It is the mantra of Russian propaganda that Crimea legally and peacefully "separated" from the Ukraine after the "revolution" on the Maidan and the advent of "fascist junta". This article is timed to coincide with the third anniversary of the so-called "Referendum" conducted by Russian occupiers three years ago on March 16.
However, propaganda and lies aside, by law and fact, there was no place for Russia and its actions during the spring of 2014. In reality, Crimea was not "detached" from the Ukraine, but was first occupied by Russian troops, and then annexed, as the Kremlin has begun to seize the peninsula 20 February, before the advent of the new government in Kiev.
And in addition, the fact remains that the Crimean authorities had no power to unilaterally withdraw from Ukraine. So to help you understand the lies of the Kremlin in its anschluss , we offer you nine of the most common myths the Kremlin spreads in its attempts to justify the annexation of the Crimea.
Myth 1. In Crimea the Russian language and culture was oppressed, and Kyiv pursued a policy of forced Ukrainization.
Firstly, according to Article 10 of the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, "The Russian language is the language of the majority population in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and acceptable to international communication to be used in all spheres of public life."
Secondly, in the Crimea as of 2013, the Russian language education stream received 89.4% of pupils, while the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar received only 7.3% and 3.1% respectively. Of the nearly 600 schools in the Crimea at the time of occupation by Russia, only 14 were with in the Crimean Tatar language of instruction, and only 7 were in Ukrainian (All non-Russian language schools were closed by the occupiers immediately after the annexation).
Of the more than 500 pre-school institutions there were 11 in the Ukrainian language, while only one in the Crimean Tatar language. Only two schools of the Crimea prepared teachers of the Crimean Tatar language and literature.
And third, more than 80% of print media was exclusively in Russian, as for the Ukrainian language, there was only one newspaper, "Krymska Svitlytsya". On TV, only 7% of the programs on the national Crimean television broadcast in the Crimean Tatar language.
Myth 2. Crimeans had the right to self-determination realized on the "referendum".
Firstly, after the Russian troops occupied the peninsula and occupied the administrative buildings in the Crimea and raised the Russian flag over those very same institutions of power, there could be no legitimate authority that could have announced to organize and conduct a referendum.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea Council of Ministers was illegitimate from February 27, 2014, as the Crimean deputies voted for it literally under the muzzles of Russian machine guns and in violation of the Ukrainian legislation. The Verkhovna Rada of the ARC was illegitimate de facto from 27 February, and de jure from 15 March, when the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dissolved. In addition, the Central Election Commission of Ukraine did not create any authorities to hold a referendum in the Crimea, as well as close access to the register of voters in the peninsula.
The Supreme Council of Crimea captured by the Russians
Secondly, at that time there was no legal basis for holding local referendums. And third, according to Art. 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine, "Ukrainian NATIONAL referendums exclusively address issues of change in the territory of Ukraine."
Myth 3. Crimea gained independence following the example of Kosovo.
First, the separation of Kosovo from Serbia was the result of an armed civil conflict, including ethnic cleansing over long periods of time, but nothing like this took place in the Crimea.
Second, the Albanians in Kosovo are building their own, albeit partially, recognized state, a so-called "Republic of Crimea", not even 48 hours old, decided to "join" to Russia. And third, even though Kosovo was occupied by foreign troops at the time of independence, it was a multinational contingent with none of the countries of the alliance makings claims to the territory. But Russian troops were directly interested in the "independence" of the Crimea and its "entry" into Russia, and many Russian soldiers even voted for it, being not citizens of Ukraine, but merely residents with no voting rights.
Myth 4. Russia had not carried out an "annexation" because Crimea had become an independent state.
Firstly, the unitary Ukraine Autonomous Republic of Crimea had no right to withdraw unilaterally and any change in the country had to be approved only one way legally, in an all-Ukrainian referendum (approx. Part III of the Constitution, Article 73).
Secondly, since the seizure of administrative buildings by Russian troops, any decision of the local authorities cannot be considered voluntary and independent and as a result is simply illegal.
And third, any independence moves must go through a process, not only of internal but also external legitimization, i.e.; recognition by other nations. No country in the world, except Russia, recognizes the "Republic of Crimea", and the overwhelming majority of states do not recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation to this day.
