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Павло Гай-Нижник

Basic Principles of the Strategy for De-Occupation
and Reintegration of Crimea
in the Context of National Security of Ukraine:
Aspects of the Problem and Solution Areas

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Опубліковано: Hai-Nyzhnyk P. Basic principles of the Strategy for de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea in the context of national security of Ukraine: aspects of the problem and solution areas // Гілея. – 2020. – Вип.157 (№6–9). – Ч.3. Політичні науки. – С.11–28.

The new research offers and analyzes key concepts for developing the strategy for de-occupation and reintegration of Crimea in the context of national security of Ukraine. It points out key problems of the origins and current overcoming of the pro-Russian identity on the Crimean peninsula as well as the ways to optimize the system of state governance and security of Ukraine.

Key Words: National Security, Reintegration of Crimea, De-Occupation of Crimea, national identity

Modern global order undergoes intense transformations, which implies redistribution of leverages, scope of influence, and balances as in the meaning of control over planetary resources, globalized financial and economic system, energy sphere, regulation and acquisition of new high-tech communications and inventions, etc., so in the meaning of search for new humanitarian bases of cohabitation on our planet and basic framework for geopolitical relations, formulae, models, and gears of efficient international security system.

Ukraine, which geographically and historically has always lain on the transition of global geopolitical interests, trade and economic ways, and civilization-forming processes, appeared in the spotlight of radical worldwide changes. It is one of the flashpoints in Eurasian terrains, where modernity transforms and the future of global relations is being born.

Unfortunately, humanistic principles of solving civilizational crises and crucial contradictions in the global redistribution of spheres of interest often yield to power methods, which, under modern conditions, acquire hybrid form and total features. Ever since the declaration of its independence and sovereignty, the state of Ukraine – as the subject of international community – has permanently been on the periphery of opposition between West and East and remained an object of potential struggle between the giants of global geopolitics: USA and Europe (NATO and EU), on the one hand, and Russia, on the other. This opposition culminated in the 2014 aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and vividly testified the imperial revanchist nature of Moscovia, which, under the conditions and 20th-century realia, seems completely anachronistic.

The victory of the Revolution of Dignity, which the Kremlin political strategists had hypothetically assumed and feared, brought to naught the entire many-year effort of Russia to conquer Ukraine in a hybrid creeping manner and transform it into Russia’s satellite state with the controlled President and dummy politicians. However, the President of the Russian Federation V.Putin, as well as Russian political establishment, did not only refuse to admit the proved fact that Ukraine had started its separation from the peri-Moscow civilization orbit but also couldn’t (due to their narrowed vision) realize a new geopolitical reality. Putin treated that as his personal offence and failure as well as a challenge for Russia itself, a permanent threat to its future existence from both the neoimperial perspective and the point of danger: its megasubjectivity could turn into historical retrospective.

Objective reality proves the disappointing result: this war is for Ukraine and its nation not only the visionary conflict or clash of civilizations but also a fight for the right of existence in the full and impressive meaning of these words.

Onset of the undeclared war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is an unconcealed aggression against the sovereign independent state and the demonstrative violation of international norms. It is absolutely obvious that Putin’s Russia is not only an aggressor but also a terrorist state threatening European and global security. Consequently, the entire civilized world (Christians and Muslims, Buddhists and Jews, atheists, politicians, and businessmen) must realize that the mask of the so-called managed democracy of the Russian Federation is a monster of ochlocratic tyranny in disguise. Its embodiment is a political (and not exclusively) maniac-pervert that had enwreathed the impoverished nations of his Khanate with ferrets of ignorance, fear, and lie to keep poisoning them with all-encompassing hatred and arrogance, nurtured by the subliminal and incomprehensible desire to remain in their miserable, animal-like state. He aims for destruction. His hunger doesn’t have any life or political logic; it cannot be rationally explained. It is an instinct, uncontrolled desire to destroy and enslave, subconscious aspiration to not only nullify the millennia-old human values and cohabitation rules but also an attempt to master, deride, and emasculate the essence, the goals, and the missions of world civilizations.

Global community must understand that Putin’s Moscovia is an aggressor state by nature, that Putin’s empire doesn’t only sponsor terrorism but is a terrorist state itself. To crown it all, this insane, miserable, and insatiable organism is headed by the one who aims to redivide the world according to his imperial hallucinations caused by his sick imagination. Russia is trying to plunge the mankind in chaos and despair as well as implant it the virus of moral and virtue fall. The plague of decay, which is to provide the Kremlin with the possibility to spread its lies, fears, and ignorance through its and its satraps’ rule, can approximate the end, which will be ruled by sin, fear, and darkness, permanent war, poverty, and weeping over blood and losses…

Ukraine is now hindering the implementation of these world-hating intentions. Today it confronts the newly-built empire of evil and will break the ice for its fall. Thus, the world (people of various opinions and religions, states with different political and social systems, etc.) must unite around Ukraine to save themselves and civilization advancement by approximating the death of the dragon of sufferings and razing to the ground the new empire of evil!

Russian aggression – the annexation of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine – caused fundamental changes in bilateral relations of the states: 1) the destruction of contractual-legal framework between Kyiv and Moscow; 2) the elimination of institutional gears of interstate relations; 3) the disablement of contacts at the higher level, the confrontational character of political and diplomatic relations; 4) enormous human, territorial, and economic losses on the part of Ukraine; 5) the unprecedented abridgement of economic cooperation; 6) deep alienation between Ukrainians and Russians [35, p.2].

New political and ideological reality1 emerged in relations between Ukraine and Russia. Thus, we need to reevaluate and reconsider the nature, ideology, and, in general, the institutional system of relations with Russia in key spheres (politics, security, economy, energy, humanitarian field, and so on), taking into account that Russian government in place constitutes a key threat to the Ukrainian statehood. We also should develop a new conceptual model of coexistence with Putin’s Russia, which would reflect modern realia and prospects of bilateral relations, taking into consideration the standpoints of western partner countries and international organizations.

National security2 is known to function through the system of various relations between the individual and the society, the citizen and the state, society and the state, or different countries. Along with that, it is worth remembering the sharp and generalizing expression by Thomas Hobbes that “national security is not only the core of state-building activity—it is a key sense of the state’s existence.” Thus, we can summarize that national security is the condition of domestic and interstate relations, which determines the effectiveness of the system protecting governmental, legal, and social guarantees for rights and freedoms of man and citizen; fundamental values and interests of the society and sovereign state from inner and outer threats, and functions according to the key principles of national security provision:

➤ priority of rights and freedoms of man and citizen;

➤ supremacy of law;

➤ priority of contractual (peaceful) ways of conflict settlement;

➤ expediency and relevance of means for protecting national interests from real and potential threats;

➤ distinctive delineation of powers and interaction of all governmental authorities while ensuring national security;

➤ democratic civil control over military organization of the state and other structures of the national security system;

➤ employment of interstate systems and gears for international collective security to the benefit of Ukraine [18, p.351].

1 See: Hai-Nyznhyk, P. (2017) Russia against Ukraine (1990–2016): From Blackmail and Enforcement Policy to the War of Absorption and the Attempt of Destruction. Kyiv: MP Lesia, 332 p.

2 The “National Security” concept was introduced to the political vocabulary in the 1904 address of President T.Roosevelt to the US Congress, in which he substantiated the annexation of the Panama Canal by the national security interests.

National security is also one of the levels at which international security functions as the governmental activity aimed at the establishment of relations between the people and the state for disabling the real threats to the development of the society. The fortification of national security also implies the development of strategic partnership relations, which are among the important foreign policy tools, more and more extensively used by lead countries and integration unions as a means for making their activity more efficient on the global arena.

Modern Ukraine has faced threats and challenges that require immediate solution. The most acute of them are:

➤ military aggression, participation of regular troops, counselors, instructors, and mercenaries in the warfare in the territory of Ukraine;

➤ temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol along with further destabilization of Baltic-Black-Sea-Caspian region;

➤ intelligence and subversive, as well as diversionary activities aimed at stirring up interethnic, interconfessional, and social enmity and hatred, separatism and terrorism; establishment and comprehensive support, in particular military, of puppet quasi-state formations in the temporarily occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions;

➤ augmentation of military formations near the borders of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, including the perspective of tactical nuclear weapon deployment on the Crimean peninsula;

➤ info- and psychological war, abasement of Ukrainian language and culture, falsification of Ukrainian history, distortion and alteration of the real information picture of the world via Russian media, etc.

This context brings about the primary strategic goal of the national security state policy of Ukraine. It includes the restoration of territorial integrity of the country and the complex of its democratic institutes all over its territory; consolidation of Ukrainian political nation; shaping of a nationwide identity; unity of all citizens of Ukraine and all regions of Ukraine; reintegration of temporarily occupied territories after their liberation.

The key types of today’s conflicts are asymmetrical and hybrid wars, which occur between strong and weak states or non-state actors. The armed conflict taking place in eastern Ukraine can be characterized as a hybrid-asymmetrical warfare of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Besides, Ukraine is also involved in a network-centric warfare, which is aimed at achieving information advantage by uniting military objects into an information network. Apart from exclusively classic military methods, Russia extensively uses – perhaps, for the first time – the concept of the “three-quarter war.” The concept implies that the modern soldier must be ready to combat on basic terms in one quarter, carry out police functions in the second one, and fulfill humanitarian missions in the third one [13].

It must be taken into account that Russian aggression against Ukraine is conducted not only by direct intrusion but also has several components of modern expansion methods. In relation to the growing global role of information in the armed struggle and the appearance of information society, Ukraine also lives in the state of information war, when the aim of confrontation is achieved exclusively by means of information struggle, thus making information itself – in a certain field of its use – a tool for achieving political goals, a weapon. To solve these issues, Ukraine must, first of all, create effective information policy, targeted at the support of civil thought regarding the fact that the occupied territories, namely the AR of Crimea, are an integral part of the Ukrainian state and their inhabitants are citizens of Ukraine.

Political conflict around Crimea started as early as in the late 1980s, when Ukraine began restoring its independence. It is then that the problem of Crimea’s belonging became very acute and some Russian milieux tried to aggravate it to an ethnonational conflict. As it is known, in the early 1990s, the Crimean question was settled in favor of Ukraine; however, the Russian Federation – art of its political elite – didn’t recognize such political decision as an accomplished fact. Consequently, the ideal game of Russia promulgated the idea of “unfair transfer” of Crimea by M.Khrushchov to Ukraine, thus preparing several possible revenge scenarios. The argument of mythical “historical justice” was used as one of the trump cards for such pseudo-Reconquista along with the cultivation of the pro-Russian regional identity among the majority of Crimean inhabitants, supported by the powerful information and ideological struggle for the mind of an average person and the factor of physical presence of the Russian troops on the peninsula. Then Ukraine managed to stave off the attempts to ignite the ethnonational conflict and overcame a quite deep political crisis3. The proclamation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, despite the unitary system of Ukraine, significantly contributed to that. The autonomy itself voted for the Constitution, which guaranteed the free development of all ethne, the three languages gaining the official status in the AR of Crimea.

3 According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, more than 70% (i.e., ¾) of all global military conflicts of the mid-1990s were interethnic [3, p. 382].

The axiological, even civilizational, conflict is important in the view of public attitudes of the “Crimean knot.” The Crimea, as no other region of Ukraine, revealed the conflict of values, collision of interests and goals of various ethnonational communities and social groups with the values, interests, and goals of the Ukrainian state in its European advancement. A significant part of Crimean population can be characterized by ideological diffidence, reactionary Soviet consciousness, paternalism, dominating majority opinion and rejection of alternatives. The attitude towards others is shown in the framework of stereotypes “ours–theirs,” with an intolerant treatment of “them.”

In this regard, during the expert discussion “Strategy of Reintegrating Crimea: Problems of Development and Prospects of Realization” (October 8, 2014, RIUS) PhD in Political Sciences O.Kalakura quite aptly reminded about several crucial and open conflicts in Crimea, which had ethnonational features. This was the conflict in Morske village near Sudak, where in 2000 a permanent opposition between the Russian Orthodox and Muslim communities took place. It was caused by the decision of the Archbishop of Crimea and Simferopol Lazarus to place a thousand memorial crosses on the peninsula in honor of the 2000th anniversary of Christ’s Birth, the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Rus, and proclamation of Crimea the “cradle of Orthodoxy.” Another long-lasting conflict referred to the question of territory ownership and the history of Holy Dormition monastery near Bakhchysarai, etc. [22, pp.513–517].

deoccupationIt also must be borne in mind that, in the ethnic sense, Crimea is the least Ukrainian and the only region where ethnic Ukrainians do not constitute a majority. According to the 2001 All-Ukrainian census, before the occupation, the population of the AR of Crimea for 95% consisted of Russians (58.5%, 1180.4 thousand persons), Ukrainians (24.4%, 492.4 thousand persons), and Crimean Tartars (12.1%, 243.4 thousand persons) [22, p.479; 34]. Let me also remind you that as early as in 2010, 74.6% of representatives of a so-called Crimean “Slavic community” (Ukrainian citizens that are ethnic Ukrainians or Russians) had their sociocultural orientation geared towards Russian cultural and linguistic identity; 65.7% were convinced that Ukrainians and Russians are one nation, while 44.2% did not consider themselves representatives of the Ukrainian political nation [24, pp.4–5]. A similar situation was proved by the data of other sociological research [36].

Besides, the Ukrainians of Crimea as a regional minority didn’t receive any efficient help for satisfying their needs either from the side of official Kyiv or from the Autonomy’s authority. As a result, part of them have virtually assimilated in the ethnocultural sense with the Russian language speaking Slavic community: according to the survey conducted by Razumkov Center in 2008, a relative majority of ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea related themselves to the Russian cultural tradition [43, p.3]. In the fall of 2013, the majority of pro-Russian inhabitants of Crimea didn’t accept arguments in favor of signing by Ukraine the European Union Association Agreement, didn’t understand the reasons for Euromaidan, All-Ukrainian protests, and the Revolution of Dignity. Thus, in regard to the spheres of manifestation and the reasons of emergence, the ethnopolitical conflict around Crimea is not only an interstate but also a political, territorial, economic, historic and cultural, legal, psychological, and ideological one… Thus, regulation must concern every sphere of manifestation and the reasons for emergence, as the manifold nature of ethnopolitical conflicts stipulates the diversity of ways for their solution. The uniqueness of the 2014 annexation of Crimea also consists in the fact that for the first time since World War II a foreign founding member state of UNO, after resolving a conflict against another founding member state of UNO, has officially announced the occupied territory a part of its country4.


Attitude towards the “Referendum” in Crimea 03/25/2014 08:00

4 Nagorny Karabakh, Southern Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria, “LPR,” “DPR” became unrecognized, but nevertheless, separate quasi-state formations, which officially do not constitute a part of the aggressor state. In such situation it is quite hard to prove the fact of aggression. Their separation can be interpreted as the logical “right of the nations for self-determination” – a legitimate international principle competing with the principle of territorial integrity. However, as D.Matsola reasonably states, there is no international norm to even indirectly justify the annexation of the territory. Moreover, the horrors of World War II generated International law, grounded on the direct prohibition of seizing alien territories. For Germany, France, Japan, USA, and many other countries, the return of Crimea to Ukraine is necessary not even due to its unfair annexation but for the sake of preventing the “Crimean precedent” from causing a chain reaction of “returning native lands” in the entire world [27].

To enter the stage of conflict settlement and be ready for resolving it, Ukraine must, first of all, provide the preparation of reintegration with the social capital it has received as a result of the Revolution of Dignity, direct contacts of the civil society with the temporarily occupied territory and its inhabitants. In particular, these might be the contacts between the NGO “Maidan of Foreign Affairs,” which, by the way, has already presented its own Crimean Reintegration Strategy; the “FreeCrimea” project; other community forces of Ukraine and the representatives of the civil society in Crimea: Mejlis, Ukrainian, and Russian organizations. It is worth remembering that by no means all Crimeans welcomed Russian occupants (there is already such notion as “other Russians”). According to M.Dzhemilev, 35% of the population took part in the so-called “referendum” [7] (i.e., a considerable part of Russians haven’t collaborated in that illicit referendum). At the same time, the results of social surveys testify that 39% of Crimean respondents supported the idea of double citizenship with Russia5, while the peninsula itself saw the growth of disappointment with its new status and repression of civil rights.

5 European Union and Eurasian Customs Union. The research was conducted from the 23rd of February till the 14th of March, 2013 by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Rating company. The field stage took place from the 27th of February till the 10th of March, 2013. The opinion poll was conducted in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (in 41 inhabited localities) [20].

