Observer for The Japan Times about visit to Crimea: "it was and is still totally Russian"

21 August 2015

Crimea was "totally Russian" in the Soviet times and remains Russian nowadays, said an observer for The Japan Times, having visited the peninsula. According to him, Moscow’s arguments related to Crimea are worth listening, but the West is deaf to them.

Russia is seeking for understanding of its stand on Ukraine and Crimea, but the West has turned a deaf ear to it, reports Gregory Clark, an observer for The Japan Times and a former first secretary at the Australian Embassy in Moscow.

In his commentary, the ex-diplomat notes that during the Soviet times the Ukraine’s east was "like a little Russia". "That many there would welcome some kind of autonomy once the Kiev administration began to unravel was inevitable," Mr Clark underlines.

Having visited Crimea in the Soviet times and re-visited it in August 2015, Gregory Clark admits that the peninsula was "totally Russian" in the USSR and "is still very Russian". He mentions that Kiev’s brief rule failed to encourage more use of the Ukrainian language on the territory.

Besides, he adds that Moscow has legal grounds to consider Crimea to be Russian, since the resolution of then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to gift the peninsula to Ukraine back in 1954 was technically illegal since it never got to be ratified by the Supreme Soviet.

Mr Clark says that while U.S. legalists now argue that Moscow’s move to detach Crimea from Ukraine’s sovereignty is a clear breach of international law deserving continued sanctions, in that case the West would be very guilty over Kosovo, where bombs were used to deny Serbian sovereignty. In Crimea they say they relied mainly on a referendum.

"Russia’s image today is still tainted by the image of Soviet days, which is why its case over Ukraine, Crimea and Flight MH17 still gets such little attention in the West, even when it is deserved," Gregory Clark says. According to him, Moscow needs to do more to invite established opinion makers to come and talk to the people in charge in the West.

Meanwhile, the longer things drag on the more the United States and its NATO allies will ramp up the military pressure, as they are already trying to do in the Baltic states and over Ukraine. "The situation is more dangerous than most seem to realize," Mr Clark believes.

Adapted from RIA Novosti



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