What is most striking about Russia’s justifications is that they are demonstrably inconsistent with its own beliefs, except for the one that matters – the need to be feared. Nothing in the histories of the Russian or Soviet empires suggests that the principle of self-determination matters a jot. Nor has the Russian state ever cared much about the lives of its citizens. Post-Soviet Russia is no different, as the two Chechen wars, with their tens of thousands of dead, have demonstrated. Those, too, were Russian citizens. We can safely discount such hypocritical justifications for its actions. Indeed, I wonder how Russia sells its new-found attachment to the principle of self-determination to its Chinese ally.
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Source: Financial Times