5th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea: new sanctions and euphoria decline

According to analysts, Russia will have to pay for the 2014 aggression for a long time.

March 18, 2019, marks the fifth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea, which marked the beginning of international condemnation of Russia’s actions and the subsequent conflict in eastern Ukraine. 2 days after the referendum unrecognized by the international community, Russia signed an agreement with the representatives of Crimea on the entry of the peninsula into Russia on March 18, 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the ceremony of launching at full capacity two power plants in Crimea – Balaklava and Tavricheskaya, media reported on Monday, March 18. Putin’s trip is timed to the 5th anniversary of the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
According to the Russian president, the power of the stations gives energy “exactly as much as in previous years Crimea received from a neighboring country (Ukraine – V.V.)”.
At the same time, the cost of the TPPs built by Technopromexport, which is part of the state corporation Rostec, is approximately 71 billion rubles (over a billion dollars). Moscow spent another $ 700 million in 2016 on an energy bridge laid along the bottom of the Kerch Strait.
As Siemens previously reported, Russia, contrary to the agreement and bypassing European sanctions, installed four gas turbines manufactured by the German concern at power plants. As a result, this led to litigation and new sanctions against Moscow by Washington and Brussels..
Meanwhile, NATO and the European Union reiterated their condemnation of the Russian annexation of the peninsula..
The Alliance said in a statement released on Monday that the illegal act is not recognized today and will never be recognized in the future..
In turn, the head of European diplomacy Federica Moggerini expressed solidarity with Ukraine and support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
NATO and the European Union also called for the release of Ukrainian sailors who were illegally detained by Russian border guards in the Kerch Strait last November..
Earlier, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill prohibiting US government agencies from recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea..
Director of the Institute for Sociological Analysis, Vice President of the Liberal Mission Foundation Igor Klyamkin believes that the worst thing for the Kremlin is that Crimea “pulled Donbass with it,” which further aggravated Russia’s position. As it seems to him, here “one trap spawned a second”.
“The fact is that Crimea was to some extent a forced action for Putin,” he says in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America. – Because if Ukraine simply went into the “arms of Europe” without any reaction from Moscow, it would be a great political defeat for him. So the Crimean action began to spread to the subordination of other Ukrainian territories – in order to maintain political control over Kiev “.
Ultimately, Moscow again does not know how to get out of the next trap, and it is, first of all, ordinary citizens who have to pay for everything, Igor Klyamkin stated. In his opinion, no one is going to remove the European and American sanctions imposed on Russia..
“Thus, Russia, having received some internal political effect as a result of the annexation of Crimea, having received a territory that it regards as important from a military point of view, nevertheless has significantly lost from the point of view of the attitude of the world community towards it, found itself in an ambiguous position, forced to defend a legal the legality of their actions in Ukraine. At the same time, the world community considers this a gross violation of international law, “he summed up.
The sociologist also did not rule out that Putin would find himself in a situation where the population’s discontent “stemming from completely different reasons and events” will soon begin to be transferred to the assessment of the “Crimean operation”.

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5th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea: new sanctions and euphoria decline
  • 5th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea: new sanctions and euphoria decline

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Political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin I agree that the payment of the “Crimean accounts” continues and will continue for a very long time. In his opinion, the Putin regime itself, working exclusively for the benefit of those close to the president, his “special purpose brigades”, was simply doomed to lead the country to a dead end..
“Crimea contributed to this in the best possible way,” he added in a commentary to the Voice of America. – The international status of Russia has already slipped to a country of the second, if not the third rank. It is enough to look at who are allies today, with which leaders Putin is talking. This is Venezuela, Iran, Turkey, Syria … Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are. “.
“Judging by the behavior of the majority of the country’s citizens, they experienced a surge of pride after the annexation of the peninsula,” noted Dmitry Oreshkin. – “Why, we deceived everyone, put on the ears, taking the Crimea. And, in general, no one seriously thought that at the same time Putin lost Ukraine forever. But now the reality has changed. We see how the ratings of the authorities at all levels, including the presidential one, are falling, and how people’s moods change ”.

