WHO: American University experts
WHAT: Ukraine Political Crisis
WHERE: In–studio, on campus, via telephone
BACKGROUND: American University experts are available to provide context and commentary on recent developments on the political crisis in Ukraine, including Sen. John Kerry’s testimony before the U.S. Congress this week; President Obama’s meeting with Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk; and next week’s referendum election in Crimea.
Anton Fedyashin, assistant professor and executive director of AU’s Initiative for Russian Culture, is an expert in Russian and Soviet history and current post-Soviet affairs. Fedyashin doubts whether the upcoming meeting between Obama and Yatsenyuk will produce a positive impact in the two places it is most needed -- in Moscow and with the American people. Yatsenyuk’s reception by the Obama administration runs the risk of pushing more Crimeans to prefer independence over autonomy in the referendum, Fedyashin predicts.
Keith Darden, associate professor in AU’s School of International Service, researches nationalism, state-building, and the politics of Russia and Eurasia. Darden says both the Russian occupation of Crimea and the Crimean referendum are illegitimate and will not be recognized by the international community, or even by Russia's allies. If Russia annexes Crimea, Russia will lose on many other fronts. On Prime Minister Yatsenyuk , Darden says the legally questionable way he came to power requires presidential and parliamentary elections to establish the new government’s legitimacy.
James Goldgeier, School of International Service dean, is an expert in contemporary international relations, American foreign policy, U.S.-Russia relations, the European Union, transatlantic security and NATO. Goldgeier says the visit of Ukraine Prime Minister Yatsenyuk gives Obama an opportunity to reaffirm U.S. support for the government and people of Ukraine. Goldgeier believes a diplomatic solution to the crisis is necessary before the vote in Crimea on Sunday.
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