In a landslide vote, Crimea votes to tie itself to Russia. Al Jazeera America looks at the fallout.
Despite Crimean aspirations of joining the Russian Federation, it is still far from clear what Putin’s next move will be. Annexing Crimea could evoke more international outrage than Moscow has an appetite for, and retaining de facto control of Crimea while the division weakens Ukraine’s central government could result in an equally appealing situation for Moscow. Putin, however, has never been known for his predictability, and at this stage his response to the Crimean vote is unknown.
Kimberly Marten, a Russia and Eurasia expert at Columbia University, told Al Jazeera in February that an isolated war over Crimea would have implications reaching far beyond the peninsula.
“If you have Ukraine break into pieces, then other countries that have held together will have a strong incentive to look at their own arrangements. It could be the flare that leads to massive violence and conflict not only in Ukraine but elsewhere in the post-Soviet space,” she said.
Moscow urged Ukraine on Monday to adopt a federal system, giving parts of the country more autonomy, as a way of resolving the polarization between Ukraine’s western regions — which favor closer ties with the 28-nation EU — and its eastern areas, which have long-standing cultural and economic ties to Russia.