Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ukraine Unspun

Why Is Crimea Different From Scotland Or Kosovo?

Alex Salmond, the leader of Scotland's Scottish National Party
Alex Salmond, the leader of Scotland's Scottish National Party
Russians have accused the West of hypocrisy in its refusal to accept the legitimacy of Crimea's March 16 referendum.

Politicians and Russian media have pointed to both the West's support for Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 and an upcoming referendum in Scotland that could see the country break away from the United Kingdom.

"If some people aren't happy with the Crimean parliament, it's their taste," said Valentina Matvienko, the chairman of Russia's Federation Council. "How come no one has said that Scotland's independence referendum that is taking place in September is a priori illegitimate?

In another report, on Russian state-run television, an anchor remarks sarcastically that in Western opinion "Kosovo has the right to self-determination but Crimea does not."

The comparisons are not surprising -- especially given Russia's outrage when Kosovo did declare independence -- but a careful look shows that both cases have occurred under considerably different circumstances than those taking place in Crimea.

Let's address Scotland first.

As outlined in "The Washington Post," it was a series of democratic events that led to the decision to put leaving the United Kingdom to a vote. In 2011, the Scottish National Party, which was created on the basis of campaigning for independence from the United Kingdom, earned a majority in the country's parliament.

The Scottish parliament then approved legislation authorizing a referendum on secession. This was followed in 2012 by negotiations between ministers from the Scottish and British government, who reached agreement on holding a referendum in 2014.

In other words, legally viable bodies at both the local (Scotland) and national (United Kingdom) level approved of the referendum in tandem.

The referendum choice is simple: Remain a part of the United Kingdom or break off.

Now Kosovo.

When Kosovo's assembly unanimously approved independence in 2008, Russia was outraged. Moscow claimed it had violated a 1999 agreement that would put the territory under UN control until a negotiated settlement could be reached.

To some it may seem like the only difference between the events of six years ago and those taking place today is that the aggrieved parties have switched sides.

While the comparison holds up better than the Scotland one, there were a range of important factors at play in Kosovo that do not exist in Crimea.

Moscow claims that ethnic Russians in Crimea face the threat of persecution from Ukraine's ethnic-Ukrainian majority but there has been no evidence of this so far. 

The same could not be said for Kosovo.

A brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanians by Yugoslav army forces in 1999 led to a three-month NATO bombing campaign, which Russia adamantly opposed. Unable to get help from Moscow, then-President Slobodan Milosevic -- who had skillfully and ruthlessly played off ethnic divisions in the region throughout the 1990s -- was forced to approve an international peace plan.

Final-status negotiations with ethnic-Albanians, who represent 90 percent of Kosovo's population, had gone nowhere since, with Serbia unwilling to sacrifice further autonomy to the region.

So almost a decade after the brutal ethnic conflict, Kosovo's democratically elected parliament voted to break off officially from Serbia.

Now let's contrast the above two cases with the current situation in Crimea:

* The Crimean parliament was taken over by heavily armed soldiers. The sitting prime minister was forced to resign and replaced by Sergei Aksyonov. The latter's separatist party had received just 4 percent of the vote in Crimea's most recent elections. As many as 14,000 Russian soldiers have occupied Crimea since late February.

Neither the Kosovo declaration nor the upcoming Scotland vote involved military pressure or a government overthrow.

* The Crimea referendum provides for either joining with Russia or becoming a de facto independent state. There is no status quo option.

The Scottish referendum provides a simple yes or no for separation from the United Kingdom.

* Ethnic Russians make up the majority of Crimea's population but ethnic-Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars together make up the remaining nearly 40 percent. While Russians do not appear to be under threat, the Crimean Tatar minority has legitimate cause for concern. Hundreds of thousands were deported from the region by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1944. 

Albanians made up 88 percent of the population of Kosovo around the time of the independence vote. (Still, several enclaves are majority Serbs.)

* Rather than seeking independence, Crimea's de facto leaders seek to join Russia.

Kosovo and Scotland separatists have both sought independence, rather than union with another state.

* Less than a month has passed between Kyiv's change of government and Crimea's declaration of independence and referendum on union with Russia.

Scotland's referendum was the result of a rigorous legal process that included input from both the Scottish government and London. Kosovo declared independence almost a decade after gaining autonomy.

