What to do with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and "LDNR" - 7 models:

Negotiators consistently state that one of the most difficult issues to discuss remains the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Crimea) and the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts of Ukraine (Russian called “LDNR”). Indeed, issues of territorial integrity and sovereignty are "red lines" for any state leader. Even discussing them can often be qualified as a serious criminal offence.

Therefore, this publication any way does not stand question of the international legal status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as territories of Ukraine. At the same time, in order to facilitate peace negotiations and the Ukrainian negotiating team, we have tried to look at historical and international examples of the resolution of territorial disputes, which, we hope, can contribute to the establishment of a stable peace in Ukraine.

This is NOT a recommendation, but an attempt to look at the problematic issue in a broader scientific, historical and international legal manner in search of ideas for solutions that could lead to peace without going “behind the red lines”

1. Put the issue out of the scope of negotiations and freeze the issue for 10-20 years (or for an indefinite period), just as the United States and the USSR did with the topic “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania” (which did not prevent them from fighting together against Nazism or cooperating in critical industries) - can be detailed;

2. Introduce the status of “Mandated Territories” for the “LDPR” and / or Crimea, under the leadership of the UN or with the transfer of the right to govern on behalf of the UN (there are many examples in the 20th century - Syria, Libya, Egypt, Rwanda, Cameroon, Togo, New Zealand, New Guinea, Namibia, Palestine, Zanzibar, certain regions of Turkey - more than 50 territories and states). Control over the implementation of the Mandate is entrusted to the previously functioning UN Trusteeship Council, which was established to oversee the administration of trust territories falling under the international trusteeship system. There is a rich international experience;

3. Introduce joint management mechanisms under the auspices of the UN Security Council or under the International Treaty. And although it was not possible to find a completely similar example in history, more than 30 territories have experience of joint governance in Europe, including the Zaporizhzhya Sich (according to the Andrusov Treaty of 1667). Interesting current condominiums are the Moselle River - co-ownership of Luxembourg and Germany (since 1816), Pheasant Island (since 1659), the International Space Station - co-ownership of 15 countries (Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands , Norway, Russia, USA, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan), Andorra (its co-rulers are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell (Seo de Urgell, Spain), although Andorra is a sovereign state. This mechanism may provide for the division of the representative (local councils) and executive power between the parties to the Treaty.

4. International administration and external (or mixed) management of security guarantor countries, the UN Security Council, the "nuclear club" with the participation of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. An example is Bosnia and Herzegovina. Can be detailed;

5. Transitional Agreement for a period of 20-30 years. (as decided by Hong Kong or Macau between PRC and UK/Portugal);

6. Holding internationally recognized elections (first) and referendums (then) in these territories regarding their status after a certain period of time (10-20 years) and after the unconditional admission of Ukrainian political actors, media, freedom of speech and political discussion. Can be detailed;

7. Lease/rent of territories (paid or free; with a financial or political equivalent).

All these models should be accompanied by security guarantees, mechanisms for economic recovery and international control (arbitration).

At the same time, these models do not mean a change in the current international legal status of the territories, but only a settlement from the point of view of international law (if the parties are satisfied with the results of the implementation of the Treaty or the Decision of international organizations).


Ruslan Bortnik