal packaging products. Base metals, like aluminum, copper,
and nickel will be impacted due to higher commodity prices, thereby
aecting downstream manufacturing sectors like automobile,
machinery, and equipment manufacturing.
Supply Chain Strategy should be designed so that global supply
chains can respond to these sorts of uncertain or unfortunate
situations, and countries are prepared and have a crisis plans for
addressing the needs of the people at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
Humanitarian logistics operations are measured by number of human
lives saved. The EU strategy should incorporate more supply routes
to assist disaster management and build supply chain capacity to
think together. There would be some trade-os to make between risks
and rewards.
Supply chain tactics that EU countries might use to achieve the
supply chain strategy would be to devise a crisis plan for unpredictable
situations, like collaborative replenishment methods with competitors,
potential transportation methods, rerouting, cross docking or re-
analyzing the stocks. The tactics with a clear purpose will aid the
strategy and provide a nite timeline for economic recovery. Proper
supply tactics will bring the EU economies closer to achieving the
supply chain strategy.
The immediate impact of the conict on Europe generally will
aect consumer economic growth and supply chains of consumer
goods, such as clothing, general supplies, electronics, furniture etc.
Shortages on products will lead to extension in their order times. It
is advisable to form shorter supply chains and evaluate short term
inventory requirements focusing on tactics rather than long term
requirements. Strategic sourcing with key suppliers, encouraging
onshoring of key raw materials, preparing to switch to alternative
sourcing and make to order deliveries would help mitigate the supply
chain risks for economies as well as EU companies.
Sajal Kabiraj
Principal Lecturer of Strategy and
International Business
School of Entrepreneurship and Business,
Häme University of Applied Sciences Ltd.
Sajal Kabiraj
Russia-Ukraine conict and its impact
on global supply chains
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3213
The unilateral declaration by the Russian Federation of its
sovereignty over Ukraine`s Crimean peninsula has had
three main strategic consequences. The rst and the most
obvious: it was an attempt to alter national borders by force,
which is extremely dangerous for the rule-based world
Second: the illegal occupation of Crimea violated the agreements
that Russia signed to safeguard the territorial integrity of Ukraine and
created an iteration of the Alsace–Lorraine question in Ukraine-Russia
relations, which implanted a deep mistrust of Russia in Ukrainian
Last but not least: the occupation of the Autonomous Republic
of Crimea and Sevastopol emerged as an essential factor in the
escalation of Russia’s hostile policy towards the West. By waging
armed conict in Donbas, by fueling Syria’s refugee crises, by
interfering in election campaigns in western countries or by massing
troops along the Ukrainian border, the Kremlin has always gotten
one positive result for itself. The USA and its allies tend to negotiate
with Russia the more urgent crises rather than such intractable and
relatively less pressing issues as Crimea.
The perceived “Western threat” is an apt way to explain to
Russian citizens why they should make sacrices for the occupation
of a region, where they always used to be welcomed and honored
guests. This is also a useful tool for other aspects of the Kremlin’s
internal policy. The Russian regime may be more cooperative toward
West to some limited degree only in return for concessions including
at least tacit consent for the new status quo in Crimea.
However, for the Kremlin, Crimea and even all of Ukraine is not
enough. The “security guarantees” demanded by the Russian Foreign
Ministry in December 2021 imply Russian military domination on the
European continent.
The threat of a chain reaction of armed territorial conicts in
Europe and other parts of the world was contained but not defused
in the period starting from March 2014. Russia has paid a very
substantial but not prohibitive price for the occupation of foreign land.
The costs however have a tendency to accumulate over time. So far,
nobody has tried to repeat this precedent of attempted annexation.
Nevertheless, if the Kremlin succeeds at some point in turning
the Western response to the Crimean occupation into something
like the US non-recognition policy toward Soviet occupation of the
Baltic States in 1940-1991, it could change the calculus for other
international players. Some autocratic regimes may believe that
tolerating international sanctions and condemnation for some
period of time is a fair price for consolidating their power. From this
perspective, sending troops to grab a disputed territory from a weaker
neighbor would appear a viable option.
The current Russian regime has no exit strategy for Crimea. It
simply could not aord any major foreign policy defeat because this
would undermine one of the regime’s essential pillars. The Russian
people should believe that the Kremlin will always prevail, can, or lest
they themselves dare to challenge its grip.
But no political regime is forever. And the issue of Crimea will not
go away. That is why the Crimea Platform so important. It is Ukraine’s
responsibility to take every possible step to restore its territorial
integrity and, by extension, the international order and, ultimately,
pave the way for normalizing its relations with its larger neighbor.
The Crimea Platform may not bring about a fast solution. But
the necessity for the Russian Federation to engage with it pushes
Russia’s elites to acknowledge the fact that the illegal possession
of the peninsula is a liability. Only after such acknowledgement the
Platform could transform itself from an instrument of pressure to a
space for negotiation.
The natural course of events as well as deliberate actions by the
Russian state, including anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the conscription
of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea into the Russian military and the
resettlement of Russian citizens in the occupied territories, even
now makes a return to the status quo ante the occupation hardly
It will be an enormous task to reconcile restoring Ukrainian
sovereignty over Crimea and Sevastopol with saving face for Russia.
No Russian government would be able to survive an unconditional
surrender of a territory irrespective of whether or not it would politically
appropriate. A change of the status-quo should be accepted by the
Russian electorate. Or process simply could not proceed further.
To prevent recurring crises a negotiated plan should combine
protecting human rights and honoring the aspirations of the local
population, including the currently oppressed Crimean Tatars, while
ensuring political and economic sustainability. The Belfast Agreement
of 1998 on Northern Ireland or the provision of the autonomous status
to Åland by Finland in 1920 gives us hope that even the long lasting
disputes can still be resolved when the moment is ripe.
Maksym Palamarchuk
Ph.D. (Political Science), Head
Center of Foreign Policy Studies, National
Institute for Strategic Studies
Maksym Palamarchuk
Occupation of Crimea: Strategic
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Kestutis Kilinskas
Hybrid warfare: An orientating or
misleading concept in analysing
Russia’s military actions in Ukraine /
in Crimea?
Hybrid warfare is perhaps the most frequently used concept
in seeking to explain and dene Russia‘s military actions
in Ukraine in 2014. This article thoroughly analyses
the development of the theory of hybrid warfare and
circumstances of its formation, draws a line between
hybrid warfare and hybrid threats, and discusses the perception of
hybrid warfare in the armies of Western states and Russia. Actions
of the Russian army in Crimea are analysed on the grounds of
the provisions of the theory of hybrid warfare formulated by Frank
Homan through revealing the impact on a military operation not
only of the changing warfare tendencies but also of political, cultural,
demographic and military conditions that existed on the Crimean
Geopolitical changes in the world that occurred at the end of the
20th century essentially transformed the security environment and
forced Western states to get involved in a new type of asymmetric
military conicts with non-state actors, terrorist organizations and
criminal syndicates. New-type threats, variety of military conicts
and the search for an eective response require reconsideration,
generalization, and assessment of the most recent military
experience and formulation of theoretical concepts that would help
prepare and operate eectively within the zone of military conicts.
These conditions led to the formulation and establishment of new
military theories, including the theory of hybrid war. The theory of the
hybrid war developed by Homan includes four aspects: conventional
forces, non-regular tactics, terrorism and criminal acts within a single
battle space.
The concept of the hybrid war was created and established in the
USA in 2005–2011, and its formation was determined by the aspiration
of the USA to explain the threats that the US army had encountered
while ghting the “global war on terrorism“. It should be pointed out
that NATO does not use the term hybrid war concept; however, on
the basis of the experience acquired in the Afghanistan War, it names
new-type hybrid threats. The text written by a high-ranking Russian
military ocials such gen. Valery Gerasimov conrms the fact that on
the basis of the experience of Western states, high military command
of Russia reects on and perceives the changing nature of warfare
but doesn’t mean that they integrated in military doctrine. In academic
circles of warfare researchers, there is a general consensus that
Russia’s military actions in Crimea were dierent from the Russo-
Georgian War that took place in 2008; however, the question arises
whether the military actions of Russia in Crimea can be called a hybrid
Having analysed Russia’s military actions on the basis of Homan’s
concept of the hybrid war, we can state that actions executed by Russia
completely correspond to two aspects of the theory of the hybrid
war as formulated by Homan: the activity of conventional military
forces and irregular military formations. Meanwhile, the character
of the activity of non-regular criminal groups and poor evidence of
terrorist activity in Crimea diered from the provisions established in
Homan’s concept of hybrid war. This means that the theory of the
hybrid war can only partly explain the actions of the Russian army
during the occupation of Crimea.
During the military operation, Russia employed conventional
military forces and non-regular military formations, but the character
of crimes committed by criminal actors as well as scarce evidence
of terrorist actions diered from those dened in Homan’s theory.
Our comprehensive study of Russia’s military actions in Crimea raises
doubts about the analytical value of Homan’s theory of hybrid war,
since the essential fact in choosing the mode of military operation was
the specic conditions characteristic of the Crimean peninsula, taking
advantage of which the military operation was executed. Therefore,
in attempting to forecast possible military conicts in the post-Soviet
space and seeking to better understand future threats, we should
analyse not only the newest warfare theories, but also thoroughly
study political, economic, social and military conditions and Russian
historical traditions of warghting that can provide a basis for the
opponent to make military interventions or destabilize the situation in
the Baltic States. At the same time initial observations from Ukrainian
and Russian war in 2022 also initiation thinking that Russian military
operations are based more on operational tradition and technical
availability that on the newest warghting theories.
Expert article 3214
Kestutis Kilinskas
Dr., Assistant Professor
University of Vilnius
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3215
February 24, 2022 marks the beginning of the Russian
aggression for those who have not followed the situation in
Ukraine. For Ukrainians, however, the aggression started
8 years ago with the Russian invasion and attempted
annexation of Crimea followed by the hybrid Russian
occupation of several districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions under
the guise of separatism. Lessons learned over the years indicate
that no amount of mediation and negotiations is able to resolve the
deliberately muddled conict. Which, unfortunately, means that the
score will have to be settled on the battleeld with the winner dictating
its conditions to the loser. And all eorts both symbolic and material
have to be aimed at making sure that the principles underpinning
peaceful coexistence are restored.
Although the occupation of Crimea and the situation in the
Donbas had the same roots, namely covert aggression of the Russian
Federation, it was the situation in the Donbass that attracted most
attention. This was only natural because Crimea had been captured
very quickly with the weakened central Ukrainian government unable
to put up any resistance. The situation in Donbass, on the other hand,
had escalated into a full-edged armed conict. This created urgency
for the international community and the Ukrainian government to
stop the bloodshed by applying the standard approach to conict
resolution, namely impose a ceasere and work out a diplomatic
The result, however, was a trap. Russia has learned to game
the system by making nonsensical and illegitimate demands backed
up by its ability to escalate. And while the parties battled over the
unresolvable provisions of the muddled deal, Russia proceeded to
move towards its goals of Crimea’s militarization, ruthless elimination
of resistance, russication of the population and integration of the
occupied territories. Simultaneously it made sure the Donbas wound
was bleeding just enough to keep everyone’s attention focused.
Disinformation played a key role. Destructive narratives depicting
the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv as a Nazi coup that posed a threat
to the predominantly Russian speaking regions became dominant
on the Russian state media. They were widely watched in the east
and south of Ukraine at that time. The ight of President Yanukovych
created a window of opportunity and the Russian operatives were sent
in to foment and lead the unrest creating the image of separatism.
Russian arms backed up the groundless demands for federalization
of Ukraine, special status for Luhansk and Donetsk regions and for
the Russian language in Ukraine. A major escalation preceded both
rounds of the Minsk negotiations to make the Russian position even
more “convincing”.
In the current situation the playbook did not change too much.
Lies of the Ukrainian genocide in the Donbass region have been
widely circulated in the Russian media to justify the invasion. Request
of the so-called separatist republics for protection was a pretext. The
narrative of the “Nazi regime” in Kyiv carried over from 2014 and this
time was accompanied by demand of denazication. To anybody
familiar with the situation in Ukraine it makes absolutely no sense and
cannot be met in principle. Demands for disarmament and reduction
of the size of the Ukrainian military are clearly untenable given the
scale of the Russian threat to Ukraine’s existence as an independent
Demands to recognize Crimea as a Russian territory, recognize
independence of the so-called republics within the boundaries of the
entire Luhansk and Donetsk regions, to protect the Russian language
in Ukraine and to make sure Ukraine does not join NATO are as
groundless. However, they have wider implications. Their goal is to
make it acceptable to violate borders of another state by force and
for an outside power to dictate another state’s foreign and domestic
policies. That is, to call into question those fundamental principles that
underpin peaceful coexistence between states.
Another dierence from 2014 is that Russia is no longer hiding
behind the backs of proxies. It’s now a clear and overt aggression.
Russia continues to openly destroy Ukraine to bomb and torture it
into submission. And hopes the west will help by putting pressure
on Ukraine to go again for conict resolution, i.e. to look for middle
ground between reality and lies, to meet nonsensical demands that
undermine not only the future of Ukraine but also the very principles
of peaceful coexistence.
Although it’s clear that any war ends though negotiations it
matters what is on the table and what kind of settlement is reached.