-- Glenn Kates
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 4
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 13, 2014 19:33
Crimea is different from Scotland or Kosovo, because it has been a part of Russia since 1783 and no Obama, no Frau Merkel can prevent the Crimean people from doing what they really want - rejoining Russia again.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 14, 2014 10:24
Crimea was Skiffs, killed by Russia before 12 A.D.!
Last Skiffs were given political shelter in Georgia, before 12 A.D.!
Tatars have Crimea for about 4 Centuries, at the end being
virtually controlled by Ukrainian Cossacks.
Does Eugenio mean since evil pact between Russia and Prussia to betray and divide Eastern Europe that created
Russia, by Eugenio's ancestry of Varaga-Prussaka,
Russia invaded Ukraine and Crimea?
Also, Russia grabbed Voronezh province of Ukraine
and starved most of Ukrainians by "Golodomor",
later exchanging it by Crimea!
Crimea is Ukraine!
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 14, 2014 22:58
at the end being
virtually controlled by Ukrainian Cossacks.

Cosacks never was on the see , never controlled tatars

at tell the truth
were cossak to be controlled by somebody
for all their existece
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 18, 2014 17:59
I didn't say "at the beginning", I said at the end,
when even "Unia" was in total decline, "anonymous",
agent of Russian lies! Also our "control" mean larger stake
in negotiations with neighbor, not your Russian "control"
that mean genocide and make last survivals crawl,
screaming, like in Donetsk, "Kneel slaves"!
In Response

by: Robert from: Vienna
March 14, 2014 15:10
Eugenio, You are completely blind to the fact that Putler created this situation to avoid Russians from throwing him out. Russians live in a totalitarian state in which "elections" are held but the KGB controls all media and journalists and opposition politicians die. The Russian economy is crap **only because** of the lawlessness. Investors, and entrepreneurs and many, many Russians have left because of the corruption of Russian legal system. WAKE UP!
Why do normal countries change leaders from time to time and Russia has no better than Robert Mugabe? Are Russians inferior people that do not deserve freedom? Of course not!
America is slipping without a Russian counterbalance that is ruled justly and with freedom for its people. Americans also need to reign in the abuses of their government, but the American People need the help of a Russia and Europe whose voices carry moral weight.
Putin will disappear as soon as Russians awaken to the reality of their true situation and stop apologizing for and protecting its murdering (over 50 journalists) and kleptocrats!!!! Stop Putler from putting the Crime in Crimea!
Should Crimea eventually have the right of self-determination? Yes (as should Tartarstan, Bashkortistan, Chechnya, *North* Ossetia, etc) but not with troops and not to provide an excuse to keep Putin in power in Russia by distracting Russians from the truth of his corruption. Take the Crime out of Crimea and take the Crime out of Moscow!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 14, 2014 19:03
ROBERT, you must be kinnding me: now it turns out that "Putler" is the one who "created" this situation???!!!
No, Robert, he did not create anything at all! Quite to the contraty: throughout the entire crisis - starting from Nov. 21st 2013 - he has been trying to preserve the STATUS QUO by supporting the letigimately and democratically elected President of Ukraine in exercising his duties.
And if there was anyone who really made this whole escalation SIMPLY UNEVOIDABLE from Russia's point of view, it was those who have the entire time been supporting and sponsoring the "peaceful" guys from Maidan armed with metallic chains, stones and later with automatic weapons. I mean, thank those guys, no else is responsible for the escalation.
In Response

by: David from: Arlington
March 18, 2014 04:30
I doubt any number of agitators for Weird Al Yanukovich to resign would have had any effect if: 1) he had not robbed the country first (he son, the dentist, being one of the wealthiest dudes in Eurasia) and 2) presided over the shameful deaths of protesters.

So when is the "re-union" of North and South Ossetia going to be? Will they get a vote on the UN as a sovereign state? Will they have a bobsled team?
In Response

by: from: Kharkov, Ukraine
March 15, 2014 22:22
Eugenio, I'm not sure what they're showing you in the Vienna news, but plenty of Ukrainians in Crimea don't want to be part of Russia. Not only that, but don't let the Russian titushki (hired provocateurs) fool you into thinking they represent the Ukrainian majority. And by the way, maybe my example in this article will open your eyes a bit:
In Response

by: Pan from: Lviv
March 17, 2014 07:44
Eugen, too much moscow propoganda in you. there is no such things as "crimean nationality". what is nationality, nationality is language, literature, culture. there is scot nationality but like this in crimea case. russian speaking crimean inhabitants should return to moscow as soon as possible and forget about Crimea-Tavria as it is ukrainian land for over 2000 years. go home!
In Response

by: Natasha from: Saint-Petersburg
March 18, 2014 15:01
huh, why wont ya tell Americans go home then and leave the land to America's native inhabitans - Indians???

