MiGs and Monks in Crimea: Russia Flexes Cultural and Military Muscles, Revealing Dire Need for Balance of Uti Possidetis and Internationally Recognized Self-Determination
Military Law Review, Vol. 220, 2014
39 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2014
Uti possidetis has been applied world-wide and can only be ignored with consequences. Comparing the merits of one country’s claim over a strip of land confronts powerful walls of emotion. As an example, Russia’s strong connections to Crimea pale in comparison to those of Jewish and Palestinian peoples to ancient Palestine. The Kosovo secession ignored the Badinter Commission’s plan for the division of Yugoslavia in accordance with principles of uti possidetis. The Kosovo solution avoided further near-term bloodshed in Kosovo but spawned Russia’s seizures of Georgian and Ukrainian territory. Within months of Kosovo’s independence declaration and subsequent diplomatic recognition by much of Europe and the United States, Russia and Georgia fought a brief but costly war over the separatist province of South Ossetia. Those arguing Kosovo’s claim to secession was sui generis fail to realize that each case is compelling in its own, unique, historical way, and each group agitating for self-determination can cite historical wrongs in need of resolution. To claim one group has a greater need, a unique need, or right to self-determination without regard for uti possidetis displays a dangerous shortsightedness and lack of historical awareness.
Keywords: Crimea, uti possidetis, Ukraine, Russia, Maidan, self-determination, secession, Commonwealth of Independent States, annexation, Putin, Yanukovich, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Kosovo, International recognition, Scotland, Sevastopol, Burkina Faso, Yugoslavia, USSR, separatists, Kruschev
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