Myth 5. Russian troops defended the Crimean people from the fascist threat to the Maidan, if they did not, Crimea would have shared the fate of the Donbass.
Firstly, the right-wing radicals, called in all Russian media "fascists", have always been a political minority in Ukraine, and this is evidenced at least by the results of the parliamentary elections in 2014. "Svoboda (Freedom Party)" gained only 4.7% of votes, while "Right Sector" only got 1.8%. Both results meaning that these factions of political forces did not appear in the Verkhovna Rada.
Secondly, the war in the Donbas was the result of the annexation of the Crimea, where the Russian mercenaries managed to seduce the Ukrainian separatists with irredentist promises of rapid integration into Russia.
And thirdly, 93% of the country is under the control of the Ukrainian government and there is no "horrible bloody junta" (an oft repeated phrase of the according to the Russian propagandists). The lie that the post-Maidan Ukrainian government is in any way fascistic is simply not seen. Nothing would have been threatened in the Crimea, except the occupation forces of the Russian army, which has been scheming to "return" Crimea for the last 25 years.
Myth 6. The Annexation of the Crimea was peaceful, taken without a single drop of blood."
Firstly, since the invasion of Russian troops, proponents of annexation have widely practiced beatings and abductions of pro-European Crimeans. For the three years of the occupation, there have been numerous victims of enforced disappearances in the peninsula began, with 40 missing people well-documented. Six were found dead in March 2014. Secondly, during the invasion period, Russian "Little Green Men" killed two Ukrainian military service members; Sergei Kokurin, shot March 18, 2014 during the storming of the 13th Photogrammetric center in Simferopol, and Stanislav Karachevsky, shot 6 April 2014 from a machine gun.
And thirdly, the disappearance of opponents of the Russian government on the peninsula has not stopped to this day. Until now, there are still seventeen "detained and disappeared" Crimean residents unaccounted for.
Myth 7. Most of the Crimean people favoured joining Russia.
Among the Crimean people there really were supporters of the annexation of Crimea to Russia, but their number had been steadily declining over the years. In 1994 in the Crimean parliament, members in favour of an alliance with Russia were 58 deputies out of 100 (55 - Block "Russia", 2 - Russian party of Crimea, 1 - Russian Community of Crimea), then in 2010 there were only 8 deputies (5 - party " Union ", 3 - party" Russian unity "). Secondly, if 70% of Crimean residents supported the idea of joining in 2008 as a part of Russia, the figure was about 40% by 2014, about equal to the number of Russian citizens resident or immigrated to Ukrainian Crimea. And thirdly, because the so-called "referendum" was conducted in an open armed Russian occupation, to recognize, much less even trust Russia's "results" is illogical.
Myth 8. Crimeans generally did not resist the occupation of the Crimea, only Majlis (Tartars) opposed.
Firstly, during the entire period of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, pro-European supporters in the Crimea took to the streets to protest and continued to do so even after the Russian occupation began. At the initiative of the Majlis on February 26 at the building of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, there was held a rally to thwart the illegally declared "independence" for Crimean autonomy in parliament, prompting Russia to go for a direct capture of the administrative buildings in Simferopol. Even after the appearance of the Russian military on the Crimean streets, locals during March 2014 went out in mass to the protests and stood in support of the besieged Ukrainian military.
And secondly, the civil watershed in the Crimea was not on national, but purely on ideological grounds. Among the opponents of the annexation were not only the Crimean Tatars, but also Crimean Ukrainians and representatives of other nationalities, and even many Russian nationalists.
Myth 9. The West sooner or later will recognize Russian sovereignty over the Crimea.
While this soothing mantra is not as pronounced as the other propaganda points, in the Russian mind it is becoming more real. The annexation of the Crimea was the first violation of the Yalta Accords in Europe since the Second World War. Recognition of its automatically cancels the rule of law, the very foundation of order in the world, which arose after the WWII, and threatens to open the floodgates for the mass forced revision of borders if left unchallenged. None of the seven world annexations since 1945 have been recognized, and in most cases the aggressor has retreated, as the aggressor in this case, Russian, signatories to the Budapest Memorandum guaranteeing to respect Ukraine's borders and territories, has proven itself to be.
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