Separatists in the southeast of Ukraine have declared a new country: “Little Russia”.
The announcement by Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, amounts to little, argues Gwendolyn Sasse of Carnegie Europe.
She points out that leaders in Luhansk, Ukraine’s other breakaway region, have distanced themselves from it. Russia, which otherwise backs the Donbas uprising, hasn’t voiced support either. And the local population doesn’t want independence. A survey conducted earlier this year found a majority in favor of remaining in Ukraine. Only a third want to join Russia.
Yet it might be better for Ukraine if the region does secede. Read more
Support for Catalan Independence Down, But It Could Still Happen
Since Catalonia’s regional government announced it plans to hold an independence referendum in September, tensions with the central government in Madrid have been rising:
Catalan leaders have said they would declare independence within 48 hours of a vote to break away from Spain, regardless of turnout.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has dismissed the plan as an “authoritarian delusion”.
Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal has warned that the armed forces are tasked not only with “protecting the values of democracy and the Constitution, but also the integrity and sovereignty” of Spain.
Spain’s Constitutional Court has blocked the €5.8 million the Catalan government had set aside to pay for the referendum.
Catalonia is in the process of separating its tax agency from Spain’s in case the region does decide to secede. Read more
Scotland Delays Independence Plans in Wake of Election Defeat
Both the Catalans and Iraq’s Kurds have announced independence referendums this week over the objections of their central governments.
The two might seem a world away. Catalans have virtually no security concerns. The Kurds are waging a war on two fronts: one against Turkey to the north and another against the self-proclaimed Islamic State to the south.
Spain’s Podemos party has come out in favor of a Catalan independence referendum, making it the first major national party to break with the government of Mariano Rajoy on the issue.
The anti-establishment movement remains opposed to Catalan independence and argues that a referendum should not be legally binding, but the new policy is a win for Catalonia’s separatists all the same.
It’s probably not for them that Podemos has changed their minds, though. Read more