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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?

  • The bigger question is why many countries didn't vote, like the other 4 of BRICS and many many countries having military relationships with Russia. – Registered User Mar 31 '14 at 10:14
  • @CsBalazsHungary - Count the # of Chinese in Siberia across Amur. Then your mystery will be solved. – user4012 Mar 31 '14 at 14:25
  • @DVK I doubt it would provide the answer. Communist China and Sovietunion had diplomatic problems out of Chinese territories inside "Russia", but I don't see serious leftovers of this debate. As I see they are pretty much work together as BRIC countries. The only reason I can imagine that China wanted to keep some neutrality in this subject since USA and Russia are both very important trade partner for them. – CsBalazsHungary Mar 31 '14 at 14:30
  • @CsBalazsHungary - you should be thinking of the future (China having an option to annex that arean later) than the past (minor border disputes). USA/US/Russia multipolarity balance is also a valid thing to think of. – user4012 Mar 31 '14 at 14:35
  • @DVK China has more regions with a cultural markup that would make a break from mainland china plausible. For example Tibet or Xinjiang (For it's Muslim population) – user45891 Aug 5 '14 at 22:18
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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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