Russian media reported this week that the Liguria region of Italy has recognized Crimea as part of Russia. The Liguria Regional Council adopted a resolution which calls for lifting sanctions against Russia. As the regional authority has no power over international affairs, claims of recognition of the annexation of Crimea are manipulative and exaggerate the news value of such a resolution.
The Ligurian Regional Council is responsible for local issues including tourism, local industry and infrastructure. Any initiatives that the council enacts concerning internal policy are only recommendations and are not legally binding.
According to local Italian media, the resolution was initiated by the Northern League and was supported by a right of center majority. The resolution calls on the European Union to review the relations between the EU and Russia because of the damage sustained by the local economy.
The Northern League is actively pursuing independence for Italy’s northern regions and federalization of Italy is part of the party’s platform. Northern League members have visited occupied Crimea and continue to support Russia’s actions in Ukraine, echoing Russian propaganda by referring to the Ukrainian government as a junta. Recently the leader of the Ligurian branch of the Northern League participated in the Liguria-Russia society conference.
Russian media have been actively distributing similar stories, claiming that the Veneto region will declare Crimea a part of Russia or that the German city of Quakenbrück will lift sanctions against Russia.