In March 2014 Crimea became part of Russia as a result of a referendum

Summary

In March 2014 Crimea became part of Russia as a result of a referendum.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Crimean citizens chose to re-join Russia through a legal referendum.

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 deemed illegitimate under international law, and then formally annexed the peninsula and brought it under Russian territorial control. Following the covert invasion by “little green men,” the referendum in Crimea was conducted hastily and at gunpointbarring impartial observers from entering the peninsula.

In order to justify the illegal annexation of Crimea and the reunification with Russia, Moscow claimed that Euromaidan was a coup d’état. In 2014, a particular political context enabled the mobilisation of latent pro-Russia sentiment in Crimea after the occupation by the “green men” had already occurred, NOT vice versa. Euromaidan created a pretext for Putin to enact a pre-prepared contingency plan. 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.

While the so-called referendum did take place on the 16th of March 2014, no international body recognises it. On the 27th of March 2014, 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. Five years on from the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union declared that it remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and reiterated that it does not recognise and continues to condemn this violation of international law.

For more cases on Crimea see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 164
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/09/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea
  • Outlet: Sputnik Italia
see more

In 2014 there was a coup d’état in Ukraine

In 2014 there was a coup d’état in Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that there was a coup d’état in Kyiv in 2014.

The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 and ended in February 2014 were not provoked by foreign powers, but were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych after his refusal to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement promised for years. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence. See the full debunk here.

Russian election technology is a proof of a well functioning democracy

It is very interesting for geopolitics to see how a country as big as Russia controls the territory. In such a large country the electoral system must be adapted. [Russia has] chosen the technology to face this challenge. Russia is posing as a laboratory of digital democracy in the world nowadays.

Disproof

An optical scan voting system to read marked paper ballots and count the results was used during the single voting day on September 8 at Russia's regional elections.  Its is often presented by Russian authorities is a guarantee of fair election. However, it did not prevent the elections from the irregularities. The independent election observation association Golos reports:

"In a number of instances, vote counting was artificially delayed. This, in particular pertains to municipal elections in St. Petersburg where the counting was delayed most likely to rewrite the protocols. At Elista, as of 2am on September 9, not a single protocol of precinct election commissions was entered into the GAS “Vybory” (State Automated System of the Russian Federation), while precinct election commission No 43, six hours after the polling station was closed",

In general, Golos reported 1,708 voting violations across Russia, including 564 cases in Moscow. In one possible example in the Moscow region, a candidate from the Yabloko party shot video that appeared to show a stack of prepared ballots at a polling station. But even more than counting votes irregularities, for Golos, "the most important factor that influenced voting results was artificial restriction of competition".

Thus, the Moscow City Election Commission (MCEC) refused to register all the independent opposition candidates. The claimed reason was the high percentage of rejected signatures. A significant part of the signatures was invalidated on the grounds of a so-called handwriting examination, which scientific validity and impartiality the candidates questioned.

Baltic states organize provocations against their Russian-speaking population

The Baltic countries have long been organising provocations against the Russian-speaking population living there to receive a reaction and then to immediately complain to Western allies about the “Russian threat”.

The promotion of a “Russian threat” helps the Baltic countries to achieve domestic and foreign political goals.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia in the Baltic States. 

See similar previous disinformation cases: No freedom of speech in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia; Russophobia is the main export of Lithuania.