It's non-controversial that Russia should not attack Ukraine. Holding it hostage is imperialistic, and clearly illegal, so that even UN admits Russia is criminal now.

However, Catalonia also has good arguments that Spain should not hold this region under it's power. Why is it considered legitimate to allow Spain to hold Catalonia?

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    See broader question here like politics.stackexchange.com/questions/70925/… Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 18:29
  • Why should Catalonia get to hold its border regions hostage if they choose to stay with Spain? politics.stackexchange.com/questions/24852/… Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 18:55
  • @JonathanReez simply because Catalonia is much richer than Spain in general, most people will choose to have more trade and employment in Catalonia than in Spain. Only rich people and retirees will prefer to live in Spain, to benefit from cheaper services and houses on discount. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:00
  • and while working on better tagging such questions, there's a much older one with answers worth reading politics.stackexchange.com/questions/8592/… Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:01
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    @Fizz that older question re-iterates what I already know... statehood is "granted" arbitrarily, probably by combination of military power and emotional factors. Sad but true.... but it also means, that in principle, each and every political leadership can be debatable. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


that older question re-iterates what I already know... statehood is "granted" arbitrarily, probably by combination of military power and emotional factors

So I guess you're looking for the specific factors that distinguish Catalonia from Ukraine? Here's a few:

  • Ukraine was made a UN member by the initial deal with the USSR (which basically got 3 seats). That made it hard[er] for anyone later to argue Ukraine is not a country, although Russia tried that more recently, more or less formally.
  • Russian leadership itself was interested in breaking the authority of the Soviet leadership, so hard for them to argue at the time at the time of the breakup that other Soviet Republics were not entitled to that.

Similar "emotional" factors applied to other breakups like Yugoslavia (somewhat, the Serbians were not excited, but most other former members were) or Czechoslovakia. If several large-ish Spanish regions (not just Catalonia) decided they want Spain gone and managed to somewhat coordinate their efforts in that regard, who knows what might happen.

OTOH the international community (except for the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan) didn't recognize Chechnya's [self-proclaimed] independence. (It looks like the Chechens did it several times in the 1990s. The most democratically credible attempt being perhaps in 1997, when Russia+OSCE organized elections, but the resulting Chechen parliament declared independence [again]. After the Russians and the Chechen factions allied with them [i.e. Kadyrov] got the military upper hand, they organized a counter-referendum in 2003, reaffirming Chechnya's membership in the Russian Federation.)

  • As Catalonia is richer than most of Spain... you could still compare this situation to Soviet Union. With their highly progressive taxes Spain may drain the accounts of Catatonia citizens, to subsidize infrastructure for citizens of Spain. Only that, Spain did not get bankrupt because their communism is not as strong as Soviet Union's, and because people in Catalonia still have some vote in Spain's democracy... but will probably get out-voted at central level each time. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:17
  • And yes, all things related to statehood are emotional. The fact that you learned to sing your national anthem is emotional, and the fact that Putin wants to kill Ukraine is emotional. Democracy is also emotional, even thought it may have decent results in real life. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:23
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    I think that a fact more indisputable than Ukraine's UN seats would have been the Belovezha accords in which Russia recognized Ukraine's independence, and the Budapest Memorandum in which it recognized Ukraine's borders.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 19:28
  • @SJuan76: well, that's my 2nd bullet. I did not feel like it was worth elaborating on with more specifics, but thanks for the refs. Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 19:38

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