Disinfo: From a legal point of view, Crimea has always been Russian

Summary

Firstly, Crimea has always been ours, even from the legal point of view. Secondly, we did not get it – the people living in Crimea decided to reunite with Russia, and this is the highest degree of manifestation of democracy.

When the Soviet Union was created, the right of withdrawal was stipulated in the treaty. Since the procedure of withdrawal was not specified, the question arises: if this or that republic became part of the Soviet Union, got a huge amount of Russian lands, traditional Russian historical territories, and then suddenly decided to leave this union. Let it at least leave with what she came. And not to carry away gifts received from the Russian people with it.

Disproof

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

Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. In 2014, Russian troops obliged the parliament of Crimea to organise a referendum, which was illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine).

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014. 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. The European Union does not recognise Crimea's annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence of the annexation. For the EU's statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation see here.

Historical background:

As for the part of the narrative that "if this or that republic became part of the Soviet Union, got a huge amount of Russian lands, traditional Russian historical territories" (Ukraine is not named but was highly likely meant), the statement is also untrue.

Crimea was annexed by Russian empire, then containing Ukraine, in 1783, already in violation of a treaty which guaranteed the independence of the Tatar khanate. In 1897, the first comprehensive census of the population of the empire indicates that the Russians are only one third of the inhabitants of Crimea, where they are still slightly fewer than the indigenous Crimean Tatars. The Russians only became a majority after the complete deportation in 1944 of the Tatars, who could only return after the fall of the communist regime. The annexation of Crimea to the then Soviet Ukraine, in 1954, was not done on a not ethnic, but geographical and economic basis, since the peninsula was adjoining and economically depending from the mainland areas, it means, Ukraine. At that, in 1937 Russian Soviet Socialist Republic received Taganrog from Ukrainian Socialist Republic. But Russia is not ready to "give this gift back " to Ukraine. There were several interchanges of territories between USSR's republics, which are all now sovereign States recognised by international law.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Crimea
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Disproof

This claim uses historical revisionism to reinforce common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about WWII and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, a recurring attempt to justify Soviet actions.

On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression (Molotov-Ribbentrop) pact whose secret protocols divided the territories belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence. The Baltic States were not beneficiaries of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Like other countries mentioned in the pact, they lost their independence and territories. Soviet occupation of the Baltic States lasted for 50 years, and resulted in mass deportations and repressions against local populations.

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Disproof

Conspiracy theory about "secret" biological weapons.

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements. Additionally, the article uses the 'Bandera Kyiv' moniker to reinforce the well-known pro-Kremlin claim that Ukraine is ruled by the far-right "Banderivtsi".

Contrary to the claims in this article,  the implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.