The Instigator
DominiqueThorntonAZ
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MyDinosaurHands
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Crimea - Rightfully Russian (Crimean Crisis)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/15/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,478 times Debate No: 69821
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

DominiqueThorntonAZ

Pro

The Black Sea peninsula of Crimea was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on February 19, 1954.

Prior to that date the peninsula had been under Russian control and cultural influence since 1783 where it - as a Khaganate - was conquered by the Russian Empire. This time period lead to a peninsula with an ethnic majority of Russians. As a matter of fact, the first and only census of the Russian Empire occurred in 1897 and transpired that the Russians outnumbered the Ukrainians by more than 115,000 individuals; The Russians accounted for 33.11 % as opposed to the 11.84 % of the Ukrainian population (the Crimean Tatars, on the other hand, were the most numerous ethnicity at the time (35.55 %) but due to the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars (the "Surgunlik") from 1942 to 1943 they are of no relevance regarding the Crisis of 2014-2015).

Ever since the 1926 census the Russians have been the ethnic majority of Crimea. According to the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine the Russian population of the peninsula accounted for no less than 58.5 % of the entire Crimean population in 2001; the Ukrainians, however, only 24.4 %.

According to the oldest extant and most circulated newspaper in Washington, D.C. - namely the "Washington Post" - the people of Crimea do indeed want to break away from Ukraine and join Russia (March, 2014).

Thus one can conclude that Vladimir Putin, the current president of the Russian Federation, conquered the peninsula to preserve the interests of his people.

State Statistics Committee of Ukraine; 2001 Census, Autonomous Republic of Crimea:
http://2001.ukrcensus.gov.ua...

Washington Post article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com...
MyDinosaurHands

Con

After reading my opponent's opening round, I conclude that his general point is this:
There are many ethnic Russians within Crimea, therefore, Russia has a right to militarily annex Crimea.

The problem I have with this is actually stated by my opponent:
"The Black Sea peninsula of Crimea was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on February 19, 1954."
Russia gave Ukraine Crimea willingly. There was no theft, no dirty dealing, no fighting. It was simply given. Ownership of Crimea was exchanged from one government to another, in a completely legitimate manner.

And now the government that gave up ownership of Crimea has, using military violence, taken Crimea back. Unlike the transfer in 1954, both parties were not willing, the transfer was theft, it was dirty dealing, and it did involve fighting. Simply put, ownership of Crimea belongs to Ukraine until Ukraine sees fit to change that. This would be like if your friend gave you his TV as a present, and then years later he broke into your house, killed your mom, and took the TV. The ownership governments have over land needs to be respected if international stability is to be maintained.

It does not matter that many ethnic Russians live in Crimea. If that was the kind of criteria we allowed as justification for aggressive military operations, Mexico would be justified in attempting to annex some of the lower portions of Texas or California[1]. Or Americans could immigrate in heavy numbers to a certain portion of Canada and we could annex that portion of it. The UK could justify invading Australia, whose majority population (63%) is of English descent[2]. Clearly, allowing invasion based upon population ethnicities is allowing for a lot more fighting than a concept of governmental ownership does.

And yes, there is the factor in this debate that these ethnic Russians want Crimea to be a part of Russia. However, this does not automatically grant Russia the right to use military force to annex Crimea. If you wished your friend's parents were your parents, would those parents have the right to take you from your parents in the night? No, of course not. The only way they'd end up your parents would be if your parents agreed to transfer legal rights.

Again, this is about international stability. If this is appropriate justification, any country could purposely facilitate massive migration to a certain area, and, knowing that those immigrants want the region they're living in to belong to said country, could justify running in, killing people, and annexing the territory.

Sources:
[1] http://www.hacu.net...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
DominiqueThorntonAZ

Pro

In your opening argument you state that "Russia gave Ukraine Crimea willingly"; it is absolutely correct that the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree transferring Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Ukrainian SSR) on February 19, 1954. However, at that time both republics were part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and were thus not individual, independent nations as opposed to today.
This means that when Nikita Khrushchev - the USSR president at the time - transferred the oblast from one republic to the other he merely changed it from one region of the country to another; it was thus not an issue concerning nationality at the time.

However, when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic declared itself an independent nation on August 24, 1991, nationality became part of the problem; a considerably large majority of Russians were suddenly strangers in another country. Now one can argue whether or not it was a justifiable decision Khrushchev made when he transferred the peninsula to Ukraine - I personally do not believe it was but at the time the Soviet government did not believe the USSR would ever collapse and did thus not foresee the patriotism-related difficulties that would occur years later.

