Crimea: Russia reestablishes historical justice or flouts international law? (video)


Russian propaganda is rearing up: firstly the Kremlin stated Crimea had been Russian from the time immemorial, then the Russians started laying claims to Ukraine’s eastern regions and even its capital.

Sea, sun, pristine nature – Crimeans have everything to be happy. But the seaside is not only a popular resort but also the area of strategic importance. ‘The owner of Crimea owns the Black Sea’ – the Russian authorities took this doctrine home.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian president:

‘Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia. This firm conviction is based on truth and justice and was passed from generation to generation.’

So, from generation to generation the Kremlin ideologists and spin doctors have passed the idea of ‘Russian lands from the time immemorial’ justifying invasions and occupations.

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NINA STUZHINSKAYA, PhD in History:

‘Proving that these lands are Russian they have no sound arguments. They just keep talking about Khrushchov’s being drunk and presenting Crimea to Ukraine 50 years ago.’

But Crimea is much older: it can boast of 32-century history while Russia is only 1000 years. Greeks, Romans, Scythians, Goths, Hazars inhabited the peninsula in different times. Since the Middle Ages the Tatars have been natives of Crimea. What way has the peninsula become ‘original Russian’?

ALES KRAUTSEVICH, PhD, post-doctoral researcher:

‘They consider any land where a Russian soldier has ever set foot to be Russian’

‘The Russians started to make incursions on this territory in the 16th century, but succeded only in the late 18th. Then the Tatars declared their independence from Turkey but … came under Moscow’s influence. Firstly the locals were exploited, in Stalin’s times they were deported.’

‘They were deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Later, when Khrushchov was in power, they were allowed to come back, but there were no place to return – their homes were occupied by Russians.’

And now the Russian authorities claim their right to defend the interests of most Crimeans.

VLADIMIR PUTIN:

‘The total population of the Crimean Peninsula today is 2.2 million people, of whom almost 1.5 million are Russians’

The old new authorities have already got their feet under the table – in particular, they have voiced their intention to take ‘squattered’ lands from the Crimean Tatars. At the same time, Moscow is in search of historical evidence wishing to clear its redrawing the world’s political map.

ALES KRAUTSEVICH:

‘The Ukrainian statehood originated 300 years earlier than Russia’s. The Russians say Kyiv is theirs because once the Russian Empire, i.e. Moscow Tsardom, invaded Kyiv in the 17th century.’

Such cherry picking might be widely practised Russia, but it is the historical background and drawing lessons from the relations with the eastern neighbour that will be of great use for us.

Volha Starastsina/MS

www.belsat.eu/en

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