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 1991, the 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…»
Posted on Oriental Review, February 10, 2015
A few days ago an interesting study, “The Socio-Political Sentiments in Crimea,” was released by the Ukrainian branch of GfK, the well-known German social research organization, as part of the Free Crimea initiative. Intriguingly, the primary objectives of this project, launched with the support of the governmental Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, were to “debunk aggressive Russian propaganda” and to “reintegrate Crimea into Ukraine.” Thus the researchers can hardly be suspected of being Russian sympathizers. So let’s take a look at the results.
The attitudes of Crimeans were studied in January 2015. This representative sample included 800 respondents living on the peninsula, from all age and social categories. The poll had an error margin of 3.5%.
In answer to the most important question: “Do you endorse Russia’s annexation of Crimea?” 82% of the respondents answered “yes, definitely,” and another 11% – “yes, for the most part.” Only 2% gave an unambiguously negative response, and another 2% offered a relatively negative assessment. Three percent did not specify their position.
We feel that this study fully validates the results of the referendum on reunification with Russia that was held on March 16, 2014. At that time 83% of Crimeans went to the polling stations and almost 97% expressed support for reunification.
Ukrainians continue to question whether this was a credible outcome, but it is now backed up by the data obtained by the Germans. The 82% of the respondents who expressed their full confidence in the results of the Russian election make up the core of the electorate who turned up at the ballot boxes on March 16, 2014.
These figures are also relevant in terms of another important question. The former chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Dzhemilev, has repeatedly stated that all Tatars on the peninsula are opposed to reunification with Russia. Dzhemilev’s statements have been widely quoted by the media, which present them as entirely authoritative and undisputed.
But let’s think about that – Crimean Tatars make up 12% of the Crimean population, yet only 4% of those polled conveyed disapproval of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. And that 4% very likely includes not only Tatars, but also Ukrainians and citizens of other ethnicities. There’s an inconsistency here. Of course further study is needed on this issue, but the results obtained by GFK cast doubt on whether Mustafa Dzhemilev or the entire Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars is an accurate barometer of the feelings of the Crimean Tatar community.
Those few respondents who disapproved reunification were then asked “Why do you fully or mostly disapprove annexation?” Only 20% of them (i.e., less than 1% of the total sample) claimed that they preferred to live in the state of Ukraine. The most common response, offered by 55% of those who opposed reunification, was “Annexations was not fully legitimate, it should be brought into accord with the international law.” Which means that, in theory, they do not object to the idea of living in Russia, but rather question the legitimacy of the transition.
No doubt it would be a good idea to hold such a referendum under the auspices of international legislation and in accordance with Ukrainian law. But would laws ever be passed that would grant Ukrainian regions the right to secede? Back in the totalitarian Soviet Union, Ukraine exercised its right to a referendum without a single shot being fired, while in “democratic Ukraine,” separatists are either burned alive as in Odessa, or are shot along with the elderly and children as is happening in the Donbass.
In answer to a question about their financial circumstances, 21% of Crimeans said that in the last year their position had “improved significantly,” while another 30% claimed it had “somewhat improved.” Only 13% of that population has experienced a setback, to a greater or lesser extent. This suggests that, despite EU sanctions on the peninsula’s economy, and despite Ukraine’s partial blockade on communication from Crimea, the reunification with Russia has provided most Crimeans with material gains. But even among those who have not reaped those sorts of benefits, there are few signs of nostalgia for their old Ukrainian citizenship: although 13% of citizens have seen their financial well-being decline, only 4% disapprove of the reunification with Russia. These figures suggest that economic sanctions are an ineffective means of persuading the residents of the Crimea to view Ukraine more favorably.
The results of the survey indicate that 28% of the residents of the peninsula regularly watch Ukrainian TV, and another 20% regularly consult Ukrainian news websites. This proves that no steps have been taken in Crimea to restrict access to Ukrainian sources of information, such as Ukraine has done in relation to Russian media.
And now the moment of truth: “What is your opinion of what is being written by the Ukrainian media about Crimea?” Who could be a more objective judge on this issue than the residents of the peninsula themselves? Who else but they – who have been fated to experience all the pros and cons of both Ukrainian and Russian citizenship – could better evaluate the accuracy of the information being published? Perhaps no one.
However, only 1% of those surveyed reported that the Ukrainian media “provides entirely truthful information” and 4% said it was “more often truthful than deceitful.” But 45% of respondents see “completely untrue information” on Ukrainian TV, and another 35% claim those broadcasts are “more often deceitful than truthful.” The rest either do not watch Ukrainian news programs or do not pay attention to information in those programs about Crimea.
This is the verdict on the contemporary Ukrainian press, as handed down by an impartial panel of eight hundred jurors.
But if those who shape the media coverage in Ukraine today are so biased in regard to Crimea, how can we expect them to report objectively on other critical problems associated with this country? Can we trust Kiev’s official stance on the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17? Or on the causes of the humanitarian crisis in the Donbass? Or on the presence of Russian troops inside Ukraine? Or on the human fatalities in Odessa or the victims of the “Heavenly Hundred”?
GfK’s study demands a clear answer to these questions.
Konstantin Kosaretsky is the Ukrainian freelance journalist and writer.
By Eric Zuesse
Both before and after Crimea left Ukraine and joined Russia in a public referendum on 16 March 2014, the Gallup Organization polled Crimeans on behalf of the U.S. Government, and found them to be extremely pro-Russian and anti-American, and also anti-Ukrainian. (Neither poll was subsequently publicized, because the results of each were the opposite of what the sponsor had wished.) Both polls were done on behalf of the U.S. Government, in order to find Crimeans’ attitudes toward the United States and toward Russia, and also toward Ukraine, not only before but also after the planned U.S. coup in Ukraine, which occurred in February 2014 but was actually kicked off on 20 November 2013, the day before Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych publicly announced that Ukraine had received a better economic offer from Russia’s Eurasian Economic Community than from America’s European Union. (The EEC subsequently became the Eurasian Economic Union, now that it was clear that Ukraine was going with the EU.) That decision by Yanukovych in favor of the EEC was mistakenly thought by him to be merely an economic one, and he didn’t know the extent to which the U.S. Government had set up an operation to overthrow him if he didn’t go along with the EU’s offer. (If some of these basic historical facts don’t come through from merely the wikipedia articles alone, that’s because the CIA is among the organizations that edit wikipedia articles, and so wikipedia is unwittingly a political propaganda vehicle. It is especially used for propaganda by the CIA and FBI.)
By Eric Zuesse
Posted on Fort Russ, February 16, 2015
Little attention is generally paid to the connection between the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, and Crimea’s breakaway from Ukraine. The testimony that will here be cited helps fill this in. An attorney in the federal prosecutor’s office at the time of the coup refers to the longtime national socialist, Andriy Paribiy, as having been the key person behind the coup. In the new regime, Paribiy became appointed to become the chief of national security, and the top person overseeing the war against “ATO” ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’ to exterminate the residents in the formerly Ukrainian area, Donbass, the area which had voted 90% for the overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych, and which consequently rejected this new regime, which Washington violently imposed to replace him.
Andriy Paribiy was the co-founder (along with Oleh Tyahnybok) of the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, which the CIA had persuaded to change its name to “Freedom” or “Svoboda” in order not to offend Westerners with its origin as a native Ukrainian version of Hitler’s National Socialist Party of Germany. Polonskaya said: