THE BESIEGED FORTRESS: MAKING SENSE OF RUSSIA'S ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA AND WHAT IT MEANS TO U.S. POLICY MAKERS
AIR WAR COLLEGE MONTGOMERY United States
Pagination or Media Count:
President Vladimir Putins decision to invade Ukraine and annex the Crimean Peninsula in February, 2014 was influenced by numerous interrelated factors that stemmed from an overall desire to regain Russias previous spheres of influence. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Ukrainian Euromaidan protests erupted and resulted in the sudden ouster of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Following Yanukovychs fall, it appears that for Russia the benefits of an invasion outweighed the costs associated with violating Ukraines sovereignty. In order to understand the relevant factors that influenced Putins decision, it is necessary to understand the colorful history of the Russia-Ukraine-Crimea relationship, and view the conflict through various international relations theories. Nationalism, imperialism, irredentism, deterrence, diversionary war theory and just war theory provide valuable insight in that regard. In this paper, I offer three cost-benefit analysis models that explain how internal and external factors changed over time and ultimately influenced Putins decision to engage in Ukraine. I argue that when the situation became favorable in early 2014, Putin annexed Crimea primarily to solidify domestic popularity and rally Russian popular support, and nationalist, imperialist, irredentist and diversionary themes best explain his actions.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics