February 27, 2014

CHARLES KING: Ukraine After Yanukovych: Crimea On Edge.

One of the results of the fall of Viktor Yanukovych’s government has been the rising specter of the break-up of Ukraine and the secession of Crimea. The interim president, Olexander Turchynov, spoke recently about the dark prospect of “separatism” in his country, while early reports of the whereabouts of Yanukovych placed him in Crimea itself. Is Crimea likely to become the ex-president’s redoubt, and if so, would Russia intervene to support the secessionist region?

Both scenarios are unlikely. Yanukovych’s support is limited across the country as a whole, and if the new government is able to act calmly and deliberately, there will be little incentive to push toward a strategically risky—and potentially devastating—separation, either by Crimeans or by other Ukrainian citizens in areas of the country with sizable Russian-speaking communities.

Stay tuned. And don’t worry — we’ve got Smart DiplomacyTM on the job!