عنوان مقاله [English]
Material and Immaterial factors are the most important determinants of relations in international politics between the actors. Accordingly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and termination of East and West conflicts, it seemed that the era of peace and security had arrived. But it was not more than two decades since the collapse of the Berlin Wall that the situation changed in such a way the West and Russia in Ukraine faced each other again in support of a part of Ukrainian society. Ukraine has been dominated by Russia and the West for centuries; the western provinces have historically been linked to the Habsburg Empire and Poland, while the eastern provinces and the Crimean Peninsula have traditionally been part of the Russian empire. But the rivalry between Russia and the West has escalated significantly since the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine’s independence. On the one hand, Ukraine has always been in the spotlight for Russia due to its geopolitical, geostrategic, geo-economics position as well as its historical, cultural, racial, linguistic, and religious ties with Russian society. On the other, unifying Eastern European countries in Western institutions such as NATO and the European Union has been one of the chief goals of Western Europe and the US after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in order to prevent them from reconciling with Russia in future. Also, with their direct presence in the afore-mentioned areas, they will consolidate their global dominance. The West assumed that the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the emergence of a unipolar world. Also considering the turbulence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic crisis of the Russian Federation, the country would not be able to counter the expansion of the West to the East. Therefore, the expansion to the east and Integration of the countries remaining from the Soviet Union in Western institutions such as NATO and the European Union was on its agenda. In the meantime, due to Ukraine neighborhood with Russia and its geopolitical, geostrategic and geo-economic importance, as well as its strong desire to move westward in order to distant itself from Russia after the independence and getting more intimate with western institutions, The West took the opportunity to act more swiftly to its original objective of sabotaging Russia’s geopolitics by restricting its territories. Therefore, all these reasons have caused Ukraine to face post-independence conflicts and witness serious struggles and political crises such as the events of the 2004 Orange Revolution, the 2006 Blue Revolution, and the 2014 crisis which were provoked by the West and Russia. In this regard, the crisis in Ukraine began in 2014, when Ukrainian President Yanukovych, within the framework of the February 25, 2013 Brussels Agreement with EU officials, admitted finalizing the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine (the negotiations on which Initiated on 1999), in order to apply a series of reforms to the Ukrainian judiciary and electoral system by November 2013, but under Russian pressure, despite the majority of the Ukrainian people preferences who desired to join the European Union, On November 21, 2013, in Lithuania, he announced that it would not sign a free trade agreement with the European Union. Consequently, Ukraine’s 2014 crisis was triggered by him, provoking a wave of protests and strikes and within three months the conflicts spread throughout the country and many were injured in demonstrations which were held by the protestors. In mid-2014, the governments of France, Germany, and Poland sought to prevent the crisis from spreading and forced the government and the opposition to negotiate. But suddenly, with the vote of the parliament, he was ousted by the presidency and fled to Russia and Alexander Turchinov was elected as interim president, by announcing a desire to sign a European Union treaty, Russia saw its interests at stake and decided to destabilize Ukraine and occupy and eventually annex the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation. Russia first under the pretext of defending Russian citizens of eastern Ukraine, deployed Seven thousand troops to Crimean peninsula and they occupied all important stations, airports and buildings. Then it increased its troop levels to fifteen thousand and finally on March 16, 2014, after a positive vote by Crimean Peninsula MPs to join Russia, a referendum, which was illegal under the Ukrainian constitution, was held in Crimea to join Russian Federation, and eventually more than 96% of those participating in the referendum voted in favor of annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation. On March 21, 2014, Vladimir Putin approved the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula to the country’s territory and by Russian legislation; officially Crimea was annexed to the Russian Federation. The annexation was strongly condemned by Western countries and was immediately responded with their economic and political sanctions. Russia, meanwhile, legalized the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula based on historical evidence as well as on the peninsula people’s preferences, who are mostly Russians. Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to apply the descriptive-analytical method based on the theoretical framework of defensive realism and constructivism to respond to the following questions; firstly, why Russia decided to annex the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation, secondly, what are the reasons for the spread of the crisis and the success of this incorporation? The results of this paper indicate that the reasons for Russia's decision to annex the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation should be explained within the process of power framework and the removal of the threat posed by the expansion of NATO and the EU towards the Russian security frontiers. Furthermore the historical, linguistic, ethno-religious ties between the two Russian and the Crimean peninsula communities have been crucial causes for the expansion of the crisis as well as the success of the Crimean peninsula incorporation. In this paper, we attempted to provide a comprehensive analysis of the material and immaterial causes of Crimean Peninsula annexation by Russian Federation, which had a logical link between the reasons for Russia’s decision to Crimean Peninsula annexation (material causes) and causes of the crisis’s expansion and success of this incorporation (Immaterial causes). The data collection is based on the library method.