Why I still don’t think Russia wants to annex the Crimea

In Moscow's Shadows

RussiansCrimea It’s a risky thing, making such predictions in the middle of a fast-changing and frankly confusing situation, when we have reportedly a couple of thousand troops being airlifted into the peninsula and local premier Aksenov claiming control over all forces in the area (does he mean Russian ones too? I very much doubt it, or if he thinks he controls them then I imagine it means “he controls them so long as he happens to be telling them to do what Moscow wants them to do”). Nonetheless, let me stick out my neck and say why, excitable headlines notwithstanding, I don’t think Russia is about to annex the Crimea, let alone occupy eastern Ukraine.

1. Russia already ‘has’ Crimea in the ways that matter to it.Crimea has considerable autonomy, the Black Sea Fleet presence is guaranteed by treaty until 2042 if I remember correctly, and there is massive political…

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