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If the EU Is Worried about Crimea, Shouldn't It Drop Sanctions against It?

Why add to its alleged misery?

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Recently the EU expressed concern about the human rights situation in Crimea. Russia Insider in turn express skepticism about EU's sincerity since the EU has failed to express the same concern for the human rights situation in Donbass  which unlike Crimea is being blockaded, shelled and threatened with invasion by forces that include privately-funded neo-Nazi battalions.

Actually, that is not completely true. In reality Crimea is also being blockaded - by none other than the EU itself. EU citizens are banned by law from investing in Crimea businesses or cooperating with them on Crimea soil in any way. Eg, tourist agencies from the EU are threatened with harsh penalties if they were to arrange holidays for their clients in Crimea. At the same time the same tourist agencies are perfectly free to arrange holidays in Moscow.

Thus we have to question EU's sincerity once again. If Crimeans are really facing a "deterioration of the human rights situation" under Russian rule then why hit them with harsher sanctions than Russia itself? If there is "persecution of persons belonging to minorities" going on then why hit these same "persecuted minorities" with economic sanctions?

Is a persecuted minority Crimean Tatar going to feel better knowing that EU travel agencies are barred from working with his hotel, but are free to work with a Russian nationalist hotel owner in Sochi?

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Could it be that actually EU sanctions against Crimea were not passed due to EU's concern for Crimea (??), but because:

1.) EU officials wanted to be seen as "doing something" but avoid the economic fallout for the EU if the sanctions applied to (all of) Russia

2.) EU wanted to try and prevent Moscow from making Crimea into an economic success story that might draw other regions and countries to orient toward Russia

It seems to me EU's concerns in enacting collective punishment against Crimeans shows it isn't concerned about Crimeans at all  except in as much as they make Crimea into a tourist Mecca that ends up convincing Ukrainians, Moldovans, Belarusians, etc that Russian integration leads to prosperity.

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