Ukraine

Almost Everybody In Crimea Allegedly Wants to Be Part of Russia

So says Russia, anyway

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What's happening in Ukraine today, March 16:

Voting has concluded in Crimea and according to the information being put out by officials, 95 percent of the voters have declared that they want to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. From ABC:

Voters in Crimea overwhelmingly supported leaving Ukraine and joining Russia, officials said today, as more than 95 percent of referendum ballots counted so far supported such a move.

Half the ballots had been counted as of 4:30 p.m. ET, local election officials reported. Only 3.5 percent of ballots opposed joining Russia. Official results will be released Monday.

The vote came as Ukraine and Russia reached a truce in Crimea, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and a base commander in Crimea.

The truce would last until March 21, the day Russia's parliament is set to decide on Crimea's annexation.

"Now it's clear that we'll become a part of Russia so they have to find some sort of peaceful solution," Yevpatoriya base commander Col. Andrey Matvienko told ABC News.

The United States and the European Union have rejected the referendum, the White House saying today the poll was administered under "threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention."

Notably, one of the women ABC talked to, who voted to rejoin Russia, said voting for Ukraine was voting "for war."

CNN noted some "irregularities" in the vote process:

Some 80% of voters turning out at a polling station in Bakhchysaray were not on the electoral roll, the registrar told CNN. Those not on the roll have their passports and papers checked to establish identity. On the spot, election staff decide, with a show of hands, whether to allow those voters to participate.

A CNN team photographed one voter dropping two pieces of paper into the ballot box, raising questions over how effectively the vote is being monitored.

Turnout was high, but many Crimean Tatars, an ethnic Turkic group with deep roots on the peninsula, were boycotting the vote, as were many ethnic Ukrainians.

AFP is liveblogging the election and the various responses here.

Reason's Ed Krayewski highlighted much of the latest analysis of Ukraine's happenings on Friday in the final buildup before the election here.

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  1. And I hear Kim Young ‘Un got a 99.99% approval rating!

    1. the .01% was promptly executed

  2. It’s about who counts the votes, Putin’s hero once said…

  3. The headline is misleading since not everyone in Crimea voted. The Tatars are boycotting. Ukrainian nationalists probably know better than to show up for this particular election given the the last couple of months of guys running around with guns and molotov cocktails in the streets, but this time it’s the Russian residents with same tools. The Belorussians, ethnic Germans, Greeks and Bulgarians probably don’t want to vote in case a Russian or Ukrainian or Tatar decides they support joining the “wrong” country. So, who’s voting today? Russians. So would it be particularly surprising that 95% of Russians in a place where 82% of the population speaks only Russian at home would want to join Russia? No ballot-box stuffing needed – the election and the circumstances mean that only Russians would dare show up at the polls, and most of them are likely to be perfectly happy to join Russia. 5% of Russians not wanting to join Russia must be the local “intellectuals” (known here in the States as well-heeled “liberals”).

  4. Oh, and I forgot – when Ukrainian-Russian relations are tense, Crimean desires to join Russia go up. See, for example, this survey conducted May, 2013: http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/2013 October 7 Survey of Crimean Public Opinion, May 16-30, 2013.pdf

    Again, pretty much Russians would be turning out for this vote, but Pages 16 and 17 compare October, 2011 and May, 2013 sentiments (how the relationship between the 2 countries appears to Crimean residents – e.g., hostile, warm, etc. – and what they would like to see happen – e.g., status quo, join Russia, etc.). Given the high degree of tension the last couple of months, the “join Russia” percentage could go up just because of that. Still wouldn’t reach 95%, but again, the only ones wanting to show up at the polling places today are those who would want to join Russia.

    The real question is: how many eligible voters actually showed up?

    1. And another thing: Why are we trying to hold together an entity created by Stalin (western and eastern Ukraines, western having been ruled by western Europeans for several centuries while the eastern part was ruled by Russia, which itself supposedly is an outgrowth of Kievan Rus’ and its post-Mongol heirs’ eastward movement) which had Crimea added by Stalin’s successor Khruschev? If we’re in a post-USSR world, why are we risking war to hold together a Frankenstein country it created?

  5. Clinton and Bush set the precedent with Yugoslavia, now like it or not Ukraine must let their country be carved up. Just as we, one day, shall now have to allow the USA to be carved up to be distributed among the various ethnic groups who will certainly claim ownership of our former lands.

  6. This update was just posted by the AP:

    “Ukraine’s new government in Kiev called Sunday’s referendum a “circus” directed at gunpoint by Moscow. Putin, however, insisted it was conducted in “full accordance with international law and the U.N. charter” and cited Kosovo’s independence from Serbia as its precedent.”

    “Precedent,” oh really. Who could have guessed.

  7. If the crimeans don’t want to be a part of Russia they oughta speak up or hold their peace, they boycotted the vote because they knew they would lose, not because they were intimidated. Crimea is mostly Russian and the Russian vote was for annexation. If the Status quo option had been added then the anti-Russian vote simply would have split between that and independent Crimea and it would have guaranteed a Russian victory anyway.

    A nation is the people not the land, if the people in the Crimea would prefer to live under Putin’s Boot-heel than Ukraine’s, who are we to say otherwise? And if the minority that doesn’t want to be a part of Russia can’t be bothered to vote against it, let alone fight for their own cause, why the hell should we?

    1. I’m more impressed at our brazen bloodlust. Violent and bloody revolution ousts Yanukovych and we put our feet up. A relatively peaceful referendum and annexation occurs and we snap to attention, send in the Navy, and draw names out of a hat to impose sanction on.

      It very much feels like the Crimean people are going to get their independence at the point of our gun whether they want it or not.

      If I were jaded enough, I might think that Putin wants to control at least one pipeline through the nation formerly known as Ukraine and the US just has a history of ‘blood for oil’.

  8. Do you support the Anschluss and our glorious leader, Ad– I mean Vladmir Putin? Or should I just shoot you right now?

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