What America should know about “annexed” Crimea”: “We the People of Crimea…”

Global Research, February 09, 2017
Oriental Review 8 February 2017

The speech by the new US permanent representative to the UN Security Council, Nikki Haley, at a Security Council meeting on 3 February backed up the idea that the new administration policy on Crimea will be followed up. Haley said exactly the same nonsense as Samantha Power before her: «Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine». The White House supported Haley’s statement the same day.

It is interesting that Mrs Haley was speaking about the territory of Crimea rather than the people. I wonder how she seeks the «return» of the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine – with the people or without them? It’s a pity that this question has remained unanswered yet.

Does Nikki Haley know whether the Crimean people regard themselves as Ukrainians or not?

It is unlikely that the US ambassador to the UN wants to move the people out of Crimea so that she can give the peninsula back to Ukraine.

Especially as she would have to move not only the living, but also the dead, since the ‘Ukrainian’ history of Crimea is very short, around a quarter of a century. It is surprising that the citizen of a country whose constitution begins with the words «We the people of the United States…» is doing everything to avoid a conversation in terms of «We the people of Crimea…»

From the point of view of the people who live on the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine annexed Crimea in 1991, grossly violating the rules of international law. Crimea became part of independent Ukraine illegally, and repeated attempts by the Crimean people to redress this injustice met with opposition from Kiev.

In order to understand this, Nikki Haley just needs to be made aware of a few facts.

In 1990, the Parliament of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty, which hid behind the words «Expressing the will of the people of Ukraine…» and spoke of a new state being established within the existing boundaries of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic based on the Ukrainian nation’s right to self-determination. But did the Ukrainian nation have the right to self-determination in Crimea if the number of Ukrainians on the peninsula made up only 25.8 percent of the population?

The answer is obvious – no, it did not. This was the first step in the annexation of Crimea by the Ukrainian state, which, at that point, was the Ukrainian SSR separate from the Soviet Union.

On 20 January 1991the first Crimean referendum was held on the restoration of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as a subject of the USSR and as a party to the Union Treaty. (Between 1921 and 1945, the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.) With a high turnout of 81.37 percent, 93.26 percent of the Crimean population voted in favour of restoring autonomy. On 12 February 1991, the restoration of the Crimean ASSR was confirmed by law: the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR accepted the results of the referendum. The Crimean people were clearly self-determining, and this self-determination differed hugely from the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation.

The Ukrainian SSR 1991 law on establishment of the Crimean Autonomous Republic, signed by the Chair of the Supreme Council of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk

So what did the Ukrainian state do next? On 24 August 1991, the Supreme Court of the Ukrainian SSR, again on the basis of self-determination, declared the independence of Ukraine, arbitrarily identifying the Crimean ASSR as a territory of the newly established state. By doing so, the founders of Ukraine ignored a law requiring a separate referendum to be held in Crimea on the Crimean ASSR’s status within Ukraine. This was done deliberately, since Kiev knew perfectly well that the people of Crimea would never vote in favour of becoming part of Ukraine. At the same time, a huge scam to manipulate history was being prepared: on 1 December 1991, another referendum was held in the whole Ukraine including the Crimean ASSR, known as “the Ukrainian independence referendum”. The results in Crimea and Sevastopol were notably different from those in the mainland Ukraine (most of the Crimeans ignored the plebiscite), but the quorum was reached thanks to non-residents were allowed to vote at the Crimean poll stations. In this underhand way, Ukraine took its second step towards the annexation of Crimea.

A Crimean boy standing for boycott of the Ukrainian elections

The Crimeans did not agree with the Ukrainian sharp cookies, however. From the start of 1992, the number of protests began to increase – the Crimean people were outraged at the deception and demanded secession from Ukraine. Under pressure from the people, the Supreme Council of Crimea adopted the Act of State Independence of the Republic of Crimea, approved its own constitution(link in Russian), and passed a resolution to hold a referendum on 2 August 1992. It was another step towards the self-determination of the Russian majority of Crimea was pushing for lawfully and legitimately. The Constitution of Crimea began with the words: «We the people, who make up the multi-ethnic nation of Crimea and are united by centuries-old ties of a common historical fate, are free and equal in dignity and rights…»

By this time, however, Kiev had already gotten a taste for political tricking. The referendum was postponed to a later date (it was held in 1994 in the form of a public opinion poll) and the Constitution of Crimea, under pressure from Kiev, was rewritten dozens of times until the peninsula was tied to Ukraine for good. The first presidential elections took place in Crimea in 1994, but by 1995, both the position of president and the Constitution of Crimea had been abolished. In late 1998, the Ukrainian authorities brought the legislation of the Autonomous Republic of Ukraine completely in line with the legislation of Ukraine. This was the penultimate step in the annexation of Crimea, the final step being to deprive Crimea of its autonomous status by establishing a Crimean region as part of Ukraine.