Sociological research clearly testifies that the prevailing majority of Ukrainians consider Crimea a Ukrainian territory. According to the data of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, 69% of citizens recognize Crimea as a Ukrainian territory, annexed by the Russian Federation. Only 14% of citizens determine Crimea as a territory of the Russian Federation. Herewith, 8% of them consider that inclusion of Crimea into Russia happened absolutely lawfully, while another 6% are sure that the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia was illegal. For 10% of Ukraine’s population, Crimea is a territory that neither belongs to Russia nor to Ukraine, while another 8% couldn’t clearly define their opinion regarding the status of Crimea [23].

deoccupationRussians have an opposite point of view. According to the All-Russian opinion poll, conducted on the 2nd–5th of October, 2015 by Levada analytical center, only 8% of Russians were absolutely positive concerning the return of Crimea to Ukraine; 7% chose “rather positive than not”; 58% Russians were negative about the return of Crimea; 25% of Russians were rather negative than positive [44]. The survey was conducted among the population of Crimea. According to GfK Ukraine, 82% of Crimean inhabitants fully support Russian annexation of the peninsula; 11% of the respondents said that they were rather supportive than not, while 4% were against it [51]. However, the representativeness of this survey is doubtful while under severe persecution from the side of Crimean authority, when even mentioning the annexation of Crimea can lead to arrest and accusation of terroristic activity, people fear speaking the truth.

It must be stated that the myopic and haphazard policy of the Ukrainian government in security, humanitarian, ethnonational, and information spheres, with some political leaders occasionally supporting the ideas of the “Russian World,” led to the embedding of these chauvinistic ideas in mass consciousness of some south- and east-Ukrainian population; contributed to the formation of the regional pro-Russian so-called Crimean or Donetsk (Luhansk) identity; and allowed committing criminal expansion into Crimea and spreading separatist moods in the east of the country, supported by a certain part of local population, which aimed to unite with the “great Russia.”

According to the sociological survey conducted by Razumkov Center, not so long ago citizens of Ukraine related themselves, first of all, to their place of residence. They were characterized by local identity, attachment to a certain locality. 45% of citizens primarily identified themselves with their small motherland; 32%, with Ukraine on the whole; 16%, with their area of living; 7% were undecided. Similar research, conducted in 2013 by the Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine, confirmed the high level of local identity. Thus, the indexes of local (a village or a city inhabitant) and regional (an inhabitant of a region) identities also were rather high: respectively 28.6% and 7.8% of respondents, although lower than in the previous research. About a half of the respondents (50.6%) identified themselves as the citizens of Ukraine; 2.4% called themselves citizens of the world; 1.2%, European citizens; 6.6%, citizens of the former USSR [47, pp.390–391].

For example, the dynamics of the 1992–2014 identity changes (based on the research of the Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine) can be presented in the following table:

What is your primary self-determination? (Select one most appropriate answer)


It must be stated that the time period of 1992–2013 observed the increase of local identity by 6.4% with a subsequent decrease by 12.3% during the following year. The same time period witnessed the increase of All-Ukrainian identity by 5% and a growth by 13.8% within just a year, with the decrease of post-Soviet identity by 7.3%. It testifies that 2014 saw significant shifts in the sphere of decreasing local and increasing All-Ukrainian identity, which was considerably predisposed by the events of Euromaidan and the Revolution of Dignity, as well as the consolidation of the Ukrainian political nation in terms of fighting against Russian occupants and collaborating separatists, repulsing the external aggression of the Russian Federation.

However, the pro-Russian identity still prevails in the AR of Crimea and occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It is actively intensified by the information influence from the Russian Federation, imposing imperial values. A number of pro-Russian NGOs in Ukraine impose the ideas of the “Russian World.” According to the data of the representative body of Rossotrudnichestvo, until quite recently, Kyiv has had 142 acting “organizations of compatriots,” 14 of which were national. The majority of regional organizations, 19, were found in Crimea. Ukrainian language and culture haven’t been properly supported and promoted in these regions, which still have prevailing Soviet toponymy and observe the spread of Soviet historical myths. This contributes to the formation of post-Soviet pro-Russian historical narrative. While Soviet toponymy in western and central Ukraine has lost its positions (the post-Maidan period and decommunization laws have especially accelerated the destruction of monuments symbolizing totalitarian past) the east and south of the country preserved it almost untouched. Thousands of towns, streets, squares keep projecting their names on the historical memory, capitalizing rudiments of totalitarian regime6. Dualism of historical memory is also proved by the results of sociological research conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with Ukrainian Sociology Service in 2015 regarding the attitude of the population towards the key domestic historical events [48].

6 European Council expert group, which carried out a survey of cultural policy in Ukraine, stated that out of 150,000 listed monuments, 7,000 (almost 6%) constituted monuments to Lenin and other totalitarian figures. Lately this number was considerably reduced; however, they still prevail in eastern and southern Ukraine. Law of Ukraine No.2558 of April 9, 2015 “On the conviction of communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols” has already started contributing to considerable changes of the situation in this field.

The lack of the Ukrainian language in the information space of Crimea, media, and higher educational establishments also caused the buildup of the pro-Russian regional identity in the AR of Crimea. The activity of Russian branches in Crimean universities that provide full-time education also contributed to that. They are presented mostly in Sevastopol. This city, in particular, hosted the branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Economics and Law (Moscow Academy of Labor and Social Relations branch), Crimean branch of Novorossiysk State Naval Academy, Sevastopol branch of Saint Petersburg Humanitarian Trade Union University, Sevastopol branch of Saratov State Social and Economic University, etc.

The aggressive humanitarian policy of Russia along with nearly a capitulationism on the part of the Ukrainian government also contributed to the creation of the pro-Russian identity. For example, the bill “Basic principles of state cultural policy” of the Russian Federation, developed at the end of 2013 and brought up to extensive discussion in 2014, stated: “The development of the Russian language also implies result-oriented effort for its promotion in the world, its support and expansion of Russian-speaking communities in foreign countries.” […] The development of the Russian language includes […] fighting against its substitution by national languages of other countries. […] It is necessary so that modern citizens of the world could have the fullest evaluation of contemporary events from the Russian perspective.” [32] Let me mention that although this passage wasn’t included into the final variant ratified by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of December 24, 2014, it nevertheless vividly illustrates true goals and tendencies of expansionist humanitarian policy of the Russian Federation.

Ratified by the decree of the Russian government of November 19, 2014 No.2321-p the “2015–2017 Program of cooperation with compatriots living abroad” implied organization of various events like annual international campaign “St. George Ribbon,” “Long Live Russia,” “With Russia in Heart,” and so on. Implementation of expansionist humanitarian plans abroad is financed by Moscow from the state budget, as well as by various odious funds, such as the “Russian World” and interstate fund of humanitarian cooperation of CIS. This activity is coordinated by Russian diplomatic institutions abroad and the Federal agency for the affairs of CIS, compatriots living abroad, and international humanitarian cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo). For example, until quite recently, representative bodies of Rossotrudnichestvo in Ukraine have been conducting active open agitprop with various categories and age groups of our citizens and the contest “CIS Is My Motherland” among the students of Ukrainian secondary schools with Russian-language teaching [4].

At the time of Crimean annexation and the beginning of Russian-Ukrainian war, the special-purpose Federal program “Russian Language” for 2011–2015 was the core document for the implementation of the Russian language policy [30]. The goal of the program was determined as follows: “Support, preserve, and spread the Russian language; also, among the compatriots living abroad.” Firstly, it implies “the support of the Russian language as the basis for developing integration processes in member states of Commonwealth of Independent States” and only in the second place – “satisfaction of language and cultural needs” of the mentioned “compatriots.” The problems which constituted the topicality of the program included “recession of integration processes in CIS member states and Baltic countries; deterioration of Russia’s credibility in the global community.” Support and propaganda of the Russian language and culture abroad is also stipulated by the “2015–2017 Program of cooperation with compatriots living abroad.” [40] The implementation of the above mentioned programs is laid upon the non-governmental bodies of the Russian Federation.

