Brookings Scholars on the Ukraine/Crimea Crisis, 3/19/14

Over the weekend, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine, and then Russia’s parliament swiftly voted to annex the country, as President Obama declared some sanctions on key Russian and Ukrainian officials. Brookings experts continue to offer commentary and recommendations on the unfolding crisis in Ukraine and Crimea. See previous editions of this roundup herehere and here.

Read excerpts of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s remarks at Brookings today on NATO’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe, revisits a 1994 paper that she co-authored when she was a research analyst at the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In “Back in the USSR: Russia’s Intervention in the Internal Affairs of the Former Soviet Republics and the Implications for United States Policy Toward Russia,” Hill and co-author Pamela Jewett documented efforts by the Boris Yeltsin government to reassert Russian influence over former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the Baltic states. Here’s a passage about Crimea from this 1994 report:

The ethnic-Russian dominated Crimean peninsula has been singled out and targeted by Moscow. It has offered dual citizenship to Crimean Russians and promoted Crimean presidential candidates oriented towards Russia. Moscow has trumpeted the economic grievances of ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s eastern provinces, particularly miners in the Donetsk region, who now regret voting for Ukrainian independence. In addition, it has reminded Ukraine that agreements on the inviolability of its borders with Russia are contingent on Ukraine’s continued membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States. If Ukraine chooses to distance itself from Russia, territorial dismemberment is a distinct possibility.

Bruce Jones, director of the Project on International Order and Strategy, said that the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea is an opportunity for the United States to strengthen ties with Europe: “If we look six or seven years down the road, the likelihood is that we see stronger ties between the U.S. and Europe on energy and trade, and that strengthens the U.S. and hurts Russia.”

Here is some of what Brookings scholars are saying on Twitter:

See our research and commentary archive on Ukraine.