The text was originally published in Russian
A year ago the Crimeans headed to election centers to express their will on the question put up for referendum – should the peninsula remain as a part of Ukraine or should it join Russia? Crimea becoming a part of Russia was not the initial stage in the Ukrainian crisis, and it did not become the last one. However, it was the Crimean referendum that triggered a new phase of the crisis, making it truly international.
Not everyone, who took part in the events, recognized the consequences of their actions. Many were left disorientated with the situation in Kiev and did not follow the developments in Crimea. at the same time, there were ones, who clearly realized what is at stake – these were, first and foremost, the Crimeans themselves and their supporters in Moscow. Russian leadership was engaged in solving the Crimean issue ever since Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich fled the country.
On the night of 22-23 February Russia signaled Crimea as its vital interest and, thus, raised the stakes. Other actors were taken aghast leaving noone willing to confront Moscow. Kiev’s new authorities did not take the risk of giving the direct command to use the armed forces in Crimea. Staking on anonymous violence, like in Maidan, the coup’s leaders Yatsenyuk, Turchinov and Avakov were inevitably losing the peninsula to the Crimeans.
Waning of the Ukrainian crisis may recreate conditions favourable for the meeting between the Russian and Georgian leaders. However, normalization in relations of the two countries has distinctly set limits, for the global strategy of the Georgian leadership remains unchanged.
This appointment has almost no implications for the US military strategy like all the previous appointments in the last 20 years. Irrespective of who holds the position of the Defence Secretary, the US remains a naval power, whose continental territories will remain immune to opponents at least till 2050.
The key question for Russia is whether the Operation Atlantic Resolve will become the start of permanent stationing of American and NATO forces in the countries of former Warsaw Pact and the post-Soviet space. Moscow insists that its security needs be taken into account, whereas the American leadership believes that the motives of Russia stem from “misinterpretations and outdated thinking”.
The space of the modern Europe is clotting, strategic depth is fading away and partners-opponents are at the front door.To escape confrontation and revive its role of the Eurasian dynamic kernel peacefully, it is important that Russia follows the motives and logic in policies of both its rivals and buffer states on its periphery.