by: margarida from: Lisbon
March 13, 2014 19:37
The interests that are behind Ukraine are totally different! What the EU and US want is to expand Nato to Crimea! Who cannot see the real game?
In Response

by: Dennis from: Togliatti
March 17, 2014 05:23
Exactly! This all quite transparent.
In Response

by: Vita from: Vilnius
March 17, 2014 06:15
Oh, so it's EU and US who had their troops in Crimea, overthrew the Crimean government, held referendum at gunpoint so that Ukrainian citizens in Crimea would join NATO? I am sorry, my bad.
In Response

by: Bobby from: Laibach
March 17, 2014 07:36
Crimea has all the right in the world to join Russia if the people want that.But the conflict between USA and Russia is not about Ukraine and Crimea it is deeper it is all about the petrodolar system.
Russia is the largest energ exporter in the world and dont want payments anymore in dolar but in rubel.Hidden hand of American hegemony,US have a license to print because of the petrodolar siystem and can literally buy oil for paper and buy the whole world.
In Response

by: Stanislav from: Kyrgyzstan
March 17, 2014 13:41
You're wrong,Bobby! It's not a conflict between USA and Russia, it's a conflict between criminal gangs, corrupt politicians (with criminal past), nazis and agressive country with giant army, nuclear weapons and imperial,expansionist ambitions headed by the biggest liar in the world from one side and free world from another.Ukraine is just trying to escape from the clutches of this f_ing sub-emperor and become part of the free world

by: Babeouf from: Ireland
March 13, 2014 19:43
There is no logic in supporting democracy but insisting on given boundaries as immutable acts of god. Kosovo ended up as independent not because of votes but because NATO mounted a large scale bombing campaign to secure its independence. You seem to have forgotten both NATO's involvement and the war.
A large part of the Crimean population want independence from the regime change government that came to power in a Coup led by armed fascists. Who have a well documented hatred of ethnic Russians. If I was an ethnic Russian in Crimea I would vote to join Russia at once.
In Response

by: Johnjo from: Dublin
March 16, 2014 03:35
If I was an ethnic Russian in Crimea I would vote to join Russia at once.

But you wouldn't be speaking for all Crimean people, would you? No!

Surely, at least all Crimean people should get to debate their country's future first & not to be frogmarched without a choice into a decision to favour some power hungry Tzar in Russia in 2014.

In Response

by: Vita from: Vilnius
March 17, 2014 06:19
With all due respect, if you were an ethnic Russian, you would want to get away from Russia as far as possible. And aren't you guys tired of repeating that the current Ukrainian government is led by fascists when there is no evidence to support your claims other than Kremlin's theory?
In Response

by: Chris N from: UK
March 19, 2014 02:15
No evidence?

Oleksandr Sych, "Vice Prime Minister" is a member of Ukraine's BNP / Golden Dawn cognate Svoboda, formerly known as the "Social-National Party" *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Andriy Parubiy, "Secretarty of the National Security and Defence Council" was a co-founder of the Social-National Party with John McCain's photo-buddy, current Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok.

Dmytro Yarosh "Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council" is the leader of the "Right Sector", a party that is similar to the violent bastion of backwardness in Britain, the National Front. This guy was talking about wanting to ban opposition parties before he even got into government and he thinks Svoboda are too liberal!

This isn't "Kremlin's theory", this is Ukraine's fact. The (illegitimate) coalition government includes fascists. It's very disturbing to see the far-right gain power in a European country in the 21st century.

by: Stupidism
March 13, 2014 21:01
Nothing you say, think or write about has any bearing on the matter simply because like the western media that you absorb and regurgitate you exhibit exact same mind-blindness to the FACTUAL REALITY that the "new" Ukraine govt is NOT legitimate, it is a coup. We have ALL the evidence right there in front of us on the internet. What western govt would tolerate an uprising of revolutionaries with molotov's and guns?? It would have been crushed in the UK and certainly in the US but do we read? The US and UK say NOTHING. Let me repeat, they say N O T H I N G because these nazis want to join the west and so accommodate NATO's long awaited wish taking possession of the Black Sea bases and encroaching on to Russia's border with missiles.
Enough! Enough already. We ALL know what this nonsense is all about. The Ukrainian people will continue to suffer, they wont see the aid from either Russia or EU as the banksters have to be paid.
US fucked up. Fucked big time. And the US and EU are going to pay.
In Response

