Disinfo: Five years after the referendum, the well-being of Crimea’s population has significantly improved


Five years after the referendum that decreed the return of Crimea to Russia, signs of significant improvement of the Crimean population’s social and economic well-being are visible.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin with Russia through a legal referendum and that the annexation of Crimea brought economic and social benefits to the population.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on the 16th of March 2014. Even Russian President Putin has publicly declared that the plans on annexing Crimea were launched weeks before the so-called referendum. See here the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation by Russia.

The human rights situation in Crimea significantly deteriorated after Russian occupation, with “multiple and grave violations” committed by Russian state agents as clearly stated in a report by the UN Human Rights Office.

From an economic point of view the situation in Crimea has not improved after Russian annexation. Read more here and here.

The current unemployment rate is slightly higher (5.9%) than in 2013 (5.7%), but  the most serious issue regards inflation. In 2017 point prices in Crimea had increased by an average of 95% compared to before the annexation.

Tourism, once one of the most important source of Crimean economy, has significantly decreased with the number of spas and hotels falling from 825 in early 2014 to 550 in mid-2018.

In 2016 when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Crimea, he was confronted by a pensioner who complained about his small pension. Medvedev had to admit that the peninsula was in dire straits and that there was no money.




  • Reported in: Issue 142
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: economy, illegal annexation, European Union, 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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Russian take-over of Crimea prevented Belarus from becoming a vassal state under the US and Poland

If Russia hadn’t taken over Crimea and the peninsula had come under the military control of the US and NATO, the existence of Belarus would be threatened. After the USSR’s collapse, Poland’s revanchism and hopes to establish a state stretching from the Baltics to the Black sea manifested themselves.

In 2006, the Polish government adopted a programme of developing the Fourth Republic (IV Rzeczpospolita), with the aim of strengthening Poland’s cultural influence and establishing political domination over the areas which were part of the First Republic (I Rzeczpospolita). In 2015, Polish president Andrzej Duda called to prepare to “take back eastern territories”. Although Duda’s statement concerned western Ukraine, it is also relevant for Belarus, as parts of it belonged to Poland in the interwar period.

In practice, the revanchist plans envisage Belarus as a vassal, anti-Russian state controlled by the US and Poland, with Belarus’ western part being an eastern part of a new Polish state. The remaining Belarus’ part will function as an anti-Russian buffer zone.


Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about Poland's plans to partition Belarus and establish the Fourth Republic, Western plans to partition Ukraine and to disrupt Belarus-Russia ties.

No state programme on developing the Fourth Republic was adopted by Poland and no statements of Polish president were made to take over western Ukraine or Belarus. IV Rzeczpospolita, or the Fourth Republic, was a plan for political change put forward in the late 1990s by the Polish conservative philosopher Rafał Matyja. It was used in public discourse to describe the 2005-2007 period, when the government of Law and Justice was in power. However, this concept has nothing to do with establishing a Polish empire at the expense of Poland's eastern neighbours, including Ukraine and Belarus - it is a conspiracy theory. Read more about the use of conspiracy here.

EU to introduce visas for US citizens in 2021

The EU has decided to introduce visas for the US citizens in 2021 to improve security and avoid problems with illegal migration and terrorism.


The EU is not planning to introduce visas for the US citizens in 2021. The EU will put into operation the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2021. The ETIAS is intended for citizens of all 61 nations which currently enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone, who will need to register on ETIAS website before travelling to the EU. It will be a “completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors” from countries whose citizens are eligible to travel to the Schengen Zone without visas. Those visitors will need to fill out an ETIAS online form and receive an electronic authorization.