Sunday, 16 March 2014

Crowd power, referendums and legitimacy in Ukraine

It is odd this talk by the EU and the US of 'legitimacy' or its absence in relation to the referendum in Crimea. As I write the result of the poll is being announced. An overwhelming majority in favour of the proposition that the Crimea be once again part of Russia. William Hague says the referendum is illegitimate. But is it any the less legitimate than crowds of protesters in Ukraine leading to the overthrow of a democratically elected President?

What it demonstrates more than an argument about legitimacy is an interest. The Russian interest in the Crimea and the outcome of the changes in Ukraine are palpable. The interests of the USA and the EU are opportunistic and full of bluster.

They talk of 'consequences' and 'costs' that will flow if the referendum goes ahead. The referendum has gone ahead. The one thing Putin knows is that the 'consequences' and 'costs' are a lot of hot air - minor restrictions aimed at certain individuals in Russia.

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