In your argument you also mention how "[t]here was no theft, no dirty dealing, [and] no fighting." It is correct that no theft was involved; no coup d'etat occurred. I would, however, like to argue that the statement "no dirty dealing" is not only imprecise but likewise wrong. By "dirty dealing" I assume you mean dealing in an unjustifiable, morally wrong manner. If so, I would say that moving the home of more than 1,000,000 people from one republic to another without informing or in any way consulting them about the matter is, in fact, quite "dirty", if not the "very dirtiest". Regarding your statement "no fighting" there is an obvious reason as to why " the decree was not publicly announced until February 27[1], eight whole days after the transfer!

You also mention that "Mexico would be justified in attempting to annex some of the lower portions of Texas or California[...]" This has no relevance to my perception of why Crimea belongs to Russia. It is not the history, it is the current state of the area and the fact is that, as you say yourself, "these ethnic Russians want Crimea to be part of Russia"; thus it makes perfect sense that the peninsula rightfully belongs to the Russian Federation since "these ethnic Russians" account for the majority ethnicity of the oblast. I merely reflected upon their history to support the validity of my arguments.

I would also like to argue that your analogy with my friend giving me his TV is inaccurate - a more precise comparison could be: "three brothers live in a house. One day the middle brother takes his younger brother"s TV and gives it to you without permission from his brother. Then, later, the oldest brother goes to your house, punches you in the face and takes back the TV that rightfully belongs to his little brother".

1)http://www.npr.org...
MyDinosaurHands

Con

*bold represents the general beginning of a new segment/topic



My opponent provided further explanation of how Crimea came to be a part of Ukraine, but that doesn't really help him.


The basic argument is this:
Russia gave Crimea to Ukraine when Ukraine and Russia were a part of the USSR. When Ukraine split up, they took Crimea with them. My opponent seems to think this 'doesn't count', because the people in Crimea, "were suddenly strangers in another country." With that statement, he calls the USSR a country, as the only other organization Ukraine (and by default Crimea) was a party to directly prior to independence was the USSR.

Both the concept of what the USSR was and its acronymal definition contradict this view. USSR stands for United Soviet Socialist Republics. Not country, or Republic--Republics. This obviously makes Ukraine a Republic, not under Russia's control (as Russia was just another Republic), but under the control of the USSR.

So when the USSR is splitting apart and Ukraine becomes independent, they're only leaving with what's theirs. Crimea was a part of Ukraine and the USSR, not Russia. Once Ukraine became independent of the USSR (with USSR acceptance[1]), only they had territorial claim to Crimea.

"..I would say that moving the home of more than 1,000,000 people from one republic to another without informing or in any way consulting them about the matter is, in fact, quite "dirty", if not the "very dirtiest"."
I will accept that many people within Crimea did not want to be transferred from Russia to Ukraine. However, that was 50 years ago, and much has changed. In 1989, 67% of the Crimean population was composed of ethnic Russians. The rest was composed of ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars (both groups that would oppose rejoining Russia). In 2001, the Russian population had dropped to 58% of the Crimean population, with Ukrainians and Tatars filling the gap[2]. In 12 years, the Russian population shrunk by 9%. Isn't is reasonable to assume that another 9% could be lost in 13 more years? Especially when the Tatars have a much higher fertility rate than the Russians?[2]

This changing population composition throws into doubt the willingness of the Crimean population to favor rejoining Russia. This doubt is not alleviated when one examines the shadiness of the recent referendum in Crimea regarding the question of rejoining Russia. Most importantly is the fact that the Russian government flat out lied about how many people voted for Crimea to rejoin Russia. The Russian claim is 96% of voters in favor, while the real number is somewhere between 50-60% of voters in favor[3]. This alone proves that Russian claims cannot be trusted.

Secondly, large portions of the Crimean population boycotted the vote, some out of fear, others out of principle[2]. When you couple this information with the fact that there is evidence that Russian soldiers Pro-Russian rebels used violence and intimidation to skew the vote[4], it is suddenly very unlikely that Russia is justified in annexing Ukraine even under my opponent's criteria of popular support.

And you only need these facts if you think popular support justifies killing people. When we're talking about that, we need to look at my opponent's analogy. "[T]hree brothers live in a house. One day the middle brother takes his younger brother"s TV and gives it to you without permission from his brother. Then, later, the oldest brother goes to your house, punches you in the face and takes back the TV that rightfully belongs to his little brother"."
Ok so let me ask you voters something. Should I be punched in the face over a TV? Should people in Crimea be killed, because of who Crimeans want to live under? Should the world allow military action anytime you've got a certain region with ethnics from your country in it?

In my previous round, I gave an example of what sort of things this criteria might justifiy, my example being of Texas/California, and their high levels of ethnic Mexicans. My opponent barely addressed this, saying, "This has no relevance to my perception of why Crimea belongs to Russia. It is not the history, it is the current state of the area.." The problem with this response is that in my California/Texas example, it wasn't the history either, it was the current state of the areas, which, under my opponent's criteria, justified military aggression and annexation of said areas. I'll restate: we can see how such a criteria as justification for military action would justify a lot more military action than respecting governmental rights does.

