Moscow’s actions mean there will soon be no Crimea to return to Ukraine peacefully or otherwise, Kyiv political analyst says

A convoy of Russian subsonic anti-ship missile systems Bal-E ('Ball', SSC-6 'Sennight', GRAU 3K60) designed to attack vessels up to 5000 tonnes was observed in Crimea on May 29, 2015 (Source: LiveUAmap.com)

A convoy of Russian subsonic anti-ship missile systems Bal-E ('Ball', SSC-6 'Sennight', GRAU 3K60) designed to attack vessels up to 5000 tonnes was observed in Crimea on May 29, 2015 (Source: LiveUAmap.com) 

2015/06/01 - 15:47 • Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Russia

Many Ukrainians and their supporters abroad talk about the possibility of the peaceful return of Crimea to Ukrainian control at some point in the future, but such talk, while possibly understandable ignores the fact that Moscow is changing Crimea so dramatically that there will soon be no Crimea to return, according to Petro Oleshchuk.

Petro Oleshchuk, political scientist, professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Petro Oleshchuk, political scientist, professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

In “Novoye vremya” today, the Kyiv political scientist says that he understands perfectly well how “catastrophic” would be any attempt at a military return of Crimea. But he argues that “to lie about ‘a peaceful path’ is simply irresponsible with regard to Ukrainians. There is no ‘peaceful path.’”

It is of course possible to speak about Russia’s occupation of Crimea de facto while refusing to recognize it de jure. “Apparently, there is now no other way. But why sow in society false hopes and not prepare it for a struggle,” especially given what the Russian occupation authorities are doing to transform the Ukrainian peninsula into something else.

Oleshchuk makes five points in this regard:

  • First, he points out, “Russia is completely changing the composition of the population in the peninsula. Mass shifts are taking place already now. After a certain time, Crimea will be completely different demographically. And there will not be an ounce of Ukrainian left in it.”
  • Second, he argues, the imposition of anti-Ukrainian attitudes “after a few years will yield a generation which it would be impossible to reintegrate into Ukrainian society.” Third, “as a democratic state, Ukraine cannot solve its problems by deportations. But it also will not be able to integrate such an enclave.”
  • Fourth, “every day, the development of the economy in the various systems is leading to a situation in which it will be practically impossible to combine into one again.” (In support of this, “Novaya gazeta” today describes the way in which Moscow is making Russian-occupied Crimea a money-laundering hub.
  • And fifth, for Crimea to return to Ukraine, it would be necessary for Russia to descend into the kind of “government crisis in which no one in the world is seriously interested.” In short, Oleshchuk says, there is no reason to accept the idea that Crimea will somehow miraculously and peacefully return to Ukraine.

Additional evidence for his position, the Kyiv political scientist says, is provided by the continuing existence of “two Chinas, two Koreas, two Cypruses, and so on.” And he concludes that “it is not excluded” that in the decades ahead, “the issue of the return of Crimea” will agitate Ukrainians in much the same way the unification of the two Koreas agitates Koreans.