Crimean annexation

On May 20, 2015, the Russian government ratified the concept of Federal special-purpose program “The Russian Language” for 2016–2020 by regulation No.481. Its purposes and tasks do not fundamentally differ from the current one; however, its provisions pay special attention to financial and economic, as well as geopolitical risks related to the events of 2014, namely the introduction of sanctions, which can have a negative impact on the document performance [21]. According to the program, forms, methods of studying and teaching Russian language must meet “strategic priorities of the Russian Federation”… consolidation “of positions of the Russian language in the national education systems of CIS members.” In particular, the program implied that “the extension of geography and spheres of using the Russian language in the world will contribute to Russia’s empowerment, formation of its positive image abroad, reinforcement of its international standing and as a result—protection of Russia’s geopolitical interests.” [21]

It is also worth mentioning that even under current circumstances, the share of Russian and Russian language books constitutes around 80% of the Ukrainian book market. Besides, unlike other foreign language books, Russian language editions are presented in all genres (an attempt to satisfy any reader’s demand). Comparing to previous years, the supply of the Russian book in Ukraine has not only remained at the same level but even slightly increased. In July 2014, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine O.Sych declared the necessity of licensing and quota allocation for the Russian book product to decrease its volume at the market during several next years by 50%. This proposal was extensively discussed in the professional environment, but even its supporters mentioned considerable difficulties in its implementation.

Let’s recall that ever since the 1990s, when at the presidential elections of January 30, 1994 73% of electors gave their votes for the leader of pro-Russian forces Yu.Meshkov, the peninsula had already seen the foundation and legalization of separatist organizations (“Russian Community,” “Russian Unity,” “Sevastopol–Crimea–Russia,” “Russian Crimea,” “Union of ARC Cossacks”) [49, p.110]. Along with that, Crimea had the Ukrainian language extruded from the sphere of education. In 2012, there were only 7 Ukrainian schools out of 563, which constituted only 1.2% of their general quantity and encompassed 7.8% of students, considering that 10.1% of the Crimean population called Ukrainian their mother tongue at that time [26]. Besides, the so-called “optimization” of 2012–2013, allegedly caused by the lack of financing, led to the reduction of Ukrainian classes at Russian-language and bilingual schools. In 2010–2014, the de-Ukrainization process in disguise took place, as the spread of the Ukrainian language didn’t happen, while the support of the Russian language intensified. Thus, the proportion of students taught in Ukrainian didn’t change, while that of students taught in Russian grew by 8.5%. Number of secondary educational establishments with Russian-language teaching grew by 36; the number of classes with Ukrainian-language teaching reduced by 117 and that of classes with Russian-language teaching grew by 234. Today, Crimean schools do not use Ukrainian, and “History of Ukraine” is a prohibited subject.

So, for the attenuation of the pro-Russian regional identity in the AR of Crimea, the Ukrainian government must foresightedly prepare and implement not only information policy but also efficient humanitarian and ethnonational one. Humanitarian factors must, in particular, oppose the creation of the so-called “hybrid identity” (H.Bhabha’s theory). The theoretician of postcolonialism H.Bhabha studied the realms that emerge between different national identities and called them cultural hybrids. Due to mimicry, hybrids can adjust to “hegemonized rewriting of Eurocenter” (in case of Crimean separatists, it is Kyiv). The scholar confirms that from such a perspective, the hybrid nature can turn into the state equal to alienation, homelessness [12; 14]. The destruction of such openly hostile symbolic field in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine requires integrated effort, which will shape new humanitarian, cultural, and information architecture of the local symbolic field.

According to the results of sociological research, the Ukrainian civil self-identification of the population has substantially increased during these months—up to 75% of respondents – and, what’s important, this growth happened exactly in eastern and southern Ukraine by means of the Russian-speaking group. As for the status of Donetsk and Luhansk, most respondents think these cities must remain regional centers of Ukraine within the state (51%). The autonomy of Donbas within Ukraine is supported by not more than 20%. Only minor part of respondents endorse independence or annexation of Donbas by Russia (6% and 4% respectively). The establishment of Ukrainian identity in Donetsk and Luhansk regions will primarily depend on putting in place the special order of self-governing and conducting elections according to Ukrainian laws in the region. Local residents need the professional and moral qualities of their candidates for any post to be complemented by the algorithm “ours, native” clear to the working-class society [6, p.10]. Regional identity will lose its fundamental principle—dependence on the territory that satisfies all needs of a person.

However, it is worth remembering that Russian propaganda still has a significant impact on the citizens of Ukraine. According to the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology survey, the index of Russian propaganda resulting quality also has considerable regional divergences. Most of all it influences Kharkiv region (50%), Donetsk region (unoccupied territory, 45%), Odessa region (43%), Kherson and Mykolaiv regions (29%), Dnipro region (28%), Kyiv region (19%). North – 19%, Center – 18%, West – 12% [19]. It is enough to mention that, for instance, in mid-February 2015, 35 out of 37 Mariupol channels were Russian and only 2, Ukrainian. Moreover, from 2014 through 2016, the share of Russian banks in Ukraine increased from 12% of the general volume of bank operations to 42%, and the semiannual commodity exchange between Ukraine and the Russian Federation (the aggressor state!) in 2017 increased threefold!

Another front line of the “hybrid warfare” between Ukraine and Russia lies in the national memory realm. Since 2014, Russian propaganda has been using pseudohistoric arguments in public declarations of state figures and official documents to justify the illegal annexation of Crimea and aggressive politics of Russia regarding Ukraine as a whole. The Russian President’s address to the Federal Assembly of 2014 regarding Crimea stated, in particular, that “the territory itself is strategically important, because it is here that we find the spiritual turn in forming a diverse but monolithic Russian nation and the centralized Russian state […].” It is here, in Crimea, in the ancient Chersonese […] that prince Volodymyr was baptized to later baptize the entire Rus. […] It is the spiritual ground on which our ancestors for the first time and forever recognized themselves a unified nation, and this allows us to confirm that Crimea, ancient Korsun, Chersonese, Sevastopol have enormous civilization and sacral meaning for Russia.” [37] Some Russian online publications compare Kyiv to Kosovo: as the latter preserves spiritual origins and sacred objects of Orthodox Serbians, so the first contains spiritual origins and sanctuaries of the Russian people [5]. Thus, the capital of Ukraine gets on the list of the Russian “sacral heritage,” which can serve as a justification for further escalation of aggression.

Let me remind you that on December 4, 2014, during his annual “Address” to the Federal Assembly, the President of the Russian Federation V.Putin emphasized the importance of the expression of will in Crimea concerning its annexation by Russia [37]. The Head of the Russian government D.Medvedev is roughly on the same page, insisting on the importance of the referendum of the “people” of Crimea as the reason for “reunification” of Crimea with Russia [38]. At that, it should be mentioned that most arguments as for the “legitimacy” of annexing Crimea, voiced by the top officials of Russia, had been previously formalized in a number of statutory and regulatory acts of the Russian Federation. In such a way, for example, March 21, 2014 saw the adoption of the Federal Constitutional Law “On Incorporation of the Republic of Crimea into Russia and Creation of New Subjects within the Russian Federation: The Republic of Crimea and the City of Federal Importance Sevastopol.” This implied such arguments for annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation: the results of the referendum of the population of Crimea, Declaration of Independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on Incorporation of the Republic of Crimea into Russia and Creation of New Subjects within the Russian Federation (further – the Agreement), the proposal of Crimea regarding its incorporation into the Russian Federation [31].

The question of searching for the “legal” reasons for the annexation of Crimea became even more topical when on December 23, 2014, the Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation V.Matviyenko announced the preparation of a new bill on declaring illegal the act of transferring Crimean region from the RSFSR to the USSR [42]. Putin, for his part, stated in the above mentioned “address” that signing of the Agreement “was based on the free and voluntary expression of will of peoples of Crimea at the All-Crimean referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on March 16, 2014, during which the peoples of Crimea endorsed the decision on the reunification with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation” [16]. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that the Supreme Council of the AR of Crimea endorsed local referendums7.

