Disinfo: Crimea regained its Russian identity

Summary

Crimea regained Russian identity in 2014. Previously, since the early 1950s, it was under the administration of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine, one of the republics of the Soviet Union.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Crimea being a historical part of Russia.

After the collapse of the USSR, Russia reaffirmed respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. In particular, the 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine enshrines the recognition of the inviolability of each other’s borders, the absence of discrimination against representatives of each nationality and the desire for cooperation in various fields. The Treaty also allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, under a lease that has been extended until 2042.

In January 2019, the Ukrainian Embassy in France published an open letter declaring that saying that Crimea is Russian "for centuries" is, to say the least, excessive. Crimea was annexed in 1783, already in violation of a treaty which guaranteed the independence of the Tatar khanate. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the peninsula was a territory in the process of colonization. In 1897, the first comprehensive census of the population of the empire indicated that the Russians are only one-third of the inhabitants of Crimea, where they are still slightly fewer than the Tatars. The Russians only became a majority after the complete deportation in 1944 of the Tatars, who could only return after the fall of the communist regime. The annexation of Crimea to the then Soviet Ukraine, in 1954, was done not on an ethnic, but geographical and economic basis. But what is more important today than the circumstances of 1954 and even more so of 1854 is that the borders of Ukraine, including Crimea, were recognized and guaranteed after its independence in 1991 by international agreements, some of which were signed by Russia itself.

According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Russia violated international law as well as key principles of the European security framework by illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol in 2014.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 176
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: USSR, Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: USSR, Historical revisionism, Crimea
  • Outlet: Sputnik Arabic
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The US and UK interfere in Europe’s affairs and try to destabilise it

The second most important reason [behind the destabilisation of the political situation in Europe] is the interference of outside powers, especially the United States and Britain, in the political life of continental Europe. The United States has no interest in reshaping the EU into a strong and capable structure. That would threaten America’s interests in Europe.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe, portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA and trying to undermine the sovereignty of European countries. Additionally, the claim that the UK interferes in European affairs and aims to destabilise it is completely baseless and not backed up with any evidence.

In fact, the EU Member States are sovereign countries and make sovereign decisions about their own security and policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US, as explained by the EU High Representative.

White Helmets’ objective is to discredit Damascus

The White Helmets are part of a media campaign that targets the reputation of the Syrian authorities, they were also blamed for the provocation that led to the West accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons which directed the bombarding of governmental targets.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative targeting the White Helmets with many disinformation and propagandist claims.

White Helmets activists have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria, later confirmed by The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons  (OPCW). Thus, OPCW said it found reasonable grounds to believe that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, Syria in April 2018. Because of its activities, the organization has become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign.