Disinfo: Crimea 2014 referendum was in accordance with Ukrainian Constitution


After the 2014 coup d’état in Kyiv, new militaristic authorities posed direct threat to life and health of the Ukrainian citizens which pushed Crimean inhabitants to hold a referendum. The referendum was held in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution. Article 138 of Ukrainian Constitution directly gives the Autonomous Republic of Crimea the right to hold referendums. Furthermore, the principle of self-determination is endorsed in the Article 1 of the UN Charter. A big number of international acts and precedents prove that the population of Crimea had full moral and judicial right to pose the question and to make a decision.



Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on the referendum in Crimea. In fact, the 2014 Crimea referendum contradicted Ukrainian Constitution. On March 14, 2014 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared unconstitutional The Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014.

The Judgement of the court says the following: "Any changes to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the all-Ukrainian referendum (Article 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine). Authority to call the all-Ukrainian referendum on issues indicated in said Article of the Constitution of Ukraine belongs to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (paragraph 2 of part 1 of Article 85 of the Fundamental Law of Ukraine)".

As for the Article 138 of the Constitution of Ukraine, its interpretation in the Court's judgement is the following: "According to the Constitution of Ukraine it is under the authority of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to organize and hold of local referendums (paragraph 2 of Article 138) in the manner determined by the law of Ukraine (paragraph 20 of par one of Article 92). Regulatory legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and decisions of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea shall not contradict the Constitution and laws of Ukraine and shall be adopted in accordance with and in pursuance of the Constitution of Ukraine, laws of Ukraine, acts of the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (part 2 of Article 135 of the Fundamental Law of Ukraine)."

No evidence has been presented that the post-Yanukovych authorities posed a direct threat to lives and health of the Crimean peninsula inhabitants as alleged.

The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. This position is based on the UN Charter, which clearly states that the territory of a State cannot be acquired by another State resulting from the threat or use of force, as well as on the Helsinki Final Act in which the signatories declared their intention to respect the inviolability of frontiers and territorial integrity.


  • Reported in: Issue 141
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum


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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Georgia: Draft Child’s Right Code To Ban Religious Upbringing

The draft Code on Rights of the Child, proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party in Parliament, underscores that “information intended to encourage discrimination” poses threat to children. It is important to understand that in principle, any religious teaching according to which a behaviour or state of any kind, say, homosexuality, is considered a perversion or a gravely immoral condition, can be viewed as information encouraging discrimination.


A manipulative statement, without foundation in the draft code. The draft code does not indicate how parents should raise their children. Article 16 of the draft code explicitly states that children enjoy “freedoms of belief, religious practice, and conscience,” while parents have the right to “raise their children in accordance with their moral and religious views.”

Article 3 of the draft code provides definitions of terms used throughout the text. Clause O: “Information posing threat to children: Information intended to encourage violence, crime, discrimination. Also, information which propagandises use of alcoholic drinks, tobacco, narcotics, and gambling, or which describes in detail violence, killing, and brutal treatment scenes, or which portrays vigilantism as a justified way to attain or restore fairness or justice.”

The Kerch straits were Russian territorial waters already before the reunification of Crimea with Russia

On the 25th of November 2018 three Ukrainian military ships violated Russian territorial waters. These waters were Russian even before the reunification of Crimea with Russia. During the incident in the Kerch Strait Russian border guards reacted according to the rules of international law.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine violating Russian territorial integrity in the Kerch Strait in Azov.

The situation in the Sea of Azov was addressed by the 2003 bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia, which defined these territories as internal waters of the two states and gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels; whereas both the 2003 agreement and UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for the freedom of navigation.

European elites deliberately spread unfounded fears of alleged Russian interference in upcoming May European elections

European elites are making alarmist statements about the dangers of “Russian meddling” in the May elections  in order to pursue two objectives: 1) to encourage greater public interest in these elections and thus to get more pro-European voters to turn out (given that Eurosceptic voters are much more active than pro-European ones); 2) to be able to pin the blame on Russia in case European elites fail in the May elections and Eurosceptic parties significantly increase their influence in the European Parliament.

Senior EU officials, mainstream European journalists and political analysts are now deliberately spreading fake news and unfounded fears about an alleged Russian interference in the upcoming May European elections. No evidence was ever provided to support the claim that Russia influenced the 2016 Brexit referendum.




Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that allegations of Russian interference in electoral processes in the EU and in the West are spread by European elites in order to divert attention from the real problems of  EU countries.

Disinformation produced and/or spread by Russian sources has been reported in the context of several elections and referenda in the EU, as noted in the EU's action plan against disinformation.
Ahead of the elections, Microsoft registered cyberattacks targeting think tanks and non-profit organizations working on topics related to democracy, electoral integrity, and public policy and that are often in contact with government officials. Microsoft continues to investigate the sources of these attacks, but is confident that many of them originated from a group called Strontium, also known as APT 28 or Fancy Bear – which is believed to be associated with Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. Read more here.

Numerous investigations have provided convincing evidence of  Russian interference in the Brexit referendum and in elections across Europe and in the US - see more information here, here and here.

See here for the list of the reports on Russian efforts to influence elections in various European countries.