Minority rights in Ukraine before and after the illegal annexation of crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014: the case of crimean Tatars

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2020
Öz, Yeliz
This thesis analyzes the impact of the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation on the minority rights policies of Ukraine by examining the case of the Crimean Tatars, one of the indigenous peoples of the Crimean Peninsula. The Euromaidan in 2013, the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing conflict in Donbas have caused dramatic changes within Ukrainian politics including the country’s minority rights policies. Throughout this process, a security-based perspective has been dominant in not only the military sector, but also within the societal sector as it relates to national identity. Ukrainian attempts to protect a common national identity and the country’s territorial unity have affected the relationship between the Ukrainian government and Ukraine’s national minorities. This thesis argues that increased national security concerns in the post-2014 period led to the securitization of minority rights policy in Ukraine; however, unlike the general discourse towards minorities in Ukraine, state discourse regarding the Crimean Tatars was desecuritized as a result of changing relations between the Ukrainian state and the Crimean Tatars. It is also argued that the recognition of Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people of Ukraine following the Crimea’s illegal annexation emerged as a result of the desecuritization of the relationship between Ukraine and the Crimean Tatars.