Disinfo: Crimeans chose to return to the “motherland” after a coup in Kyiv


Against the background of the coup in Kyiv, Crimea returned to Russia after a popular referendum organised on the peninsula in March 2014, through which more than 95% of the population of the peninsula voted in favour of returning to the “motherland”, but most of the world, primarily the Western states, refused to recognise the results of the referendum.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

It is not just the Western states that do not recognise the results of the so-called referendum. To date, 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. The oft-cited figure of 95% 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. See here for the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea annexation.

Moreover, there was no coup d'etat in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by 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 of this disinformation claim.

Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

This disinformation claim appeared in the same article as the disinfo claim that Donetsk and Luhansk established two republics in 2014 to oppose a coup in Kyiv.


  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, West, Manipulated elections/referendum, 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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Classical lexical excess of titles changing totally the meaning of events especially using the implication that the western countries bear the guilt of anti-Semitism.

A pogrom is a word that has two meanings in Russian, it comes from the verb Gromit' (громи́ть) to smash, to sack. The first meaning is devastation, mayhem, carnage. The second is a nationalist attack against minorities or ethnic groups (Jews especially). After terrible attacks against Jewish villages during the Tsarist time the word came into English and French but only with the second meaning. The French academy gives the following definition:

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In 2019, ex-Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov rejected statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry that he allegedly spoke of creating a so-called dirty bomb.