Today Crimean residents are voting in a referendum with only two options:
1. Become part of Russia
2. Greater autonomy for Crimea
To me there are some options missing, what about those who support the current situation (limited autonomy)? Or who want greater ties to Europe? This whole situation smacks of authoritarian rubber-stamping and legitimization of facts on the ground that have been imposed by force.
NATO’s Secretary General Rasmussen said the following about the referendum:
“The so-called referendum in the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea planned on 16 March would be a direct violation of the Ukrainian constitution and international law. If held, it would have no legal effect or political legitimacy.” http://ow.ly/uDLo6
Although I don’t always agree with NATO and understand that there is an inherent double standard on the part of this organization to criticize Russia and ignore the breaking of international law by its own members , on this issue I agree completely with Mr. Rasmussen. Following this crisis, I am constantly reminded that although international laws and norms have made progress, strong state interests are able to trump them even in this globalized, “civilized” and progressive world.
Image courtesy of CBC.