Bottom line:
Even if you support the idea that majority justifies killing, there is unlikely to be an actual majority, making Russia in the wrong in this regard.
If you realize that the aforestated reasoning promotes international instability, you can see how Russia is in the wrong in this regard.

Sources:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://nationalinterest.org...
[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com...
[4] http://www.newyorker.com...
Debate Round No. 2
DominiqueThorntonAZ

Pro

In his opening argument my opponent states that Ukraine was in fact an independent nation during the time of the USSR, as opposed to being a mere region of a greater country, namely the Soviet Union (USSR). It is indeed correct that according to article 76 of the Constitution of the USSR all republics in the Soviet Union were "sovereign Soviet socialist states that had united with other Soviet Republics in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" [1] " I am afraid I made a wrong assumption; as my opponent mentions, all republics in the Soviet Union were obviously 100% independent and had the opportunity to leave the Union if they had the intention to do so at any time " naturally " considering how they were absolutely sovereign throughout the history of the USSR. I guess I should have paid more attention to the Soviet propaganda stating just that.

Wrong!

If my opponent legitimately believes that the name of an organization such as the USSR changes its meaning he is not only gullible but also completely incorrect. The difference between "republic" and "republics" does not change the fact that the Soviet Union suppressed all individuals who expressed a wish to abandon the Union; this was considered treachery. If single individuals could barely leave the country [2] how on Earth should local politicians be allowed to promote a policy of "let"s leave this godforsaken place and be independent"? Believing these republics of the USSR were truly independent is absolutely nonsense and is exactly what the government of the Soviet Union would have wanted you to think " I personally refuse to buy into such brainwashing propaganda!

He also mentions that when Ukraine gained independence from the USSR the nation left with what belonged to it, e.g. the Crimean Oblast. He believes it was absolutely justifiable that the home of more than 1,000,000 people was changed to another country as opposed to Russia where it originally belonged because some old, delusional president of a suppressing Union Government transferred the oblast from one region to another more than a quarter of a century before; this was without consulting the inhabitants of the area due to the fact that their opinion did not matter what so ever. I do not believe we should support a transfer conducted by a suppressing country (USSR) more than five decades ago. My opponent states that due to the fact that the transfer took place more than fifty years ago it is less relevant since a lot has changed. However, the most important factor has not: the majority of Crimea wants to join Russia [3], regardless of the lies told by the Russian government; I personally condemn this governmental dishonesty as well.

My opponent also raises a moral question based on my analogy: "Should people in Crimea be killed, because of who Crimeans want to live under?" " obviously not! It is not, and never has been, my intention to defend the USSR, the lies of the government of the Russian Federation, or Putin"s invasion of Ukraine (although, as previously mentioned, I do approve of his interest in supporting the Russian majority and their wish to rejoin Russia). My analogy merely symbolizes what has happened and not what I personally would have wanted.

I simply believe that Crimea rightfully belongs to the Russian Federation because that is what the majority of the inhabitants of the area want. I condemn the fact that so many nations today support such a dishonest, dirty transfer issued by a downright suppressing, dictatorial country with a delusional leader. We have seen examples of what happens when we respect such agreements that in no way have consulted the local population, e.g. the German invasion of Poland (this can obviously be discussed for hours; my main point is the fact that after World War 1 a relatively large German area (and with ethnic Germans of German culture in it) was given to Poland) or the Rwandan Civil War.

My opponent is completely right in saying that it is about international stability. I just personally do not believe we should allow such stability if it is based on suppressing decrees - it is about justice (obviously the invasion does not provide for such but then again I am not here to defend it), not mere stability.

1)
http://www.departments.bucknell.edu...

2)
http://clarissasblog.com...

3)
http://www.washingtonpost.com...
MyDinosaurHands

Con

UKRAINIAN AUTONOMY
My opponent opens with a sarcastic parody regarding one of my arguments, saying that since the USSR was so dictatorial and suppressive, Ukraine didn't really count as its own republic. I don't see how this matters, because when Ukraine did gain full independence, it took the land that was allotted to it, much like a seceding state would.

1954 TRANSFER
My opponent said this last round: "He believes it was absolutely justifiable that the home of more than 1,000,000 people was changed to another country.."
Even though I said this in the round directly prior: "I will accept that many people within Crimea did not want to be transferred from Russia to Ukraine.."

Anyways. Clearly, my opponent and I agree: a country's actions are not justified if they ignore their citizens' wishes. I admitted that in the last quote, and my opponent admits it in this one: ".. without consulting the inhabitants of the area due to the fact that their opinion did not matter what so ever. I do not believe we should support a transfer conducted by a suppressing country (USSR) more than five decades ago."

