Adelphi students express their opinion about Putin's decision to annex Crimea.

What is your opinion on Putin’s decision to annex Crimea for Russia?

The following responses were obtained by Political Science Major: Alexa Savino

Mahnoor Misbah, Senior – “Putin is essentially acting as a hegemonic power in his decision to annex Crimea for Russia. He has shifted the view of Russia from an ally to a potential threat for the United States and the global community. Although Putin may have a grand scheme that he’s operating under, from the perspective of everyone else in the international arena, his actions seem to reflect a hunger for power and control. Putin claims to be acting in the best interest of ethnic Russians in Crimea, but it is very likely that he has several ulterior motives. His actions have prompted the U.S. to institute sanctions against Russia, which can only cause harm. Ultimately, the question will come down to whether the annexation is worth international condemnation and sanctions.”

Elizabeth Rizzo, Senior – “First of all, the annexation of Crimea is illegal according to international law. Russia’s initial movement of forces onto the peninsula, then those ridiculous referendum choices, plus UN recrimination? Come on, Putin! As for Crimea/Ukraine relations, let’s face it, things were going sour (e.g., law on minority languages), but Russia should have let them figure it out on their own. What would have happened if legal and proper methods were used? That’s what really gets me, the way Putin went about doing what was best for Russia and not necessarily for Crimea.”

Jennifer Lin, Junior – “In an increasingly globalized world, political leaders often feel the need to assert an aggressive foreign policy in order to ensure that they leave their mark on history. While I do not understand Putin, it is clear that he and his advisors subscribe to a realist view on international relations, where each rational actor on the world stage acts in its own self-interest. His desire to chip away at American hegemony and prove that Russia is still just as powerful as she was during the Cold War drives many of the decisions he makes, such as this recent attempt to annex the Crimea. Given that many of the Ukrainians in the Crimea identify with Russian culture and do not oppose the possibility of rejoining their fellow Slavs in Russia, the problem is vocalized by the protests of outside actors, such as the United States. The West fears that if Putin is allowed free rein to an-nex the Crimea, it is a green light for continued aggression. However, despite the many dangers, Ukraine must retain its sovereignty and the right to negoti-ate with Russia fear of outside influ-ence. Keep the political power for decision making in the hands of the Ukrainians unless they begin to advocate for Western intervention.”

Sebastian Souchet, Sophomore – “I believe that the situation in the Crimean region draws attention to the fundamental need for international consensus and explicit international law concern-ing secession and declarations of independence. This is of course idealistic, but it would hopefully solve many of the legal issues in this situation (and future situations). As for the legality of the annexation of Crimea, one must first note the Crimean referendum’s violation of article 73 of the Ukrainian Constitution, and the fact that it did not include an option declining to join Russia. I would argue that such facts, combined with the Russian military influence in the Crimean region both prior to, and at the time of the refer-endum, invalidate both the referen-dum and the subsequent annexation.”

This piece appeared in the Political Science Newsletter Spring 2014 edition.

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