November 10, 2008

Crimea the Achilles Heel of Ukraine

Since Russia’s aggression against Georgia in August, a number of Ukrainian and foreign politicians, diplomats and security policy analysts have warned that Ukraine and Crimea could become Russia’s next target. Indeed, Moscow has persistently intimidated Ukraine ever since the Orange Revolution. Kremlin regularly provokes and exacerbates conflicts between Crimea and the central government in Kyiv in order to increase its own influence in Crimea and to strengthen its position in the Black Sea region.

There has been much speculation about tensions in Crimea, so it is particularly important to look at the situation on the ground in Crimea, to analyse the key components of the conflict and to discuss what can be done to reduce Russia’s leverage there. This paper claims that the main threats and challenges to the security of Crimea are: the debated status of the peninsula; the presence of a foreign military base in Sevastopol; Russia’s active information campaign, which is partly led by its security services; ethnic and inter-religious tensions related to the Crimean Tatars; and the ineffective central government in Kyiv that is unable to control most processes on the peninsula.

Download the new ICDS Analysis on Crimea
Merle Maigre – Crimea the Achilles Heel of Ukraine

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