Source: John Burke & Svetlana Panina-Burke, The Reunification of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol with the Russian Federation, 5(3) Russian Law Journal 29–68 (2017).

  1. The redrawn border of the Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol is consistent with history, politics, and economic analysis. Ukraine single-handledly destroyed the economic potential of Crimea: (1) closure and deterioration of seaports, (2) closure and deterioration of industrial enterprises, (3) failure to invest in essential infrastructure such as roads, rail,  other methods of transportation, and (4) appropriation of public assets of any value.  
  2. The history of Crimea’s connection with Russia dates back over two hundred years to the time of Catherine the Great. In 1991, after the dubious gifting of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, more than 67 percent of the population consisted of ethnic Russians, who dominated Crimean politics and culture. In addition, there were no Ukrainian language schools in Crimea; few ethnic Ukrainians used the Ukrainian language in everyday life, and only half claimed Ukrainian as their native tongue, an indication that their Ukrainian identity was anything but strong. The entire history of the peninsula from the breakup of the Soviet Union to the 2014 was that  its residents demonstrated time and time again that they were not a natural part of Ukraine and did not feel at home as part of Ukraine. On 17 March 1995, the Verkhovna Rada abolished the May 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Crimea. In 1998, Ukraine finally achieved its goal of effacing Crimean independence, with the adoption of the 23 December 1998 Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Ukraine.
  3. The destabilised government of Ukraine during 2013–2014 implicated the national security interests of the Russian Federation. Under its national security policy, the Russian Federation has the right to curtail spill-over effects of regime crises close to its border. Without Russian Federation support, conditions in the Republic of Crimea likely would have deteriorated into an internal conflict, like that in the Donbas. In addition, the Russian Federation has reserved the right to protect nationals abroad. Arguably, these policies are derivative of the right of self-defence that is an exception to the prescription in Art. 2 of the United Nations Charter. The Russian Federation had every right to ensure that the population of Crimea could exercise its right of choice of  being sovereign through a referendum.
  4. Since 1954, the border of Crimea was drawn by political fiat, an ultimately inexplicable gifting of the peninsula to the State of Ukraine. After the collapse of the USSR, the State of Ukraine exerted control over Crimea, contrary to the democratic preferences of Crimean residents, to vindicate its self-interests, and to exploit assets located on the peninsula. The “coerced annexation” of the Republic of Crimea raised the political costs of border redrawing, as the population of Crimea introduced a significantly high level of heterogeneity into the larger Ukrainian community. Following the logic of economic analysis, this degree of heterogeneity led exactly to what the economic model forecasts: dissension about political leadership and denial of individual preferences. Moreover, the Republic of Crimea did not receive “public goods” equivalent to those provided in Ukraine per se. Under Ukrainian rule, the population of Crimea was deprived of reliable provision of public goods, such as water, electricity, and gas required to heat private and commercial properties. The industrial infrastructure of Crimea was dismantled to enrich Ukraine oligarchs, raising the spectre of “rents.” Ordinary people were left to survive in conditions equivalent to those existing in the pre-industrial revolution period.
  5. The tenuous ties between Kiev and Simferopol were unsustainable under the economic analysis model. The border of Ukraine incorporating the Republic of Crimea was artificially drawn, leading to the creation of an artificial state, subject to destabilisation due to heterogeneity costs. In addition, the two regions had preferences for different governments, demonstrably true in historical context. Since Ukraine forced its government policies upon the “subordinate region” of the Republic of Crimea, citizens in Crimea suffered a denial of their preferred type of government
  6. In the case of Crimea, the self-defence forces operating on the territory of Crimea enjoyed a strategic advantage due to the overthrow of the democratically elected government and the installation of a new regime, whose military forces consisted not only of traditional troops but also of paramilitary arms of diverse political groups, raising problems of coordination and deployment. The Republic of Crimea also had the advantage of being a peninsula permitting the border to be sealed, preventing Kiev from using military ground transportation.
  7. The Republic of Crimea is best suited to governance under the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation has the capacity to provide “public goods” to Crimea while, at the same time, the Republic of Crimea receives public goods of a superior quality at the same or lower cost than under the sovereignty of the State of Ukraine. Second, integration of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation reduces to zero, the costs posed by heterogeneity. The Republic of Crimea always was Russian in its language, culture, and history. By contrast, the Republic of Crimea never did fit the State of Ukraine. Rather, since its independence from the USSR, Ukraine had an “unstable political system,” “irrational and impulsive leadership” and “citizens that do not enjoy stable expectations.”
  8.  Setting aside analytical models, the Republic of Crimea is better off under Russian Federation governance. The Russian Federation has invested billions of dollars into infrastructural improvements in Crimea: On 27 March 2014, the Russian Federation immediately started paying pensions and increasing the value of payments; started to lay fibre optic cables to provide improved telephone and internet service; rebuilt the main road between Kerch and Simferopol stretching approximately 100 kilometres . In addition, the Russian Federation has planned to develop alternate routes between Kerch and Simferopol, parallel to the existing main highway. The Russian Federation also has begun construction of bridges across the Kerch Strait to connect the Russian mainland to the peninsula at costs exceeding billions of dollars. 

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