Dainius Žalimas


The article carries out an assessment of the “reunification of Crimea with Russia” from the point of view of contemporary international law and examines the arguments of Russian scholars who aim to justify the acts of Russia in Crimea. The article aims to identify the strategies that are employed in seeking to offer an interpretation of international legal norms that corresponds to the interests of the Russian Federation. The research shows that in the legal discourse a new definition is attached to a “people” as an entity entitled to secession and right to “remedial secession” becomes, in principle, absolute, i.e. the exercise of the right to “remedial secession” is justified not only on the grounds of an actual physical threat, but also on the grounds of vague ideological threats, or temporary political instability. Moreover, the scientific discourse on justifying the „reunification of Crimea with Russia“ relies heavily on historical arguments that suggest restoring “historical justice” and reuniting historically united nations, and aims at diminishing the sovereignty of Ukraine and redefining it in such a way that enhances the scope of Russian sovereignty, while minimizing the sovereignty of post-Soviet states. The research suggests that consequently the current Russian legal discourse has become a political instrument used for constructing concepts and meanings necessary for the realization of Russia’s geopolitical interests as Russian scholars tend to manipulate international legal concepts and combine legal and pseudo-legal reasoning and subsequently an alternative pseudo-legal reality is constructed.