Russian diplomats often bring attention to the "West" often using double standards in the political evaluation of conflict.

As an example Crimea:

  • The 1974 Comorian independence referendum where held in the Comoros on 22 December 1974.
  • Even though the overall result was a strong "yes" vote (for independence from France), with 94.57% of voters voting for independence, following the referendum, the country declared independence on 6 July 1975
  • However France retained the island of Mayotte under French control (arguing that local population voted to remain in France).

So, mainly, if Paris didn't respect the sovereignty of the Comoros state as a whole, why should it give lessons to Moscow on the Crimea versus Kiev.

Similarly, they argue the US armed interventions:

  • (far away from the US territory) in the Middle East / Asia countries intervention brought poverty, death and destruction
  • Then they call out Russia as doing the same
  • This time its happening at the Russian border only 600 km (or 400 miles) away from the Russian capital.

Can we find examples of those standards being enforced on other nations, or is this unique to russia and the middle east?

  • 3
    Double standards are morally irrelevant, though. They can only establish that other people are bad, not that anyone is good. Putin could establish that every other government in history literally worked for Satan, and it still wouldn't serve to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 18:33
  • 5
    Your first example would be a better fit if there was the suggestion that the vote (with distinct regional differences in the outcome) was held against democratic principles (e.g. under the guns of little green men). The Crimean vote is widely considered a sham.
    – o.m.
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 18:41
  • 1
    @Obie2.0 Justify before whom?
    – alamar
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 18:45
  • 1
    USA in alliance with Nazi Germany invaded Europe in 1939 and later USA claimed it liberated Europe from Nazis? uhm wait... that wasn't the USA... never mind.
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 19:46
  • 1
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica - Putin is not a paragon of logic or morality. He may claim that other people's actions justify his own, and perhaps even believe it, but no one should take such arguments seriously.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


Oh, yes. For example the US and UK hang on to the Chagos to host Diego Garcia base.

However, international relations and behavior are not just black and white, but follow all shades of grey.

The questionable behavior by the US and the UK in this instance comes nowhere near the war of aggression and deliberate war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

It's like the difference between bullying in a spousal abuse case. And one where one spouse beat the other half to death.

Both are legally actionable, one will land the perpetrator a long jail term.

FWIW, France has also cleaned up its act quite a bit in how it conducted independence referendums in New Caledonia.

And countries in general behave "better" in 2022 than they did back in 1974.

Under Putin, Russia is really heading back into the dark ages. No "double standards" about it.

p.s. Crimea is also a softball way to pitch this question in 2022. The current outrage is not about the 2014 bogus referendum. The current outrage is about places like Bucha and the unprovoked war of aggression Russia in engaging in.

p.p.s. Much as poor Russia feels put upon, it sometimes gets quite a free pass on other activities. For example, "the West" did not really object all that much to how it carried out Chechnya War #1 in 1994 and #2 in 2000. No Western electorate would have tolerated its own military to engage in the sort of wide scale, deliberate, targeting of civilians that Russia pursued intentionally. If you doubt that, just look at Western press coverage of things like the accidental bombing of weddings in Afghanistan.

Speaking of double standards: contrast Russian popular sentiment wrt Chechnya wars with Russian outrage at Ukrainian attempts to recover its Donetsk territories 2014-2021...

  • 2
    "No Western electorate would have tolerated its own military to engage in the sort of wide scale, deliberate, targeting of civilians" - does losing Mosul to ISIS with subsequent destruction of the city during its retake count?
    – alamar
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 20:52
  • 3
    Yes, it most certainly counts in my answer. Mosul was covered extensively in the press and civilian casualties heavily criticized. Contrary to Ukraine - cough, Mariupol, cough - ISIS deliberately tried to keep civs in as human shields, while the coalition tried their best to facilitate them out. What would have been your brilliant idea, leaving ISIS in charge? Because Russia of course treated ISIS with kid gloves in Syria? Meanwhile Mariupol and Bucha are false flags by Ukraine on itself, according to Russia. Any more questions? Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 20:55
  • 2
    point me to something similar to this in Russian press: rand.org/blog/rand-review/2022/07/… Oh, wait, that'll land the journalist in jail nowadays, no? Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 21:01
  • 1
    Not particularly trolling, no. I can't read your original link, but I did look up what lentu has been up to. The May 9th says Lenta.ru journalists Egor Polyakov and Alexandra Miroshnikova have stated that they were the authors of these articles, and reported that they now need new jobs, lawyers, and political asylum. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 21:55
  • 2
    @serge Trop drole, mon gars. The UN has its own report and is withholding it from the Russians??? Try harder. Or get news from elsewhere than Tass: tass.com/politics/1436063 FYI, no mod closed this question, these were all unimpressed regular users. You have 12.7k rep on Stackoverflow, you are hardly a "new user" on Stack Exchange, so you know different SEs have different rules, 1 of which is promote/discredit They perceived that in your post. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 16:56

I believe (don't think I would be able to extract it from official Russian sources) that the point here is not that the West just does dishonorable things, such as meddling in other countries' politics or invading them, but that the West does dishonorable things to gain comparative advantage over other countries, including Russia.

In this paradigm, either Russia does bad things when needed, or it falls behind the West (further than it was previously).

As you can see, this would make Russia not honor any international rules until they are honored by other parties, including the trigger-happy USA.

As to the examples of double standards. The invasion of Iraq and the destruction of Libya are the prime examples where the countries participating in those should no longer have any say ("We are such experts in war crimes because we did a lot of those").

Other than that, the USA accusing Russia with interference in American politics, while after February 2022, USA hosts multiple "radio psy ops" sort of institutions and gatherings, which are constantly talking about how they are actively trying to bring the Russian government down, break down Russian Federation by tearing parts off of it - all of that while there is no kind of war between Russia and the USA.

  • 3
    Ah, so Putin's "argument" (I use the term loosely because who knows if he believes it) is that ethics are for losers. If Russia doesn't invade Ukraine, it will "fall behind" other countries (the horror!). I am surprised that there are still people, like you, apparently, who continue to give him credence.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 23:09
  • 2
    If ethics were for winners USA would have them all over the map. They clearly don't. So Russia sees ethics as something you impose on less lucky ones.
    – alamar
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 6:06
  • 2
    Like I said, Putin's argument, which appears to be yours, is self-evidently morally bankrupt. If you think that morality is useless because it does not help one get ahead, there is not much that I can say.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 6:06
  • Putin is FSB, that's special services. For those people, morality flat out does not exist, since their line of job is doing things outside of law and morality. He genuinely does not care about appearing moral even to his allies.
    – alamar
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 7:23
  • 4
    I am glad that you admit that Putin is immoral.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 20:11

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