Post-soviet de facto states official reactions to events in Crimea

Representatives of authorities in all four post-Soviet de facto states issued statements in favour of Crimea’s referendum as an expression of the right to self-determination and declared their hope that this will contribute to a shift in international law. South Ossetia and Transnistria explicitly supported also Crimea’s annexation to the Russian Federation, while Nagorno Karabakh and Abkhazia refrained from doing so, at least for what concerns official statements issued so far.

It is worth noticing that none of them declared in this context its intentions to follow the steps of Crimea and apply for accession to the Russian Federation in the immediate future (in spite of the fact that, according to surveys, this is the option favoured by a clear majority in South Ossetia and a plurality in Transnistria).

South Ossetia

South Ossetia’s MFA issued a number of statements regarding the situation in Ukraine. On 5 March 2014, it declared solidarity with the Russian Federation “in support of the compatriots in Ukraine” and drew a comparison with South Ossetia’s own experience: “People of South Ossetia understand what is happening in Ukraine more than anybody else. South Ossetia suffered consequences of Georgian nationalism in August 2008, supported by clearly fascist Ukrainian organizations such as UNA-UNSO.” (full statement in English:; and in Russian: In a statement dated 17 March 2014, South Ossetia’s MFA commented favourably the results of the referendum and added that “the strengthening of the principles of democracy in international relations and the fundamental norms and principles of international law give reason to believe that the choice of the people of Crimea will be accepted by the international community, as the sovereign will of the people deserves.” (available in Russian only: A statement issued on 18 March 2014 welcomes warmly the treaty signed in Moscow on the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. “We hope that this extraordinary event favours the strengthening in international law of the moral basis and the basic values, that for a few decades have been marred by the double standards demonstrated towards different countries” (available in Russian only: South Ossetia’s parliament issued an own declaration on 21 March 2013 supporting the decision of the Russian Federation (full text in Russian:


The statement of Transnistria’s MFA, issued on 19 March 2014, claims that the “Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic is very encouraged by a decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin ‘On the recognition of the Republic of Crimea’, as well as the address by the Russian leader dedicated to the accession of two new constituent entities to the Russian Federation: the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.”

The statement highlights the similarities between the recent referendum in Crimea and Transnistria’s 2006 referendum: “We are pleased to note that the result in Crimea’s referendum corresponds exactly with the result in Pridnestrovian’s referendum of September 17, 2006. At that time more than 97 percent of voters supported the independence followed by the Pridnestrovian’s free accession to Russia; more than 78 percent of voters took part in the voting. Such clear coincidence of the will of Crimean and Pridnestrovian people shows that Russian World revives and people’s wish for unity will not be inhibited.”

Here’s the full text in English:

Here’s the full text in Russian:

Nagorno Karabakh

Nagorno Karabakh’s MFA issued a statement on the referendum in Crimea on 17 March 2014: “Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (the Artsakh Republic) considers the referendum held on March 16 in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as yet another manifestation of realization of the right of people to self-determination.”

In the statement, reference is made also to referendums planned in Catalonia and Scotland: “The experience of recent years, in particular the referendums envisaged in Catalonia and Scotland prove that the recognition and realization of the inalienable right of people to self-determination is the most optimal and democratic way for the peaceful settlement of this kind of issues. "

Here’s the full text in English:

Here’s the full text in Russian:


Abkhazia’s president declared to Russian media on 16 March 2014 that Abkhazia “supports and recognizes the choice of Crimeans” and stated that “this is a classical example of when the will of the people is stronger than everything.” (

Abkhazia’s MFA did not (yet?) issue any statement specifically dedicated on the situation in Crimea. It did, however, reply poignantly to declarations made by Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in the Verkhovna Rada. Yatsenyuk stated that (quote from the website of Abkhazia’s MFA) “in Abkhazia on the background of economic dislocation and unemployment are rampant corruption, lawlessness, banditry and arms trafficking” and claimed this is what awaits Crimea if it joins Russia.

Abkhazia’s MFA countered those claims, boasting positive developments that took place in the territory since Russia’s recognition: “After the recognition of the Republic of Abkhazia by the Russian Federation the annual economic growth in the country became 13%, foreign trade turnover increased almost by 300%, incomes of the population increased by 450%. Recovery of social infrastructure destroyed by Georgian militias is at full speed. That is why Abkhazia is becoming more attractive to migrant workers from other countries, including Ukraine, Moldova and the Baltic countries – part of the European Union. The Republic of Abkhazia is annually visited by more than a million tourists from around the world. New hotels, restaurants, cafes and other tourist and recreational infrastructure are brought into operation. In 2013 the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia was crossed in both directions by about seven million people. Unlike the Kiev authorities, ethnic and linguistic diversity in our country is treated carefully. Chauvinistic principles of state policy are unacceptable in Abkhazia.” (full statement here: In its final part, referring to the case of Crimea, the statement includes a note of support for the right to self-determination: “Returning to the events in Crimea, we believe that in these circumstances the citizens residing in the territory of the autonomous republic have the right to make self-reliant choice of their fate and political status of the peninsula in accordance with the universal right of peoples and nations to self-determination.”

Giorgio Comai
Researcher, data analyst