Disinfo: Crimea was and will always be Russian

Summary

Since the times of Catherine II, Crimea is Russian and at the end of the Soviet Union, people of Crimea expressed their will to be part of Russia but it was ignored and in 2014 a new referendum was finally recognised. 96% of people voted to join Russia. As long as Russia will exist as a state, Crimea will be part of it. Today people in Crimea are extremely happy about not being part of Ukraine anymore.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation on Crimea status and the population of Crimea.

Crimea is part of Ukraine. In 1783 Catherine II (the Great) annexed Crimean peninsula. After that, the rivalry between the Russians and the Turks persisted, and in the Crimean War (1853–56) it expanded into a broader European conflict.

When the Revolution of 1917 led to the collapse of the Russian Empire, the remaining Crimean Tatars declared Crimea to be an independent democratic republic. The peninsula was reorganized as the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921. After the war, Crimea was downgraded from an autonomous republic to an oblast (region) of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.

In February 1954, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR confirmed the need for Crimea to join Soviet Ukraine. Legally, the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine ended on 26 April 1954, on the basis of the relevant law of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia reaffirmed respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. By signing the 1997 Friendship Treaty, Russia also recognised that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014.

Today, not everyone in Crimea is "extremely happy" to be under Russian administration. Though, expressing any dissatisfaction can be very risky: human rights violations in Crimea are serious and repeated recently said France. The UN continues to document violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by the Russian Federation, as the occupying Power, including deportations of protected persons, forced conscription and restrictions on freedom of expression.

As for the referendum, the oft-cited figure of 96% 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.

Read similar cases claiming that historical Crimean Russian land returned, that over 95% of Crimea voted to be part of Russia, Crimea always was Russian, Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process, and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Human rights, Manipulated elections/referendum, Budapest memorandum, Crimean Tatars, Crimea, Ethnic Russians

Disclaimer

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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What we are witnessing is an attempt at regime change.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the racial justice protests in the US and colour revolutions.

There is no evidence to suggest that the protests in the US broke out through “top-down mobilization,” much less that they are directed specifically by the Democratic Party, whose officials have repeatedly called on the demonstrators to go home or, failing that, to refrain from violence.

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Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a violent coup, and a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO and encircled Russia.

NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the alliance based on their own national will. As such, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia and there is no record of NATO promising Russia it would not expand. Even if there was a personal assurance from an individual leader, it could not replace Alliance consensus and does not constitute a formal NATO agreement. In 2014, Mikhail Gorbachev, last president of the Soviet Union, confirmed:

American officials repeatedly promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward after the reunification of Germany

At the end of the 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to withdraw Soviet troops from Germany, American officials  repeatedly promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastward after the reunification of Germany.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about encircled Russia.

Back in 2014, Gorbachev rejected this claim stating that the topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all.