  • Protest against the shutdown of ATR Crimean Tartar TV channel in Crimea by the Russian occupation authorities (Image: krymr.org)
    Protest against the shutdown of ATR Crimean Tartar TV channel in Crimea by the Russian occupation authorities (Image: krymr.org)
  • Crimea before the Russian occupation: In 2013 school year, 737 Crimean Tatar first-graders enrolled in classes with Crimean Tatar language of instruction. Such classes were opened at 38 Ukrainian schools in the peninsula. Simferopol, September 2, 2013 (Image: QHA)
    Crimea before the Russian occupation: In 2013 school year, 737 Crimean Tatar first-graders enrolled in classes with Crimean Tatar language of instruction. Such classes were opened at 38 Ukrainian schools in the peninsula. Simferopol, September 2, 2013 (Image: QHA)
  • A soldier of the Russian annexation force flashes a victory sign while marching near a Ukrainian army base in Perevalne, Crimea. March 2014
    A soldier of the Russian annexation force flashes a victory sign while marching near a Ukrainian army base in Perevalne, Crimea. March 2014
  • Armed Russian soldiers block the entrance to a Ukrainian naval border guard base in Sevastopol during the annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. March 2014. (Image: New York Times)
    Armed Russian soldiers block the entrance to a Ukrainian naval border guard base in Sevastopol during the annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. March 2014. (Image: New York Times)
  • Trucks with the "little green men" - Russian soldiers hiding their identities and without insignia while annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea
    Trucks with the "little green men" - Russian soldiers hiding their identities and without insignia while annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea
  • Crimean Tartar protest against the Russian occupation.
    Crimean Tatars
  • Russian army invading Crimea, Ukraine
    Russian army invading Crimea, Ukraine
  • Crimean Tatars protest the Russian occupation
    Crimean Tatars protest the Russian occupation
  • Graffiti: Crimea is Ukraine
    Graffiti: Crimea is Ukraine
  • Crimea is Ukraine
    Crimea is Ukraine
  • In a hybrid war operation, Russian "little green men", heavily armed soldiers without insignia, annexed Crimea from Ukraine
    In a hybrid war operation, Russian "little green men", heavily armed soldiers without insignia, annexed Crimea from Ukraine
  • Crimean Tatar protest. The sign in Russian reads: "We are on our own land!"
    Crimean Tatar protest
  • Armed guards block the entrance to a naval border guard base in Sevastopol, in the Crimea region of Ukraine March 2014. New York Times
    Armed guards block the entranc
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech celebrating the annexation of Crimea by Russia during his visit to the port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. (Image: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech celebrating the annexation of Crimea by Russia during his visit to the port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. (Image: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Putin celebrating the Crimea Anschluss, 2014
    Putin celebrating the Crimea Anschluss, 2014
  • A portrait of Putin with "Crimea" written on the upper lip
    A portrait of Putin with "Crimea" written on the upper lip
  • Opening of a new Stalin monument in Russia-occupied Crimea
    Opening of a new Stalin monument in Russia-occupied Crimea
  • "Crimea is Ukraine" - Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
    "Crimea is Ukraine" - Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
  • "Crimean Tatars want peace" - Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
    "Crimean Tatars want peace" Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
  • "No to war! Crimea is Ukraine!"
    "No to war! Crimea is Ukraine!" Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
  • A Crimean Tatar woman holds a sign "Crimea Is Ukraine" in protest to the "referendum" imposed by force by Moscow in March 2014.
    "Crimea Is Ukraine"
  • A girl in a national Crimean Tatar dress holds a placard during a protest against the presence of Russian troops in Crimea, Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 5, 2014 (Image: mfa.gov.ua)
    Crimean Tartar girl, March 2014
  • Putin was shunned at the 2014 G20 meeting in Australia after the Crimea Anschluss by Russia.
    Putin G20 Australia 2014
  • Crimean Tartars (photo: oleg-leusenko.livejournal.com)
    Crimean Tartars (photo: oleg-leusenko.livejournal.com)
  • Chief editor of the Crimean Tartar-language "Avdet" Shevkey Kaybullayev, whose newspaper was denied a license to continue to operate in Crimea by Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor, as reported by an also-shuttering Crimean News Agency (Photo: QHA)
    Chief editor of the Crimean Tartar-language "Avdet" Shevkey Kaybullayev, whose newspaper was denied a license to continue to operate in Crimea by Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor, as reported by an also-shuttering Crimean News Agency (Photo: QHA)
  • A soldier of the Russian occupation force atop an IFV in Crimea. (Image: epa.eu)
    A soldier of the Russian occupation force atop an IFV in Crimea. (Image: epa.eu)
  • Celebration of Crimea Anschluss near the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia (Photo: ng.ru)
    Celebration of Crimea Anschluss near the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia (Photo: ng.ru)
  • 17 minutes before the channel shutdown, an online poll shows 99.2% of respondents said "Yes" to a question "Do you need ATR TV channel?" (Image: @CrimeaUA1 on Twitter.com)
    17 minutes before the channel shutdown, an online poll shows 99.2% of respondents said "Yes" to a question "Do you need ATR TV channel?" (Image: @CrimeaUA1 on Twitter.com)
  • A protester in Europe wearing a Crimean Tatar flag with a sign protesting the shuttering of Crimean Tatar media outlets by Russian occupiers in April 2015 (Photo: Olexei Ivanov, day.kiev.ua)
    A protester in Europe wearing a Crimean Tatar flag with a sign protesting the shuttering of Crimean Tatar media outlets by Russian occupiers in April 2015 (Photo: Olexei Ivanov, day.kiev.ua)
  • ATR poll in the bottom of the screen shows 82% of ATR viewers against the Crimea Anschluss by Russia in March 2014
    ATR poll in the bottom of the screen shows 82% of ATR viewers against the Crimea Anschluss by Russia in March 2014
  • Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian filmmaker and resident of Crimea illegally arrested on made-up charges and imprisoned by Putin's regime #FreeSentsov
    Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian filmmaker and resident of Crimea illegally arrested on made-up charges and imprisoned by Putin's regime #FreeSentsov
  • The pin on the chest of the protester says: "Don't Kill ATR!" at the protest against the shuttering of Crimean media outlets by the Kremlin, March 2015
    The pin on the chest of the protester says: "Don't Kill ATR!" at the protest against the shuttering of Crimean media outlets by the Kremlin, March 2015
  • The Bell of Chersonesos in Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine with a sign reading "There was, is, and only be Kyivan Rus" in Ukrainian. The picture was taken in early 2015 while the city is still under the Russian occupation (Image credit: Anonymous author)
    The Bell of Chersonesos in Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine with a sign reading "There was, is, and only be Kyivan Rus" in Ukrainian. The picture was taken in early 2015 while the city is still under the Russian occupation (Image credit: Anonymous author)
  • The sign in Kaluga, Russia says "Crimea Today - Rome Tomorrow! Happy Victory Day of May 9!" (Image: KP-Kaluga, May 2015)
    The sign in Kaluga, Russia says "Crimea Today - Rome Tomorrow! Happy Victory Day of May 9!" (Image: KP-Kaluga, May 2015)

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    I see no reason why the Ukrainian govenrment can’t deport people. It can declare any Russian citizens in the Crimea illegal aliens, and every country has the right to deport illegals.

  • Brent

    Who this comes down to owning the blame is our “supposed” World leaders like Merkl, Holland and Obama. They sat by idly while the theft of Ukraine happened and tried to ‘negotiate’ with mafia leader Putin. They refused to declare Russia a terrorist state and impose meaningful sanctions. THIS HAPPENED ON THEIR WATCH AND THE U.S AND BRITAIN WERE GUARANTORS OF UKRAINE’S SOVEREIGN TERRITORY. No nation should trust their guarantees ever again.

    • Jens A

      I think it is more complex than that, but apart from this, I understand your point of view and was it my country that was under attack of this criminal state, I would be even more angry than you in my writing. We are dealing with a lunatic blackmailer with several thousands nuclear warheads. He must be brought to an end one way or another.

  • puttypants

    Find creative ways to punish Putin.