So Crimean Russians voted to leave Ukraine today. No surprise there given that 60% of Crimea is Russian. My problem rises with a number of issues/questions over this supposed “democratic” vote and the legitimacy of the results. Too many of these issues are reminiscent of what typical dictatorships do when they attempt cover their actions under the guise of democracy.
- Russian military occupation of Crimea. That alone invalidates the vote in my opinion, especially without neutral observers to watch over the process during such a highly propagandized time.
- Lack of international observers from neutral countries (say from Africa or Asia). I laugh at the notion that the observer from Serbia are even remotely thought of as neutral. Serbia in general still resents the breakup of Yugoslavia and their loss of influence over the surrounding regions, blaming the EU and NATO.
- The swiftness of the vote, without any effort at real debate and discussion, just fear mongering and Russian nationalist rhetoric.
- Silencing of non-Russian controlled or dominated news sources and outlets.
- The “95%” pro-Russian vote, considering Russians only make up 60% of the population. The remaining 40% non-Russians made it clear they distrusted Russians given past oppression and current harassment by Russian troops in Crimea and Ukraine’s borders. Even then, noting the opposition in Russia to what Putin is doing in Crimea makes it clear even Russians do not whole heartedly agree with what is happening. So 95% support….no. Reads like the old Soviet era propaganda crap.
- 83% turnout. Maybe amongst Crimean Russians but I doubt that was the case for Ukrainians and Tartars given overt Russian nationalists and Russian troops intimidating presence. Again, sounds like good ol’ Soviet era propaganda.
So the vote went the way everyone expected, and only Russia will acknowledge as legitimate. I suspect this will just lead to Russia becoming more isolated and former Soviet states eagerly looking to align with one another, the EU, the US, and NATO to bolster political, economic, and most importantly in the face of Russian militarism and pan-Slavic nationalism, military cooperation. Even China while not openly going against Russia they didn’t support Russia at the U.N. this past week in move that subtly shows their disapproval of both sides actions in Ukraine.
I suspect we’ll get the usual huff and puff from Russia over the sanctions that will be put on them in the short term but long term who knows. Depends on if Putin is stupid enough to follow is pan-Slavic nationalists of the cliff into oblivion by trying to start a war to annex Ukraine or other former Soviet states. Right now I don’t see that immediately happening, but you never know. Most Russian leaders aren’t known for diplomacy or restraint.
As an aside, I hope Putin realizes the potential disaster he may have just unleashed on Russia by following in the footsteps of Hitler in using ethnocentric policies to justify his (as the Russians used to like call it) adventurism. By claiming the invasion of Ukraine was justified to protect Russians, he has now made legitimate any ethnic groups (i.e. Chechens, Ossetians, Tartars, et al) claim in Russia that they can secede from the so called Russian Federation for the exact same reason. And possibly have other neighboring countries invade to “protect” these ethnicities as well using the same or similar justifications.