Just like Minsk, the current situation does not have a middle of the
road solution. Any attempt to look for compromises will produce a
mix of unacceptable provisions because Russian demands are based
in lies and lack legitimacy. Also, just like in Minsk, Russia will still
preserve ability to escalate in the absence of a credible deterrent.
Minsk situation has also demonstrated the Russia has the ability
to wait and make another move when it decides to do so. And this
makes its defeat a necessary condition for the lasting peace.
Defeating Russia will take a lot of eort both symbolic and material.
While Ukrainians are ghting and the West is helping them with arms
and sanctions additional steps should be taken. Continuously pushing
for the liberation of Crimea is one of those steps. It is important not
only to demonstrate to Putin that his intimidation does not have the
desired eect but also to restore the principles undermined by the
Russian occupation of Crimea.
One way to do it is for one or several of NATO countries to organize
a meeting of the Crimea Platform. Initiated last year, the Platform was
supposed to have annual meetings to discuss the situation and to
push for liberation of Crimea. For understandable reasons Ukraine is
unable to organize anther summit this year. However, for the sake of
pace in Europe, the initiative should continue and produce a statement
that for Europe to be safe, Russia has to be defeated, de-Putinized,
de-Stalinized, Crimea should be returned to its rightful owner and thus
the rules underpinning peaceful coexistence respected and restored.
Julia Kazdobina
Ukrainian Foundation for Security Studies
Julia Kazdobina
Push for Crimea’s liberation despite
the war
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3216
Since the early 2000s Russian political elite activated
neo-imperialistic campaign to restore the Soviet empire.
Ukraine has become a territory of key importance for
Russia. Dominance over Ukraine has ideological and
symbolic signicance for Russia. It constantly strives to
maintain and strengthen political and economic inuence, and to
stop Ukraine’s rapprochement with the West. The leasing of Crimea
to the Russian Federation in 1997 became part of the strategy for
the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Russia's intensive militarization
of Crimea from 2014 to 2022 changed the balance of power in the
Black Sea region in favor of Russia. Crimea gained the features of a
Soviet-era military base, whose forces are directed against NATO and
individual members of the Alliance, primarily against the United States
and Great Britain. Crimean Bastion plays a critical role as a power
projector for Russians during an invasion of Ukraine that started on
24th February 2022.
In September 2016, the Chief of the General Sta of the Russian
Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, announced the creation
of the A2/AD zone in the Black Sea, known as the Crimean Bastion.
At the end of 2019, the formation of a deep-tiered A2/AD zone was
completed. It consists of the main area around the Crimean peninsula
and three mobile zones - around the occupied platforms in the Black
Sea, the Kerch Strait, and the Eastern Mediterranean (o the coast
of Syria). Moscow is improving the capabilities of these components
of the Crimean Bastion and its Command and Control system. The
echeloned approach of the Russian A2/AD system is based on the
principle of forming a "fortress of the eet".
The major threat from Crimean Bastion was the capture of
territories in southern Ukraine by landing, amphibious or airmobile
operations. By 24th February 2022, Russians concentrated 25
dierent battalion tactical groups from the 22nd Army corps, 810th
naval infantry brigade (both belong to Black sea Fleet), and 58th Army,
for oensive operations in southern Ukraine (Kherson and Mykolaiv
district). Notably, the 35,000-strong group of Russian troops located
in Crimea is larger in number than the armed forces of most Balkan
countries. Russian troops in Crimea had some modern or upgraded
weapons, including combat aircraft, missiles, MLRS, tanks, and
artillery. After 24th of February 2022, additional 12-15 battalion tactical
groups from the 49th Army and 7th Airborne division were deployed to
southern Ukraine via Crimea to enforce the creation of a land corridor
from Crimea to Russia along the Azov sea coast. Most of these units
were deployed by land, alternative ways to deploy using railways
and the seaport of Berdyansk (Azov sea) were denied by Ukrainian
troops’ re. On 26th of February 2022, Russian troops projected
from Crimean Bastion captured critical water supply infrastructure of
the North Crimean Canal and established full control over the canal,
starting from the city of Tavriysk (Kherson region). The dam blocking
the ow of water to Crimea was exploded. On 15 March 2022 Russian
authorities reported that stolen from Ukraine water reached central
This major threat of the Crimean Bastion was realized completely
in March 2022 during the rst week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia took under their control 100 kilometers width strip of land from
Kherson to Krasnodar district (Russia).
Another threat of Crimean Bastion is signicant missile strike
potential against Ukraine and European countries. There are four
ground-based and ve naval-based missile systems in occupied
Crimea. Additionally, Russian strike aircraft (Tu-22M3, Su-30, Su-
24, MiG-29) carry various missile weapons. The total volley already
exceeds 800 missiles, designed to re at sea, air targets, and on land.
The most serious danger is posed by missiles with a nuclear warhead,
in particular up to 48 Caliber-PL missiles. They can be red from the
Project 636.3 submarines from a submarine (underwater) position.
With a radius of 2,500 km (potentially 4,500 km), they can reach most
cities on the European continent. During the invasion in February-
April 2022 Russian submarines, surface warships, strike aircraft, and
ground missile systems launched at least 400 missiles on Ukraine. All
of them are based in the Crimean Bastion. On only 3rd of April 2022
Russians launched from sea and western Crimea around 50 missiles
on Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kremenchuk, and Ochakiv. Crimea Bastion’s Air
Defense and Electronic Warfare assets aimed to defend mentioned
before oensive capabilities against possible counterstrikes.
From the beginning of the war, Russian Black Sea Fleet blocked
any economic activities of all Ukrainian ports located on Black and
Azov seas. Few vessels were attacked by missiles or artillery from
Russian warships for attempts to go. Vessel Helt under Panama ag
was sunk on 3rd March 2022 after an attack by 2 missiles from a
Russian missile boat. It happened within 14 miles of the port of Odesa
(Ukraine). Russians always keep 1-4 warships on blockade patrol in
the vicinity of Serpent Island which they captured on 25th February
2022. Between 60 to 90 commercial vessels are still in Ukrainian
ports unable to leave due to the Russian threat.
Russia still plans to conduct a major amphibious landing on the
Ukrainian coast in the Odesa area. Three attempts of landing were not
successful on 1st, 13th , and 22nd of March 2022. After approaching
to Ukrainian coast at a distance of visual contact, Russian warships
turned around and ceased landing operations. At least during one
landing attempt on 1st of March, the mutiny of Russian naval infantry
(810th brigade from Sevastopol) aboard was reported. 6-7 Landing
warships still are in readiness to conduct landing with 1-2 battalion
tactical groups aboard. Another 10-12 warships and auxiliaries are
standing by to support amphibious operations (re support, mine
countermeasures, search and rescue).
Ukrainian primary sea denial capability against Russian attacks
from sea is performed by coastal artillery 152 mm, MLRS, UAVs,
and sea mines. The maximum eective range is limited to 15-20 km.
As of 3rd of April, Ukraine reported destruction/damage of 3 landing
ships (1 destroyed and 2 damaged), 3 destroyed Raptor amphibious
boats, and one damaged missile ship. Ukraine conducted a unique
operation on 24th of March 2022 during which the Saratov landing ship
Andrii Ryzhenko
Russian Crimean Bastion and its role
in the ongoing invasion in Ukraine
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3216
(Alligator class) was destroyed with 2000 tons of military cargo. Two
Ropucha class landing ships were damaged. Ukraine also deployed
a defensive mine laying close to its coastline from Odesa to Skadovsk
to counteract Russian amphibious landing forces. Merchant mariners
were informed about closed navigation areas.
Crimean Bastion has many common features in tasks, capabilities,
and structure with Baltic Bastion (Kaliningrad area) and Barents
Bastion (Cola Peninsula area). Ukrainian experiences with Crimea
Bastion in 2014-2022 and lessons from the Russian invasion using
power projection from Crimea have to be considered seriously to
deter possible aggression.
Andrii Ryzhenko
Retired Captain of Ukrainian Navy
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Maksym Kyiak
Crimea will be free
This February has marked the eighth anniversary since
Russian forces seized government buildings in Crimea
and occupied the Crimean peninsula. Immediately after
the events of February 27, 2014, Russia signicantly
strengthened its military control over Crimea by illegally
deploying more troops and further forcing out the Ukrainian military.
The events 2014 divided not only the history of the present-
day independent Ukraine into “before” and “after” the temporary
occupation, but also have led to the Russian full-scale war on Ukraine
in 2022.
During eight years, Russian authorities have committed
numerous human rights violations. According to Ukrainian human
rights organizations, at least 140 Ukrainian citizens, the majority of
which are Crimean Tatars, are being held in prison as part of politically
motivated criminal proceedings. Due to the Federal Security Service
of the Russian Federation accusing Ukrainian citizens of sabotage,
storing weapons and spying for the Ukrainian special services, at
least 18 people have been imprisoned in trumped-up cases. Among
them, there is Vladyslav Yesypenko, a sentenced Ukrainian journalist,
freelance correspondent of Radio Svoboda. In September 2021 it
has been already 2 years since the last release of political prisoners.
Since the last exchange in September 2019, the Russian Federation
has not released a single political prisoner from Crimea.
One of the latest detentions took place after the inaugural summit
of the Crimean platform that had been held in Kyiv on August 23.
Based on the Summit results, the heads of 46 delegations adopted
a Declaration on the establishment of the Crimean Platform as a
consultative and coordination format to end peacefully the Russian
Federation’s occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol and to restore
Ukraine’s control over the territory in full compliance with international
law. Russia has repeatedly stated that it will not allow the Crimean
Platform to become operative, blackmailing and threatening countries
that supported the Summit.
Given that for the years of occupation of the peninsula, Russia
has developed a system of politically motivated persecution of all
those who disagree with the occupation of Crimea, the persecution of
Crimean residents for their support of the Crimean platform could be
a new wave of fabricated criminal cases. Illegal searches, abductions,
and a steady increase in the number of political prisoners in Crimea
show that eorts by Ukraine and the international community turned
out to be insucient to end arbitrariness on the occupied peninsula.
Russia continues to despise international law, and therefore the
restoration of the rule of law and respect for human dignity in Crimea
can happen only if the peninsula has been de-occupied.
Russian Federation is systematically ruining cultural heritage and
national identity of ethnic groups in the temporary occupied Crimea.
The militarization of youth in the Crimea is another crucial part of
a purposeful policy of colonization of the peninsula, changing the
national identity of Ukrainian children and promoting the cult of war by
the Russian Federation. Today, Crimea has 25 regional headquarters
of the Yunarmy (a military movement for youngsters in the Russian
Federation). 5 thousand 628 children aged 8 to 18 years have already
taken the oath of oce in the ranks of the Yunarmy in Crimea.
There are at least 109 cadet classes and 88 school military-oriented
museums in Crimea In total, approximately 8,500 thousand children
are involved in the Yunarmy movement in Crimea today.
For deoccupation of Crimea, the abovementioned Crimea
Platform as an international consulting and coordination format
of communication and cooperation of government, parliamentary
representatives and experts was established. Within the expert
dimension, the Expert Network of the Crimea Platform was created,
which is a coalition of individual Ukrainian and foreign experts,
Ukrainian, foreign and international non-governmental organizations,
individual initiatives, associations, think tanks and scientic institutions.
The next step in the work of the Network is to develop cooperation with
experts from dierent countries on certain issues where international
experts are more than welcome.
Eight years ago, a pearl Crimea has been brutally stolen from us.
We in Ukraine always say that it is occupied only temporary and this
means that in the upcoming Crimea will return home and that it nally
will be free.
Expert article 3217
Maksym Kyiak
Ph.D., Senior Researcher
Foreign Policy Council "Ukrainian Prism",
Kuras Institute
Kyiv, Ukraine
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3218
Russian armed aggression has radically changed the
military-political situation both around Ukraine and on
the European continent. The occupation of Crimea has
become the dominant component of Russia’s inuence
on Ukraine in terms of the level of military threat due to
a powerful Russian military build-up. Russia has set a precedent
for violating international stability, where a new agreement on the
redistribution of disputed territories became possible between
powerful geopolitical players, as was the case with the Molotov-
Ribbentrop pact before the outbreak of World War II. International
security structures have revealed their unpreparedness for the current
developments in Ukraine.
Most geopolitical concepts have dened a specic role for
Ukraine as an important player, ensuring a balance between the main
geopolitical actors being a security buer for the entire European
continent. The geopolitical pivot represented by Ukraine can serve
as a protective shield for the entire Baltic-Black Sea region. The
existence of a Ukrainian geopolitical pivot had important political
and cultural implications for a more active neighbouring geostrategic
player, as Russia never could be a Eurasian empire without Ukraine
as the heartland, and the gateway region of Eurasia.
The Russian Federation uses the principle of political realism in
its foreign policy; therefore, it could initiate implementation of Dugin
and Primakov concepts. The Russian geopolitical doctrine is based
on the “Russkiy Mir” idea, which is an ideological ground for the
new geostrategic formation of the “New USSR”. Such a common
civilizational space is based on three pillars - Orthodoxy, Russian
language, and common historical memory. The most important
component of this project was supposed to be the absorption of
Ukraine, or its southeastern regions and Crimea.
