So now the parliament of the semi-autonomous Crimea has decided to hold a referendum on staying in Ukraine or going on its own, which presumably means some type of union with Russia. Why the uproar from the “West,” the model was the Ukraine parliament itself that has tossed out its president and installed an un-elected government in his place?
To understand what is going on one has to understand that one condition of Ukraine gaining its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union and Russia was that the Russians would keep their big naval base in Sevastopol on the Crimean coast,which meant a substantial presence of Russia in the area. In fact the naval base is a major employer of residents in Crimea and many businesses there depend on the base. Most of the tourists who visit Crimea are from Russia and they constitute the second major source of income for the semi-autonomous region.
What this means is that the referendum will probably result in Crimea severing itself from Ukraine and moving in some form to closer union with Russia. And there is little the Ukrainians can do to avoid this since an “indiginous” force, widely believed to be Russians soldiers in unmarked uniforms, has closed off the region to outside forces leaving the Crimean parliament able to conduct its referendum unimpeded by Ukraine.
So Russia will have better control over its “warm” water port and favorite resort while Ukraine will have to move its naval force to its much larger port at Odessa. The only real victim here will be Ukrainian national pride and given the country’s disastrous economy its people have little time to worry about pride.