Saturday, March 29, 2014

The UN Vote on Crimea

Interestingly enough most of the votes in the UN in favor of the Russian position appear to come from states more motivated by anti-Americanism than by close relations with the Russian Federation. Out of the ten states siding with the Russian Federation only two were former Soviet republics. These two states were Armenia and Belarus. None of the Central Asian states voted in favor of the Russian position. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan abstained. Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan were absent for the vote. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic States, and of course Ukraine voted against the Russian position. The largest bloc of votes for the Russian position came from "radical" states in Latin America. These states were Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.  To these can be added North Korea and Zimbabwe as states with hostile attitudes towards the US, but far less tied to Russia than places like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The abstention  by Kazakhstan rather than a vote for the Russian position is in fact significant. Kazakhstan under Nazarbayev has had quite close political and economic relations with Russia. But, the annexation of Crimea under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians when there are numerous areas in Kazakhstan on the border with the Russian Federation that have ethnic Russian majorities seems to have unsettled Nazarbayev somewhat. That is one of the side effects of the annexation is that Russia's closest ally in Asia may become more distant. Even back in Soviet times one of the things that strained relationships the most between the local titular communist elites in Kazakhstan and Central Asia and Moscow was the status of non-titulars in the republics with regards to territorial autonomy. The threat of breaking off parts of northern Kazakhstan and joining them with the Russian Federation is the one thing that could realistically cause the current Kazakh leadership to seriously distance itself from Moscow.

Voted for Russian position: Armenia, Bolivia, Belarus, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

Abstained: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua-Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Comoros, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guyana, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent-Grenadines, Sao-Tome Principe, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia

Absent: Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Serbia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, U.A.E., Vanuatu, Yemen.

Voted against Russian position: Every other sovereign state on the planet.

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