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  • Author: Ye. Zinkov
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: ThE PROBLEM of the acquisition and sale of Alaska, and to whom it belongs, excites the minds of researchers to this day. There are supposi- tions that once the first Russians had traversed Siberia, they settled in Alaska during the second half of the 16th century.1 The next period, in which Alaska gets mentioned by Russian people, dates to 1648, in connection with the names of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev and his associate Fedot Popov, who circumvented the Asian continent, then passed from the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean basin.2 Later on, an official expedition was organized; its commander, Vitus Bering, announced in 1728 his discovery that Asia and America did not have a land bridge between them.3 The first legal documentation of Alaska’s coastline took place on August 21, 1732, when the crew of the St. Gabriel, under the leadership of surveyor Mikhail Gvozdev and navigator Ivan Fyodorov (or K. Moshkov, according to other sources), recorded its contours without going ashore. From this date began the jurisdictional affiliation of Alaska with the Russian Empire. however, the territory for a long time contin- ued to be developed on the basis of civil law. The bureaucrats of the Russian Empire did not duly administer the land in Alaska. This situation contributed to the consolidation of legal relations within civil society on the territory along the lines of the Novgorod Republic.
  • Topic: International Law, Law, Land, Jurisdiction
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, Alaska, United States of America
  • Author: A. Vyleghanin, K. Kritsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: FIVE YEARS AGO, a coup d’état took place in Kiev. Following demon- strations and arson attacks, a mob seized several government institutions, including the administration building and residence of the constitutional- ly elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich. Some members of the Ukrainian president’s security detail who were protecting his residence from illegal seizure were wounded and killed.1 Alexander Turchinov, one of the coup leaders, began serving as the president of Ukraine even though no Ukrainian presidential election had been held. The coup in Kiev led primarily to the U.S. assuming a leading role in Ukraine’s governance – something it had neither during the period of the Russian Empire nor the Soviet era. The February 2014 overthrow of the president in Kiev that took place without elections and in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution de facto divided the country into regions that recognized the new authorities in Kiev and those that opposed the coup (primarily the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine). This occurred not only because the Ukrainian presi- dent was unconstitutionally removed from power but primarily because the “installation” of the putschist government was accompanied by vio- lence, and ethnic and linguistic persecution. In March 2014, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea left the new, “post-coup” Ukraine in accordance with the provision of the UN Charter on the right of peoples to self-determination. Subsequently, following a referendum in Crimea, a treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia was signed. A confrontation between the new regime in Kiev* and residents of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions turned into a protracted armed conflict. The forcible replacement in Kiev of a constitutionally elected head of state (Yanukovich) with an unconstitutional leader (Turchinov) directly impacted Russia’s national interests. Russians and Ukrainians lived together within a single state, the Russian Empire, from the 17th century until 1917. During the Soviet period, the border between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic did not have international legal significance. It was an administrative bor- der. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent UN member states (Russia and Ukraine) that replaced them continued to maintain close economic and other ties. Their continued integration, including through joint participation in the Customs Union, objectively met the strategic interests of Ukraine and Russia. A friendly Ukraine is also important to Russia from a national securi- ty standpoint, considering NATO’s expansion toward Russia’s borders that began in the early 1990s – i.e., NATO’s absorption of all former member states of the Warsaw Pact, including Poland and even the former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Russia’s leadership has repeatedly stressed the inadmissibility of dragging Ukraine into NATO. Words about “fraternal” relations between the peoples of Russia and Ukraine are no exaggeration: Millions of family members (both Russians and Ukrainians) live on opposite sides of the Russian-Ukrainian border,2 and at least one-third of Ukraine’s population speaks Russian as a native language. In this context, it is not surprising that Moscow considered the U.S.- orchestrated seizure of power from the head of state in Kiev an event affecting its vital interests. Something else is remarkable: The U.S. administration said that the events in Ukraine, far away from the American mainland, “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”4 Westerners promulgated a very different assessment of the forced ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in 2014. The U.S. called it a “people’s rev- olution” and said that the mob action organized in part by the U.S. ambas- sador in Kiev (including the killing of Berkut fighters, the state guard of the Ukrainian president) was a legitimate way of expressing the will of the “Ukrainian people.”
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Law, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, South America, Syria, Venezuela, North America, United States of America