The UN General Assembly just held a vote declaring the Russian annexation of Crimea to be illegal. Eleven countries voted against this resolution: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Why did these countries side with Russia and voted against this resolution? Historical reasons? Present economic or political relationships?

  • Bolivia is probably voting with Venzuela. Why don't you combine the questions. This is a bit silly. – Razie Mah Mar 28 '14 at 6:31
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    For me the fact that China didn't vote with Russia is bigger mystery. – CsBalazsHungary Mar 28 '14 at 8:57
  • I'm not sure why asking three separate questions about three separate countries with three separate relationships with Russia is at all silly... – Stephen Collings Mar 28 '14 at 12:43
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    @StephenCollings I don't see a lot of value in spreading so closely related information in several questions. It's not silly, but it's not particularly useful either. That said, my main motivation for merging your questions was the community's reaction to them. Your questions were getting downvoted and flagged (even spam flagged), and merging them was the simplest solution to a) calm everyone down and b) having at least part of your question answered. For the record, I declined the spam flags, I disagree this was as big a deal as some of the flaggers apparently thought it was. – yannis Mar 29 '14 at 17:24
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    I'm sure you acted appropriately. Thanks for the feedback! – Stephen Collings Mar 29 '14 at 18:29

For most of those countries, it's a mixture of factors:

  • Russian financial support, military support, or energy support (particularly with regard to Syria)
  • Opposition to the West and intent to deliver diplomatic defeats or to not be seen by a domestic audience supporting the West (Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua voting together in Chavista style against the West)
  • Allegiance to Russia in diplomatic matters (particularly Belarus, to a much lesser extent Armenia)
  • Refusal to set a precedent regarding annexation (particularly Armenia)

The last bullet point begs extrapolation on Armenian policy toward the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is ethnic Armenians in an area that was considered Azerbaijan at the breakup of the Soviet Union. It's today governed as a non-recognized state from Stepanakert, but with lots of support from the Armenian government in Yerevan. The Yerevan government generally regards NK and the Stepanakert government as closely affiliated with Armenia. There are clear indications that Yerevan might like to annex Stepanakert despite an unresolved border dispute with the Azeris. In particular, NK would be a non-contiguous exclave of Armenia and would be an enclave wholly of Azerbaijan - absent some territorial conquest.

The Crimea resolution might be applicable to the Nagorno-Karabakh situation, as an example of annexing a group of co-ethnics or co-nationals in a neighbor's breakaway region, so Yerevan does not want to establish bad precedent. Also, it would be useful to have Russia on its diplomatic side in the dispute. Armenia has had to walk a diplomatic tightrope in the Caucasus, with Muslim opponent nations, the Russian giant, and the Georgian cousin all creating a multipolar situation with confused and crossways goals and allegiances.

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I would guess that North Korea does not support US or Western military involvement in any circumstances, since :

First they have the history of the Korean war, which was a UN effort led by the US military. They consider it an invasion of their territory by imperialist forces and prevents the unification of Korea.

Second, supporting any UN military efforts sets the precedent that such actions could be used on them in the future for such reasons as their nuclear weapons development or severe human rights violations.

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