What Will Putin Do Next?

Friday, March 07, 2014

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. October 27, 2010 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Shutterstock)

As the crisis in Crimea continues to escalate, the possibility of a new Russian expansion and the threat of a new balkanization is fostering a sense of insecurity across the West.

The regional parliament in Crimea announced a March 16 referendum that will give citizens a chance to vote to remain part of Ukraine or join Russia. That referendum has been rejected by the government of Ukraine, and an arrest warrant has been issued for the new prime minister of Crimea.

Should the vote to secede pass, Moscow has signaled it will embrace Crimea's decision to break away from Ukraine and become a new region of the Russian Federation. This is the first public signal the Kremlin has given for support of secession, but the United States and other countries have denounced the vote as a violation of international law. 

“The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law," President Barack Obama said Thursday. "Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine.”

While much of the analysis of the conflict has focused on Russia's relationship with the West, this crisis could also have major implications for its relationship with the East and long lasting consequences for the international community.

Rodger Baker is the vice president of Asia-Pacific analysis at Stratfor, a global intelligence research firm. He explores Russia's plans and the political and economic impact the crisis could have on the West. 

Though the conflict can have long-term geopolitical impacts, there is also a great deal of fear emerging in the Crimean peninsula for ethnic minorities. In May of 1944, Joseph Stalin ordered his police to tag the houses of Crimean Tatars, the native Muslim residents of the peninsula, with an X. Within a matter of days, all of them were evicted from their homes, loaded onto trains, and sent to Central Asia, on the pretext that the community had collaborated with the Nazi occupation of Crimea.

And now it looks like the practice is starting again. Natalia Antelava, a reporter for the BBC, The New Yorker and PRI's The World, explains.



Natalia Antelava and Rodger Baker

Produced by:

Rupert Allman and Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [2]

Jack from manhattan.


Your description of Tatar animus ignores the fact that for centuries, the Tatars pillaged the region, enslaving captives for the Ottoman empire until the 18th century when Russia after several failed attempts finally conquered Crimea. The adversarial relationship between the Ottomans and the Russians continued and drove the Ottomans during WWI to align with the German Empire as a foil against its Russian neighbors on the Black Sea.

Mar. 07 2014 03:19 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The U.S. needs to stay out of The Ukraine: You got a couple of hot headed Chefs in a kitchen fighting with hot oil over an open flame. The best the U.S. could do is stand by the exit with a fire extinguisher.

1. China will monitor Russia. They have a lot of money invested in The Ukraine.

2. The minorities on the boarders of China and Russia will keep both sides on their toes.

3. The Ukraine has Russian oil pipelines going through the Ukraine and so Russia could increase the price of oil and gas.

4. The Ukraine supplies Europe with wheat and other commodities that Europe does not want interrupted. So, whoever controls The Ukraine will control what Europe gets.

5. Chevron has pumped 375 million dollars into oil production this last summer. People will listen to what the oil company wants on either side of the fence.

This is not the battle of the U.S. This is our opportunity to get ahead of Russia and China.Let's let Capitalist greed be the downfall to Communist countries. Now that cracks me up.

Mar. 07 2014 01:54 PM

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