Redefining Territorial Integrity
Published: March 7, 2014 (Issue # 1800)
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In Moscow, I have lived through two ideologies, two Olympics, two revolutions and several economic crises. I have wept through terrorist attacks. I have lost all my savings a couple of times. I am always getting paid in whatever currency is losing value. This week I think: I am getting too old for this.
Through my panic about war, I'm trying to understand the logic behind Russian actions. So I have been reading documents, including the пояснительная записка (explanatory note) prefacing a bill to change the way Russia accepts new territories, a fast track for Crimea or any other part of Ukraine.
The note is written mostly in a bureaucratic, legalistic jargon that signals the work of serious international law specialists. The text is peppered with Latin quotes, like "rebus sic stantibus," which is always a sign of Jesuitical, um, serious scholarship.
As I read along, I am a little puzzled that the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 is not mentioned, but the 1997 treaty between Russia and Ukraine is. The text about the treaty starts out fine: Именно Россия гарантировала территориальную целостность Украины (It was Russia that guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine). And it continues well: Фактически Россия как гарант территориальной целостности Украины … (In fact, Russia as a guarantor of the territorial integrity of Ukraine … ).
But then it goes south: … не только вправе, но и обязана принять меры поддержки народа Украины, которые подтолкнули бы власти Украины к наведению должного порядка, без насилия и дискриминации по отношению к национальным меньшинствам (… does not only have the right, but is obligated to take measures to support the people of Ukraine, measures which would push the authorities of Ukraine to implement an appropriate system, without violence and discrimination against national minorities).
So the writers extrapolate that respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine actually entails interference in the internal matters of Ukraine. But they are still hobbled by that territorial integrity bit. How to get around it?
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