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Reaction Paper 3

864 words - 4 pages

In February 2014, the international community witnessed a turn for the worse in the Ukrainian political crisis. Protests in Kiev turned violent and deadly and President Viktor Yanukovych was impeached merely hours after fleeing the country. While Ukraine’s parliament sought a new speaker and formed an interim government, rallies in the disputed territory Crimea quickly gained momentum. Ukraine is on the brink of its law and order completely breaking down, and the United Nations and other world powers are unsure of how to react or handle the situation (Al Jazeera, 2014).
On February 27th, the School of International Service hosted a panel of American University faculty members to discuss the ...view middle of the document...

These different identities within Ukraine bring into question the importance of nationalism. As School of International Service Professor Dave Ohls explains, nationalism is “…a political movement with primary loyalty to a socially-defined concept of nation, generally along ethnic, religious, linguistic, and/or cultural lines” (2013). The weak government in Ukraine along with its history of corruption such as in the Orange Revolution make it particularly susceptible to war based on nationalism. When President Yanukovych renounced Ukraine’s trade agreement with the European Union, he ignited the conflict between western and eastern Ukraine by announcing that he himself sided with the Russian loyals. The cultural divide among Ukrainian citizens in addition to Ukraine’s ongoing border dispute with Russia over the territory of Crimea is the flashpoint of this multi-national crisis.
Much of the concern about the crisis in Ukraine is around Russian intervention and the use of military force. Approximately 7.5-10 million Ukrainians identify as ethnic Russians, 2 million of which are concentrated in Crimea. As such, Russia’s interest in Ukraine and Crimea is first and foremost economic. Ukraine imploding into civil war will adversely affect Russia and its stability. Russia will primarily defend its border and its interest in Crimea, although Russian officials have announced that there are no plans to move into Ukraine (School of International Service, 2014). Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be waiting to see what will happen in Ukraine once the violent protests die down. Knowing that most of Ukraine’s turmoil is economic, Russia’s interest in Crimea stems from its desire...

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