The Kosovo Precedent in the Secession and Recognition of Crimea

Dr.Sc. Elvina Jusufaj


Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its annexation to the Russian Federation invoked Kosovo precedent, in its declaration of independence, as an argument for secession. The territorial referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, only five days after the declaration of independence, was an attempt to justify the secession based on the right to selfdetermination of the people of Crimea. It is overwhelmingly considered illegal and its outcome has not been accepted and recognized by states, regional and international organizations. The comparative elements of statehood and secession between Kosovo and Crimea are reflected through analyzing the declarations of independence, international recognition and Russia’s role as a third-state factor in external selfdetermination. Essential distinctions are highlighted. Kosovo is widely acknowledged and accepted a sui generis case. Its declaration of independence came as result of a long monitored comprehensive process; not to legitimize the right for self-determination but as the final option for stability and peace in the region. Crimea seceded in violation of international law through the use of force. While Kosovo is a democratic, multi-ethnic new state and recognized by 107 states, the secession of Crimea and its annexation to the Russian Federation is considered illegal and endangers the existing international order.


Crimea; Declaration of Independence; Kosovo; Recognition Secession


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DOI: 10.21113/iir.v5i1.20

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