7 On February 27, 2014, at the extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of the AR of Crimea, regulation No.1630-6/14 “On the organization and holding of the republican (local) referendum regarding the issues of improving the status and authority of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea” was adopted. The referendum was appointed on May 25, 2014 and was intended to be held on the question: “ARC has state sovereignty and constitutes a part of Ukraine on the basis of agreements.” On March 4, 2014, Kyiv county administrative court upheld the petition on providing the lawsuit of the General Prosecution of Ukraine on invalidating the decisions of the Supreme Council of Crimea as for holding a local referendum on improving the status and authority of the autonomy. On March 6, 2014, at the extraordinary session, the Supreme Council of the AR of Crimea adopted the regulation “On holding the All-Crimean referendum” on March 16, 2014. Among other things, this regulation already stipulated the appointment of All-Crimean referendum on March 16, 2014. The referendum was to bring about other alternative questions: 1) Do you support the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation? 2) Do you support the revalidation of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Crimea and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine? On March 7, 2014, the Decree of the President “On the termination of the Regulation of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea No.1702-6/14 of March 6, 2014 ‘On holding the All-Ukrainian referendum’” was adopted. On March 14, 2014, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared unconstitutional the Regulation of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea “On holding All-Crimean referendum” of March 6, 2014 No.1702-6/14 and nullified it.

Taking this into account, Ukraine must collect counterarguments to the reasons for annexing the Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation. It should be mentioned right away that the specified regulations of the AR of Crimea Supreme Council on local referendums violated:

➤ the Constitution of Ukraine (article No.73), which states that “All-Ukrainian referendum is the only way to change the territory of Ukraine”;

➤ the Constitution of Ukraine (article No.134), the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (part one, article No.1), according to which “Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine”;

➤ part two of article No.8 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which stipulates that “statutory and regulatory acts are adopted on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine and must agree with it”;

➤ part two of article No.19 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which stipulates that “bodies of state power and local governments, their officials are obliged to act only on the basis and in terms of their powers, as well as in accord with the Constitution and laws of Ukraine”;

➤ part one of article No.28 of the Constitution of the AR of Crimea, which states that “statutory and regulatory acts of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea governing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea must comply with the Constitution of Ukraine, laws of Ukraine.”

Besides, since November 28, 2012, Ukraine doesn’t have legal prerequisites for conducting local referendums, while by adopting in 2012 the law of Ukraine “On the All-Ukrainian Referendum” the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine nullified the Law of Ukraine “On All-Ukrainian and Local Referendums,” which also regulated the problem of conducting local referendums. Thus, the holding of the specified local referendum was illegitimate, as it contradicted the Constitution of Ukraine, Constitution of the AR of Crimea and referendum legislation. Its results cannot be the reason for committing any lawful acts, including the conclusion of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the so-called “Republic of Crimea” on the incorporation of the latter into the Russian Federation and creation of new subjects within it [33].

Legally groundless is also the statement of V.Putin, made during his speech on October 24, 2014 at the press-conference of the international discussion club “Valdai” regarding the fact that the Agreement between the Russian Federation and “The Republic of Crimea” as for the incorporation of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and creation of new subjects within it of March 18, 2014 provided the people of Crimea with the right for “self-determination” [41]. Also, the President of the Russian Federation unfoundedly identifies the Agreement as the one concluded on the basis of “recognizing the principles of equal rights and self-determination of nations, codified in the UN Charter, […] the necessity to provide respect and adherence to the dignity, rights, and freedoms of a person […] according to the generally recognized principles and norms of the international law, […] codified, in particular, in the UN Charter and Helsinki Final Act on security and collaboration in Europe” [41].

The territorial integrity of Ukraine and its state borders is guaranteed by the provisions of a number of international-legal acts, namely:

➤ clause 4 of article 2 of the UN Charter stipulates that “all Members of the United Nations Organization refrain in their international relations from a power threat or its use as against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state so in any other way incompatible with the Goals of the United Nations” [45];

➤ Declaration on the principles of international law that deal with friendly relations and cooperation between the states according to the UN Charter contains a similar definition and determines that “every state must refrain in its international relations from a power threat or its use as against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state so in any other way incompatible with the Goals of the United Nations” [15];

➤ the Final Act of the Council Board for Security and Cooperation in Europe determines that “Member states will respect the territorial integrity of every member state. According to it, they will refrain from any actions incompatible with goals and principles of the UN Charter, against territorial integrity, political independence, or integrity of any other member state… Member states will refrain from transforming each other’s territory into an object of military occupation or any other direct or indirect way of using power for violating international law, or into an object of acquisition by means of such ways or a threat of their implementation. No occupation or acquisition carried out in such a way will be considered legal” [17];

➤ Memorandum on the guarantees of security due to Ukraine’s accession to the Agreement on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapon (Budapest Memorandum) determines that “The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America prove to Ukraine their obligations in accordance with the principles of Final Act of CSCE to respect independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” [28];

➤ according to the provisions of Declaration about the principles of international law regarding friendly relations and cooperation between the states in conformity with the UN Charter, “nothing must be interpreted as such that sanctions or encourages any actions which would cause dismemberment, partial or full violation of territorial integrity or political integrity of sovereign and independent states, which conform their activity to the principle of equality and self-determination of nations, and thus have the government that represents the entire nation inhabiting this territory.” [15]

Crimean annexation

Considering the above mentioned, it is worth emphasizing that according to the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, Crimea is the only administrative and territorial entity of Ukraine which had (and still has) autonomous status and its own representative body (Supreme Council of ARC) and Government [33]. Besides, the Constitution of the AR of Crimea secures national and cultural needs of representatives of various ethnic groups of Crimea by guaranteeing “functioning and development of Russian, Crimean Tatar, and other national languages” (articles 4, 10, 11, 18, 26) [39, p.43]. Thus, in keeping with the above mentioned Declaration on the principles of international law in Ukraine, the principle of territorial integrity dominates over the principle of self-determination.

At the same time, we should recall, for instance, one of the fundamental monographs, written by the international group of authors, devoted to the problems of self-determination and secession in the international law and published by the reputable Oxford University Press soon after the Crimean events of 2014 [53]. Its last chapter finishes with the analysis of the Crimean crisis [52, pp.293–311]. The author of this chapter prof. K.Walter states that the development of events in Crimea returned the question of self-determination and secession on the first place of international agenda [52, p.293]. However, K.Walter’s subsequent analysis of the Crimean situation rather quickly leads his research to an absolutely different conclusion: Crimean events of February–March, 2014 were not an example of self-determination and secession, while the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation was illegal.

At the beginning of the occupation and the subsequent annexation of Crimea, Ukraine made a fully adequate decision under those circumstances: to draft and adopt the law “On the occupied territories.” However, it didn’t prove successful, as it didn’t consider economic relations with the occupied territories. Lobbied later and adopted in August of 2014, the law on the free economic zone “Crimea” caused even more problems, which are still not solved at the state level. During the expert discussion themed “Strategy of Reintegrating Crimea: Problems of Development and Perspectives of Implementation,” which I happened to moderate and participate in and which took place on October 9, 2015 within the walls of RIUS [50, pp.260–265], the experts of “Maidan of Foreign Affairs” stated, in particular, that it (the law) lacked logic of the very definition of the occupied territory as a free economic zone.

It is clear that the law was adopted in favor of individuals owing assets in the occupied territories to bring them into the legal framework of Ukraine. However, along with that, the citizens of Ukraine with Crimean registration were territorially recognized non-residents in their own country! By following the above mentioned law and creating such model of economic relations with the temporarily occupied territory “Crimea,” the peninsula was virtually recognized a territory of another country (Russian Federation). This aggravated the situation, namely in the context of evacuating small and medium businesses to the continental part, as well as the process of communication with citizens that were forcedly caught in occupation. At the same time, it was allowed to provide the annexed territory with energy resources, food products, and other goods, which contributed to the development of occupational military bases, as well as partial tax provision of the dummy government of Crimea and Sevastopol. This also called into question the appropriateness of applying sanctions to the occupied territories and the aggressor state itself from the western partners’ side.

The state must have a clearer vision of protecting the rights of Ukrainians and those Russians of Crimea that keep their Ukrainian citizenship. It is presumably required to clarify the provisions of the Law on foreign Ukrainians, or to adopt a special Law on the rights of citizens in the temporarily occupied Crimea. It is necessary to fight for a new Ukrainian generation of Crimean inhabitants, who didn’t know realia of the USSR and don’t share Soviet sentiments. It is necessary to provide government support of humanitarian contacts; access to higher education; quotas for those willing to continue their studying in the continental Ukraine; joint cultural events of Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar, and Russian national and cultural communities. It is also important to provide Crimeans with access to political influence in all spheres of social life.

