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Secession and Intervention in the Former Soviet Space: The Crimean Incident and Russian Interference in Its ‘Near Abroad’

Wilson, G (2016) Secession and Intervention in the Former Soviet Space: The Crimean Incident and Russian Interference in Its ‘Near Abroad’. Liverpool Law Review, 37. pp. 153-175. ISSN 0144-932X

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Following Russian intervention and a referendum held on 16th March 2014, the Ukrainian republic of Crimea became incorporated within Russia. The Crimean episode marked just the latest in a series of situations arising in former Soviet states in which secessionist movements within disaffected territorial units were able to advance their causes aided by Russian external intervention. These situations raise significant international legal issues pertaining to secession by component parts of existing states, underpinned by external intervention. The unwillingness of the international community to recognise Russia’s incorporation of Crimea, similar to its earlier rejection of the purported secession of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia, reinforces the widely held view that non-consensual secession must be grounded in exceptional circumstances which were found to be lacking in all of these situations. It also reaffirms the principle that territorial changes brought about by external intervention will not be recognised. However, while legal assessments of these incidents may appear prima facie straightforward, they cannot be entirely divorced from the wider political phenomenon of ethnic conflict in former Soviet states and tensions existing in those states between factions seeking to further European integration and those prioritising strengthening relations with Russia. The international legal reasoning employed by the key protagonists must be understood with reference to this wider context. © 2016 The Author(s)

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10991-016-9187-x
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1801 Law
Subjects: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Divisions: Law
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2016 08:55
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 12:25
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s10991-016-9187-x
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4284
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