The inadequate perception of Ukrainian realities by the Russian
leadership and the unwillingness to accept Ukraine’s aspirations to
be a modern democratic European state, instead of the Kremlin’s
alternative of becoming an appendage of a dictatorial regime following
the example of Belarus, destroyed rationality in Putin’s actions.
Discussions about the invented oppression of ethnic Russians and
the Russian language, ambiguous and distorted interpretations of
common history are proof of this.
The invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, after the eight-year war
in the Donbas, is Putin’s last hopeless chance to create an “Orthodox
Russian Empire.” The mass repressions of the Crimean Tatars in
the territory of the occupied Crimea, the destruction of the civilian
population of Ukraine since 2014, conrm the extremist component
of Putin’s policy. To achieve its goals, Russia threatens the world with
nuclear war, even if this outcome will sacrice the Russian population.
Dictators are constantly covering up their aggressive plans with
peaceful rhetoric. Hitler’s speeches used to start with the words “We
want peace.” It is known that Germany fought for so-called peace
and used military force only to protect itself from all sorts of external
threats. Putin’s rhetoric has nothing to do with Russia’s real foreign
policy, because during his presidency he committed war crimes on
the territory of many countries, justifying those with noble intentions
enshrined in the military and foreign policy doctrines of the Russian
Federation. The international community’s passive reaction to all the
Russian state’s illegal actions for many years fuelled the regime and
created the conditions for a sense of permissiveness.
Today, Russia’s act of invasion, which started from the Crimean
occupation destabilized the entire geopolitical order. The world has
returned to a kind of block-battle period, only the frontiers of the
Western bloc have moved eastwards juxtaposed to the Cold War era.
Trust in Russia, which constantly infringes international agreements
and postulates of the world order, has been destroyed. It will take
decades to restore it.
Although the rumblings of the war are noted all over the world,
they resonate most strongly in Europe. The invasion turned the idea
of a whole, free, and peaceful continent upside down. It seems that
in some parts of Europe, the post-1990 order is in shambles - mostly
for countries in between, countries that are not yet part of NATO or
the European Union. This will likely mean that European borders with
Russia’s sphere of inuence will become militarized. These trends are
already observed in Scandinavian and Baltic countries.
The new wave of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24,
2022, has made the world less secure. Countries are now in a situation
where military power is increasingly dominating political relations. The
civilized world is at risk that Russia’s provocation of international order
could have a volatile impact on other regions, where problematic
areas are bound by fragile agreements and guarantees from other
great powers.
Riana Teifukova
Ph.D. International Relations
Gazi University
Crimea, Ukraine
Riana Teifukova
The geopolitical implications of
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3219
With Russia’s military intervention against Ukraine on
February 24, 2022, the status quo in Crimea, which
it annexed in violation of international law in 2014,
has once again come to the agenda of international
public opinion. As much as the geopolitical-strategic
importance of Crimea in international-regional power struggles, its
symbolic meaning that emerged in the new world order-building
processes has begun to be refreshed in historical memories.
First of all, Crimea, with its geopolitical-strategic location, is far
beyond connecting the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea, extending over
the “Five Seas”, which we can describe as “Caspian-Caucasus-Black
Sea-Eastern Europe-Balkans-Anatolia-Mediterranean” and one of
the key points of the “Great Basin” that forms the intersection areas
of Europe and Asia. Crimea, which has the potential to signicantly
change the geopolitical balances and has an important place in the
transition from regional to international power, therefore has a meaning
and importance far beyond being a peninsula and a gateway.
Crimea, which is in a remarkable position due to its advanced
science and technology industry, its proximity to rich agricultural
regions and its rich natural resources in its territorial waters, has
historically been Russia’s descent to the Black Sea and from there
to the south; In other words, it has been a part of the strategy of
opening to warm seas and thus to the Mediterranean. In this process,
Crimea, the Ottoman-Western geopolitical balance against Russian
expansionism; In other words, it was also considered as the key to
European security. In this context, the Crimean War (1853-1856) is a
turning point.
As a matter of fact, the Crimean War began to have a symbolic
meaning for Russia and Europe in terms of the European world’s aim
to keep Russia out of Europe and the Mediterranean. After the war in
question, Russia could not return to European aairs for a long time,
and it was seen as an “undesirable” country in Europe. Therefore,
in the context of Europe, Crimea has become an address where
the “other/enemy” perception towards Russia has become stronger.
Moreover, Russia’s “other/hostile” situation has started to show itself
not only in the European context, but also in the Slavic World.
Therefore, Crimea is not only a part of or the beginning of the
Russia-Ukraine War in its current dimension. Crimea has played a
vital role in international political relations throughout history. It is
necessary to read this role correctly in military and political terms.
Therefore, any interpretation that does not consider the role of Crimea
by considering the security of the wider Black Sea geopolitics and
even the Eurasian geopolitics will be incomplete and make the issue
incapable to understand.
Because Crimea, as it was partly stated above, it is a strong center
of gravity stretching from Eastern Europe to the Balkans and from
the Caucasus to the Caspian and including a part of Russia. For this
reason, it can be stated that Crimea is in a very critical position in terms
of security and cooperation processes in the geography stretching
from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. In other words, while a
stable and secure Crimea opens the door to regional cooperation
processes; instability can push the entire region into chaos. For this
reason, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 turned from being an
issue between Ukraine and Russia to an international issue in which
the West is at the center.
This geopolitical role of Crimea in a strategic sense has drawn
attention throughout history. As a matter of fact, Crimea has been at
the center of historical trade routes, especially the “Silk Road” and
“Spice Road”. Today, the security of Crimea draws attention as an
important issue that also has transportation and energy security
dimensions. The issue in question also causes Crimea to become
one of the playgrounds of the global power struggle. In this sense,
Crimea is the new address of the power struggle that will determine
the actors, ideological structure and content of the international
system, especially the name, in the process of building the New World
Order. In this sense, Crimea is the new address of the power struggle
that will determine the actors, ideological structure and content of the
international system, especially the name, in the process of building
the New World Order.
In other words, Crimea is one of the main zones of the “New Great
Game”. Therefore, the developments in Crimea are not only a war
or a power struggle between Russia and Ukraine; It is necessary to
evaluate it as a matter of the construction process of the New World
Order. In this direction, according to the Kremlin, the road to “Greater
Russia” passes through the achievement of the goals in the “Near
Abroad Doctrine”, known as the Primakov Doctrine, which envisions
Russia to be the dominant power by maintaining its inuence in the
former Soviet geography. In this aim, it can be said that Crimea has
a strategic meaning. Because historically, Russia has reached the
position of great power after taking Crimea.
Crimea was the place where Moscow, trying to reassert itself
as a great power after the Cold War, drew its red lines to the West
and the Western states. The Crimean War of 1853-1856 has great
signicance because of this. This meaning points to the framework
of Turkey-Russia-Western relations and, accordingly, the security of
Turkey-West relations. Therefore, the choices made by the parties at
the point of Crimea are very decisive for the future of the New World
Order in general and the countries of the region in particular. In other
words, the situation in Crimea may direct the future of the Black Sea
and then the Eurasian geography.
In this context, it is essential for the Black Sea countries to create
a vision of the future that takes into account the realities of the 21st
century. The vision in question is not only for the welfare, stability
and security of the Black Sea region, at the same time, it is of great
importance in terms of global peace and security. Because the
Crimea-centered Russia-Ukraine Crisis brought the nuclear balance
of terror and the 3rd World War scenarios to the agenda for the rst
time after the Cuban Missile Crisis. In short, the developments over
Mehmet Seyfettin Erol
Meanings of Crimean geopolitics in
regional-global politics
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3219
Crimea and the choices made have reached a level that threatens
the global security environment. Therefore, the Russian-Ukrainian-
centered developments in Crimea come to the fore with the dimension
of triggering geopolitical faults in the process leading to the New World
As a result, Crimea, which was accepted as one of the starting
addresses of the Cold War, where the bipolar world was shaped at
the Yalta Conference/Crimean Conference (4-11 February 1945),
appears as the symbolic address of the “New Cold War” or “Cold
Peace” in terms of the discourses/targets of the “unipolar-bipolar-
multipolar world”. Crimea has once again become the symbol of the
iron curtain being drawn between Russia and the Western world.
Therefore, Crimea is a tool for Russia to impose the “Yalta Order” once
again. In other words, it stands out as a place where Russia’s eorts
to transform into an international power center are observed, while
the international community reminds it of its limits and limitations, just
like in the 19th century.
Mehmet Seyfettin Erol
Professor, President
Ankara Center for Crises and Policy Studies
Ankara, Turkey
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3220
Now Ukraine is on the front pages of world news, but
Russia's aggression is not breaking news at all. The hybrid
Russian war against Ukraine has been going on for much
longer, than February 27, 2014, the day when Russia
captured the Ukrainian Crimea.1 This aggression has also
revealed a range of issues that go far beyond the conict between the
two neighboring countries. Russia violated fundamental norms and
principles of international law, bilateral and multilateral agreements,
actually challenging the liberal international order.
Firstly, military aggression was just one element of the Russian
hybrid warfare. Illegal occupation of Crimea was executed through
a combination of the dynamic action of regular Russian army forces
together with illegal armed groups and criminal elements whose
activities were coordinated by the only plan and supported with
vigorous employment of propaganda based on lies and falsications,
sabotage, and terror.
Secondly, the targets of Russian actions became not only military
bases of the Ukrainian army or governmental buildings but also
critical infrastructure, especially transport and energy. For example,
in an energy sector, Russian paratroopers captured critical gas
infrastructure: gas production platforms on the Black Sea shelf (Odesa
eld); and gas compressor station (pumping gas from Strilkovo eld in
the Sea of Azov) in the administrative territory of the Kherson region
of Ukraine.
In result of aggression, Ukraine lost not only people, territory,
critical infrastructure. Ukraine lost the prospect of increasing oil and
gas production on the shelf of the Black and Azov Seas, estimated at
300 billion USA dollars at the time.
In addition, the insidious Russian occupation of Crimea
revealed the West's unpreparedness to challenge the open attack
on international order. The liberal democratic world demonstrated a
weak response to Russian blatant violation of international law and its
commitments to guarantee Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity
(Budapest Memorandum, not mentioning the range of bilateral
agreements). Proponents of the autocratic style of governance
become excited to proceed in eorts to revenge and defeat liberal
democracy. Putin's ratings of support have risen signicantly, and not
just among Russians. Autocratic feelings in dierent countries, even
within the camp of liberal democracies, became stronger. Autocrats
became condent that advertised by liberal democracy move to the
"end of history" is not only stopped but could be reversed.
1 The day of eective control over the territory of Crimea
according to the European Court of Human Rights.Grand
Chamber Admissibility Decision in the case of Ukraine v.
Russia (re Crimea) (app nos 20958/14 and 38334/18),
ECLI:CE:ECHR:2020:1216DEC002095814 , Council
of Europe: European Court of Human Rights,
14 January 2021, available at:
cases,ECHR,60016bb84.html [accessed 9 February 2022]
The further developments around Crimea have demonstrated the
signs of even bigger problems. The weakness of liberal democracies'
policy towards Russian hybrid aggression can destroy their
foundations. The West’s policy has not prevented Russia, from using
occupied Crimea, to increase its inuence in the Black Sea region and
projecting its power wider.
In response to the occupation of Crimea, the world community
imposed sanctions. However, the weakness of the sanctions and the
lack of control over them did not stop Russia. The construction of the
bridge across the Kerch Strait became an act of Russian occupation
of the Sea of Azov, creating the tool to block free navigation and
blockade of maritime trade routes and ports of Ukraine. Importantly,
and unfortunately, some Western companies took part in the project
development and implementation.
The ban on the transfer of technology and investment in Russia's
energy projects in Crimea also did not work out. Rapid implementation
of the project to build gas power plants in Crimea would not have
happened without the participation of western companies. Russia,
not having the required technology to build power plants, utilized
Germany's friendly position towards Russia. Ignoring warnings
on Russia's intentions to build power plants in Crimea, Siemens'
technology has been delivered and installed. The publicity and
accusations that Siemens violated EU sanctions resulted in the
dismissal of the local director in the Russian Siemens oce. Soon,
newspapers reported that the company signed new contracts with
the Russian government on the supply of gas turbines and achieved
agreements to increase the level of localization of the technology in
The captured oil and gas elds of the Black Sea became not only
a source of rent exploitation of Ukrainian deposits by Russia but also
a military outpost in the western part of the Black Sea. The captured
gas drilling rigs near the mainland of Ukraine became in fact military
bases with a permanent presence of Special Forces units and under
patrolling of the Russian Black Sea Navy. The rigs are equipped with
military reconnaissance equipment for underwater, surface, and air
surveillance. Russia is constantly conducting training activities in the
region, blocking maritime trade routes and eectively occupying part
of the Black Sea.
For Ukraine, this situation creates risks of blocking the sea's
energy supply routes (coal and oil supplies), especially in the event of
further Russian aggression. However, such Russian behavior creates
challenges for other Black Sea countries as it threaten the security
of trade routes. However, there is still no agreed Western position on
Russia's actions in the Black Sea basin. There is no answer on the
response to further aggressive actions of Russia, threatening Ukraine
or other countries of South-Eastern Europe.
Let us emphasize once again that this is not just about Ukraine.
