Russian Vladimir Putin Addressed The World Concerning The Annexation Of Crimea

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March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the world regarding the annexation of Crimea. A referendum that took place only days before resulted in an 82% turnout rate, with over 90% of the ballots casting in favor of Crimea’s reunification with Russia (“History: What does Crimea,” 2014). Many questioned the reasoning behind Russia’s sudden need to reestablish its hold on Crimea; legally a Ukrainian territory. The Russian- Ukrainian relationship dates back to the ninth to the mid-thirteenth century in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus; an area that expanded from the Baltic to the Black Sea (Bates, 2014). The two countries have been linked to each other for centuries; they share a similar culture and sense of nationalism…show more content…
By losing Ukraine to its independence, Russia lost thousands of armed forces and military equipment; this coupled with the effect the separation had on Russia’s trade agreements with Europe meant that Russia was left weak, and economically unstable. It was one of the biggest partitioned nations in the world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in December of 1991, Russia was left in a fragile state, especially after getting accustomed to being treated as a world superpower; its’ sphere of influence significantly declined. Russians see this as a time of economic and political instability leaving them vulnerable to the West (Larrabee, 2010), one of its biggest reservations being the potential for a Western stronghold along its international border. Because of its weakened state, much of Russia’s distress towards Western policies was noticeably dismissed. Despite having unwaveringly opposed NATO’s expansion to include previously Russian territories such as Ukraine and Georgia (Mearsheimer, 2014), in the mid 1990s, the Clinton administration openly disregarded Russia’s concerns by pushing for NATO’s expansion towards previous members of the Soviet Union. By 2004, Latvia, Romania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary and many more were admitted to NATO (Mearsheimer, 2014). This raised numerous concerns in Moscow as Putin had made it clear that Russia would not tolerate NATO’s enlargement into Russia’s most

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