PIR Evening Forum: Crimea Crisis- Does it signal a new International Order?
March 19th, 2014
The “PIR Evening Forum” of students and professors from Political Science and International Relations department of Epoka University took place at the “Kalamaro Frito” bar.
The evening began with an opening speech by Prof. Dr. Bekir Cinar. He welcomed back the professors and students after a long period of pause. Prof. Cinar made an introduction to the topic, which was the recent crisis in Ukraine and especially Crimea and the effects that this crisis will have in the international arena. Prof. Cinar claimed that the protests in Ukraine are totally democratic means although they escalated to clashes between citizens from time to time. According to him Crimea has the full right to declare the independence from Ukraine and join Russian Federation. At this point Prof. Niuton Mulleti pointed out that Crimea could not join Russia because it is only an autonomous state within Ukraine and that Putin is making use of the case of Kosova. Prof. Cinar went on by saying that the EU is not happy with the situation but at the same time it is not taking any measures to tackle it with the only exception of Germany at the role of the mediator.
Prof. Dr. Avdi Smajljaj, at the role of host for the evening, conducted the program of the forum giving the word to every person who had prepared a speech related to the topic.
R.A Genci Murrja gave the reasons of the protests in Ukraine. The most important causes to this crisis according to him start from the weak governance in these 20 years, the domination of the wealth by a small group of people, the heavy reliance on Russia, differences between eastern and western Ukraine concerning the language, religion and ethnicity. However the breaking point of the protests was the refusal of the government to faster trade relations with the EU.
Prof. Dr. Salih Ozcan pointed out the contradictory behavior of the Russian diplomats, saying that they are willing to use any means to protect the Russian citizens in Crimea, they would not rely on military means. He also mentioned that according to Russia the EU countries are not the only alternative as a trade partner, but they could find other partners to trade with.
Prof. Dr. Avdi Smajljaj in his speech claimed that Ukraine is a parted country between east and west. Russia is imposing herself as a big political actor in the world. We are entering a new era where the International Law is no longer taken into account. Prof. Cinar disagreed with the final statement of Prof. Smajljaj and claimed that everything that is happening is in perfect compliance with the International Law.
R.A Endri Pajollari concentrated his speech on the history of Crimea. Crimea was firstly inhabited by tribes. It was colonized by the Greeks and Romans in the 6th century B.C and 1st century A.D respectively. The 13th century came with the Tatar invasion. They were later overrun by the Ottomans and the Russians in the 15th and late 18th century. Many wars were concentrated in Crimea like the Crimean war, and Russian revolution war. Stalin expelled the Muslims Tatars from Crimea. Crimea was given to Ukraine in 1954 by Khrushchev. After the fall of the Soviet Union some Tatars were able to go back to Crimea. Nowadays Crimea is an autonomous republic within Ukraine. It has a population of around 2 million people. From them 58% Russians, 24% Ukrainians, 12% Turkic Tatars and 6% are other minorities. The official language is Ukrainian. However most of the people speak Russian. The Capital city is Simferopol and Russia controls the Naval Base of Sevastopol with 11.000 troops.
Ph.D Candidate Reina Zenelaj Shehi gave a speech from the Conflict Resolution perspective. She started with a conflict mapping by presenting the parties involved in the conflict, positions, interests and needs of these parties. She pointed out the heavy reliance of the EU on the Russian gas and oil. At this point Prof. Mulleti stressed out that Russia depends heavily on the selling of gas and oil to the EU countries, so by the time they manage to find new partners they will be facing a big economic crisis in Russia.
The conclusion was that the situation in Ukraine needs to be addressed very carefully in order to arrive to a solution, because if handled in a wrong way it might result in another major war. All professors and students were invited to be part of the next forum after two weeks.