Crimea 'Votes' To Join Russia

by Seth Millstein

Crimea may not be part of Ukraine for much longer. In what largely amounts to a show vote, the vast majority Crimeans have “voted” to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, according to Russian media. Both the White House and the interim Ukrainian government have rejected the legitimacy and legality of the vote, but Vladimir Putin has said he’ll “accept” the results nonetheless.

There are many reasons to doubt that this was a genuine show of democracy. First and foremost, it took place against the backdrop of an armed Russian invasion of Crimea, which is why the West preemptively rejected it. Second of all, the ballot in Crimea literally didn’t offer any way of voting “no” on the proposition to join Russia. It simply offered two differently-worded statements, one of which would directly incorporate Crimea into Russia and one of which would empower Crimea to join Russia. If that seems like a distinction without a difference, it is.

And then there are the exit polls. It seems tha 80 percent of Crimeans came out for the referendum, and 93 percent of them voted to join Russia. That’s strange, considering that Crimean Tatars, who vehemently oppose annexation by Russia, make up around 35 percent of Crimea’s population. Combined with reports of Russians being bused in across the border to vote and ballots being sent to dead people, and the referendum roughly as democrat as Kim Jong-un’s recent “election” in North Korea.

So far, France, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Ukraine have all rejected the legality of the vote and its results.

“[W]e reject the “referendum” that took place today in the Crimean region of Ukraine,” he U.S. said in a statement.” This referendum is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, and the international community will not recognize the results of a poll administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.”

Shortly before the vote took place, around 120 Russian troops took control of a village on the border of Crimea and Russia. This is in addition to the roughly 20,000 Russian soldiers who are already in Crimea.