by: Max from: Toronto
March 19, 2014 23:40
It's not a coup, buddy. You seems to forget that former president, first of all, tried to drown the protest in the blood, then, when he failed to do that while killing more then a hundred people he - quite unexpectedly for the most of the country - simply fled the country. Leaving behind numerous evidences of hideous crimes and corruption of epic proportions. When he was still in the country about 10 people only showed up at the announced meeting to his support - and it's in Donetsk, his presumed stronghold. The WHOLE country hates the bugger now. That's the reality. What was left after him was the Parliament, which naturally assumed the power.
Have I been right so far? Correct me if I am wrong.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 13, 2014 21:52
No commonality to compare!
There always dynamic balance, even if all honest and public:
The was an article of J. Stalin that responded to Russian
Chauvinists expansion which used "Unity" against
He wrote what we know through all known history:
For instance, if pure nations and tribes, let say being keens or neighbors, are very pure and cannot build a necessary project,
let say hydroelectric power plant at the border or an University,
They might do so. later, in better times they can divide common property and help each other built more of it.
The same might go for industrialization or threat of War -
It is why CIS was turned into USSR, temporarily, as was written into Constitution and Preamble in 1936.
Unfortunately, Ethnic Russian "Chauvinists" (they like to call themselves as such, as they would be British Gentlemen, like
Bernard Show) damaged, purged and used "USSR" to forge
for themselves an evil Empire.
According to above, Scotland and the rest of Britain had bad times and good times that would lead to more of United
Kingdoms or more of Autonomy for Scotland.
Unfortunately, it was often outwaited by intrigues of larger, or
more arrogant powers, like British and French Normans,
competing Dynasties and simply Tyrants and barbarians.
Now, with newer democratic UK they trying to balance
justly degree of Independence and Autonomy with common interests.
(Will continue...)

by: Anonymous
March 13, 2014 22:05
Kossovo is different
Sotland is different
Guantanamo is different
PAnama is different
Iraq is different (remeber you invaded it without ONU green card)
Afghanista is different
Libya is different

everything is different if is for US / EU / NATO interest .
the kingdom of hipocrisy
and you
you you my dear author
as a poor servant you are still here
trying to convince us
that the truth is in only one side

do not worry
many have long understood how is your western double weight system
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 14, 2014 10:11
It might be right about nature of man and apparatus of violence,
East and West - the brass foreheads and shaved necks are not much different everywhere.
But not with respect to whole nation be repopulated systemically by Russia, bribing and blackmailing East and West and using Devil's tricks miss-use "precedent" that
only idiots would buy.

In Response

by: Dennis from: Togliatti
March 17, 2014 05:32
You're speaking so confidently about russian history. You must me a historian. Judging Russia while sitting in LA is so funny. Why don't you try to judge US for their actions killing indians?
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 17, 2014 13:00
You Denis must be young enough learning history in USSR after Russians burned books, replacing them by cacophony of evil Russian subhuman lies - it isn't funny.
I learned history in fullest, before books were burned.
Also, being sentenced to death and persecuted by Russia since age of 4 and being witness of Russia betraying and
plundering other nations, killing even children on non-Russian nations, I was interested in all history I could read, to confront Russians and their lies - it wasn't funny.
You must be evil Russian Neanderthal who possibly know all
of the above, still having impudence to sentence Ukrainians
to faith of American Indians, like the Russians that had beaten
and knifed Ukrainians in Donetsk few days ago, screaming:
- "Kneel slaves to Russian Pomesh'iks!"
It is really funny - parasitic Ivan Stinkovich playing role of
"not-unlike British Master" over Ukrainian dissent of Saxons,
calling them Indian slaves!

