This thesis explores Russia’s perception that it has a strategic security interest in Ukraine, and particularly in Crimea, and evaluates whether there are valid reasons to support that perception. These issues were brought into sharp focus as a result of the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine in February, 2014, and the subsequent Russian seizure and annexation of Crimea. Due to their significance, this thesis begins with a brief discussion of the Euromaidan and Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea. The following chapters focus on Russia’s perception that in spite of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia remains a great power, and it must be respected as a great power and afforded the privileges within its neighborhood that come with that great power status. The following chapters focus on Russia’s perception that NATO expansion has reached the point of constituting an existential military threat to its strategic security interests, especially with regard to Ukraine and Crimea, and they explore how Russia responded when it perceived that its strategic security interests in Ukraine and Crimea were threatened. They also evaluate whether Russia’s response was justified. The thesis concludes that there are valid historic and territorial reasons to support Russia’s perception that it has a strategic security interest in Ukraine, and particularly in Crimea, and its perception that NATO constitutes an existential threat to its strategic security interests in the Black Sea theatre. Further, while Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea and its invasion of the Donbass were illegal under international law, and illegal under several bilateral and multilateral agreements, Russia’s actions could have been anticipated. And, from Russia’s viewpoint that the Euromaidan Revolution itself was an illegal, unconstitutional “coup”, no one should have been surprised that Russia felt justified in likewise breaching international norms and agreements in its seizing and annexing Crimea. Finally, the thesis concludes that in the case of Crimea, real politik will prevail, Russia will not return Crimea to Ukraine and neither the U.S. nor its Western allies will intervene to alter that result. That being said, the thesis concludes that it is in the best interest of Russia, Ukraine and Crimea that the parties find economic, not military, solutions to the present territorial disputes, recognizing that Russia is not going to surrender Crimea and that an economic and political settlement would be the best means to restore active commercial and political relations between Russia and Ukraine.
|Commitee:||Beazer, Quentin, Efimov, Nina|
|School:||The Florida State University|
|Department:||Social Sciences Interdisciplinary|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 82/1(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Russian history, International Relations|
|Keywords:||Crimea, Euromaidan, NATO, Putin, Russia, Ukraine|
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