Crimea rejoined Russia following a democratic referendum

Summary

Crimea rejoined Russia in March 2014 following a regional referendum, in accordance with democratic procedures. 97% of residents voted in favour of a union with Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the illegal annexation of Crimea. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced 27th of February and held less than three weeks later.

On March 27th, 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula.

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, recognised April 17th 2015 that "our soldiers were deployed in Crimea to help the inhabitants express their opinion" (Interfax).

Following the covert invasion of “little green men,” power in Crimea was vested in a makeshift executive headed by Sergey Aksenov, a former mafia enforcer. The new Crimean regime conducted the referendum hastily and at gunpoint, barred impartial observers from entering the peninsula, and instead invited dozens of fringe politicians and activists to “monitor” the procedure, most of them far-right Kremlin loyalists.

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.

See here for the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea annexation.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 141
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea
  • Outlet: Sputnik News
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Crimea’s residents decided to rejoin Russia through a democratic procedure

The residents of Crimea decided, through a democratic procedure, to rejoin Russia. The reunification of the Crimean peninsula with Russia was the result of a legitimate referendum.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin  Russia through a legal referendum. See background and previous cases here.

Following the covert invasion of “little green men,” power in Crimea was vested in a makeshift executive headed by Sergey Aksenov, a former mafia enforcer. The new Crimean regime conducted the referendum hastily and at gunpoint, barred impartial observers from entering the peninsula, and instead invited dozens of fringe politicians and activists to “monitor” the procedure, most of them far-right Kremlin loyalists.

The West incites anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine

The US and the EU do not help Ukraine to build a strong state. They build anti-Russian sentiment in their own interests. They fight, introduce sanctions and weaken their geopolitical enemies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western Russophobia and alleged anti-Russian projects in the West (in this case the EU and US).

Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically elected president and parliament.

Reunification of Russia and Crimea resembles the unification of Germany

The reunification of Crimea with Russia is the same as the reunification of West and East Germany.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Crimea being a part of Russia.

Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 after an unrecognised referendum. The United Nations did not recognise the annexation. In March 2014, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of a resolution affirming the “territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.” The UN resolution also "underscores that the referendum having no validity” and calls upon all States and international organisations not to recognise or to imply the recognition of Russia's annexation. In 2016, UN General Assembly reaffirmed non-recognition of the annexation and condemned “the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine—the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.” The UN recognised that Russia is an occupying power in Crimea.