🇷🇺 What has Russia gained from annexing Crimea? | Inside Story

Putin’s problem is that he still thinks that he is in control of the process, but in reality this is a delusion, the political scientist believes..
“The process goes on by itself, and only God knows where it will go now. The magic effect of “Crimeanashism” is over. According to a poll by the Levada Center, the majority of people (52%) are confident that the worst is yet to come and that the country is moving in the wrong direction. This was the case until 2014, before the Crimean epic, “he concluded..
According to the latest survey data from the Public Opinion Foundation, the number of Russians who consider the annexation of Crimea to Russia useful has decreased compared to 2015 from 67 to 39%.
Coordinated Western Response: Too Little, Too Late?
The day before, on Friday, March 15, the United States, the European Union and Canada simultaneously announced the imposition of sanctions on Russia due to the incident in the Kerch Strait last November. This was a concrete reaction from the West to the incident in which Russia hijacked three Ukrainian naval vessels and arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors. The United States imposed sanctions on six individuals, mainly against the Crimean FSB officers who were directly involved in the incident, and eight companies – “defense enterprises operating in Crimea.” Some of the names from the American list coincide with the list of the European Union, which imposed sanctions against eight individuals, and also extended sanctions for six months against 163 Russian citizens and 44 legal entities in connection with the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Canada also imposed sanctions against 114 individuals and 15 enterprises, including the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin, the head of VTB Andrei Kostin, and the director of Rosgvardia Viktor Zolotov. Many on the Canadian list are already under US and EU sanctions.
According to Anders Aslund, Anders Aslund (Atlantic Council) expert in Washington, the fact that the sanctions were announced simultaneously by the US, EU and Canada speaks for the restoration of the Western alliance and coordination between the allies, but the sanctions themselves did not impress the expert.
In his opinion, the unilateral actions of the United States to impose sanctions last year, including on the RUSAL company by businessman Oleg Deripaska, caused a disruption in the global aluminum markets, thereby undermining the confidence of European allies in the Trump administration. Despite the fact that the United States today is trying to return to the coordination of sanctions policy with European partners, the latter, according to Anders Aslund, are somewhat skeptical and prefer to minimize sanctions..
“There were no significant names or companies on the US and European sanctions lists. The EU also removed from the list the US-listed Gennady Medvedev, deputy director of the FSB’s Guard Service. In all likelihood, this was done due to pressure from Finland, which needs this person for bilateral negotiations with Russia, ”says Anders Åslund.
Also, according to the expert, the imposition of sanctions four months after the incident is a belated reaction..
“As a result, we saw ineffective and significantly delayed sanctions. By doing too little and too late, the West guaranteed President Vladimir Putin victory in Kerch and the Sea of ​​Azov, ”Anders Aslund said..
However, as the expert notes, as a result of the sanctions imposed by the West due to the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russia economically loses up to two percent of GDP per year..
I agree with the assessment that the sanctions in response to the incident in the Kerch Strait are minor and overdue and Stephen Blank, Expert, American Foreign Policy Council (Stephen Blank, American Foreign Policy Council)
“The response to such situations and the imposition of sanctions must be immediate so that the violator – in this case Russia – clearly understands that the payment for such actions will exceed any benefits. But if you wait four months, this influence will be lost, ”says Stephen Blank, adding that the sanctions themselves were not significant..
While coordination between the US, EU and Canada is a positive step, Stephen Blank believes that “it shouldn’t take so long for governments that are equally outraged by direct Russian aggression in violation of international maritime law.” Also, according to the expert, in addition to the imposition of sanctions, the West had to send ships to the Kerch Strait – as to the internal waters of Ukraine and Russia, which was agreed long before the start of the war..
The annexation of Crimea and the subsequent conflict in Ukraine had, according to Stephen Blank, a significant negative impact on Russia itself..
“In addition to those who died on the Russian side in this war – and we don’t even have data on this – the price was enormous,” says Steven Blank..
According to the expert, the economic effect for Russia can reach the loss of several hundred billion dollars, which has already led to a deterioration in the life of the entire population of the country. Moscow also paid a political price in the form of isolation from the West, as a result of which its dependence on China increased, and the potential to restore the status of a “great power” decreased.

  • Victor Vladimirov

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  • Valeria Jegisman

    Journalist «Voices of America». Prior to that, she worked for international non-governmental organizations in Washington DC and London, in the Russian-language version of the Estonian daily newspaper “Postimees” and as a spokesman for the Estonian Interior Ministry. Interests – international relations, politics, economics

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