While the breakup of Yugoslavia produced divided loyalties and competing claims, leading to the establishment of seven separate states ending with the de facto independence of Kosovo, Crimea was a source of geopolitical instability that threatened to engulf the region in ethnic and geopolitical conflict. As a result of the negotiations during the 1990s and a de facto settlement between Slavs and the Ukrainian state, between Slavs and returning Crimean Tatars, and between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, Crimea has remained a peaceful and even increasingly wealthy area of Ukraine. Reflecting on the case of Kosovo, this paper looks at the prospect for a similar conflict in and over Crimea. Our primary question concerns the degree to which the Kosovo case sheds light on a somewhat similar case of co-ethnics, religious differences and a weakened state. We argue that the greatest source of instability lies not with ethnic claims or geopolitics, but with Ukrainian political and commercial interests that threaten the de facto settlement between the region and the centre.
- land reform
- ethnic conflict