Realities and Recognitions

Now that the “votes” in eastern Ukraine are all through – and as Russian state media continues to flip, flop, and fabricate about the presence of OSCE monitors in the region –  “Novorossiya” turns toward consolidation, and rebuilding. And with that rebuilding comes one of the foremost responsibilities of a nominally independent nation: recognition.

Unfortunately for the gangs and goons masquerading in Luhansk and Donetsk, recognition of their Russian-backed efforts to cleave a state from eastern Ukraine seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Thus far, only one nation – the region’s patron and protector – has seen fit to recognize last weekend’s sham “elections.” Despite pledges of aid from Venezuela and Cuba, it appears only Russia will be issuing updated atlases to reflect new “states” in Ukraine’s east. 

Thus, with only Russian recognition, the proprietors of “Novorossiya” enjoy less international support than any of the recent actors who have attempted to redraw international borders. For a bit of visual context, here’s how isolated these separatists now are, with those recognizing their claims in red:

One country, wahoo.

One country, wahoo.

The dearth of support for those in Luhansk and Donetsk comes all the starker against Russia’s move to annex an occupied Crimea. This purported annexation was recognized by only 13 total nations, a heady combination of pariahs and client states alike:

Crimean annexation brought to you by: Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, (old-map) Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. Fun crowd.

Crimean annexation brought to you by: Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, (old-map) Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. Fun crowd.

Russia’s continued occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, separatist regions within Georgia, has also enjoyed more international support than separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia, of course, continues to claim the two states’ independence, and have been joined by Venezuela and Nicaragua. Interestingly, the (Moroccan-occupied) territory of Western Sahara has also lent support for independence to Abkhazia and South Ossetia – as has the Pacific island nation of Nauru. (Tuvalu and Vanuatu, it seems, had second thoughts about their initial burst of support, and later withdrew recognition.)

Screenshot (158).png
Please don't ask me why I didn't just combine these two maps.

Please don't ask me why I didn't just combine these two maps.

Fortunately, as no state has ever followed Nauru’s geopolitical lead, it appears no further states will be lending support to the notion of Abkhazian or South Ossetian independence anytime soon. Nor, barring a sudden influx of cash to certain bungalows and beachheads through the South Pacific, will anyone else be willing to recognize the “elections” in Luhansk and Donetsk. And Russia thusly slips that much closer to pariah status – a nation shredding internationally recognized borders where no one else will, all while its slow implosion continues apace.