Crimea: Who Voted in Favor of Russia at the UN Assembly–and Why
Thursday a vote of 100 for-11 against, with 58 abstentions, showed general support for the resolution condemning the Crimean referendum. Eleven of 193 nations voted in favor of Russia and pro-Russian Crimeans: Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Russia itself.
Russia’s ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, began by calling on all nations to “respect [the] voluntary choice” Crimea had made by reunifying with Russia after the referendum. Historical justice had been served, said Churkin, and the unnatural state of affairs, wherein Ukraine possessed Crimea by an arbitrary 1954 Soviet decision, had been righted–the Russian government could not refuse the Crimeans’ right to self-determination.
Churkin spoke against the militarized camp of Maidan protesters where, he said, law enforcement had been the target of violence and snipers had fired on police and demonstrators, trying to provoke a violent coup of the Ukrainian government, which succeeded. The government was then replaced by a “government of victors”–radical nationals who were racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and hated everything Russian, and who revoked the legal status of the Russian language in Ukraine. These were the reasons for Crimeans’ decisions to join Russia, Churkin said.
The Armenian representative, Garen Nasarian, said that Armenia took a “principled position on the promotion of democracy” and rights and freedoms, particularly the right of self-determination–a right embraced by the UN Assembly and the Charter. Armenia promoted democracy, decolonization and self-determination. The key, according to Nesarian, was to abide international law and seek peaceful resolutions through dialogue among all concerned parties.
Belarusian Ambassador Evgeny Lazarev stated his support for mechanisms for bringing a peaceful resolution other than the General Assembly, such as the Observer Mission on Human Rights in Ukraine.
Bolivian Ambassador Sach Sergio Lllorentty Soliz voted as a demonstration against major world powers who exercised double standards and threatened international security, such as the U.S., who, Soliz said, was building a “unipolar world” through the use of its military and economic strength. Bolivia could not accept Ukraine’s unconstitutional regime change–which occured through of a democratically elected government, Soliz said.
Cuba’s ambassador, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez stressed self-determination and the invalidity of Ukraine’s unconstitutional government, which had been established through a violent overthrow. Cuba accused Western States of double standards and hypocrisy, and opposed sanctions against Russia. NATO, Rodriguez stated, endangered European peace and stability by trying to expand its treaty, and the U.S. and its allies threatened the sovereignty of other states with their military doctrines, violating international law.
North Korea’s representative, Ja Song Nam, blamed the U.S. and other Western nations for the crisis in Ukraine. North Korea recognized the legitimacy of the referendum, which had been conducted in accordance with the UN Charter, the ambassador said. Ja Song Nam asserted that the North Korean government opposed attempts to oust legitimate governments.
Nicaragua’s representative stressed non-interference in the internal affairs of nations. Ambassador Maria Rubiales de Chamorro accused those who spoke of democracy at the Assembly of having used anti-democratic methods. Nicaragua supported self-determination through the ballot. The nation rejected unilateral methods, such as sanctions against Russia, which, Chamorro said, were illegal under international law. Chamorro also spoke of the danger of double standards, pointing to terrorist actions that had targeted countries which had ignored their interests and instead established new types of colonization and slavery.
Venezuela Ambassador Samuel Moncada cited his government’s opposition to Ukraine’s ousting of its democratically elected president, Victor Yanukovich. Moncada emphasized the need for constitutional order to be reestablished in Ukraine. Moncada also spoke of a trend wherein extremists groups linked to foreign nations responsible for World War II had overthrown constitutional governments.
Statements from the UN ambassadors of Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe were not located.
By Day Blakely Donaldson