Since 2014, Russia has been pursuing a policy of ousting the West
from the Black Sea basin, using Crimea as an outpost and base for
wider expansion into the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean.
Oleksandr Sukhodolia
The Ukrainian Crimea and the clash
of liberal democracy and autocracy
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3220
The occupation of Crimea is only part of Russia's policy of revenge,
but very successful from the Kremlin’s point of view. It demonstrates
that, instead of a decisive policy and an adequate response to Russia's
actions, the West is retreating. This only inspires autocrats to continue
and expand aggressive action against democracy in other parts of the
world. The question is much broader, even existential: when liberal
democracy nds its readiness to deter revival of autocracy, will it
remember the basic principles of existence enshrined in its values?
And if not, won't the losses be too high?
The continuation of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, to
defeat a society that has been ghting for the values of democracy for
8 years and resisting the expansions of autocracy, is not only a threat
to one country. The lack of support for Ukrainian society and the policy
of aggressor appeasement may be the historical turning point, after
which the era of liberal democracy will end as inecient.
Oleksandr Sukhodolia
Ph.D., Professor, Head of Critical
Infrastructure, Energy and Ecological
Center of Security Studies, National Institute
for Strategic Studies of Ukraine
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Pan-European Institute
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3221
Currently, the process of integration of the Crimean
Peninsula into the Russian economic system cannot be
called fully completed. Now the level of socio-economic
development in the Republic of Crimea is still not high.
This is evidenced by many statistical indicators. For
example, in terms of Gross regional domestic product (GRDP), the
Republic of Crimea ranks only fth in the Southern Federal District,
ahead of only such subjects as the Republic of Adygea and the
Republic of Kalmykia. For comparison, the GRDP of the Krasnodar
region exceeds the GRDP of the Republic of Crimea by ve times
(Department of the Federal State Statistics Service for the Republic
of Crimea and Sevastopol. URL:
If we talk about such an indicator as GRDP per capita, then the
Republic of Crimea occupies the last position among all the subjects
of the Southern Federal District. In addition, it is necessary to pay
attention to other important statistical indicators, which also indicate
the rather dicult situation of the economy of the Crimean peninsula
at the present time.
The Republic of Crimea continues to be the leader among all
subjects of the Southern Federal District in terms of food prices. The
dierence in prices between other subjects of the Southern Federal
District averages around 36-40%, depending on the category of
goods, but for a number of goods the dierence reaches up to 60-
80%. The reason for higher prices in Crimea is primarily due to the
fact that large federal retail chains do not want to consider Crimea
as a platform for their development. The main problem is the cost of
renting retail space in the Republic of Crimea, which is several times
higher than, for example, in the Krasnodar region.
An important problem for the Republic of Crimea is also the
prices of utility taris. The growth rates of electricity tari prices are
particularly high. In general, the rates of tari growth in the Republic
of Crimea are the highest of all the subjects of the Southern Federal
District. For example, in 2018, compared to 2016, the increase in
electricity taris was 55%1, and in the period from 2018 to 2020 – by
As a positive point, it can be noted that over the past four years,
wages in municipalities of the republic have increased by an average
of 5-7 thousand rubles. At the same time, over the past few years,
especially over the past 2020, there have been certain trends in some
areas to reduce other socio-economic indicators.
Currently, there is a certain stratication between the northern and
southern parts of the republic in terms of socio-economic development.
1 Reference table of electricity taris for the population of
the Republic of Crimea for 2016. URL: https://energo-24.
ru/taris/electro/2016/11010.html; Reference table of
electricity taris for the population of the Republic of
Crimea for 2018. URL:s/
Most municipalities with the most favorable socio-economic situation
are located in the southern part of the republic. Similar municipalities
include the urban districts of Alushta, Yevpatoria, Kerch, Simferopol,
Feodosia, Yalta, and Bakhchisarai district. These municipalities
occupy the rst places in terms of the average salary of the population,
as well as leading positions in terms of the lowest unemployment rate
and a lower coecient of tension in the labor market.
The least economically developed municipalities are located
mainly in the northern part of the peninsula, in particular, they include
Dzhankoy, Krasnoperekopsky, Pervomaisky and Razdolnensky
districts. In addition, municipalities with increased social tension
include several districts of the central and southern part of the Crimean
Peninsula, namely, Nizhnegorsky, Kirovsky, Krasnogvardeysky and
Saki districts (Department of the Federal State Statistics Service for
the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. Ocial website. The labor
market and employment of the population. URL: https://crimea.gks.
ru/folder/27542 ).
In 2020, due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection
COVID-19, which caused numerous socio-economic problems around
the world, in the Republic of Crimea, as in other regions of Russia,
there was a signicant increase in the unemployment rate, which
at the end of the year was 9.2 times, which is the highest indicator
among all subjects of the Southern Federal District. In general, the
indicators of unemployment growth in Russia look somewhat less
large-scale: by the end of 2020, the unemployment rate in the country
increased by 24.7% and, according to ocial data, amounted to 5.9%
So, turning to conclusions, it should be noted that currently there
are a number of unresolved problems that have a negative impact
on the socio-economic development of the Republic of Crimea.
Such problems include a low GRDP per capita, high prices for food
products, too fast growth rates of utility prices, signicant dierentiation
of municipalities of the republic (between the most lagging northern
regions and the most developed southern ones) in terms of average
wages of the population and the unemployment rate. In addition, a
serious problem is the growth rate of the unemployment rate over the
past two years in a number of municipalities of the Crimea, caused
by a massive decline in economic indicators due to the coronavirus
pandemic that began in 2020.
Dmitry I. Uznarodov
Candidate of Political Sciences, Researcher
Laboratory of Sociology, Federal Research
Centre the Southern Scientic Centre of the
Russian Academy of Sciences
Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation
Dmitry I. Uznarodov
Socio-economic development of the
Republic of Crimea in 2018-2020
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3222
The Russian occupation of the Autonomous Republic
of Crimea (ARC) and Sevastopol has led to signicant
changes on the peninsula due to population replacement
and aggravation of the social and economic situation.
Population replacement
During the occupation period, serious demographic transformations
took place in Crimea: the number of residents was rapidly declining,
while Russians were coming on the peninsula en masse.
In 2014-2021, 347.9 thousand people, which is 15% of the
peninsula’s population before the occupation, died in Crimea.
According to Russian sources, about 200 thousand people left
Crimea during the same period. If we add those who left Crimea but did
not cancel their Crimean registration (the occupational administration
continues to count them as peninsula’s residents) to these migrants,
from 250,000 to 300,000 people (10-12% of the peninsula’s population
before the occupation) left the peninsula. Accordingly, due to natural
causes and forced migration, the local population has decreased by
25-28% during the occupation period.
However, according to Russian sources, the total population of
the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has hardly changed and is about
1.9 million people. At the same time, according to ocial gures, the
number of residents in Sevastopol increased by 27% (up to 529.9
thousand). Experts estimated that the population has almost doubled
– up to 700,000 people.
As the birth rate has fallen by an average of 24% after the
annexation of Crimea, external migration became the main source
of human resources. According to Russian sources, in 2014-2021,
353.2 thousand people (15% of the peninsula’s population before
the occupation) moved to Crimea. The vast majority of migrants
were from the Russian regions (60-70%). The Russian authority
encouraged the relocation of Russians to Crimea by various means:
reduced-rate real estate mortgages, cheap loans, material support,
In addition to ocial migrants, there are a large number of the
Russian military and representatives of other law enforcement
agencies on the peninsula. The migration services do not take into
account these categories. Accordingly, Ukrainian experts estimated
that from 600 thousand to 1 million people moved to Crimea. Thus,
the Russian government has already replaced from 25 to 40% of the
Socio-economic development
Before the annexation, Russia has promised Crimeans an increase in
wages and pensions. In 2015, the average wage in Crimea increased
by 68 euros (up to 330 euros) compared to previous Ukrainian wages.
Over the next period, the average earnings of Crimeans increased
to 452 euros, but they have declined to 423 euros since 2020. The
modal wage (received by the vast majority of the working population)
is about 300 euros. Almost 18% of Crimeans receive a wage of less
than 172 euros.
The situation with pensions is similar: the average pension was
slowly growing during the occupation period and reached 166 euros
in 2021. However, this gure does not correspond to the real situation
due to the signicant number of retired military who have actively
settled on the peninsula after the annexation and have a signicantly
higher pension. So, the real pension coverage for most Crimean
pensioners is not more than 130 euros.
Along with the transition to Russian wages and pensions, Crimea
applies Russian prices for goods and services that are signicantly
higher than the Ukrainian ones. Accordingly, prices increased by 43%
(for products – by 53%) in 2014, and by another 28% (by 23% for
products) in 2015. In the following years, ination rates slowed to
5-7% per year, but in 2021, food ination was 11% in the Autonomous
Republic of Crimea and 14% in Sevastopol.
Russia has invested signicant funds in Crimea (more than 17
billion euros during the occupation period), but most of this money
was spent on large-scale infrastructure projects (“Crimean Bridge”,
Taurida highway between Kerch and Sevastopol) and the military
At the same time, other companies have faced economic
diculties due to the breakdown of established economic ties, lack
of adequate credit policy (large Russian banks didn’t operate on the
peninsula because of sanctions), and decline in exports by 25 times
(from over a billion dollars to 40 million). As a consequence, more
than 40% of companies are unprotable in Crimea.
As a result of the occupation, serious challenges were faced by
small and medium-sized businesses that have reduced their activities
due to the Russian bureaucratic system of permits and reports,
credit nancing problems, and rent increases. Only 6% of Crimeans
received income from business activities in 2019.
The ocial unemployment rate ranges between 5-6%, although in
fact, there are much more people who can’t nd jobs. This is primarily
because high-paying positions are given to migrants from Russia
(ocials, law enforcement agency sta, bank employees, etc.). As a
consequence, most young people leave Crimea for work opportunities.
As a result, in Sevastopol, only 40% of the total population works, the
rest are children and retirees.
Due to this socio-economic situation, the occupied peninsula
is among the outsiders of Russian socio-economic rankings. For
example, Crimea is one of the ten most disadvantaged regions in
terms of the nancial status of the population; it ranks 78th out of
85 regions in terms of consumer demand, and Crimeans need to
save money from 10.5 (Autonomous Republic of Crimea) to 15.5
(Sevastopol) years to buy own homes. The Autonomous Republic
of Crimea and Sevastopol also rank last in the mortgage availability
Yevheniia Horiunova
Social changes in Crimea occupied by
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3222
In 2020, the Audit Chamber of Russia acknowledged that the
federal targeted development program for Crimea and Sevastopol,
under which the bulk of investments was allocated, would not
allow bringing the living standards of the population to the Russian
average. In such a way, the social situation in Crimea will continue to
Yevheniia Horiunova
Associate Professor
V.I. Vernadsky Taurida National University
Kyiv, Ukraine
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28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Eskender Bariiev
Violation of the collective rights of
the Crimean Tatar people is a crime
against humanity
The Crimean Tatar people historically formed in Crimea
and in the Northern Black Sea region along with small
related peoples such as Karaites and Krymchaks. Crimean
Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks belong to the indigenous
population of the Crimean peninsula. They are ocially
recognized as indigenous peoples in Ukraine.
The Crimean Tatar people became a numerical minority in their
homeland, as a result of deliberate policy of genocide after the
liquidation of statehood and the annexation of Crimea by Russia in
1783, the apogee of which was the total forcible deportation of the
Crimean Tatar people.
So in 1944, 238 thousand people were deported, about 110
thousand died in the rst years of deportation, which is 46%.
The regime of a special settlement lasted until 1956, when
people were deprived of the right to free movement, for more than 50
years a policy of denying the existence of the Crimean Tatar people,
assimilation of the language and culture, falsication of historiography
was carried out. Secondary deportations in the 70s and 80s of the
20th century, when people seeking to return to Crimea were forcibly
taken out of Crimea by their whole families and thrown into the eld.
It is impossible not to recall the act of self-immolation of Musa Mamut,
committed by him in 1978, only after that his family was allowed to live
in Crimea.
The policy of racial discrimination and assimilation of the Crimean
Tatars has been going on since 2014, the occupiers are replacing
the population of Crimea. The indigenous Crimean Tatar people are
systematically intimidated and purposefully squeezed out of Crimea
as part of the population disloyal to the aggressor. More than six
hundred thousand Russians have already been brought from Russia
to Crimea, while tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars were forced to
leave it.
And everyone who refuses to accept the yoke of fake "Russian
citizenship" is deprived of the right to private property by the occupiers,
discriminated against in labor and social rights, or even deported from
Impunity breeds new crimes. Therefore, an important factor
in deterring crimes against humanity, minimizing all forms of
discrimination and violence on the temporarily occupied peninsula
should be the recognition by all civilized countries of the world of the
deportation of 1944 as a genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.
Today, it is important for the International Court of Justice and the
European Court of Human Rights to make fair decisions condemning
the current racial discrimination against Crimean Tatars by the
According to the Crimean Tatar Resource Center during the
occupation period of Crimea, 238 political prisoners and those
prosecuted in criminal cases, 169 of whom are representatives of
the indigenous people. 82 were convicted and are serving terms in
colonies on the territory of Russia, 57 of whom are Crimean Tatars,
and 42 are in a pre-trial detention centers, 36 of whom are Crimean
Tatars; 58 are dead, 27 of whom are representatives of the Crimean
Tatar people; 21 victims of violent abductions, 15 of whom are the
representatives of the Crimean Tatar people.
