Crimea memo reveals Moscow’s unease



Analysis & Opinion, Crimea

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

It turns out that the Russian government is realizing there are pitfalls associated with the annexation of someone else’s land. Otherwise if would not be so nervous about each new posting on the Internet.

(Public Control, a Moscow-based consumer rights society, is facing possible prosecution over its warning to Russian tourists that trips undertaken without Ukrainian permission may have legal ramifications since Crimea is considered “occupied territory” — Ed.)

The fact that the president of the Russian Federation himself would reflect on a certain memo for Russian tourists planning to visit Crimea, that Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office would launch a criminal investigation, and that Roskomnadzor (Russia’s federal media and communications oversight agency — Ed.) would shut down the website, is not something I could have imagined even in my wildest dreams. I could not imagine the level of fear and doubt in themselves and in their own country demonstrated by all these people  and institutions.

Well, imagine that you are absolutely convinced of the legality of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the absence of any legal consequences today as well as political consequences tomorrow. Now, say someone suddenly posts a notice online about possible political consequences. Would you pay attention to this document? Even if someone posts it? What difference does it make?

The legal status of North Cyprus has remained uncertain for more than 40 years already. All this time tourists have been traveling there, buying property, and entering into other agreements. All this time various institutions have been warning the citizens of various countries about the legal consequences of their actions. The Republic of Cyprus allows access to the territory of Northern Cyprus only through its own checkpoints. Violators may be denied entry to Cyprus. The real estate transactions are very questionable, and no one know what situations might become problematic should the Cyprus conflict be settled. So what? Do you really think that the president of Turkey reacts each time similar information appears? Not at all. The various alternative options for settling the Cyprus question are discussed in Turkey, and it appears that supporters of the island’s unification may even enter the Turkish parliament. The point is that Turkey’s influence in the world is not being demonstrated by Cyprus. In fact, Cyprus is more of an impediment to the strengthening of this influence. Turkey is a country of successful economic reforms. And this is of primary importance.

But for Putin and his Russia the main thing is Crimea. As it turns out, the Russian government itself understands all the pitfalls associated with the annexation of someone else’s land. Otherwise it would not be so nervous about each posting on the Internet. But Putin cannot give up Crimea because then his stay in prison loses all meaning.

As described in the good old fairy tales, our chap breaks a mirror that depicts the real state of affairs. The fact that in our time the Internet has become this mirror does not change matters much.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Edited by: Melodia Kouklewsky
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • puttypants

    why aren’t we talking about Royal Shell drilling for oil in Crimea. They had a deal with Ukraine now they’ve switched to Russia. Where are the sanctions on this company? That’s legally Crimea/Ukraine oil.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Both Shell and Exxon had signed contracts for exploration in the waters round the Crimea with Kyiv. Because of the changed political situation and the doubts about the legality of the work due to the interntional non-recognition of the ocupation, both have not done any work since the dwarf’s annexation as far as I know.

      • puttypants

        I did read somewhere Shell was talking with Russia. Is Shell UK? I thought USA and UK had sanctions against Russia? Why would the American and UK governments allow such talks?

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Shell is talking with Russia about expanding the Sakhalin gas project, but not about drilling in or around the Crimea. As the Crimea is occupied territory it’s highly unlikely that Shell or any other western company would risk all sorts of legal action by starting to drill there.
          The US and EU sanctions don’t include a total embargo of activities in Russia- at least, not yet. But if- or perhaps when- the dwarf would decide to expand the aggression against the Ukraine, kicking Russia out of Swift would certainly be on the cards. This would, at the very least, severely hamper any activity in Russia for any western company, perhaps even make such activity impossible regardless of any other sanctions including a possible prohibition of oil companies to start any new activity.

          • puttypants

            with all the dead, displaced and devastated parts of Ukraine one would think West would have done some serious sanctions which it hasn’t to date. Makes me wonder if the West is serious about stopping Putin’s aggression?

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            The Poles, Baltics, Swedes and to a lesser extent the British are, but the others aren’t. Merkelain, Hollandier and most of the other EU leaders are useless, only thinking of appeasing the dwarf and resuming trade with Dwarfstan. Obama is equally useless, though US trade with Dwarfstan is minimal and the US has little to lose by a total embargo on all trade with Moscow.

  • Murf

    One more thing to give Vlad a chip on his shoulder over.
    As if he doesn’t have enough already.
    It will become just another economically dead grey zone, like the others.
    Draped like a necklaces a round his throat. .

  • Vol Ya

    Boycott Russia. All travel to Russia and Crimea should be cancelled. Do not give the russians your hard currency.