Over the next decade, Kiev did not dare do this, since any attempt to raise the issue of abolishing Crimean autonomy led to large-scale protests and demands to restore the 1992 Constitution and the statehood of the Republic of Crimea. Creeping Ukrainization was also unsuccessful – moulding Crimea to be more like Ukraine did not work even in light of the 2001 census:

The February (2014) uprising in Kiev was not supported in Crimea, but attempts by Crimeans to oppose it led to tragedy: on the night of 20 and 21 February, buses taking protesting Crimeans home from a chaotic Kiev were stopped by armed nationalists in the small city of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi. The Crimeans were beaten, tortured, forced to sing the Ukrainian national anthem under threat of death, and made to pick up broken glass from the buses’ windows, which had been smashed with sticks, with their bare hands. This episode was reported in details in Andrei Kondrashov’s 2015 documentary “Crimea: way back home”:

In the referendum on 16 March 2014, the Crimean people once again confirmed their historical choice, just as the United States once did when they broke away from the British Crown. In the US Declaration of Independence, it says that the Creator endowed people with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Just like Americans, Crimeans also want to live, be free and be happy. That is precisely why they spent decades trying to break away from the Ukrainian dictate, something they finally achived in 2014 when they returned to Russia.

It seems that Nikki Haley, like millions of her fellow Americans, does not know the history of the Crimean people’s struggle against its illegal annexation by Ukraine, which began in 1990 and ended in 2014. Questioning the choice of the Crimean people in 2014 seems to be the reason why the US permanent representative to the UN Security Council is keeping quiet about the Ukrainian annexation of Crimea in the 1990s. After all, no one in the world could doubt the results of the Crimean referendum held on 20 January 1991. If it is a case of the deliberate distortion of facts, however, then the situation looks a lot worse.

If you were to side with the Crimean people, then the history of Crimea’s reunification with Russia becomes simple and understandable. It is enough to know that for each territory, whether that is the US or Crimea, exactly the same words are key: «We the people…»

Source:Strategic Culture

Why would Bloomberg News completely disappear the February, 2014 Ukraine coup?

Posted on Global Research, May 27. 2015
By Robert Barsocchini
Washington’s Blog

Bloomberg says in a post today that the “confrontation between Russia and the US” over Ukraine was “provok[ed]” by Putin’s annexation of Crimea:

“…Putin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea last March, provoking the biggest confrontation between Russia and the U.S. and Europe since the Cold War.”

That’s odd, though, because the reintegration of Crimea into Russia (after a vote in favor – but remember democracy is what we say it is) happened, as Bloomberg says and BBC confirms, in March, 2014, about five months after violent, US-backed protests began in November 2013, and ended in the the elected Ukrainian president, Victor Yanukovych, being driven out of the country by, as BBC put it, “radical groups”, including neo-Nazis: see BBC’s “Neo-Nazi Threat in Ukraine“, Feb. 28, 2014.  (“BBC Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse investigates the links between the new Ukrainian government and Neo-nazis.”  Later articles covering the topic were published by, among many others, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry, and even, albeit 8 or 9 months too late to make a difference, NBC)

It’s also strange that BBC would say the following (even in a piece rife with the British state-run outlet’s typical pro-Western spin):

Pro-Russian forces [ie the Russian troops already stationed in Crimea by agreement] took control of Crimea in February.  They moved in after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after street protests.

So, they reacted to the US-backed overthrow of elected Yanukovych.  To be precise, Russian troops began the process of, in US political-speak, liberating and securing Crimea on “February 23rd, 2014“.

Yet, again oddly, here is Time on February 22nd, 2014:

“Ukraine protesters seize Kiev as President flees”

“Yanukovych fled to the eastern city of Kharkiv where he traditionally has a more solid base of support…”

It is noted in Wikipedia that Yanukovych had “won election in 2010 with strong support in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine.”

Here is US historian William Blum, March 7, 2014, on these events:

The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months. … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

And who could forget the pictures of Victoria Nuland and John McCain meeting with Ukrainian neo-Nazi and extremist leaders who use terms like “cleanse” and “kike”, or Nuland’s bragging to Chevron that the US had put billions and billions of dollars into these events, highly reminiscent of the US investment in overthrowing Iran’s democracy in 1953 after Iran nationalized its oil.

To the untrained eye, it would certainly seem that, in “liberating” Crimea, Russia was, very understandably, reacting to the above-mentioned series of events (not to mention the encroachment of a hostile, US-led, nuclear military alliance, NATO…).