Despite the fact that the Russian authorities of Crimea "ocially"
recognized the Crimean Tatar language as one of the state languages,
the scope of its use is very narrow, there have been cases of threats
to dismiss workers for speaking their native language, which is a
violation of articles 2, 8 and 17 of the UN Declaration on rights of
indigenous peoples.
Before the occupation, there were 15 schools and 384 classes
in Crimea with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction. According
to the data of the de facto authorities, for 2021 there are 7 schools
with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction, 3 with Russian and
Crimean Tatar and 119 classes, which is a violation of Articles 8, 13
and 14 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Items of cultural heritage of the Crimean Tatars were taken out of
Crimea after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 1783.
Since 2014, the Russian government has been falsifying the
historiography of Crimea, including in school history textbooks,
conducts excavations without the consent of the representative body
of the indigenous people, and exports artifacts to Russia. This violates
Article 15 of the UNDRIP.
Under the guise of "restoration" authentic materials of the
Bakhchisaray historical and cultural reserve "Khan's Palace" are
destroyed, articles 8, 11, 15, 31 of the UNDRIP.
Violating articles 8, 25, 26, 27 of the Declaration, the Russian
authorities illegally use the natural resources of Crimea. Biological
resources and minerals are being extracted, the Black Sea shelf is
being developed. Quarrying has led to the destruction of the Crimean
landscape and has a negative impact on the traditional economy of the
Crimean Tatars. The rivers dried up, juniper forests were destroyed.
Due to explosions, houses of local residents are destroyed. As a
result of the construction of the Tavrida highway in Crimea, more than
237,000 trees and shrubs have been destroyed.
In Crimea, the Russian authorities are building military bases and
importing military equipment. Military exercises are held regularly.
These actions violate articles 29, 30 of the UNDRIP.
The FSB is persecuting human rights activists of the indigenous
peoples of Crimea. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Russia banned the
representative body of the Crimean Tatars - the Mejlis of the Crimean
Tatar people, accusing it of extremism, thus violating the right of the
indigenous people to manage their representative institutions. Russia
did not comply with the Interim Decision of the UN ICJ dated April 19,
2017 on lifting the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.
Expert article 3223
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
The occupying authorities forbid holding meetings of the
representative body of the Crimean Tatars to make important
decisions for the people.
Armed people carry out systematic mass detentions of Crimean
Tatars, collect personal data from people, take saliva for DNA analysis,
ngerprints. This is a direct violation of Article 12 of the UNDRIP.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and in violation of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, a mass conscription into the ranks of the Russian
Armed Forces is being carried out, and if people refuse, then criminal
proceedings are opened against them.
The actions of the Russian Federation are criminal, politically
motivated, grossly violating international law.
The families and more than 200 children of political prisoners
and the missing persons need support, and any reaction from the
civilized world inspires and gives hope for the release and return of
their parents.
We are condent that only with active joint opposition to the gross
violation of human rights in Crimea and the unprecedented aggression
of Russia, we will be able to protect not only the indigenous people
of Crimea - the Crimean Tatars and Ukraine, but also Europe and the
whole world.
Expert article 3223
Eskender Bariiev
Head of the Board
Crimean Tatar Resource Center
Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3224
Putin’s “annexation” of Crimea was both a precursor and a
model of the current wholesale invasion of Ukraine. The
Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea, fervently
opposed the “annexation” of Crimea because they were
aware that the “annexation” would be tantamount to
the destruction of their nation. The Russians undertook policies of
Russication in Crimea and later Donbas, and there is no doubt that
Putin will implement the same policy if Russia occupied Ukraine for
a longer time.
We should also notice the pattern of Russian history from Ivan
the Terrible to Stalin and Putin: messianic imperialism, which aims
to destroy all smaller nations and impose its own cultural vision and
identity over others. Unlike other nations such as Germany and
Japan, Russia never accepted its crimes and repented, therefore it is
bound to repeat its mistakes.
The invasion, “annexation”, and consequent occupation of
Crimea was a precursor and small-scale model of a contemporary
full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia uses the same tactics over and
over again and the West manages to be surprised each time. First of
all, Putin laid the groundwork for invasion. He supported pro-Russian
politicians in the regional government of Crimea, the local Russian
maa, the local Russian radical and fascist organizations and
paramilitary forces, a pro-Russian chauvinistic media which published
and showed anti-Crimean Tatar and anti-Ukrainian content daily, all
of which proved extremely useful during the invasion. The Black Sea
Fleet was maintained as a Trojan Horse. During the EuroMaidan
Revolution Ukraine fell into chaos and had neither a government nor
much military force. Putin pressed the button for the second stage of
the ‘hybrid’ invasion of Crimea. FSB staged a coup in the Crimean
government while the 40,000 soldiers without insignia occupied all
strategic points of Crimea. Thirdly, Russia organized a hasty and
illegal referendum, which was undertaken completely unlawfully with
practices such as armed soldiers carrying boxes from home to home
and no option for staying with Ukraine being given in the questions
of the referendum. Despite coercion, the turnout was very low, and
the approval rate was even lower. The fourth aspect of occupation
was terrorizing the society for obedience. The dissidents, particularly
Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians, were silenced by imprisonment,
disappearances, killings, house searches, and all democratic and
ethnic institutions were abolished or banned. The lack of appropriate
reaction to the Crimean occupation is one of the causes of Ukraine’s
full-scale invasion. For, Putin was encouraged due to the lack of
consequences for the occupation of Crimea. The Western economic
sanctions were quite limited, European countries continued to buy
oil and natural gas from Russia, Russian corrupt money easily found
ways to Western and o-shore nancial institutions, economy, and
politics, and manipulative Russian media continued to broadcast to
western societies.
Russia also intervened in Donbas two months later, organizing
a separatist movement. The western powers, mainly France and
Germany made another mistake of excluding the Crimean question
from the Minsk process that aimed to solve the Donbas conict.
However, appeasement did not work once again, and today Russia
launched a full-edged invasion of Ukraine, using the same ‘hybrid’
tactics. It is imperative to stop Putin and take him and all of his
accomplices to justice.
The Crimean Tatars established an Islamic civilization and a
strong state for 300 years in Crimea before there were any Russians
in the peninsula. The Russian colonization of the peninsula began
after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 1783, victimizing its native
population, thereby forcing them to emigrate to the Ottoman Empire in
large numbers. Despite the exodus of a large part of their population,
the Crimean Tatars were able to declare their independent state, only
to be crashed by Bolsheviks and leaders of their nation to be killed
or exiled. However, the most signicant crime against the Crimean
Tatars was the deportation of the whole nation from their homeland.
On 18 May 1944, Stalin ordered the deportation of the Crimean Tatars
to Central Asia and Siberia en masse on the pretext of collaboration
with Nazis. This was the most unjust accusation as all the young
males were serving in the Soviet army, and many Crimean Tatars
joined or helped Soviet partisans. The women, elderly, and children
were given fteen minutes to prepare belongings, loaded in cattle
cars, and after three weeks of travel, were unloaded to Central Asian
desserts, Ural Mountains, or Siberian taiga to try to survive in poverty
and misery. On the way to places of deportation and shortly afterward,
the Crimean Tatars lost at least 40% of their population.
The Crimean Tatars were suciently resilient and returned
collectively after 50 years, yet they were once again devastated by
the occupation of Crimea in 2014. Since the annexation of Crimea,
Russia unleashed its policy of re-colonization and Russication
of Crimea. While forcing Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians to leave,
at least 850 000 Russians were settled in the peninsula. What the
Russian government has done in Crimea and Donbas is beyond
human rights violations. Russia committed crimes against humanity
and war crimes, for it is responsible to implement Geneva Convention
in its occupied territories. The case of Crimea also demonstrates
clearly what will happen if Ukraine is occupied by Russia for a longer
Crimea does not belong to Russia in the rst place despite Putin’s
historical narrative. Russia’s only historical relation to Crimea is one
of the colonizers’ to colonized. Russia lost any right to Crimea through
acts of terror perpetrated against its indigenous population several
times in its history. Crimea belongs to Ukraine, a democratic and
pluralist country that recognizes and respects the indigenous rights
of the Crimean Tatars. Most of all, Crimea belongs to its indigenous
people, Crimean Tatars. The international community must not regard
Filiz Tutku Aydın
Crimea, Crimean Tatars and the
Russian invasion of Ukraine
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3224
Crimea as a bargaining chip in the post-war settlement with Russia
but instead insist on the restoration of the whole territorial integrity of
Putin, while claiming the legacy of Russian polities, culture,
and achievements in the past, rejects the historical crimes Russian
Empire or the Soviet Union perpetrated, among which are Crimean
Tatar deportation and Holodomor. After the war, a transitional justice
process must be initiated for Russia to redress its historical injustices
instead of adding new ones, as the war in Ukraine shows forgetting
almost guarantees the repetition of crimes.
Filiz Tutku Aydın
Assistant Professor
Social Sciences University of Ankara
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Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3225
Although there is abundant literature on Crimean Tatars
(CTs), especially about about their tragic fate related to
the genocidal deportation of May 1944, some aspects of
the CTs case, less known and poorly understood by the
international community, need to be claried.
One of the points is their ’indigenousness’. CTs identify
themselves as an indigenous people –not just one of the numerous
national minorities of Ukraine – from the very beginning of the
repatriation to their Homeland in late 80-s of the 20th century. Indeed,
they fully comply with all ‘indigenous peoples’ denitions enshrined
in the international law. For CTs, the Crimean Peninsula is not simply
a geographical area where their ethnogenesis took place or the
land they traditionally cultivate; they have strong spiritual ties with
the Crimea and its nature. This territory is inextricably linked to the
unique Crimean Tatar identity which they have never lost, despite all
attempts by the Russian and Soviet Empires to deny it through either
assimilation or not separating from a larger Tatar ethnos.
CTs demanded such a status to be ocially recognised, but this
did not happen until occupation of Crimea by the RF in 2014. Only on
March 20, 2014 Verkhovna Rada issued Decree N 1140-18l followed
on 1 July 2021 by the long-awaited law on CTs as an indigenous
people of Ukraine, and the Mejlis as their main representative-
executive body.
During occupation of the peninsula CTs proved to be the
main politically and socially organised force that persistently but
peacefully resisted it. For this and generally pro-Ukrainian position
they were ‘punished’ by persecutions and repressions including
illegal searches, detainments, abductions, ‘disappearances’ never
properly investigated, and arrests under false charges of ‘terrorism’
and ‘extremism’ – without any proven evidence of crimes committed
or even wrongdoings breaching the RF-imposed Russian legislation.
In all cases, international HR law and vast majority of articles of
the 4th Geneva convention (1949) – the basis of the international
humanitarian law – have been brutally violated.
Although persecutions on political and religious grounds are
widespread on the occupied peninsula, there are CTs who suer the
most and constitute the lion share among all victims of the oppressive
regime. At the end of 2021, 162 out of 230 persons repressed by the
occupants, were CTs (while they make up only 13 – 15% of the Crimean
population). In 2016 Mejlis was banned as an ‘extremist organisation’,
two Deputy Heads arrested (Akhtem Chiygoz in January 2015, Ilmi
Umerov – in May 2016; on 25 October 2017, both were saved by the
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who swapped them for
two Russian spies). Nariman Dzhelyal, the only CT leader remaining
in Crimea, was arrested on 4 September 2021 on absurd charges
of ‘sabotage’ – in fact, due to his participation in the inauguration
summit of Crimean Platform in Kyiv on 23 August. Criminal cases
were also initiated against the Head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov
and charismatic people’s leader Mustafa Djemilev; both men were
prohibited from entering the peninsula. Now the Mejlis oce functions
in Kyiv, whereas many active members of the community moved to
mainland Ukraine in 2014 – 2015 and some of them joined the ranks
of Ukrainian Army as volunteers or under contract.
Attempts to intimidate CTs and force them to stop their peaceful
struggle against the occupiers have failed. All cases of political
persecution continue to be covered, and support for the repressed
and their families provided. An outstanding role in the information
ow from the occupied Crimea to mainland Ukraine, used also by
international organisations, belongs to the public movement ‘Crimean
Solidarity’ (CS). Although many coordinators and civic journalists from
the CS have been arrested and sentenced, its activities and growing
popularity are not suppressed, and the number of the CS members
and supporters is on the rise. First appeared in 2018 as a reaction to
the persecutions of Crimean Tatar Muslims, it gradually transformed
into the genuinely ‘all-Crimean’ initiative uniting and consolidating
people of dierent ethnicities and religious denominations. Its
eectiveness is also determined by a ‘horizontal’ networking structure
not depending on a single leader. This amazing example of a non-
violent counteraction to the occupying power shouldn’t come
unheeded by the international community. It is especially topical after
peaceful protests in Russia and Belarus were crushed and almost
ceased to exist, thus undermining the validity of the concept of non-
violent resistance described and promoted by Gene Sharp in his
famous pamphlet ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy”. After the large-
scale military invasion of the RF into Ukraine on February 24, 2022,
many CTs, who settled in the southern regions bordering Crimea,
experienced the second wave of occupation. Some of them ed to
safer places or become refugees. Men with military training re-joined
Ukrainian troops, hoping that victory in this crucial phase of the eight-
year war would help de-occupy Crimea and enable them to return to
their Homeland.
