San José State University
& Tornado Alley
The Most Reasonable Resolution of the Ukraine Crisis
There is no getting around the fact that the West bungled the situation concerning Crimea,
but now that there are enclaves of Russian-speakers* in the Ukraine seeking to leave Ukrainean control and become part of
the Russian Federation what are the alternatives. If the crisis continues on its present trajectory here is what will happen
providing that war does not break out, which would be immeasurably costly:
- The enclaves will carry out plebicites which will indicate overwhelming preference for joining the Russian Federataion.
- The Russian-speakers will take over the government buildings in their enclaves.
- Russia will accept the enclaves appeal to join the Federation.
- The Ukraine will cancel its purchase of energy from Russia and prohibit the transport of Russian energy through the
Ukraine to the countries of the European union.
- The U.S. and the E.U. will have to arrange for energy supplies from sources other than the Russian Federation. This
will involve significantly higher costs and the Ukraine will need to be subsidized.
- Russia will suffer losses of export revenues from lower volumes and lower prices for its energy.
- The West will suffer economically from the higher energy prices and Russia from its loss of export revenues.
- The administration in the U.S. will deliver rhetoric but not much else and America will appear to be ineffectual
in international politics.
- There will be a return of the cold-war mentality to international politics.
The alternative to the above is for the Ukraine to sell
the territories of the enclaves of Russian-speakers to the
- The rebellious enclaves probably are of very little value to the Ukraine in terms of such things as tax collections.
out their transfer peacefully would save the Ukraine and its Western supporters the cost of higher priced energy.
payment could be in terms of future deliveries of energy to the Ukraine from the Russian Federation.
- The cost of these deliveries to the Russian
Federation might well be negligible compared to the loss of revenue it would experience under a militant transfer of the
- The European Union and the U.S. might well pay the Ukraine to sell the enclaves to the Russian Federation given
the cost to them of the alternative.
- The peaceful transfer of the enclaves would avoid the return to the cold-war mentality.
The settling of the enclaves with a population of Russian speakers occurred because of the policies of Joseph Stalin. However those unfair
policies cannot now be reversed. During the days when the Ukraine and Russia were tied together politically the
enclaves were not mujch of a problem. With the Ukraine divorcing itself from Russia they are a problem and one that will not
go away. One way or the other the enclaves of Russian speakers in the Ukraine will be transfered to Russia. That is
inevitable. The only question is whether it can be done peacefully or with Russia utilizing its overwheming
power in terms
of the military and energy.
The other big question is the price at which the territories should be transferred. The only feasible
solution tg that question is some international mediation committee that includes repesentatives of the
Russian Federation and the Ukraine as well as representatives from outside the dispute.
*It is not so much the Russian speakers as the people who identify themselves as ethnic Russian and
maintain a loyalty to Russia. There are Ukranians who have adopted Russian as their primary language
because it is the language of business.