Spotlight: Republic of Crimea

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Profile of a newly independent, sovereign state, and a new 2-million-strong nation, ‘born’ amid an international diplomatic crisis involving United States, European Union, Ukraine, and Russia. Read the complete article about Republic of Crimea on Wikipedia.

 

Excerpt:

 

Formerly annexed by the Russian Empire, Crimea was reoccupied by the Soviet Russia in 1921 and was granted the status of autonomous republic. After the World War II in 1945 the Soviet authorities deported the indigenous population of Crimean Tatars and the autonomous status of the region was stripped. In 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union transferred the region to Ukraine. Ukraine restored Crimea’s autonomous status in 1991 and allowed all Crimean Tatars to return. Crimea’s autonomous status was further reiterated in 1996 with the ratification of Ukraine’s current constitution, which declared Crimea to be the “Autonomous Republic of Crimea”, but also an “inseparable constituent part of Ukraine.”

On March 11, 2014, amid the 2014 Crimean crisis, the Crimean parliament and the Sevastopol City Council issued a letter of intent to unilaterally declare independence from Ukraine. The document specifically mentioned Kosovo as a precedent in the lead part.

The declaration was done in an attempt to legitimize a referendum on the status of Crimea where citizens were to vote on whether Crimea should apply to join Russia as a federal subject of the Russian Federation, or remain part of Ukraine.

Somaliland – Progress towards a Regional and International Role (report)

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Speaking of international relations, there exist two different types of sovereign states: ones that are officially recognized, and the ones which are, obviously, vice versa.

In numerous cases, we have seen the establishment of a considerable number of countries being either contested by few or, if unfortunate, most of the existing states. For instance, Taiwan, whose sovereignty is disputed by China; Palestine by Israel; Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Georgia (and only recognized by Russia and three others); Transnistria by Moldova; or Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by Azerbaijan. These are only a handful of examples of how formation of a ‘nation’, and a ‘state’, can be so easily contradicted against the current existing conditions.

But Somaliland is an exception. Formally, not even one sovereign state in this planet declares to this country an official recognition (its entire international relations operate rather on an informal basis).

Its existence can be traced back long before the devastating civil war in Somalia in 1990s. Unlike the rest of the country, which was administered by Italian government, Somaliland was controlled by the British instead. The war itself, compatible with the total absence of a centralized government in Mogadishu (rather than being epicenter of Somalia, it instead symbolizes the destruction, lawlessness, and hopelessness of the nation), enforced the local warlords in charge of the region, those who were long embattled with the regime back in the capital, to reach a compromise, and thus Somaliland was born.

With more than 3.5 million inhabitants living in the region, and with no countries officially acknowledging their existence, the newly-formed government had to fight a hard game to ensure social stability in the newly-born country. And subsequently the results start to pay off. The remittances sent back home (a World Bank report suggests the number sent by Somalilanders working abroad, mostly in Saudi Arabia, exceeds 1 billion US$ every year) were mostly used to rebuild the country’s shattered economy. Today, real-estate and construction projects have begun to mushroom throughout the country’s main cities, predominantly Berbera and Hargeysa (the chief capital).

After two decades of social stability and bustling economic growth, the government now seeks into a new, and deeper, venture: an official, and worldwide, international recognition. While the government still has to tackle numerous obstacles and stereotypes that hinder much of the foreign direct investment back in Somaliland – primarily due to the country’s association with Somalia as being chaotic, lawless, and anarchic, another difficulty ensues: Puntland, another autonomous region of Somalia that favors national union with Mogadishu, and also a copy-cat version of Somaliland in terms of social stability and economic growth, has begun to dispute a tremendous number of Somaliland’s territories. Several armed border clashes even took place in the past. Still, though, the government has numerous tasks to accomplish in both near and far future.

Chatham House, a non-governmental international-relations think tank based in London, UK, has recently interviewed two ministers of the Somaliland government regarding the country’s future international recognition. Click the link here for the full interview archive.

And for those who are not well-acquainted with this country (or even not aware if such country exists), click Wikipedia for further information.