Natalya Belitser
Expert/Senior Researcher
Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy
Natalya Belitser
Crimean Tatars and occupation of
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Veikko Jarmala
Crimean Estonians
Crimea is well known for its culturally diverse and rich
history. The most dominant civilisations in the history have
been Graeco-Roman and Turkic-Islamic (Tatar) cultures
whilst Russian dominance forms only about 6 percent of
the whole history. However, the era of Russian Empire
brought also new smaller minorities in the peninsula, e.g. Estonians,
who have been remarkably living there already 160 years ago despite
all the hardships, repressions and wars.
In the beginning Russian colonization actually meant even
further diversifying of the population in the peninsula. The Russian
Empress Catherine II preferred colonisation of Crimea by European
settlers, especially Germans, being of that background herself. After
the Crimean war (1855-1856) the Russian policy turned towards
Russication and deportations. During this period the Russian
population quadrupled from 7 to 29 percent, while the Tatars were
deported to Turkey. The share of the native main population, the
Tatars started to diminish rst to the half after the Crimean war and
by the end of the 19th century they had lost their place as a majority.
This trend of Russication and de-Tatarisation continued through the
Imperial and Soviet times culminating with the total deportation of all
Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in 1944.
The imperial government in St. Petersburg had a need to resettle
the emptied Tatar lands. Also bringing other non-Russian population
from other parts of the vast empire in to the Russian-speaking
environment would contribute further to their Russication.
With this context in the background, began the settling of Estonians
in Crimea. Estonians lived in two gubernias (governorates), Estonia
and Livonia, which were under the Baltic German semi-autonomous
minority rule recognised by the Imperial government. The population
surplus of Estonian governorates, the railway connections, the
example of others, the aim to get better life somewhere else and
religious movements were among the reasons why Estonians for their
part saw the possibility to leave for Crimea. In the case of Crimea,
the latter reason was especially important. Juhan Leinberg, so called
Prophet Maltvets, was a layman leader of Lutheran sect called
Maltvetsian. During the autumn of 1860, Leinberg got an idea to move
to Crimea with his successors, as he had heard that the Emperor
needed settlers for the empty settlements left from the deported
Tatars. For his successors, Crimea would be the Biblical Promised
Land and Prophet Maltvets would be the new Moses. In January 1861
the Emperor granted an Imperial permission for Maltvetsians to move
for Crimea.
The First Estonian settlers, ve families, arrived at Crimea at the
beginning of autumn 1861. During the next spring, 700 Maltvetsians
arrived at Crimea. However, the Maltvetsian movement did not
thrive and the Prophet himself returned back to Estonia with his
family in 1865, but the foundation for the Estonian settlement in
Crimea had been laid. Despite the hardships of the early phase,
hardworking and co-operative Estonians survived and re-established
the old Crimean Tatar settlements of Zamruq (Beregovoye) (1861),
Kara-Kiyat (Grushevoe) (1862), (Pervomaiskoe) (1863), Dzurchi
(Pervomaiskoe) (1863), Konchi-Shavva (Krasnodarka) (1863),
Syrt-Karakchora (1864), Kiyat-Orka (Upornoe) (1864) and Uchkuyu
Tarkhan (Kolodeznoe) (1879). Yapunca (Vypasnoe) was mentioned
in 1864 census as Estonian-Tatar mixed village and mixed population
had also Dzhaga-Kushchu (Okhotnikovo). The last Novaya Estoniya
(Novoestonia) was mentioned for the rst time in 1926.
The preceding and subsequent years of the First World War
were the heydays of Crimean Estonians. When the Estonian writer
Eduard Vilde visited local Estonians in 1904, he could only praise the
settlements. The Estonians had the highest literacy rate, as they had
immediately at the very beginning established schools and churches,
their houses were built of stone and they were wealthier than other
When the Crimean ASSR was established in 1921, there were
2367 Estonians with the share of 0.4% of the population; this made
them as the seventh largest ethnic group of the peninsula. There were
31 Estonian villages or settlements. A total of 1,570 Estonians (with
97% procient in the Estonian language) lived in the rural settlements,
while 524 Estonians lived in the cities (276 in Simferopol, 218 in other
cities). The Leninist oppression started to diminish Estonian population
from the beginning of the Soviet rule. As the Estonian population was
classied as too wealthy, they lost their election rights. Even though
there were no real elections in Soviet Russia/Union, meant losing the
voting rights also other socio-economic problems. The worst was to
become when the Stalinist purge and repressions started in the latter
half of the 1930’s.
In 1939 there were 1,900 Estonians, 1,291 in 1970, 1,048 in
1979 and 985 in 1989. During the Soviet times, some new Estonians
moved to Crimea, especially to Simferopol, but the main tendency
of the Soviet era was Russication of Crimean Estonians and the
dominance of the Russian language. Nowadays there are 500-600
Estonians and about one third of them can speak Estonian. Additional
2000-5000 Crimeans have Estonian roots too.
The only Estonian village left today is Krasnodarka, which is
also the place for Estonian Cabin and museum. Before Russian
occupation of Crimea in 2014, there were three Estonian cultural
societies in Crimea. At least two of them are still working, one in
Sevastopol. In Aleksandrovka (Oleksandrivka in Ukrainian) there was
an Estonian school (2002-2014) that was also popular among other
nationalities. Estonian Foreign Ministry sent there an Estonian teacher
on the basis of an agreement with Ukraine, but after the occupation
and annexation by Russian Federation, all ocial relations between
Estonian state and Crimean Estonians ceased.
Currently there is a small conict of interests between Crimean
Estonians and Republic of Estonia. The former have an interest
to survive also in the current situation; at least ocially they have
recognised the new Russian rule. However, the latter needs to hold on
the principles of international justice and maintain the policy of state
integrity of Ukraine. There has been discussion how Estonians and
Estonia could support Crimean Estonians without endangering the
rights of Ukraine. Recently through a fundraising in Estonia, Estonian
Cabin (Eesti Tare) was renovated in Krasnodarka, which was kind of
example how the support could be organised through civil society.
However, it needs to be remembered that civil society does not freely
exist in Russia, and Kremlin usually tries to lead it to support its own
politics. Also it needs to be ensured that the cultural activity is real and
not just showing national costumes as the ocial minority policy of
Russian Federation tends to be.
Expert article 3226
Veikko Jarmala
M.Soc.Sc., Doctoral Candidate in
Contemporary History
University of Helsinki
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3227
The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops on February 24,
2022, is a continuation of the dramatic Russian-Ukrainian
confrontation that began on February 20, 2014, with
the occupation of Crimea. The reasons why this small
peninsula is of such great importance to Vladimir Putin
are well known. Firstly, it is a "natural aircraft carrier" that allows one
to keep the Black Sea basin under control, and secondly, Crimea
is an important "memory space" in Russian culture. That is why, to
justify the attempted annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin used alleged
"historical" arguments as understandable to the majority of Russians.
Let's take them in turn.
1. According to the supposed "canonical" version of the myth, Crimea
was allegedly inhabited by Slavs for a long time, and only with the
arrival of nomads, they were forced out of the peninsula. A cursory
glance at the modern ethnographic map of the peninsula, 60% of
whose population are ethnic Russians, adds weight to this statement.
There is, in fact, no archaeological evidence of the presence of
a permanent Slavic population on the peninsula until the 11th-13th
centuries. Even later in some cities, there were only separate quarters
for Rus` merchants. There is also no evidence of a permanent
Russian population in the era of the Crimean Khanate. During the
eviction (de facto deportation) of Christians from the peninsula by
order of Catherine the Great in 1778, Russians (and Ukrainians)
were not recorded among 33,000 of Christian exiles. By the time of
the Russian Empire’s rst annexation of Crimea in 1783, there were
barely 2000 immigrants from Russia.
The transformation of Russians from a minority into an absolute
majority of Crimean residents was the result of Russia's purposeful
policy – both imperial and Soviet. On the one hand, the Center created
unfavorable conditions for the Crimean Tatar population, mainly
due to land fraud, forcing Crimean Tatars to emigrate en masse to
the Ottoman Empire. On the other hand, this policy stimulated the
resettlement of Russians from the central regions of the country to
Crimea in every possible way.
Even under these conditions, only at the beginning of the twentieth
century, the number of Russians exceeded the number of Crimean
Tatars, and only after the deportation of the indigenous people of
Crimea of 1944, Russians turned into the absolute majority of the
population of the peninsula.
2. Another argument that Russia justies the seizure of the Crimean
Peninsula with is Crimea’s supposedly eternal belonging to Russia.
From this point of view, the events of 2014 do not look like the seizure
of someone else's territory, but instead the so-called "restoration of
historical justice" and "return to their native harbor."
In particular, there are claims that part of the Kerch Peninsula
belonged to the old Russian Tmutarakan principality and that the
ancient Chersonese, taken by Prince Vladimir, fell into the sphere
of inuence of Russia. Thus, Moscow's claims to the alleged "Old
Russian heritage" are legitimized.
In fact, many years of excavations have proved that modern Kerch
and its surroundings have never been part of Russia. Professional
historians of both Ukraine and Russia agree on this. Similarly,
Chersonesos, after being captured by Vladimir, was returned to
Byzantium and did not remain subject to Kyiv. Nevertheless, school
textbooks and atlases simply replicate false information about
Crimea’s history fabricated by Moscow’s propaganda machine.
Thus, there can be no question of any ancient possession of
Crimea by Russian princes. Under these conditions, the real "Russian
period" in the history of the peninsula began in 1783 with the rst
annexation of Crimea and ended in 1954 after its transfer to Ukraine.
Against the background of the 3,000-year written history of the
peninsula, the time of Russian power over it lasted formally 171
years or 5.5%. For comparison, the Crimean Khanate existed on the
peninsula for exactly twice as long.
3. On March 18, 2014, Putin said that when the USSR collapsed in
1991, the residents of Crimea were not asked if they wanted to live
in an independent Ukraine, but were granted to the new state "like a
sack of potatoes." Allegedly only Putin himself asked the opinion of
the Crimeans at the "referendum".
In fact, on December 1, 1991, an absolutely legitimate national
referendum on the attitude to the declaration of independence of the
country was held throughout the territory of Ukraine. On it, 54% of
residents of Crimea and 57% of residents of Sevastopol supported
the independence of Ukraine. Thus, Putin simply lied.
The so-called "Crimean referendum" on March 16, 2014, was
completely illegitimate, so its results were not recognized by anyone
in the world, except Russia itself.
So, Putin, Russian ocials, and even, unfortunately, some
professional historians have lied or manipulated the facts when
it comes to Crimea and continue to do so. Unable to justify the
occupation with legal arguments, Moscow resorts to historical – or
rather, quasi-historical ones.
You can read more in my book "#CrimeaIsOurs. History of the
Russian Myth" (Kyiv, 2017), which is legally available on the Internet.
Serhii Hromenko
Ph.D., Expert
The Ukrainian Institute for the Future
Serhii Hromenko
Putin misuses the history of Crimea in
the war against Ukraine
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Nikita Lomagin
Russia's historic relations with Crimea
The Crimea plays a very important role in Russian history and
identity. Victory over Ottoman Empire in two wars (1768-74,
1788-1792) secured the territory north of the Black Sea as
far west as the Dniester river, including the vital agricultural
and mineral resources of southern Ukraine, an area that
became known as New Russia. In the process, Russia annexed the
Crimea in 1783. As long as the Crimea remained independent, Russia
could have no navy in the Black Sea – the Sea of Azov freezes over
from November to April and its exit was too shallow for large warships.
Thus, Russia’s future as a naval power in the Black Sea depended on
a settlement of the ‘Crimean question’.1
The Black Sea ports of Crimea provide quick access to the Eastern
Mediterranean, Balkans and Middle East. The nearby Dnieper River is
a major waterway and transportation route that crosses the European
continent from north to south and ultimately links the Black Sea with
the Baltic Sea.
Russia’s domination in the region ended by humiliating defeat in
the Crimean War of 1853-56. This war was about the control of the two
decisive points, the Turkish Straits and the Khyber Pass. The British
government decided to claim control over the mouths of the Danube,
the Dniepr, and the Don. In January 1853, it drew a line along the
right bank of the Danube beyond which a Russian advance would be
met with declaration of war, and it pledged to defend any Turkish port
in the Black Sea against a Russian attack. Russia has fought alone
against Turkey, France, and Great Britain.
The war turned into a series of far-ung naval operations unlikely
to settle anything. Only in the Crimea did a large allied forces launch
a major operation but the siege of Sevastopol lasted until September
1855. In December 1854, when the siege was tightening, the foreign
secretary Lord Clarendon set forth another Britain’s goal – the
demolition of Sevastopol and other Russian fortresses on the eastern
coast of the Black Sea to shake Russia’s hold on the Caucasus, the
elimination of Russia’s naval installations in that sea, the reduction
of its navy to four ships, and a revision of the Straits Convention to
allow Britain and France to maintain the same number of warships
in the Black Sea. The Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30, 1856,
moderated these radical demands by reasserting the old rule that
British and French warships would not be allowed into the Black Sea
in peacetime but it forced Russia to accept the neutralization of the
Black Sea and retrocede to Turkey the mouth of Danube and part of
Bessarabia, won from the Turks almost half a century earlier. Also,
the friendship treaty between Turks and the two maritime powers
guaranteed that in the event of the war the sultan would allow their
warships to cross into the Black Sea to attack a defenseless Russia.
