IN THE LIGHT OF RIVALRIES: PEOPLE OF DONETSK AND LUHANSK ARE NOW VISA-FREE IN THEIR TRAVELS TO RUSSIA


21/02/2017




İlknur Şebnem Öztemel- TDO -Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order granting visa-free travel to anyone living in self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhanks, in eastern Ukraine. Also, Kremlin has given birth, marriage, death certificates, identification, qualification, vehicle registration certificates and related document issued by pro-Russian militia ‘’authorities’’ validity.

Moscow argued that their decree is “guided by universally recognized principles and standards of international humanitarian law and in order to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals”.

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, said the recognition was afforded so “Donbass residents” can enter Russia legally, with thousands already fleeing over the border as asylum seekers.

The Decree was announced a few hours later, American Vice President told an international conference that the US would hold Russia accountable for its actions. In response, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the Black Sea as their ‘’territory’’ and declared that it would not be returned.

A week ago, US President Donald Trump accused Russia of using force to take Crimea. It is a significant move as Trump was different than his colleagues on his decisions about Russia. From the beginning of his campaign, he strongly criticized former president Obama on his policies about Russia.  He even called ‘’those’’ who were at odds with the Russian Federation and President Putin, ‘’dumb’’. However, as soon as he got the office, Trump’s view about Russia has changed. He gradually took a more strict position against his Russian counterpart. People were hopeful about the future of the World as tensions between two rivals of the Cold War were decreasing. If you look at the American history, it is possible to see that foreign policy initiatives of each president are mostly similar. ‘’Making America Great’’ is depending on strengthening pre-defined ‘’allies’’, struggling with stronghold ‘’ enemies’’, tragedies and re-building some states.  The easiest way to see is looking over arms trade reports. Of course there are many other hints of it.

Rivalries between the East and the Westcause both problems and pleasures for middle powers and other weaker states and governments. People of Donetsk and Luhanks can be an example of it. In November 2013, Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, abandoned a EU deal.  Following the event, mass demonstrations were started all over the county. On 20 February 2014, bloodshed reached its worst since the start of the crisis. At least 88 people are killed in 48 hours in Kiev. On 27-28 February pro-Russian militias attacked government buildings and on 18 March, after the announcement of the referendum results, it has been annexed. On 7 April 2014, protesters occupied government buildings in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhanks and Kharkiv.On 11 May pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhanks declaredtheir independence as "people's republics" after the referendums. We will see whether they win or lose.


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