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Dear Mr. Putin: Crimea Can Have a Referendum on Independence Right After Chechnya Gets One

03/06/2014 02:34 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2014
  • Ian Reifowitz Author of 'Obama’s America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity'

The regional legislature of Crimea voted on Wednesday to secede from Ukraine and join their territory to Russia, and to put the matter to a referendum in 10 days' time. Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk rejected the legitimacy of the Crimean parliament's actions, calling it "an illegitimate decision," and adding "Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of Ukraine." According to Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko, only national referendums are allowed by the Constitution of Ukraine, therefore a regional one is unconstitutional.

Only two days ago, Vladimir Putin said that Russia will not be "annexing" Crimea. Okay, but he certainly didn't say anything about opposing Crimea's secession. In any case, if you think the pro-Russian Crimeans aren't acting at the behest of the President of Russia, well, I've got some property on a Black Sea beachfront to sell you.

And if Vladimir Putin thinks regions should have the right to secede from their countries, that's certainly a shift. I guess it means we'll be hearing the announcement of a referendum in Chechnya on their independence from Russia. Any second now.