Disinfo: Crimea rejoined Russia after a democratic referendum


Crimea rejoined Russia after a democratic referendum.

In March 2014, after a good 22 years in the independent Ukraine, Crimea rejoined Russia after the population of the peninsula had voted for it by a majority in a referendum. The reason for the referendum was the nationalist coup d’état in Kyiv.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to re-join Russia through a legal referendum.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014.  For the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea see here.

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.

Also, there was no nationalist coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014, this is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the Euromaidan.

The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction of numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk here.



  • Reported in: Issue 155
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/06/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Manipulated elections/referendum, War in Ukraine, Coup, Euromaidan, Referendum, Crimea
  • Outlet: Sputnik Deutschland


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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