We agree that it was illegitimate transfer, because of the public disapproval. So, now we need to look at the recent annexation. Based on the criteria of public support, this action is not not legitimate either. As I stated in the previous round, of the people who did vote, annexation was barely approved. When you couple this with the fact that many of the people who did not support annexation did not vote, and that those who did vote were harassed by Russian soldiers Pro-Russian militia, it is unlikely annexation had approval. My opponent never rebutted these facts, he merely re-sourced his Washington Post article. I read it, and found that the article did not tell us where it got its declaration that, "Most people in Crimea wanted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia." My articles reference a Russian Civil Rights Agency's findings. You choose which you think is more refutable.

So the question is, do two wrongs make a right? People did not support the 1954 Transfer, and my opponent has not proven that people supported the 2014 annexation. Instead of one incident where people were wronged, now we've got two. If there were a majority of supporters in Crimea, or better yet a majority of Crimeans from the 1954 Transfer, this would qualify as a right, as it'd be in accordance with the people's wishes. But, this is not the case. What is the case is that Russia doesn't have a right to Crimea because there isn't majority support, in the same way there wasn't majority support for the 1954 Transfer.

POLAND/RWANDA
My opponent doesn't explain his statement behind the Rwandan Civil War, and so I don't think I really need to defend against it. He does give some for Poland, so let's take a look at that. My opponent seems to be bringing up Poland to counter one of my points about how supporting governments that act without the consent of the people can be dangerous. The problem with this is that I never said governments were justified in acting against the will of their people. All I did say was that even if Crimea was given away against the will of the people, that doesn't mean Russia is justified in running and killing people over what we call Crimea.

IN CONCLUSION
Two wrongs do make a right. The 1954 Transfer was against the will of the people, and the recent annexation is against the will of the people. Not only is Russia's military action illegitimate, but their very claim to Crimea is illegitimate, as the popular support is no longer there.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by sidewinder 2 years ago
sidewinder
Sorry for randomly adding Bosnia into my comment. I was thinking of having the analogy be the Yugoslavian civil war but I decided against it.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Thanks for the tip!
Posted by sidewinder 2 years ago
sidewinder
The only reason that their is a majority of russians in the crimean peninsula is because stalin ordered purge before world war 2. Thus to say that Russia deserves Crimeia based on population is a bit like Bosnia saying Columbus deserves the New World after he killed hundreds of thousands of Native Americans.
Posted by Russia_The_almighty 2 years ago
Russia_The_almighty
In Soviet Russia, Crimea is rightfully Russia's. Actually kinda is. Basically half of Ukraine is Pro Russian. I would've chosen pro if the maker of this was con.
Posted by debate_power 2 years ago
debate_power
It'd look nicer if the star were red
Posted by sadolite 2 years ago
sadolite
Arizona has the coolest looking flag of all fifty states. I lived there from age 5 to 16. I wish I could go back living there. Not in Phoenix though. Flagstaff or if I had the money Sedona.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
DominiqueThorntonAZMyDinosaurHandsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This is a relatively straightforward debate for me. The question is not whether Crimea shouldn't have been given to Ukraine, but whether Crimea should be placed under the aegis of Russia. Pro gives me a lot of reasons for this that are neither here nor there - past injustice doesn't allow for further injustice in the present, as Con points out. So the question becomes, are more people for the transfer in status quo, or not? I'm not getting a clear answer to that question because, as Con points out, there's a distinct problem with using votes as a means to determine the positions of the whole population. Pro never gives me a response to this, and as such, I'm left without reason to believe that the majority of the population of Crimea wants this to happen. Perhaps they do, but Pro needed more evidence than he gave to prove it. With that uncertainty, I'm finding little or no reason to affirm. If anything, this means I'm finding reason to negate, and thus I vote Con.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
DominiqueThorntonAZMyDinosaurHandsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Tie. Both had proper conduct throughout. S&G - Tie. Both had proper spelling and grammar throughout. Arguments - Con. This was an excellent debate, and very close. Utimately though, it fell on justified claims of lands. Pro was able to refute Con's point regarding the 1954 split of Ukraine/Russia, but Con then flipped that same logic back on Pro regarding the recent annexation. Pro really needed to draw a distinction between the two and show how the latter was justified. He did not do so though, which caused me to lean towards Con, since Con was able to show the lack of distinction, thus negating Pro's only strong point. Other minor arguments arose, but none had as much impact. Regardless, Pro had the BOP and needed to overcome each challenge raised by Con. Since Pro failed to do so for reasons given above, Con wins arguments. Sources - Con. Both utilized strong sources, but Con was able to point out the flaws in Pro's (regarding the lack/re-use of WashingtonPost by Pro).