Three Different Answers To ‘Who Owns Crimea?’

One is that the answer to “Who owns Crimea?” depends upon whether or not a person thinks that the gifting of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine that was ordered by the Soviet Union’s dictator back in 1954 should continue to be honored after the Soviet Union dissolved and disappeared in 1991; and if so, then for how long — in perpetuity? On Saturday April 22nd, Russia’s RT News headlined “China questions sovereignty of ex-Soviet states” and reported that

Beijing’s ambassador to France has claimed the legal status of Ukraine and other former USSR republics isn’t “concrete” 

China’s ambassador to France has called into question the sovereignty of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics, suggesting that their hazy status under international law makes it difficult to resolve conflicts over disputed territories such as Crimea.

“Even these countries of the former Soviet Union don’t have effective status in international law because there is no international agreement to make their status as a sovereign country concrete,” Ambassador Lu Shaye said on Saturday in an interview with French broadcaster LCI.

Asked by Swiss journalist Darius Rochebin whether Crimea is Ukrainian territory, Lu said, “It depends on how you perceive the problem . . . . It’s not that simple.”

Rochebin tried to correct his guest, saying, “Sorry, according to international law, you know it’s Ukraine. Under international law, you can argue it, you can dispute it, but this is Ukraine.” Lu replied, “Crimea was originally part of Russia, wasn’t it? It was [Soviet leader Nikita] Khrushchev who gave Crimea to Ukraine in the Soviet Union.”

Pressed again on the peninsula’s status, the Chinese diplomat said, “Now, we must not quarrel about this kind of problem again. Now, the most urgent thing is to stop, to cease fire, to stop.”

Crimea had been Russian territory during 1783 to 1954 when Nikita Khrushchev, the dictator over all 14 of the Soviet Union’s Republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan), arbitrarily and without explanation transferred it from Russia to Ukraine. America’s National Public Radio (NPR) headlined on 27 February 2014 (ironically, the very day that Obama’s coup which grabbed control over Ukraine ended successfully), “Crimea: A Gift To Ukraine Becomes A Political Flash Point”, and Krishnadev Calamur delivered there an extraordinarily honest history of that touchy (in America) subject, which included the statement from Khrushchev’s American great granddaughter, who had “spent time as a child with the Soviet leader,” that “Nikita Khrushchev was very fond of Ukraine. So, I think, to some degree, it was also [besides being done to please Ukrainians] a personal gesture toward his favorite republic. He was ethnically Russian, but he really felt great affinity with Ukraine.” As Calamur documented, the decision by Khrushchev had been made only casually, with no real explanation, and was immediately carried out. So, one must speculate as to why he did it. But there is no question that the Soviet dictator did do it.

Another answer to “Who owns Crimea?” was provided by the man who had been planning by no later than June of 2011 to grab for America all of Ukraine but especially Russia’s largest naval base, which is on Crimea and which had been there ever since 1783, and to turn that Russian naval base into yet another U.S. naval base: Barack Obama.

Sevastopol, Crimea

Obama has never been asked to justify or explain his opinion, which he has stated numerous times — his opinion that the transfer of Crimea back again to Russia is “illegal.” However, in my 2 October 2015 “Obama v. Putin: Their Debate On Crimea”, I documented his opinion on it, and summarized it as: “The residents of Crimea should be entirely ignored, he says. Not only the residents’ opinions, but the possible reasons for those opinions, have nothing whatsoever to do with the legality of Crimea’s transfer, he says. Those people live on Ukraine’s land, and so are Ukraine’s property — and Russia stole this property, from Ukraine. The people there are only property.” Furthermore:


Here is how Obama himself phrased his case, to the extent that he has done so at all:

Since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine – not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine – since that time, this improvisation that he’s been doing has getting – has gotten him deeper and deeper into a situation that is a violation of international law, that violates the integrity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, has isolated Russia diplomatically, has made Europe wary of doing business with Russia, has allowed the imposition of sanctions that are crippling Russia’s economy at a time when their oil revenues are dropping. There’s no formula in which this ends up being good for Russia. The annexation of Crimea is a cost, not a benefit, to Russia. The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over.

