Crisis: Post Crimea Referendum Scenarios


The Crimean authorities have scheduled a referendum on March 16 to determine whether the Autonomous Republic of Crimea will declare independence from Ukraine and join Russia. The EU and US have both strongly condemned the decision to push ahead with a referendum while Russian troops occupy Crimea, and argue that secession would be illegal under Ukraine's constitution, which requires a nationwide referendum first. Meanwhile, Russia has asserted that the ousting of Ukraine's government has effectively invalidated the validity of the constitution, implicitly suggesting it would recognise the outcome of the referendum.

The referendum ballot paper will contain two options for voters. The first question will ask voters whether they are in favour of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea reuniting with Russia as a constituent part of the Russian Federation, while the second asks whether they are in favour of restoring the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 1992 and of Crimea's status as part of Ukraine. The second question is somewhat misleading as the 1992 Constitution declares that Crimea is an independent state and not part of Ukraine. Thus restoring this constitution would mean that Crimea ceases to be part of Ukraine. There is no option to vote for Crimea to stay as an autonomous region of Ukraine.

While the Ukrainian crisis has so far played out largely in line with our core view, below we lay out a number of scenarios that could emerge after this weekend's referendum. We cautiously maintain our core view that there will be no further Russian intervention in Ukraine, but with troops amassing close to the eastern borders of Ukraine, there is a growing possibility that the situation will escalate.

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Related sectors of this article: Political Risk, Foreign Policy
Geography: Ukraine