The Crimean defeat signied the end of Russia’s status as the
supreme land power in Europe and made fundamental reforms
unavoidable. The Paris settlement was a great humiliating geopolitical
loss for Russia which created preconditions for taking revenge.
Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an
autonomous republic within the Russian SFSR in the Soviet Union.
During the Second World War the peninsula was invaded by Nazi
Germany and Romanian troops in summer 1941. Following the
capture of Sevastopol after severe battles on 4 July 1942, Crimea
was occupied until German and Romanian forces were expelled in an
oensive by Soviet forces ending in May 1944. The Nazis murdered
around 40,000 Crimean Jews.
1 LeDonne, John P. (1997). The Russian Empire and the
World, 1700-1917. The Geopolitics of Expansion and
Containment. New York, Oxford. Oxford U. Press, p. 106.
During the Second World War, Crimea was downgraded to the
Crimean Oblast and the entirety of one of its indigenous populations,
the Crimean Tatars, were deported to Central Asia. In 1954, the Soviet
leader Nikita Khrushchev, transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR
from the Russian SFSR. The year 1954 happened to mark the 300th
anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, which was signed in 1654 by
representatives of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate and Tsar Alexis
of Russia.
By 1991, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, headquartered in Sevastopol,
had 100,000 personnel and 835 ships. With the collapse of the Soviet
Union, Ukraine was reestablished as an independent state, and most
of the peninsula was reorganized as the Autonomous Republic of
Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol retained its special status within
Ukraine. In 1992-95, Russia supported Yuri Meshkov, the head of
the Crimean provincial government, who was a proponent of holding
a referendum on succession of the peninsula from the rest of the
country. In 1995, amidst the rst war between Russia and Chechnya,
the Ukrainian national parliament dismissed Meshkov and annulled
the autonomous status of Crimea.
As Russian identity is concerned, as a result of disintegration of
the Soviet Union, numerous sacred symbols of old imperial Russia
(e.g., Kiev and Narva) and twentieth-century Soviet Russia (e.g. the
Baikonur Cosmodrome and the Brest fortress) were displaced beyond
the borders of the Russian Federation almost overnight. Sevastopol
was a symbol of glory of both imperial and Soviet Russia.2 Alongside
Kiev and Odesa, Sevastopol was awarded the status of 'hero-city'
to commemorate the heroism of their defenders during the Second
World war.
A Treaty of ‘Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership’ sealed by
Boris Yeltsin and the Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma in May
1997 set aside the territorial issue over Crimea. Separate agreements
partitioned the Black Sea eet, with Moscow buying out much of the
Ukrainian’s share in exchange for debt relief, and provided a 20-year
lease on the naval base in Sevastopol and the right to billet 25,000
sailors, aviators and marines there. Ukraine extended Russia's lease
of the naval facilities under the 2010 Kharkiv Pact in exchange for
further discounted natural gas.
In late February 2014, following the regime change in Ukraine that
ousted the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, the Republic of
Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine following a disputed
referendum on 16 March, deemed illegal by Ukraine and most
countries, which was held on the issue of reunication with Russia; its
ocial results showed over 90% support for reunication, but the vote
was boycotted by many loyal to Ukraine. Russia formally annexed
Crimea on 18 March, incorporating the Republic of Crimea and the
federal city of Sevastopol as the 84th and 85th federal subjects of
2 Serhii Plokhy, ‘The City of Glory: Sevastopol
in Russian Historical Mythology’, Journal of
Contemporary History, Vol. 35, No. 3
(Jul., 2000), pp. 370-371
Expert article 3228
Nikita Lomagin
European University
St. Petersburg, Russia
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3229
Why did Khrushchev transfer Crimea to Ukraine in
1954? Historians do not have any uniform opinion
about that. This fact is mostly attributed to the well-
known extravagance of the First Secretary of the CC
of the CPSU (Central Committee of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union) or to his desire to atone for his guilt towards
the Ukrainians because of the mass repressions in which Khrushchev
was involved in the past. Meantime, we believe that the reply is to be
found elsewhere – in the history of construction of the North Crimean
The fact is that water resources in Crimea are among the poorest
in Europe. According to the statistical data, in 1864, fresh water was
not suitable for drinking in half the settlements of the peninsula.
Naturally, crop farming would be next to impossible there without
additional irrigation.
First projects to bring the water from the Dnieper River appeared
as early as in the middle of the 19th century; then there were some
projects at the beginning of the 20th century. None of them were
supported due to lack of funds. It was after the Second World War
only that the real chance to build a canal appeared. On September
21, 1951, the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued the decree ‘On
construction of the Kakhovka HPP on the Dnieper River, the South
Ukrainian Canal and the North Crimean Canal and on irrigation of land
in the South regions of Ukraine and the North regions of the Crimea’.
The State Planning Committee (Gosplan) of the USSR calculated the
cost of work, and surveys began. The scope included construction
of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper River (and moving out
of dozens of settlements), the Kakhovka HPP, dozens of pumping
stations, hundreds of kilometers of power lines and highways, and
excavation of millions of tons of soil. The design length of the North
Crimean Canal alone was over 402 kilometers, while the total length
of its water networks exceeded 5,000 kilometers. Needless to say,
the construction would require thousands of workers, a great number
of building and road machinery. The construction of the Kakhovka
Reservoir including the HPP and the system of canals became the
largest infrastructural project in the post-war USSR.
It was at that moment that the question was raised: who exactly
would manage the giant construction project? The fact is that
ministries in the USSR were subdivided into the Union ministries
and the Republican ones. The rst types were in charge of issues
of the whole country, while the second – those on the level of the
Republics. However, actual execution of the Union-level projects
was the responsibility of ministries of those Republics, in which such
projects were implemented.
As far as the Kakhovka HPP and the South Ukrainian Canal were
concerned, everything was clear. They were built in the territory of
Ukraine, and their construction was, accordingly, under direct control
of the Council of Ministers of the UkSSR (the Ukrainian SSR). For that
purpose, the Republic established a company called ‘Ukrvodostroi’;
besides, there was 'Dneprostroi’ Company, which had built the
Dneproges (Dnieper Hydroelectric Station) during 1927-1932.
The construction of the North Crimean Canal was a more
complicated matter. It would start in the territory of the UkSSR, from
the Kakhovka Reservoir, and would end in a branched irrigation
system in Crimea, in the territory of the RSFSR (the Russian Soviet
Federative Socialist Repulic). But managing of any projects within the
territory of the RSFSR by the Council of Ministers of the UkSSR (just
as vice versa) had been unheard of in the Soviet history. And it would
be stupid to build the canal up to the boundary of Crimea, and then
hand it over to be operated by the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR.
It was clear even from plain reckoning that management of the
vast construction project spread over the territory of the two Republics
would be easier from a single center, and, better still – from Ukraine: it
was adjacent to Crimea, and besides, majority of the work scope was
carried out within its territory.
And then Khrushchev had an idea how to x the whole package
of these administrative and economic problems: Crimean Region
along with the responsibility for construction of the Crimean portion of
the canal should be transferred to the Republic that was closer, and
that was already involved in the construction of the irrigation system,
i.e., the Ukrainian SSR. The First Secretary of the CC of the CPSU
thought: at the end of the day, it did not really matter who Crimea
would formally belong to, because the Soviet Union was unbreakable,
and would exist forever. And in order to decorate somehow the fact
of the transfer, a matching date was selected – the forthcoming
300th anniversary of Pereyaslav Council (1654) as the symbol of the
Russian and Ukrainian unity.
On February 19, 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of
the USSR issued the Decree ‘On transfer of Crimean Region from the
RSFSR to the UkSSR’. Note the statement of reason in this resolution:
‘Considering the common economies, the adjacent territories and the
close economic and cultural links between Crimean Region and the
Ukrainian SSR, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet the RSFSR
hereby resolves that…’. It was the economic reasoning that prompted
Khrushchev’s decision. On April 26 of the same year, the Supreme
Soviet of the USSR approved the decree of its Presidium and made
the respective amendments to the Constitution of the USSR. From
now on, the Council of Ministers of the UkSSR was fully responsible
for the construction of the North Crimean Canal named after the
Komsomol of Ukraine (that was the name given to the Canal), as
well as for any other improvements in Crimea including the previously
unprecedented construction of the multi-kilometer mountain trolleybus
line Simferopol-Alushta-Yalta. The rst phase of the Canal was
commissioned on October 17, 1963; the ceremony was attended by
N.S.Khrushchev himself. The construction was completed after his
death, in 1975.
Sergei V. Moshkin
Why did Khrushchev transfer Crimea
to Ukraine?
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3229
Hence, it appears that Khrushchev’s decision to transfer Crimea to
Ukraine has not been dictated by the international feeling of friendship
between peoples (although one cannot deny that, either), nor by his
guilt complex towards the Ukrainian people, and certainly not by the
romantic desire to make a luxury gift to his Ukrainian wife, as it was
then rumored. The destiny of Crimea in 1954 was determined by a
pragmatic and seemingly simple economic decision to build a canal
between the two Union republics that were at that time friends.
Sergei V. Moshkin
Doctor of Political Science, Senior
Institute of Philosophy and Law, Department
of Philosophy, Ural Branch of the Russian
Academy of Sciences
Ekaterinburg, Russia
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Pan-European Institute
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3230
The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine began due
to doctrinal narratives imposed on Russian society by
Russian propaganda. Crimea possesses a special place
in the Russian historical memory - it has absorbed most of
the unifying historical narratives. Also for a modern Russian
identity, Crimea acts as a cultural frontier. Thus, the Russians perceive
Crimea not only as a symbol of a naval power for protecting the
empire’s borders but also as an outpost of Soviet (cultural) heritage.
Virtually the entire legitimizing discourse on the occupation and
annexation of Crimea is built through references to the past and
presents this event as a correction of historical injustice and previously
committed illegal acts.
The historical continuity of the relationship between Crimea
and Russia is marked by the signicant state-building and military
the baptism of Prince Volodymyr in Chersonesus is presented as
a symbol of Russia’s succession to Byzantium and as a symbol
of the state act that laid the foundations for future Russian
the goal of the military contests for Crimea in the 18th century
was to strengthen Russia’s presence in the Black Sea and gain
the right to enter the Mediterranean, and the peninsula itself is
seen as a “fair trophy;”
the Russians associate Crimea in the 20th century primarily with
hostilities and casualties during World War II, and therefore the
peninsula is closely linked to the historical narrative of the Great
Patriotic War and victory.
The leitmotif of the Crimean theme in Russian historical memory is
the concepts of “justice” and “truth”. “Truth” is understood in Russian
culture as a synthesis of law and justice, law and morality. In this
sense, “‘truth’ is the highest expression of justice that is inherent in
Russian civilization” and is opposed to “law as a limited expression of
justice that is inherent in Western civilization”.
In referencing historical events, the “justice” of Russia’s ownership
of Crimea is being justied by the duration of its ownership of the
peninsula, its sacred signicance for the Russian state and spirituality,
and the blood shed for this territory. The historical narrative of the
continuity of Russian statehood since the baptism of Volodymyr the
Great in Crimea turns further contests for Crimea into Russia’s “fair”
desire to keep “what rightly belongs to it,” which naturally reinforces
the military dimension of historical memory. Therefore, it is logical
that Russian scientic discourse is given to the historical military
background: military glory gained during the wars for Crimea in the
18th century, stories of heroism and sacrice of the Great Patriotic
War, and so on.
In this context, certain rhetorical and comparative techniques
used in the Russian public space deserve attention. In addition to the
above-mentioned terms “truth” and “justice,” the symbol of the mother
is widely used, which strengthens the ethical arguments by showing
the inseparable link between Russia and Crimea and emphasizing
Russia’s duty to protect the peninsula. The use of the mother image is
considered a traditional method of military propaganda, designed to
convince of the purity of a state’s intentions and the just nature of the
war on its part.
The Kremlin and representatives of pro-government scientic
discourse regard the inhabitants of the occupied peninsula, in
particular the Crimean Tatars, with distrust, which is expressed
in certain interpretations and emphasis on the specics of inter-
ethnic relations when describing the Soviet and post-Soviet periods
of Crimean history. The Russian focus is on the destructive role of
the Crimean Tatars as collaborators during World War II and the
the Crimean Tatars as the possible source of modern international
The other focal points of Russian propaganda are “the rights”
of the Russian Federation to make “peacekeeping interventions”
in Crimea, the “illegitimacy” of Ukrainian claims to Crimea, and the
legitimacy and legality of the Russian Federation’s actions. These
narratives are constructed mainly by manipulative interpretations of
legal documents, processes and events. For example, Russia fails to
recognize the relevance of these internationally binding agreements
and obligations concerning Crimea (e.g. the CSCE Helsinki Final Act
of 1975 is called by Russian side irrelevant because it consolidated the
political and territorial results of World War II as of 1945 when Crimea
was part of the RSFSR) and the legality of Russian intervention in
Crimea and policy towards Ukraine.