He made this statement on 1 February 2015, only a few months after the 18 September 2014 Scottish referendum on independence had been held, in which not only Britain but most of the world accepted without question the right of the people in a district of a nation to self-determination; but, he didn’t even mention that referendum, and his interviewer, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, failed to ask him about it. (It’s like the U.S. press had failed to challenge George W. Bush’s allegations about “Saddam’s WMD,” etc.)

Similarly, Obama said on 3 September 2014 (with links added here by me):

It is a brazen assault on the territorial integrity of Ukraine – a sovereign and independent European nation. It challenges that most basic of principles of our international system – that borders cannot be redrawn at the barrel of a gun; that nations have the right to determine their own future.

By “a sovereign and independent nation,” he was referring to the “nation” Ukraine possessing a right to impose whatever type of government it wishes in any region of it that it wishes – and not at all about the rights of the people in Crimea.

At the very start of his sanctions against Russia, Obama said this, on 6 March 2014, as constituting his legal case (and the AP subsequently posted the video of him saying it):

This morning I signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people. … And that includes standing up for the principle of state sovereignty. The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law. Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. [IMPORTANT NOTE: The Government that he had just overthrown in February 2014 was entirely legitimate, but the government that he imposed to replace it was entirely illegitimate: no coup-imposed government has any legitimacy whatsoever.] In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders. [But that’s what he did.] 

“Stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people” doesn’t mention what those “assets” consist of. The libertarian philosopher Andrei Illarionov honed in on the land; he filled in that detail, which would have seemed too ugly to too many people if the President himself were to have stated it publicly (the view that people are property of other people). Few in the public would agree with Obama’s view that property takes precedence over people, that people who own people take precedence over the people whom they own. So Obama ignored this detail. He didn’t make clear that he was treating “the legitimate government of Ukraine” (which he had actually just installed) as if the people of Crimea were that government’s property, to rule as they wish. Obama’s real mental world is hereditary kings and their subjects – not actually elected heads-of-state and their citizenry, whom no one owns. It’s an imperial world, an imperialist’s world, his world, in Obama’s mind; but he’s smart enough not to say it publicly. He even hypocritically pontificates: “In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.” But what about “over the heads of democratic voters”? To him, voters in a foreign country don’t even count, at all, so he refers instead to the “leaders” as the ones who possess rights in a foreign country, to decide yea or nay for their subjects, not citizens.

Putin and Obama
President Obama and President Putin in 2015


And that article by me also stated what will here be presented now as:

The third view regarding “Who owns Crimea?” is:



So: here, then, is Putin’s case on the matter, in an interview at  [That was from German broadcaster ARD, which yanked it from youtube, but it had gotten copied into the Web archive, and so you can still see it here:]

English: Exclusive ARD interview with Russian President Putin | Günther Jauch

| ARD. 17.Nov.2014 [Jauch of ARD – German public television – interviews Putin regarding Crimea]

[10:55] JAUCH: For the West, this was a clear breach of international law. PUTIN: What’s the question? JAUCH: The question is, did you underestimate the reaction of the West? PUTIN: We find this reaction absolutely disproportionate. … When we’re confronted with the accusations that Russia has violated international law, I can hardly feel anything but astonishment. What is international law? First and foremost, it’s the charter of the United Nations. … A vivid and fresh precedent was set in Kosovo. JAUCH: You mean the judgment of the International Criminal Court, with respect to Kosovo [and here is the link to that], which said that Kosovo had the right to self-determination, and that the people of Kosovo could vote on whether they wanted to have their own state or not? PUTIN: Exactly so, but there’s more to it than that. The most important thing mentioned there was that in terms of self-determination, people populating a certain area are not obliged to ask the opinion of the central authorities of the state where they are resident. There’s no need to have permission from the central governmental authorities, in order to take the necessary steps to self-determination. This is the most crucial point, and nothing that transpired in Crimea was any different from that which happened in Kosovo. I am deeply convinced that Russia has not violated any international laws. I am very open about this. It’s a fact, and we’ve never concealed it. … Besides, what is democracy? You and I know very well, what does demos mean, it means people. Democracy means the rule by the people. In our case, it’s the people’s right to be independent.

