Disinfo: 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.


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.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum held on the 16th of March 2014. On the 27th of February 2014, when the so-called referendum was announced, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which 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. A year later 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.



  • Reported in: Issue 141
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: EU, Manipulated elections/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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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.


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.


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.

The arrival of French delegation to the Crimea is another confirmation of its legitimacy

A delegation of French politicians headed by Thierry Mariani arrived in Crimea, the first foreign delegation to participate in the upcoming celebrations. The arrival of such a high delegation is another confirmation of the legitimacy of the choice of the Crimean people, made five years ago.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has strongly condemned the visit of a group of French politicians to the Russian-occupied Crimea. It also notes that trips of foreign politicians to the Crimea do not have official status. The Ukrainian Foreign Policy Office issued an appeal in July 2016 in which it warned foreign citizens and stateless persons from illegal travel to the Crimea.

President Emmanuel Macron has also repeatedly confirmed that France refuses to recognise Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, François Delatra, underlines that Russia, in an unobtrusive way, violates the principles and objectives of the United Nations.