It can be said that the topic of Crimea in the policy of the Russian
Federation is a special instrument, by which the Russian government
uses/crafts historical memory to strengthen its domestic and foreign
policy actions.(so far, in the eyes of its own population). Russian
citizens unequivocally support the illegal annexation of Crimea as
an act committed for the sake of “truth,” “justice,” and “memory of
the heroic past” – categories that, in the opinion of most Russians,
outweigh all other considerations. Such support, in turn, gives these
categories a special power – the power to legitimize other illegal
actions in the eyes of their society if they are interpreted and explained
accordingly. The desire of Russian politicians and scholars to make
these conceptual approaches acceptable in the eld of international
relations is part of the general destabilizing inuence of Russia on the
international legal order, considering the vast (false) narratives/ ideas
and myths that can stem from Russian historical memory.
Olena Snigyr
Ph.D., Head
Department of Informational and Analytical
Support, Ukrainian Institute of National
Olena Snigyr
Crimean narratives of Russian
historical memory
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Elena Kayukova
Fresh water of the Crimean Peninsula
The water resources of Crimea are one of the leading
factors for the stable development of the region. After
the reunication of the Republic of Crimea with Russia in
March 2014, the relations with Ukraine becoming more
complicated. This aected all spheres of interaction,
including water management.
Until 2014 Crimea provided itself with about 20% of its own
fresh water resources. So, on average in 1990-2000 the total water
resources of the Crimea were: water from the Dnieper River through
the North Crimean Canal - 78.3%; natural river ow (ponds and
reservoirs) – 11.8%; groundwater - 7.8%; marine waters – 2.1%. That
is, Crimea received about 80% of fresh resources from the Dnieper
water supplied through the North Crimean Canal.
The North Crimean Canal is a unique hydrotechnical complex
(its main channel is 402.6 km long). The canal provided Crimea with
water for more than 50 years. The cut o the water supply through
the North Crimean Canal immediately aected the general balance of
water resources, as a result of which the Water Management Complex
of the Republic of Crimea faced the problem of nding additional
sources of water. Since 2014 it has been necessary to focus on the
internal capabilities of the peninsula (natural river and underground
Climate is the principal factor in the formation of Crimean fresh
waters. Atmospheric precipitation is the main source of accumulation
and renewal of fresh water, evaporation plays the role of a regulator in
the redistribution of water reserves.
Crimean rivers, despite their small size and the fact that most of
them dry up in summer, still contribute much to the water balance.
Fresh drinking water is distributed extremely unevenly across the
territory of the Crimean peninsula.
The total own river runo resources of the Crimea average are 1
km3/year, of which 85% are in the Mountain Crimea and 15%, in the
Lowland Crimea and Kerch Peninsula. The contribution of river water,
with natural-runo reservoirs taken into account, is about 10%.
Natural runo is not constant, depending on the
hydrometeorological conditions of the area. The distribution of
runo, obeying the landscape-climatic zonality, corresponds to the
distribution of precipitation. The altitudinal zonality of the Crimean
Mountains ensures an increase in the average annual precipitation
and a decrease in surface air temperatures with height. Characterized
by natural uctuations in water availability with a period of 4-7 years,
when dry and watery periods alternate.
Thus, before 2014 the Crimean Peninsula had provided itself
with its own fresh resources by about 20%, however, after the North
Crimean Canal was blocked, the water collapse did not occur,
because in 2015 precipitation was 20% above the climatic norm.
After 2015, a ve-year period began, leading to serious water
problems in 2020, when precipitation fell only 70% of the climatic
norm. At the same time, during the previous 5 years, there was a
trend towards an increase in the average annual values of surface air
temperature and a decrease in the average annual precipitation (by
2С and 11 mm per year, respectively).
In 2021, a favorable period began - atmospheric precipitation fell
130% of the climatic norm, which made it possible to ll the reservoirs
of natural ow.
After 2014, the problem of water supply was solved by transferring
water from reservoirs of natural ow to the eastern part of the
peninsula, as well as by equipping new artesian water intakes -
Prostornensky, Nezhinsky and Novogrigorevsky (Dzhankoysky and
Nizhnegorsky regions of Crimea).
The artesian waters of the peninsula are an important strategic
reserve in case of emergencies, and artesian wells should be operated
with caution (since the reserves of these waters are not unlimited).
Excessive abstraction can lead to a decrease in the level
of groundwater, the formation of depression funnels and the
deterioration of water quality. Thus, in the North Sivash artesian
basin, mineralization has increased by 1-4 g/dm3 from the moment of
operation to the present.
It is impossible to solve once and for all the problem of Crimea's
water supply at the expense of its own resources. The population
of the Crimean peninsula is steadily growing and, accordingly, the
number of consumers of water resources is increasing. At the same
time, there are global climate changes that negatively aect the
formation of natural runo.
Dry years, such as 2020, in some regions of Crimea can lead to a
humanitarian catastrophe. Without the Dnieper water, Eastern Crimea
turned into a desert. The North Crimean Canal was built by the people
of the entire Soviet Union, and then they could not imagine how much
the population of Crimea, the peoples of Russia and Ukraine would
have to endure.
At the end of February 2022, as a result of the use of force by the
Russian Federation the dam was destroyed. In March Dnieper waters
again began to ow into Crimea through the North Crimean Canal.
Expert article 3231
Elena Kayukova
Assistant Professor
Department of Hydrogeology, Saint
Petersburg State University
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3232
Due to its unique natural features, historical monuments and
rich cultural heritage, Crimea could be a real pearl among
other tourist destinations of the Black Sea. However, the
events of 2014 led to the complete international political,
economic and transport isolation of the peninsula. As a
result, the tourism industry, which previously formed the basis of the
Crimean economy, found itself in a deep and protracted crisis. Since
the quality of life of a signicant part of the population of the peninsula
was also aected, the Crimean tourism industry has become an
important element of the socio-economic policy of Russia. At the
same time, Russia was faced with the need to solve the vital problems
of transport, energy and water supply to Crimea, which required
huge nancial costs. All this greatly impeded the restoration of the
peninsula's tourism industry and the implementation of the plans
announced by the Russian government to bring it out of the crisis.
In these conditions, the Russian government has chosen an
information strategy of denying the existence of a crisis in the tourism
industry in Crimea. For this purpose, the possibilities of all mass
media were used to the maximum. The total expenditures of the state
budget of Russia for the implementation of this information policy in
the period from 2015 to 2020 amounted to more than 142 bln rubles
(1.8 mln USD). This amount of funding allowed the Ministry of Resorts
and Tourism of Crimea only in 2018-2019 to provide direct provision
of 7,510 news for various online publications, 859 publications in print
media, 962 news stories on TV, 66 interviews, 51 thematic programs
on TV and radio, and also 12 press conferences. The total number
of news reports in the Russian media, caused by these informational
occasions, was up to 100 thousand per year. However, numerous
distorted reports about allegedly record tourist ows to Crimea, hid
the real problems of the tourism industry. Real tourist ows to the
peninsula were signicantly overestimated. At the same time, striving
to keep the tourist ow, state organizations and enterprises of Russia
began to provide their employees with vouchers to Crimea in 2014
(Rosneft, RusHydro, Russian Post). Also, free vouchers to the
Crimean sanatoriums began to be included in the compulsory medical
insurance programs for the population of Russia.
Over the past years, Russia has solved the complex transport and
energy problems of the peninsula. However, more than two-thirds of
the Crimean budget still comes from the federal budget.
The main problems of the tourism industry in Crimea have
been and remain: high seasonality (100-120 days a year); low
competitiveness in relation to other Russian and foreign resorts
(high prices, low level of services); low investment and international
isolation. Also new serious challenges are the catastrophic shortage
of drinking water in the summer and the growing militarization of the
The coronavirus pandemic and the associated with it travel
restrictions have contributed to the development of domestic tourism
not only in Russia. The non-recognition of Russian vaccines by the
World Health Organization, as well as the temporary suspension by
Russia of direct air links with Turkey, Tanzania, and Egyptian resorts
led to an unprecedented load of Crimea and other Russian resorts
in 2021. At the same time, in the speech at the tourism session of
the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (06/05/2021), the
representative of the Russian hotel holding Safmar Plaza, Tatyana
Weller, noted that “all the key parameters for creating a product that
are determined by the state, – land use conditions, scal burden, the
cost, terms and conditions of the loan are signicantly higher than
foreign ones. Therefore, any attempts to do something comparable
in price and quality with foreign proposals make projects unprotable
already at the stage of developing a nancial model”.
However, the true indicator of the real state of the tourism industry
in Russia as a whole was the restoration of direct ights with Turkey
on June 22 and the resorts of Egypt on August 1, 2021. The volume
of sales of travel packages to Turkey in June exceeded indicators
of 2019 by 29%. At the same time, the share of Russian resorts fell
to 15%. The same opening of Egyptian resorts in August led to an
increase in demand for tourist tours to Egypt by 10 times, which is 5
times higher than in 2019. Moreover, the price of a tourist package in
Crimea for tourists from Russia is even 50% higher than in Turkey.
All this conrms the impossibility of a successful exit of the tourist
destination and the industry as a whole from the crisis under conditions
of strict government regulation, in which the real advantages of the
tourist destination and a competitive price-quality ratio are replaced
by an information strategy of denying the existence of the crisis.
Aleksander Panasiuk
Professor., Ph.D., D.Sc., Tourism and Sport
Management Chair
Institute of Entrepreneurship, Jagiellonian
University in Krakow
Aleksander Panasiuk & Halyna Zubrytska
Crisis situation of the tourism industry
in Crimea
Halyna Zubrytska
M.Sc., Lecturer, Researcher
Institute of Entrepreneurship, Jagiellonian
University in Krakow
Baltic Rim Economies
28.4.2022 ISSUE # 2
Expert article 3233
In Ukraine, millions of people have been forced to ee their homes,
while the Russian Armed Forces continue to bombard cities and
civilian infrastructure. However, Russia’s military operations in
Ukraine also pose a threat to the country’s historical, cultural,
and natural heritage. The very rst days of the invasion saw the
destruction of the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, near
Kyiv, which housed dozens of works by Maria Prymachenko. Born at
the beginning of the 20th century, Prymachenko was a Ukrainian folk
artist who worked in the naïve art style. Her drawings were displayed
at the 1937 International Fair in Paris. Prymachenko’s dreamlike
paintings, full of nonexistent creatures and plans, were admired by
such artists as Pablo Picasso.
Ukraine is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The
ones currently under the greatest threat are those located in Kyiv:
the Pechersk Lavra and the Saint-Sophia Cathedral. The latter dates
back to the early 11th century, and contains examples of stunning
frescoes and mosaics that have survived from the 11th and 12th
centuries. Kyiv is one of the main targets attacked by the Russian
Armed Forces, and the city is being shelled on a regular basis.
In addition to the sites located in Kyiv, the UNESCO list includes
the Old Town in Lviv, the Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region,
and the Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans in
Chernivtsi, among others. These sites are some distance away from
current hostilities, but it is dicult to predict how the war in Ukraine will
Furthermore, the ocial tentative UNESCO list (sites that may be
nominated for inclusion in the main list) contains additional locations
in Ukraine. Among them are sites that are now directly in the zone of
active hostilities, such as the historic center of Chernihiv, the Kamyana
Mohyla archaeological site, the constructivist Derzhprom building in
Kharkiv, completed in 1928, and the Askania-Nova biosphere reserve
in the Kherson Oblast.
These sites are under serious threat. On February 28, Russian
bombardment of Chernihiv destroyed buildings in the direct vicinity
of the Transguration Cathedral. The cathedral survived the Mongol
invasion, but will it survive Russian aggression? Another city currently
under bombardment is Kharkiv, where the regional administration
building, located near Derzhprom, was destroyed. Similarly, sites in
Mykolaiv, Odesa, and other cities are under grave threat.
A range of eorts are being undertaken in Ukraine to protect
the country’s material culture. Where possible, objects such as
free-standing monuments are shielded with protective and re-
retardant materials, while historical ttings and museum collections
are removed and stored in bomb shelters. The Ukrainian Institute of
National Remembrance has announced the creation of the Ukrainian
Cultural Heritage Rescue Team, whose main objectives include the
protection of museum collections.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy (MCIP)
has assured that it remains in contact with cultural institutions and
that the exhibits and collections are being moved to secure locations.
Additionally, the MCIP has asked the public not to disseminate the
methods used to secure museums or the locations where collections
are stored, due to security concerns. Since the start of the invasion,
UNESCO has called for the protection of Ukraine’s cultural heritage.
The organization is working with Ukrainian authorities to mark the
country’s most important sites with a Blue Shield, the international
symbol used to protect cultural property during armed conict.
The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy has also launched
a dedicated website for the purpose of documenting damage.
Individuals who have witnessed the destruction of cultural heritage
sites can upload photographic evidence, which will then be veried
and submitted to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
The protection of cultural heritage is regulated by the 1954 Hague
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed
Conict and its two protocols. The document ensures the inviolability
of cultural property that has been granted special protection. But will
Russian forces, who do not hesitate to attack regular people, hesitate
to attack a church or a museum?