Disinfo: At the will of its residents, Crimea is Russian

Summary

Until the early 1950s, Crimea was part of Russia. It was then that the authorities of the Soviet Union decided to transfer Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Crimea regained its Russian identity at the will of its residents in 2014 after the coup d’état in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea, painting the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution “Euromaidan” as a coup d'etat.

Crimea is part of Ukraine. In 1783 Catherine II (the Great) annexed Crimean peninsula. After that, the rivalry between the Russians and the Turks persisted, and in the Crimean War (1853–56) it expanded into a broader European conflict.

When the Revolution of 1917 led to the collapse of the Russian Empire, the remaining Crimean Tatars declared Crimea to be an independent democratic republic. The peninsula was reorganised as the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921. After the war, Crimea was downgraded from an autonomous republic to an oblast (region) of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, and in 1954 it was transferred to Ukraine. Further debunking by Polygraph.info.

Moving toward 2014, there was no coup in Ukraine. the demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013, called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan", were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiations, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure.

Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014.

Following the covert invasion by “little green men,” the referendum in Crimea was conducted hastily and at gunpoint, barring impartial observers from entering the peninsula.

A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

The European Union does not recognise Crimea's annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence for the annexation. For the EU statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process, that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine, that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was legal.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 223
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Occupation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Ukrainian statehood, Crimea
see more

Disinfo: For NATO, Ukraine is important as a buffer zone, but not as a member of Alliance

All the statements of Ukrainian politicians that they were promised that Ukraine will be accepted into the Alliance are PR and nothing more. For NATO countries, Ukraine is important as a buffer zone, but not as a member of the Alliance.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Ukraine and its cooperation with NATO.

Ukraine is a strategic partner for NATO in many areas. Since the 1990s, relations between NATO and Ukraine have developed into one of NATO’s most influential partnerships. Relations were strengthened with the signing of the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). The Declaration of 2009 to Complement the NATO-Ukraine Charter mandated the NUC, through Ukraine’s Annual National Programme, to underpin Ukraine’s efforts to take forward reforms aimed at implementing Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Disinfo: EU bureaucrats want to limit the use of Christmas symbols

The bureaucrats of the European Union have declared that a large number of Christian symbols on the streets and various offices might hurt the feelings of refugees and migrants from the Middle East. Thus, there is a need to limit the use of such symbols. /…/ In Brussels, the main Christmas tree has been replaced with an LED-construction, representing the “Winter holidays”

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative, forwarding hostile narratives on migrants, threatening Christmas and New Years Eve traditions, and about the decline of Christianity in Europe.

Neither has “EU Bureacrats” declared a limitation on the use of Christian symbols, nor has Brussels forbidden the Christmas tree (a symbol, without relation to Christianity). The Brussels Christmas tree of 2020 can be observed here on webcam. Municipal authorities in Brussels and most other Belgian and European cities have cancelled Christmas markets due to the COVID-19.

Disinfo: Italian town forbids Christmas carols not to insult migrants

In the Italian town of Rozzano near Milan, the headmaster of a school forbade a Christmas concert and suggested that Christmas should be observed without the traditional carols, as migrant children previous years during singing stood silently along the walls. In German Eschweiler tolling church bells were forbidden when migrants approached the municipal authorities with a request to cancel sounds that were foreign to them. Schools in Spain and Italy removed the crucifixes from the walls of the same reasons.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative, forwarding hostile narratives on migrants, threatening Christmas and New Years Eve traditions, and about the decline of Christianity in Europe.

Several of the cases, mentioned in the article, belong to a collection of anti-migrant “urban legends” that are circulated in European right wing media. The case from Rozzano has been debunked several times, since it appeared in 2015. The case from German Eschweiler seems to be entirely fiction. Connecting claims to concrete, small places far away serves to lend a tone of authenticity to the disinformation.