By Paul Goble
Having declared Chechnya-Icherkia a temporarily occupied land last month and pressed by a petition signed by more than 25,000 to recognize that republic, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has directed his foreign ministry to study the question, noting that he alone has the power to decide whether to extend recognition or not.
Zelensky’s response came on the Ukrainian government portal dealing with petitions to him (petition.president.gov.ua/petition/156398) and by itself does not mean that he is about to recognize Chechnya-Ichkeria or that republic’s government in exile. But it is an indication that Kyiv’s earlier move in declaring that republic temporarily occupied is unlikely to be the last.
The earlier move has already created expectations other East European and Baltic countries will go at least as far (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/10/eastern-european-and-baltic-countries.html) and calls by other republics within Russia’s current borders that Kyiv do at least as much for them (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/10/tatar-exile-government-seeks-ukrainian.html).
Even if Kyiv does not move on the Chechen issue or the others anytime soon, the mere fact that it has gone this far will not only infuriate Moscow but will increase the likelihood that many in non-Russian regions who had thought that achieving independence was impossible may now change their minds and increasingly become involved in nationalist causes.