Regarding Putin’s allegation, in the same interview, that the evidence is clear that the Crimean population were “mind-blowing” in their support of joining Russia, that evidence is so conclusive that Washington can’t challenge it, and instead avoids even referring to it; but, here it is. Just click onto the links there, and the links in those articles, and you’ll see the evidence itself: the results of the polls that were taken in Crimea, even by Western polling organizations. Obama’s pretense to being a supporter of democracy is, in a sense, even worse than Hitler’s supporting “The Big Lie” technique, because Hitler at least acknowledged that he despised democracy (which is what Obama, but only in private, contemptuously called “the pitchforks”).

(Please note that, though the Donbass case can’t even be alleged to constitute any attempt by Russia to seize that former region of Ukraine; Putin’s argument, and the ICC’s decision, would apply also in Donbass: self-determination. The only type of case where it would not apply would be one like the U.S. Southern Confederacy in 1860: the breaking-away of a region in order to enable slavery to exist under the law – the type of separatism that’s intended to allow something so blatantly vile that the laws virtually everywhere do not allow it. The ICC’s ruling does not enable any separatism which violates basic human rights. It does not allow, for another example, a separatism which would enable extermination of a people. Nor would it allow a separatism which would legalize husbands raping their wives. The ICC’s ruling instead enforces basic human rights. That’s what it was/is all about.)


Whereas Obama’s case (though it’s unstated, only implicit) presumes that this is essentially a dispute about property, and enforcing property-rights, Putin’s case presumes the exact contrary: that this is fundamentally a dispute about people, and human rights (versus property, and property-rights). Putin is saying simply that the people who reside in Crimea should determine the government in Crimea, and that owners of the land there (whatever and whomever those owners might happen to be) should not. That constitutes a fundamental ideological dispute between them.


Regarding what China’s Ambassador Lu Shaye said on Saturday in an interview with French broadcaster LCI, my guess would be that he would agree with Putin, and not with Obama, that if the majority of the residents in a particular region favor breaking away from the national Government that currently is ruling over them, then, as a general rule, they need to be provided a free and fair opportunity to express their majority-preference on that matter in a fair plebiscite in which both the pro-side and the con-side will be provided fair and entirely uncensored public debate there, followed by a vote of all the residents there, regarding that subject; and, if more than 50% vote for secession, and if all residents there have been given untrammeled opportunity easily to participate in that plebiscite, then — and ONLY then — that breakaway will be morally correct, and therefore ought to be respected and adhered-to in the U.N.

Given the urgency of the violent situation that, in the lead-up to and ever since Obama’s coup in Ukraine, was pressing upon all of Ukraine, and especially upon those regions of the country that had voted in 2010 for Viktor Yanukovych (which over 70% did in Crimea and over 90% did in Donbass), the Russian-sponsored plebiscite in Crimea far more than met the necessary minimum requirements in order for the international community of nations, and the collective voice of the U.N. General Assembly, to condemn and disown the U.S.-and-allied position on that vitally important matter, which U.S. position instead treats the residents of and on Crimea as-if they were merely the property of the Kiev government, merely its subjects, not citizens anywhere, but the Ukrainian government’s property.

Obama’s position on this matter is a standout modern endorsement, and even a demand (enforced by sanctions and now by NATO and weapons) that there be, regarding the residents of Crimea, slavery to the government in Kiev.

Obama needs to be publicly recognized as being an endorser of slavery, in this particular matter, because that is what he is — and that is what the U.S. and its allies are: lying hypocritical aspiring slavemasters.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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