The article carries out an assessment of the “reunification of Crimea with Russia” from the point of view of contemporary international law and examines the arguments of Russian legal scholars who try to deny the annexation, i.e. the acquisition of territory by force. The assessment reveals recent changes in the interpretation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples in the Russian official position and legal doctrine, compared to the interpretation of this principle prevalent before the International Court of Justice adopted the Advisory Opinion on Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo. The analysis carried out in the article identifies the arguments and strategies that are employed in seeking to offer an interpretation of international legal norms that corresponds to the political interests of the Russian Federation. The examination reveals how new content is attached to international legal concepts in the works of Russian legal scholars who construct a position favourable to the Russian Federation, and in what way legal arguments are combined with statements and theoretical constructs that are irrelevant from the point of view of contemporary international law, thus deleting the boundaries between legal and non-legal reasoning and producing a pseudo-legal narrative that serves the political interests of Russia.