It is also worth mentioning that even after three years since Crimea was occupied and the war with Russia started, Ukraine still has peacetime legislation in force, except for some changes. Apparently, there is a compelling need for imposing moratorium with the subsequent cancellation of the Law “On creating the free economic zone ‘Crimea’ and specifics of carrying out economic activity in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.” At the same time it is necessary to develop and adopt a redrafted Law on national and cultural autonomies recognizing Crimean Tatars (as well as the Karaites) indigenous people of Crimea and legislating the optimization of administrative-territorial division in the temporarily occupied territories of the AR of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

The problems of settlement and social adjustment of those who have temporarily left Crimea or will keep leaving it also require solution. The peninsula is observing the onset of persecution of the Ukrainian language and culture, UOC KP and UGCC (Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church), and everything that preserves the spirit of Ukraine, as well as the Crimean Tatar national movement. Mother tongue education faces everyday restrictions [2]. Thus, Ukraine must support pro-Ukrainian political idea in Crimea. A number of international human rights advocacy groups, particularly OSCE mission assessing the state of human rights observance, has already made several disappointing conclusions about the state of things in the occupied territory [29].

So, for the attenuation of pro-Russian regional identity as in the AR of Crimea so in the east and west of the country, the Ukrainian government must prepare and implement not only information policy but also efficient humanitarian and ethnonational one. Humanitarian factors must, in particular, oppose the creation of the so-called “hybrid identity” (the spaces that emerge between different national identities, or, in other words, cultural hybrids). Due to mimicry, hybrids can adjust to “hegemonized rewriting of Eurocenter” (in case of Crimean separatists, it is Kyiv). From such point of view, hybridity can become a state equal to alienation, homelessness. The destruction of such openly hostile symbolic field in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine requires integrated effort, which will shape new humanitarian, cultural, and information architecture of the local symbolic field.

Along with that, the Ukrainian state must avert in the future the creation (even nominal) of any national-territorial entities or bodies of national-territorial governance in its own territory, including Crimean Tatar ones. Thus, after the de-occupation of Crimea, its status as of an autonomous republic must be liquidated! The principle of unitary, unified system must become not only the constitutional pivot of Ukraine’s political order with the single titular nation – Ukrainian – and the only state language – Ukrainian – but also an axiom the citizens will comprehend regardless of their ethnocultural or national identity!

So, under modern circumstances, it is necessary to activate the effort of shaping the nationwide identity. Crystallization of the national picture of the world guarantees the fusion of political and cultural identity, which consolidates the people of the country with powerful symbolic and emotional ties. It is the common identity that constitutes the foundation of the respective national community (political nation). If members of the community have a high level of national self-consciousness, then under political regulation of the existing contradictions and problems in the society, they are inclined to limit their personal, group, or corporate interests for the sake of achieving common social concord. In case the state doesn’t take any efficient steps to neutralize the above mentioned threats, this can lead to the loss of the state sovereignty. To a great extent, it can be caused by a critical deterioration of the political system operability, conditioned by external and internal conflicts.

At the present stage, shaping national identity is one of the key goals of the Ukrainian state. To achieve it, we must actualize the efforts of the relevant state agencies and NGOs in the sphere of social and, first of all, interethnic relations. The fundamentals of shaping national identity must comprise:

• the idea of polyethnic, social, and political concord based of the generally accepted goal – provision of the citizens of Ukraine with spiritual and material welfare;

• the idea of patriotism, love to Ukraine as a determinant and higher value;

• national self-respect and respect for representatives of other nations and national minorities (on the assumption that they do not show disrespect for the titular nation);

• protection of human and civil rights and freedoms regardless of ethnic identity and other differences;

• high level of political and legal culture and public education (demarginalization of human consciousness);

• development of an efficient civil society.

Besides, such measures for shaping national identity must be developed and provided at the state level:

⦿ provision of the all-round support of the linguistic and cultural renaissance of Ukrainians as the titular nation and other ethnic communities of Ukraine;

⦿ protection of the information space of Ukraine;

⦿ favoring free functioning and development of the Ukrainian language and national minorities’8 languages;

⦿ guaranteeing popularization of native history, culture, and language via mass media;

⦿ development of historical memory of the Ukrainian people by creating “memory sites”; continuation of de-communization and de-colonization of Ukrainian memory;

⦿ support of intensive development of domestic cultural industries by building the regime of state protectionism for national producer of cultural products and services;

⦿ development of national education system, especially teaching of historical disciplines, based on the best samples of the historical past;

⦿ creation of effective tools for preserving national historic and cultural legacy, in particular those for augmenting responsibility for destruction or looting of cultural monuments;

⦿ harmonization of relations between the state and the church, as well as different churches; depoliticization of the church (particularly, criminal prosecution for the antistate activity of ROC in Ukraine, which operates under the guise of UOC-MP);

⦿ establishment of morals and spirituality of the nation;

⦿ establishment of long-term programs of the intercultural and interregional dialogue;

⦿ creation of gears contributing to satisfying linguistic, cultural, and educational needs of Ukrainians abroad;

⦿ improvement of the ways for effective social adaptation of refugees to the Ukrainian society;

⦿ increase of control over migration processes.

8 Language preferences among inhabitants of the west: Ukrainian language – 98%; of the center: Ukrainian language is a mother tongue for 78%; of the south and east: Ukrainian language is a mother tongue for 35% and 38% respectively; Ukrainian and Russian, for 37% and 34% respectively. Those who barely understand Ukrainian prevail in the south – 2% and the east – 5%.

National security policy in the humanitarian sphere must be aimed at overcoming threats in the fields of education, culture, science, religion and maintenance of conditions aimed at fortification of national identity, particularly languages, culture, traditions, and beliefs of all ethnic communities. It must be based on the ideas of ethnic pluralism, the possibility of coexistence and symbiotic development of various ethnic groups in terms of polyethnic space and state nation-centricity of Ukraine.

The ethnonational sphere requires formation and codification of the Doctrine of ethnonational policy of Ukraine, which would develop conceptual provisions and clearly determine basic concepts of ethnonational policy: “titular nation,” ‘’nationality,” ‘”indigenous peoples,” “ethnic group,” “ethnic community,” etc., as even the current Constitution of Ukraine does not contain their precise definition. It is necessary to provide further improvement of domestic legislation for securing the rights of ethnic minorities and guarantees that the Ukrainian nation, as well as its cultural and historical heritage, will keep their leading position, while the Ukrainian language will preserve its non-conditional state status.

If considered, the Strategy of returning Crimea and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions must be comprehensive and include a number of various measures in different spheres:

1) creation of the central body dealing with the Crimean issues—an agency, a center, or a committee, which would coordinate the work of public authorities and NGOs dealing with the return of Crimea;

2) development and approval of the state Strategy for reintegration of Crimea with the focus on international-legal, economic, cultural, and humanitarian aspects of the problem;

3) intensification of the foreign policy activity of the nation, aimed at the global growth of pro-Ukrainian coalition of democratic states which recognize the actions of the Russian Federation regarding the annexation of Crimea as illicit and support the aggravation of economic sanctions against it;

4) further implementation of European integration strategy. Exertion of all possible efforts regarding Ukraine’s performance of all international agreements for the implementation of democratic standards in the context of signing European Union Association Agreement, especially in the aspects of overcoming corruption and improving welfare of the population;

5) development and mounting of legal actions in international courts and respective international organizations over the Russian Federation in order to bring it to justice for the annexation of Crimea, support of separatists and collaborators in Donbas, violation of human rights, rights of Ukrainians and national minorities in Crimea;

6) contribution to the preparation of legal actions from foreign and Ukrainian jurisdiction to international courts over the enterprises that were nationalized by the illicit power of Crimea with the requirement for compensation for the caused damage;

7) provision of adoption of relevant statutory and regulatory acts aimed at the facilitation of activity of public authorities and NGOs dealing with the return of Crimea;

8) establishment of the system cooperation of state institutions with expert environment and society for the preparation and implementation of the programs for reintegration of Crimea;

9) development and implementation of effective state programs for social integration of Crimean refugees;

10) development and implementation of an active information campaign by organizing steady broadcasting of central Ukrainian channels in the Ukrainian, Russian, and Crimean Tatar languages to Crimea to objectively cover the events in Ukraine and debunk the myths spread by the Russian Federation;

11) development of our own national information and cultural project (“Ukrainian World,” “Great Ukraine,” and so on) aimed at consolidation of the Ukrainian nation and counteracting the influence of ideas of the so-called “Russian World”;

12) carrying out of an information and educational campaign to popularize history and culture of Crimea among all population categories; creation of the unified online library of editions on the history and culture of Crimea;

13) creation of the domestic mass media system for the information coverage of initiatives and projects on the reintegration of Crimea, in particular by means of new rubrics, TV- and radio programs devoted to this topic;

14) facilitating attraction of international attention to the problem of repressions and violation of human rights on the peninsula, particularly by use of trade, food, energy, and water blockade of the peninsula;

15) ensuring the creation of logistic centers on the administrative border with the AR of Crimea so that its inhabitants could shape a positive image of Ukraine in their consciousness;

16) development and adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On collaborationism.”

