In the Footsteps of Catalonian Independence and Modern Separatism

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Katalonakan ankakhowt`yan ew zhamanakakits` separatizmi hetk`erov_24341

The referendums in Catalonia, and earlier in Kurdistan, once again raised the issue about separatism. Is the aspiration for independence and the establishment of its own statehood can be qualified as only separatism, giving a negative connotation to it, or is it merely the legitimate aspiration of the nations to create an ethnic-national union that will protect the interests of the nation in that separated country? The western political circles claimed that the peoples' self-determination was a consequence of the pressure of a dominant nation or a religious group over this or that religious-ethnic community, otherwise there would be no such aspirations. 

But even in those states that consider themselves to be in the high level of life, we witness the continued manifestations of independence or separatism, and Catalonia, a striking example of it. Only in EU member states there are similar phenomena both in France, Italy, Belgium, Austria and Germany, and in the UK. If, in some cases, the EU member states support self-determination right on their own political expediency, such as the Kosovo separation from Serbia or even the example of Yugoslavia, and before the collapse of the USSR and the separation of the republics. Then in other cases, they identify such phenomena of independence are separatism and refuse to recognize and assist in the case of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria Moldova.


Later, the West evaluated the separatism and aggression of Crimea's separation from Ukraine and the aspiration of Donetsk and Lugansk to create independent state unions. And here the main question arises: whether there is a legal difference between the desire for independence and the different nations and groups, and why in some cases it is regarded as the exercise of the right to self-determination, and in the other case, separatism.


In reality there is no such distinction, the qualitative character of the separatist phenomenon is conditioned by the political assessment of this situation by one or another group of states. That is, if they view this separation as a threat to their own interests or threat to the interests of their allies, then such a situation is judged as separatism. It is also noticeable that the opposite tendency is also when, on the basis of their interests, the states are widely recognized by the separated state's competence.


When the League of Nations was formed in January 1919, it was a member of only 44 independent states, and in 1934 their number was already 58. In 1945, when the United Nations was formed, the independent states were 51, with the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the number of independent states reached 166. 2011 The last state to join the United Nations is South Sudan, the 193rd state. That is to say, the struggle against independence is a senseless and even post-revolutionary process that only proves that some states and ruling political elites there are unable to get rid of their colonial past and want to force this or that territory and its inhabited peoples under their domination.


However, let's not justify the independence aspiration, the separatism, or the realization of the right to self-determination, it will continue, and the aspiration of nations to seek independence is just as natural as the fall of the empires or the birth of a human being. So, in the near future, we will witness the new aspirations and processes of independence and unity by nations and peoples, and the struggle will only grow.


Armen Manvelyan, Candidate of Historical Sciences



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