Disinfo: Crimea became Russian after the 2014 referendum


Crimea became a Russian republic after a referendum was held there in March 2014, when 96.77% of Crimean voters and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents voted to join Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the illegal annexation of Crimea.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014. The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession.

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 EU has taken a policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol that includes a set of restrictive measures for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.


  • Reported in: Issue 220
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea


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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Estonia should not interfere in affairs of other countries

It is obvious that for Estonia, as a state, it would be much more useful to adhere to a more moderate line, without interfering in the affairs of other countries [as in the case of poisoning Alexei Navalny], since this brings nothing but problems for its inhabitants.

But since it is difficult to call Estonia’s foreign policy independent, one can only hope that the excessive zeal of local politicians will not become too destructive.


The misleading narrative claims 1) that Estonia is interfering in the internal affairs of other counrties, 2) that sanctioning Russia for poisoning Alexei Navalny “brings nothing but problems” and 3) questions Estonia’s foreign policy independency.

The EUvsDisinfo database features numerous examples where Western countries are accused in interfering, for example the United States is allegedly interfering in Belarus, and Polish special services intervened in Ukraine. However, according to the pro-Kremlin media, the opposite is claimed to be true for Russia, as it never meddles in internal affairs of other countries. In reality, the interference of Russia in internal affairs for example of ex-soviet countries is a long tradition that sometimes even ended in frozen armed conflicts.

Western sanctions prevent the return of Syrian refugees

Most of the refugees want to return to Syria, and the biggest obstacle to their return is the Western blockade imposed on Syria.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Syrian war and belligerent intentions of the West against Syria. The claim was neither critically challenged not counterbalanced in the article.

Within the context of the Syrian conflict, EU sanctions, imposed since 9 May 2011, respond to the repression perpetrated on the Syrian people by the Syrian regime and its supporters, including through the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters and the regime’s involvement in the proliferation and use of chemical weapons. EU sanctions against the regime were extended in May 2020 for one year, and in October 2020, new seven individual ministers were added to the list.

There are signs of a colour revolution in the US, public institutions are destroyed

Actually, this is one of the signs of a colour revolution, when institutions are destroyed in the struggle for power. Journalism is a public institution. The current bias in American journalism bears witness to its destruction. The President of the United States is a whole state institution. Cutting him off the air with offensive comments is the destruction of a state institution. Elections are also an institution. Since there is no correct result in the US election and there is no longer any hope of getting it, the institution of elections has also been destroyed.


Unfounded claim on the non transparency of the US elections, spread in Russian State media. No US court decisions support these claims so far. See more on the Russian State media's notion of "colour revolution" (usually described as an organised unrest by the US or "Western curators" in post Soviet countries).

See previous similar conspiracy narrative that CIA is organising a colour revolution in US (reported back in September 2020), or several coups against US President Donald Trump.