To be able to return the lost territories and restore sovereignty, Ukraine must make every effort as within the country so at the international level. It must convince the entire society and international community that the part of Donbas (so-called Separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, or SSDLR) and Crimea are the Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by Russia, which Ukraine will never abandon and will ultimately return. It is also important that the discourse about the return of the lost territories (as within the country so at the international level) should comprise not only Donbas but, undoubtedly, Crimea as well. Donbas and Crimea must be always considered together. Unfortunately, today Russia managed to separate the discussions about these two regions.

The “Minsk process” must be regarded as the gear for diminishing the intensity of the military component of the conflict and recategorizing it as a “frozen” one, which has almost exhausted itself and was a priori erroneous, doomed to play a role of a trap for Ukraine. The distorted implementation of the Minsk agreements is disadvantageous (no-win) for Ukraine. It “returns” Ukraine ruined territories fully controlled and governed by local bandit-collaborative groups and Russian occupants, as well as a huge number of exasperated electorate, brainwashed with Russian propaganda. Thus, it is necessary to agree upon the use of other formats, particularly the extended and updated “Normand” format, resuscitated on the new basis of the “Geneva” one, or even demand the return of the “Budapest” format or creation of a new one, which will enable development of more effective ways to settle the conflict diplomatically [9; 13].

Of course, it is important to draft and adopt a Law on the Strategy of de-occupation and reintegration of the Crimean territory and a state program regarding this question, involving respective financing to complement it. At the legislative level, it is necessary to solve the question about the possibilities of conducting a state-legal experiment on making the model of Kherson region development a linchpin in dealing with the issues of de-occupying and reintegrating the seized territory of Crimea.

It is essential to draft and adopt a Law on collaborationism, which will determine the irreversibility of punishment, i.e. criminal, administrative, civil, and constitutional responsibility depending on the level of guilt. It can also have an economic component and imply punishment for enrichment in the temporarily occupied territories by means of Ukrainian state and private property, as well as motivate certain part of the population in these territories to take balanced decisions.

The laws on the status and enforcement of rights for Crimean Tatars in Ukraine, on the specifics of economic relations with the temporarily occupied territories, and enforcement of the right for ownership in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine are also to be drafted and adopted. This will help solve many issues that bother modern society and foreign investors. Besides, future reintegration of Crimea will require considerable financial resources (restoration of the economic system, liquidation of ecological problems, and so on), that’s why it is high time the budget of Ukraine were drawn up with a respective reserve fund. The problem of creating the Fund for reintegrating occupied territories of Ukraine constitutes a separate problem.

The struggle for the outlook of the Crimean youth is of no lesser importance, so it is necessary to create the Crimean educational and scientific center in the free territory of the country for the children and youth of Crimea (pre-school establishments, orphanages, boarding schools, a university, a research institute, and so on), as well as the e-learning center for the Crimean students that stay in the occupied Crimea, providing further issuing of diplomas and certificates. The goal consists in forming the future personnel management reserve in the de-occupied territory.

Since the development of the first bill “Strategies for returning Crimea” (2014), the government of Ukraine has taken only several planned steps. However, even this advancement is late for a year or even two. Meanwhile, it is necessary to understand that to regain control over Crimea, Ukraine must have such state of affairs when Russia refuses its ownership of ARC, cancels adopted legislative acts and withdraws its troops from the peninsula. As of today, no matter what happens, we should either defeat Russian army, wait until Russia disintegrates as a state or witnesses the coup d’état in the Kremlin, or cooperate with the entire world to exhaust the enemy.

We must acknowledge that today Ukraine doesn’t have any possibility to liberate Crimea by means of a full-scale war operation. Thus, the strategy on regaining control over Crimea must be mirroring that of Russia, i.e. be a police-stabilizing instead of a classical military operation. For that purpose, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have unique agencies – subdivisions of military-civil cooperation. To regain powers and means for carrying out such strategic operations in Ukraine, we need around 5–10 years of intense work.

Along with that, Ukraine must already initiate certain calculations, develop and plan a respective military mission, that is, virtually a comprehensive de-occupying operation of Crimea mirroring the one it had in February–March of 2014. Thus, Armed Forces of Ukraine, whose numerical strength remains within the terms of peaceful time (i.e., does not overcome 1% of the total number of population), must bring it up to around 400 thousand soldiers of various troops and groups, appropriately drilled and financed, armed according to the modern warfare rules and needs, etc. This will suffice only for fulfilling the so-called peacemaking-stabilizing operation (i.e., exclusively when the adversary isn’t able to provide proper resistance and only in the territory of the Crimean peninsula).

Besides, Ukraine must restore, renovate, and fortify its own military and industrial complex so that it could produce not only defensive but also offensive weapon! We should immediately form detachments of so-called cyber troops and electronic resistance troops, initiate the creation of space troops and relative science and technology labs, establish production of antitank weapons, renew the Navy, which shouldn’t be entirely stationed in Crimea, and the 2014 experience proves that.

The current need consists in coordinating the entire state’s effort in renovating modern Air Forces and the so-called strategic system of air defense, in particular, by putting into service the intermediate-range missile. This refers to the creation of, for example, a high-precision and powerful non-nuclear weapon/complex of means able to deal an immediate and crushing blow to the critical infrastructure of the possible aggressor (chemical plants, dams, nuclear and other power plants, important government and military objects, command and control centers, communications and supply centers, etc). Ukraine already needs to start constructing non-nuclear rocket systems with a potential action range of 2500 km – 4000 km, etc. This program also must imply mastering tactical nuclear weapon as soon as possible.

In general, military organization of the state, its military-industrial complex, system of armament of AFU, etc. require rebuilding from scratch according to the norms and standards of the new time.

Diplomatic, trade and economic, humanitarian, and other relations with the aggressor state must be broken! Ukraine must act not only symmetrically but also asymmetrically, not only defending itself in its own terrain but also standing against the enemy at the information, humanitarian, politic and diplomatic, diversionary fronts, etc. It must consider the strategic perspective of dealing a final all-round lethal blow to the enemy, including his territory! The entire political elite and all citizens of the country must bear in mind: to buy the foe off, to stop the aggressor by concessions or to just partially satisfy his appetite is impossible! Thus, it is vitally important to develop our own national comprehensive doctrinal strategy for liberating the territories occupied by the aggressor, which would include not only diplomatic, humanitarian, or social and economic but also military-aggressive components and have several potential (as positive so possibly negative) scenarios and consequential factors both of the local and geopolitical scale. The experience of other states and modern wars must not only be thoroughly learned but also analyzed in regard to its appropriateness in the practical domestic military-political reality. However, it must not be used as tracing or a determining plan without any current consideration and without modeling our own (different but preconditioned) short- and long-term tactics and strategy for fighting this hybrid warfare.

Currently, it is also necessary to provide trade, energy, and resource blockade of the temporarily occupied and annexed territories to weaken the infrastructure and morale of the enemy. Isolating Crimea from electricity and drinking water supply can be among the elements of such blockade. Will the Crimean peninsula manage to solve the problem of fresh water without Ukraine? The objective answer is “no”!

Crimean annexation

Dependence of Crimea on Continental Ukraine:

✓ Transport connection – Ports of entry: “Kalanchak”, “Chaplynka”, “Chongar”. Low traffic capacity of Kerch ferry crossing doesn’t allow handling large volumes of passenger traffic and cargoes.

✓ Food products – 80%. Share of food products supply from the continental part of Ukraine. Due to the instability caused by weather conditions and low traffic capacity of ferry crossing, Russia is unable to provide Crimea with necessary food supply

✓ Water – 80% of Crimean fresh water is supplied by Ukraine (North-Crimean canal). Fresh water is supplied to Crimea via North-Crimean canal, which enables agriculture on the peninsula. Without water supply from the continent, all fields, gardens, and vineyards will wither.

