I have been critical of the notion that any people seeking to govern themselves are required to meet an external moral standard in order to merit the opportunity. Likewise, I reject the notion as applied to Crimea:
In addition, Walker ignores the other two crucial distinctions I drew between the Kosovo and Crimea cases. First, the Putin regime is likely to adopt the same repressive policies in Crimea as it has in Russia itself: persecution of political dissenters, repression of gays and lesbians, and others. The present Ukrainian government, while far from ideal, is has not engaged in comparable human rights violations.
I do not dispute that Russia’s armed imposition of a secessionist referendum on Crimea is a troubling precedent at best from an international law perspective, as Putin likely knows. But a generalized right of secession, properly implemented, is a formula for peace: whatever “repression” Russia has in store for Crimea, it is a repression that the Crimeans have apparently chosen for themselves, while Somin’s hedges are just another formula for Leftist imperialism.
Similarly, Somin’s concern about “repression” is a reflection of contemporary American obsession with homosexuals. On the other hand, if you are a member of Right Sector murdered by police, eh, not so much.