So why would Bloomberg publish a piece that says the confrontation between Russia and the US was provoked by the annexation of Crimea, when it was provoked by a US-backed overthrow (one of about 60) of an elected president, who had strong ties to the highly ethnic-Russian east (including Crimea)?

We cannot credibly postulate that the Bloomberg author is unaware of the events prior to the “annexation of Crimea”, so we are forced to assume that he has a desire to paint Russia as the aggressor in the West/East standoff, as do so many working for the Western information systems.

This time, he has taken the easy way out by just pretending that nothing happened before Crimea, but other Western outlets have risen to the challenge, with impressive results.

When forced to acknowledge events that show the West as current aggressor in the (now perhaps winding down) West/East conflict, Western outlets have done what they do best: spin crackpot conspiracy theories about how everyone is trying to destroy the “free world” (the US happens to imprison more of its own people than any country in history, but in the free world we are smart enough to know that doesn’t count).

The New York Times, for example, attempted to explain the events that provoked Russia’s actions in Crimea (the US-backed protests and violent overthrow of an elected leader), by claiming Putin orchestrated all of that, too.

Robert Parry reports on the Times’ fanciful effort:

Is the New York Times really suggesting that Putin pulled the strings on the likes of Merkel and Nuland, secretly organized neo-Nazi brigades, and ruthlessly deployed these thugs to Kiev to provoke violence and overthrow Yanukovych, all while pretending to try to save Yanukovych’s government – all so Putin could advance some dastardly plot to conquer Europe?

…the Times’ narrative is something that would make even the most dedicated “conspiracy theorist” blush. Yet, the Times not only asserts this crazy conspiracy theory but calls it “incontrovertible.”

True to form, another times article recently proclaimed:

In all likelihood no one in the Kremlin actually ordered the killing [of Nemtsov]… The Kremlin has recently created a loose army of avengers who believe they are acting in the country’s best interests, without receiving any explicit instructions.

If someone in the US were to insist that Obama or Bush created a “loose army of avengers” who went around killing people “without receiving any explicit instructions”, he or she would be told to take off the tinfoil hat, leave mom’s basement, and get a job.

But when discussing the dark, ruthless, senseless forces of pure evil outside of our huddling “free world”, we are *free* to boldly rewrite history in our favor, concoct wild-eyed conspiracy theories to our hearts’ content, and use our new and improved histories and our nut-job theories to promote mass-violence against the bad people conspiring against “our freedoms”, and then kill millions of them.

Follow author Robert Barsocchini on Twitter @_DirtyTruths

http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-would-bloomberg-news-completely-disappear-the-february-2014-ukraine-coup/5452150

The West won’t admit: Crimeans still saying no to Ukraine

From Consortium News, March 22, 2015
By Robert Parry

A central piece of the West’s false narrative on the Ukraine crisis has been that Russian President Vladimir Putin “invaded” Crimea and then staged a “sham” referendum purporting to show 96 percent support for leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia. More recently, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland claimed that Putin has subjected Crimea to a “reign of terror.”

Both elements have been part of the “group think” that dominates U.S. political and media circles, but this propagandistic storyline simply isn’t true, especially the part about the Crimeans being subjugated by Russia.

Consistently, over the past year, polls conducted by major Western firms have revealed that the people of Crimea by overwhelming numbers prefer being part of Russia over Ukraine, an embarrassing reality that Forbes business magazine has now acknowledged.

An article by Kenneth Rapoza, a Forbes specialist on developing markets, cited these polls as showing that the Crimeans do not want the United States and the European Union to force them back into an unhappy marriage with Ukraine. “The Crimeans are happy right where they are” with Russia, Rapoza wrote.

“One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tartars are all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine,” he wrote, adding that “the bulk of humanity living on the Black Sea peninsula believe the referendum to secede from Ukraine was legit.”

Rapoza noted that a June 2014 Gallup poll, which was sponsored by the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors, found that 82.8 percent of Crimeans said the March 16 referendum on secession reflected the views of the Crimean people. In the poll, when asked if joining Russia would improve their lives, 73.9 percent said yes and only 5.5 percent said no.

A February 2015 poll by German polling firm GfK found similar results. When Crimeans were asked “do you endorse Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” 93 percent gave a positive response, with 82 percent saying, “yes, definitely.” Only 2 percent said no, with the remainder unsure or not answering.

In other words, the West’s insistence that Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine would mean violating the age-old U.S. principle of a people’s right of self-determination. It would force the largely ethnic Russian population of Crimea to submit to a Ukrainian government that many Crimeans view as illegitimate, the result of a violent U.S.-backed coup on Feb. 22, 2014, that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

The coup touched off a brutal civil war in which the right-wing regime in Kiev dispatched neo-Nazi and other extremist militias to spearhead a fierce “anti-terrorism operation” against resistance from the ethnic Russian population in the east, which – like Crimea – had supported Yanukovych. More than 6,000 Ukrainians, most of them ethnic Russians, have been killed in the fighting.