✓ Electrical energy – 85% of Crimean electrical energy deficit is covered by Ukraine (Electrical power transmission). About 15% of Crimean needs are satisfied by wind and solar electric plants, as well as thermal power plants. The deficit of electrical energy is compensated by Zaporizhzhia and Kakhovka hydroelectric power plants.

✓ Gas – 34% of Crimean natural gas deficit is covered by Ukraine (Gas pipelines). The peninsula covers about 66% of its natural gas needs with its own output, produced from the Black Sea and Sea of Azov basins.

✓ Telecommunications – 100% of Internet and phone connection provision. Crimea receives high-speed Internet from the continent through central network. Main lines of telecommunication also belong to Ukrainian “Ukrtelekom”

Temporary occupation of Crimea by Russian troops, factual isolation of the peninsula from Russia, absence of necessary water supply pipelines from the territory of the Russian Federation and the long-term practical impossibility of their creation enables Ukraine to fully block electrical energy and fresh-water supply in the annexed territory. The actions of Ukraine can justifiably acquire two directions, caused both by military-political and financial-economic incentives. Such payback “sanctions” for the annexation and collaborationism (whose implementation, undoubtedly, was expected from the Ukrainian government) will not only deal a smashing blow to the Crimean economy and infrastructure but will also rock the boat of the ecological and social-political situation in the occupied peninsula to considerably undermine the mythologized reputation of the Kremlin and favor the growth of pro-Ukrainian mood among local population9. Without Ukrainian electricity and water, the thirsty peninsula will appear on the verge of survival both metaphorically and literally [10; 11]. Consistent, firm, and no-concession stand of the Ukrainian authority will expedite the obvious collapse of the Russian occupational power in Crimea and the return of the peninsula. The Biblical principle of giving water to the thirsty will be appropriate in case the beggar doesn’t spit in the face of the giver but confesses his sins. Ukraine should apply symmetrical and bold measures in economy, finance, good commodity, energy spheres, etc…

9 First of all, let me mention that total water consumption by Crimea constitutes from 700,000 to 1500,000 cbm per day; on the average – around 1 mn cbm per day. For arranging water supply in Crimea, today there are above 20 water reservoirs of regular collection, 9 off-channel basins and around 400 wells. The full volume of water in Crimean water reservoirs constitutes more than 400 mn cubic meters. Thus, Crimea lacked fresh water even before Russian occupation. Moreover, the water-supply system of Crimea already required modernization and was never self-sufficient. Let me concurrently remind you that in 2014, fresh-water consumption in Crimea was reduced five-fold – up to 310 mn cbm (up to 16 mn cbm losses). In 2015, total volume of water intake constituted 253.46 mn cubic meters, including 138.47 cbm (55%) from fresh-water sources; 95.13 mn cbm (37%) from underground sources; 19.86 mn cbm (8%) of sea water. The volume of losses constituted 13 mn cbm, or around 6% of water. The production needs required 50% of water volume; economy and consumption needs, 39%; irrigation, 6%. Thus, during 3 years, the Crimean peninsula lost 74% of its fresh-water sources. In 2015, water withdrawal in Nyzhniohirsky district emptied wells in many villages and gave rise to numerous reports to public authorities from resentful farmers. People complained, but their appeals were ignored. The scale of water crisis in Crimea is characterized by the state of Taihan and Bilohirsk water reservoirs. They stopped discharging water from Taihan reservoir, which had also nourished Theodosia and Kerch. However, it happened not because eastern Crimea didn’t need any more water, but because there was nothing more to discharge—the reservoir didn’t have the useful capacity of water and became a pond. The upstream of Bilohirsk reservoir dried out as far back as in September 2016 [46]. In 2016, Nyzhniohirsky district saw the beginning of active capillary salting of soil; salt marsh spots appeared, and the soil was no more available for farming.

Obviously, Moscovia isn’t able to solve energy, food supply, and ecology problems in the occupied territories to avoid its shameful final defeat. Thus, it won’t give up on solving this and other issues by further destabilization of Ukraine from within: by blackmailing its political elite, setting up social and political revolts, sponsoring separatists and collaborators, waging trade-and-resource warfare, aggravating its terroristic activity, and finally, by beginning a new stage of Russian aggression. These actions of Moscow will be triggered by the Crimean trap, which could objectively be neutralized only by Ukraine.

Along with that, it is also necessary to create “knots of exchange” in the territory of Kherson region adjacent to the administrative border of the occupied Crimea and along the front line of Donbas. Thus the citizens (!) of Ukraine who stay under occupation will be able to receive personal essentials for living (food products, medicine, state and legal service, etc.). It is high time Ukraine developed and offered the package deal (and compromise package). To attract inhabitants of Crimea to the Ukrainian orbit, favorable conditions should be created in the Ukrainian spheres of education, healthcare, social policy, legal paperwork, real estate, etc. Ukraine can be favorably different from the Russian occupation authorities; among other things, by civilized observance of human rights in the spheres of education, security, civil rights, etc. Along with that, human rights are indispensable of responsibilities for one’s deeds. Crimes committed by occupation authorities and their collaborators or local separatists must be properly documented and submitted for consideration as to the Ukrainian law enforcement system so to international courts.

We should also ensure active educational work in near-front areas along with simultaneous development of social and economic infrastructure. It is especially important that the developmental programs be implemented with a broad engagement of European organizations in order to debunk any myth regarding the EU and NATO in particular, and Kyiv authority in general. Also, migrants from the occupied territories that are loyal to Ukraine and those who contribute to its interests in the southern-eastern periphery must be fully favored. It will mean that Ukraine cares for its citizens as a state.

Besides concrete measures as for the reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories, the comprehensive solution of this problem will be possible only after the key spheres of life in the Ukrainian state are successfully reformed.

In this regard, such factors are crucial:

➤ overcoming the corruption phenomena (corruption in Ukrainian supreme bodies of power remains the major threat to national security and stability of the nation);

➤ de-oligarchization of the state (removal of oligarchs from power) and implementation of the fundamental institutional reform;

➤ system decision of questions in economic, social, political, and other spheres of the country’s life;

➤ electoral legislation reform;

➤ equating of political populism to political corruption, which is a threat to national security;

➤ creation of modern capable army;

➤ effective international policy;

➤ defeating the fifth column—collaborators in disguise in the bodies of power and governance;

➤ goal-oriented Ukraine-centric and conservative-natiocratic humanitarian policy of the state.

Unfortunately, the efforts of the Ukrainian authority to provide both practical and fruitful tactics and strategy for de-occupying and reintegrating the Crimean peninsula, as well as separate terrains in Donetsk and Luhansk regions invaded by Russia do not correspond to the challenges of time.

Finally, I suppose it would be appropriate to create in the continental part of Ukraine the de-occupational government (center) for reintegration of the Crimean peninsula, as well as other state-governmental institutions, which would deal with the questions of temporarily occupied Crimea. It is high time we created an expert group from the representatives of the executive power, community, scientists, etc. to develop the strategy of state policy of Ukraine in this direction. Such strategy must contain clear goals, assignments, performance indicators, and deadlines for the completion of goals. Tentative results must be clear not only in continental Ukraine and to the Crimeans but to the global community as well.

Ukraine will be ready to effectively and justly settle the conflict with Russia in a diplomatic way, benefit from this, force Russia to de-occupation of the invaded territories by means of sanctions and blockades, as well as defeat Moscovia both at the local Ukrainian arena of warfare actions and at the more global level, only provided that all of the above mentioned actions and measures are fully and ultimately developed and implemented together with the course for inevitable modernization of state administration, radical and fundamental reforms in all, without exclusion, spheres of the country’s life, and non-concessional policy as for the capitulation of the aggressor.

Unity and devotion of the entire society to the idea of integrity and independence of their Homeland, their unbreakable will to win, cleansing of the government, demarginalization and enlightenment of the entire society, institutional and economic reforms, renovation of judicial-legal system will create conditions for powerful and swift advancement of Ukraine, fortification of its humanitarian, economic, and military power. This will unite the people to restore the territorial integrity of their state in its historic and ethnographic realm; solidify, as a result, its national security and transform Ukraine into a modern global power.

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