by: Alex from: LA
March 13, 2014 22:14
I love the double standard. Ohh Don't bunch of US diplomats that were in office own a lot of companies in Kosovo (the kidney mafia parliament). What about Karabakh, no self-determination there either, and now none for Crimea. It's obvious how self-determination take a back seat when territorial integrity is favorable for the West and vice verse when West enemies are pushing what the West pushes.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 13, 2014 22:28
Kosovo, unlike Scotland, had never a choice to decide it
for themselves, specially because it was butchered in past
and substantially repopulated few times.
About fifteen century BC South Iberians came to Europe
and started first known settlements and civilizations.
As they also settled in South Balkans, Caspian Albanians
settled in North Balkans, most of witch was later influx of
Slavic people.
Kosovo was on the merge of it.
Turkish and Albanian Muslims conquered the area, but Serbians still were fighting for it and it was changing hands,
till Austrians and Germans annexed Balkans and made the "Mashtrih pact" that mutilated Serbian and other parts by religion, Germanic assimilation and feuds.
After WW2 Serbia was threatened not to abolish "Mashtrih",
they didn't.
WW2 reentered Austrian-German rule and "divide and rule",
followed by Nazi genocide, specially against Serbs.
After the WW2 Serbs didn't have courage to abolish "Mashtrih" and to offer nations of Yugoslavia and Albania Common Wealth.
They even attacked Stalin who advised Serbians to offer CIS.
Since 1954-56 Russia's Viking-Prussian ruling class offered
to Germany, Austria and British to restore colonial empires
and divide again Europe.
Serbians were forced to act and to look bad, to rehabilitate German image - now Serbians are bad and Germans taking over their "colonies".
Milosovich tried to tell truth during his trial - was gaged and murdered by modern LNW and Lemurs.
There is nothing to talk now about regarding Kosovo - it is simply grabbed.
What would be better solution?
Go to United Nation and demand consider "Mashtrih" illegal.
Offer Common Wealth to countries in Yugoslavia and associated membership to Albania with negotiating, give and take, or use as common: projects, cultural heritage and areas respectively populated, by history and de-facto.

(Will continue...)

by: RonJames1980
March 13, 2014 23:49
Fact remains that Kosovo did not have the right to declare independence. This is against UNSC resolution 1244. And the Serbian constitution.

Yes, there were negotiations. But Kosovo only opted for independence. You cannot expect to get 100 % what you want if you negotiate.
Kosovo should have opted for autonomy within Serbia. Now we are stuck with the Kosovo precedent. And Russia is using it....
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 14, 2014 09:26
I agree with you.
It is what double-faced Russian "Sterviatnik" do,
even in Hokey - they "may-ham" like hooligans, while
pushing washer into your gate, using even their behinds.
Their real goal for last 11 Centuries - to cleanse our lands
and breed in our homes.
In Response

by: Stanislav from: Kyrgyzstan
March 17, 2014 14:14
Russian tsar violated international treaties enough. So Ukrainians have legal right to attack "green extraterrestrials" in Crimea. Nato as well have every right to send military forces to this region and ask "green martians" to get out of the Crimea, otherwise to destroy all of them together with Crimean traitors which called unidentified green objects to Ukrainian land
In Response

by: Evgeny from: Russia
March 19, 2014 06:29
Sure thing. Let's start World War III and crush the Earth with nuclear weapon so that Konstantin from Los Angeles and Stanislav from Kyrgyzstan are satisfied that "cruel russian invaders" are punished enough.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
March 19, 2014 15:19
Eugenio "Union of Russian People" ( breed or Varanga and Prussian murderous treasonous usurpers from Moscow)
Eugenio, if we, Humanity,
are dead one way or another, why
please our exterminators, abominable
bestial macaques before we die anywhere?
Why not die standing-up to you, bestial macaques?
Why not take you alone for the death eternal?

by: Dominique from: Old Europe
March 13, 2014 23:52
Unilateral declaration of independence is not against international law, this was confirmed by the ICJ in its ruling over Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

The problem with Ukraine's constitution the 2004 one that is, that it has the ridiculous requirement of an all-Ukrainian referendum (Article 73) on any possible independence referendum for Crimea. Its equivalent that of requiring the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland deciding whether Scotland can become independent. Such a state of affairs would never be accepted by the Scots or any sane person for that matter.

It is highly hypocritical for the Ukrainian regime to cite the constitution for opposing Crimea's independence referendum when the current regime came to power through unconstitutional means.

The people of Crimea have the right of self-determination, no amount of sophistry or threats will deny them their right of freedom!

In Response

by: Andrey from: St.Petersburg
March 16, 2014 21:56
My greetings, Dominique! My greetings to The Old Europe! You speak as the sober one among drunk crowd. They can't understand our tears of Wonderfull Ukraine. Half of Russian families have relatives in Ukraine. Millions of ukrainians live in Russia. My mother-in-law came from village south of Russia where they speak russian-ukranian from birth.
Comments page of 4

About #UkraineUnspun

The information war is in full swing in the tense standoff between Ukraine and Russia. In an attempt to present a clearer picture, #UkraineUnspun will unravel information coming from Russian and Ukrainian media, politicians and activists. Written by Glenn Kates and contributors from RFE/RL.

Follow the hashtag #UkraineUnspun on Twitter and let us know what we should be covering -- or to weigh in on any of our stories. Or write us at

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