Despite this reality, the mainstream U.S. news media has misreported the crisis and distorted the facts to conform to U.S. State Department propaganda. Thus, many Americans believe the false narrative about Russian troops crushing the popular will of the Crimean people, much as the U.S. public was misled about the Iraq situation in 2002-03 by many of the same news outlets.

Or, as Forbes’ Rapoza put it: “At some point, the West will have to recognize Crimea’s right to self rule. Unless we are all to believe that the locals polled by Gallup and GfK were done so with FSB bogey men standing by with guns in their hands.” The FSB is a Russian intelligence agency.

The GfK survey also found that Crimeans considered the Ukrainian media, which has been wildly anti-Russian, unreliable. Only 1 percent said the Ukrainian media “provides entirely truthful information” and only 4 percent said it was “more often truthful than deceitful.”

So, the people at the frontline of this conflict, where Assistant Secretary Nuland, detected a “reign of terror,” say they are not only satisfied with being restored to Russia, which controlled Crimea since the 1700s, but don’t trust the distorted version of events that they see on Ukrainian TV.

Practical Reasons

Some of the reasons for the Crimean attitudes are simply pragmatic. Russian pensions were three times larger than what the Ukrainian government paid – and now the Ukrainian pensions are being slashed further in compliance with austerity demands from the International Monetary Fund.

This month, Nuland boasted about those pension cuts in praising the Kiev regime’s steps toward becoming a “free-market state.” She also hailed “reforms” that will force Ukrainians to work harder and into old age and that slashed gas subsidies which helped the poor pay their heating bills.

Last year, the New York Times and other U.S. news outlets also tossed around the word “invasion” quite promiscuously in discussing Crimea. But you may recall that you saw no images of Russian tanks crashing into the Crimean peninsula or an amphibious landing or paratroops descending from the skies. The reason was simple: Russian troops were already in Crimea.

The Russians had a lease agreement with Ukraine permitting up to 25,000 military personnel in Crimea to protect the Russian naval base at Sevastopol. About 16,000 Russian troops were on the ground when the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch occurred in Kiev – and after a crisis meeting at the Kremlin, they were dispatched to prevent the coup regime from imposing its control on Crimea’s people.

That Russian intervention set the stage for the March 16 referendum in which the voters of Crimea turned out in large numbers and voted overwhelmingly for secession from Ukraine and reintegration with Russia, a move that the Russian parliament and President Putin then approved.

Yet, as another part of its false reporting, the New York Times claimed that Putin denied that Russian troops had operated inside Crimea – when, in fact, he was quite open about it. For instance, on March 4, 2014, almost two weeks before the referendum, Putin discussed at a Moscow press conference the role of Russian troops in preventing the violence from spreading from Kiev to Crimea. Putin said:

“You should note that, thank God, not a single gunshot has been fired there. … Thus the tension in Crimea that was linked to the possibility of using our Armed Forces simply died down and there was no need to use them. The only thing we had to do, and we did it, was to enhance the defense of our military facilities because they were constantly receiving threats and we were aware of the armed nationalists moving in. We did this, it was the right thing to do and very timely.”

Two days after the referendum, which recorded the 96 percent vote in favor of seceding from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, Putin returned to the issue of Russian involvement in Crimea. In a formal speech to the Russian Federation, Putin justified Crimea’s desire to escape the grasp of the coup regime in Kiev, saying:

“Those who opposed the [Feb. 22] coup were immediately threatened with repression. Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea. In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives, in preventing the events that were unfolding and are still underway in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov and other Ukrainian cities.

“Naturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress. This would have been betrayal on our part.”

But to make it appear that Putin was denying a military intervention, the Times and other U.S. news outlets truncated Putin’s statement when he said, “Russia’s Armed Forces never entered Crimea.” The Western press stopped there, ignoring what he said next: “they were there already in line with an international agreement.”

Putin’s point was that Russian troops based in Crimea took actions that diffused a possibly violent situation and gave the people of Crimea a chance to express their wishes through the ballot. But that version of events didn’t fit with the desired narrative pushed by the U.S. State Department and the New York Times. So the problem was solved by misrepresenting what Putin said.

But the larger issue now is whether the Obama administration and the European Union will insist on forcing the Crimean people – against their will – to rejoin Ukraine, a country that is rapidly sliding into the status of a failed state and a remarkably cruel one at that.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/03/22/crimeans-keep-saying-no-to-Ukraine/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/crimeans-keep-saying-no-to-ukraine/5438563