Thursday, 27 March 2014
The UN has voted to declare the annexation of Crimea illegal. Only ten members backed Russia. They break down as follows: rogue states (North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Zimbabwe); chronically anti-US Latin American countries (Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua); and only two ex-Soviet republics (Belarus and Armenia). I'm guessing Lukashenka must have very mixed feelings However, it's easier to understand why Armenia might be more more enthusiastic. In addition to winning extra Russian aid, Armenia is probably hoping to get Putin to approve its claim to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic exists in a strange limbo, only recognised by other unrecognised states (Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia). Even the Republic of Armenia has not officially acknowledged its independence. Despite this, some of the most prominent members of Armenia's governing elite were politicians in Nagorno-Karabakh, including the current president Serzh Sargsyan and the former president Robert Kocharyan (who had previously been president of NK). Maybe they think it's a good time to unfreeze the conflict with Azerbaijan, especially now that Azerbaijan's main ally Turkey is busy with Syria - as well as banning Twitter and Youtube. Of course, this will all depend on whether it fits Putin's grand strategy.