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
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Occupation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Crimea, Ukrainian statehood

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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The matter of gay and transgender rights will become one of the main issues in the relationship of the new and subsequent US administration with its allies, and its importance will increase in the next decade (until the collapse of the United States of America).

Disproof

This message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the moral decay of the West and the propaganda of the morally corrupt West.

According to these narratives, some liberal societies seek to destroy traditional values and to promote deviant sexual behaviour, and to be hostile to traditional religion.

US ordered Ukrainian Minister of Health to discredit Sputnik V

[Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov] was tasked with discrediting the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Only because [in the US] he was threatened that his daughter would be deported from the US to Ukraine within 24 hours. Stepanov, I already clearly understand this, works exclusively under external control.

Disproof

Conspiracy with no evidence given.

No evidence is provided to support the claim that the Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov was tasked with discrediting the Sputnik V vaccine by anyone. He is a Ukrainian state official, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers. He has mentioned several times that Ukraine may consider purchasing Sputnik V only when it is approved by the WHO. This can happen only after the third phase of clinical trials will be completed and its results will be published by the WHO.

The Baltic states are persecuting the Russian media

In Latvia, criminal proceedings were initiated against some Russian-speaking journalists of Sputnik and Baltnews. They are accused of violating EU sanctions but it is obvious that they are persecuted for cooperation with the Russian news agency. It is a violation of the norms of a democratic society, restriction of press freedom and freedom of speech.

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The authorities of the Baltic States systematically harm Russian media. They obstruct the work of Russian journalists.

For example, in Lithuania “Sputnik Lietuva” is mentioned in the report of the State Security Department of Lithuania. Lithuanian politicians talking about “Sputnik” in the context of “Russian propaganda”.

Lithuania tries to restrict the retransmission of Russian television channels. I.e. soon the broadcasting of the “RTR Planeta” channel in Lithuania could be banned. It is part of the process of pushing Russian media out of the Baltic States.

Lithuania is violating international law. The news agency “Sputnik” is persecuted in Lithuania although this media works by adhering to the law and in line with high journalistic standards.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States.

In 2016, Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of Ukraine's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, citing EU sanctions against Russia. In 2020 Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual - Dmitriy Kiselyov, who is under EU sanctions. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselyov's "effective control" and has attempted to present Latvia as a failed state.