The Truth About Russians In Ukraine
March 3rd, 2022 | AR
The 2014 annexation of Crimea was regarded as “illegitimate” by the United Nations. Unmarked Russian troops first overthrew the government, then held a referendum with an 80% turnout. According to the results, more than 90% of Crimeans chose to join the Russian Federation, raising the spectre of Russian coercion and rigging. Ever since, Crimea has been a state of Russia, with a newly erected electric fence separating it from Ukraine. What Western media refuses to tell us is that Crimea's population is made up of a majority of ethnic Russians and, in a 1991 Ukrainian independence referendum, Crimea showed the lowest amount of support for independence from Russia.
It all happened during the 2014 Ukrainian “Revolution Of Dignity”, in which the pro-Russian president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown for refusing to sign a free-trade deal with the European Union. What our media won't educate us on, however, is the various rebellions and pro-Russian movements within several Southern and Eastern Ukrainian regions that have been burning since the revolution.
Going back further in time, to 1991, Ukraine's independence from Russia was sealed with a referendum in which more than 90% of Ukrainians voted to support sovereignty. Except in the state of Crimea, support for Ukrainian independence was above 80%. In Crimea, support for independence was only 54%.
With support for Ukrainian independence ranging above 90% in a majority of Ukraine's Northern regions, it is important to note the similarities to the 2014 Crimean referendum, in which international authorities raised red flags about the high turnout and the “unrealistic” result of 91%.
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In 1994, Crimea had its own independence movement in which 78% voted for complete independence and to form the Republic Of Crimea. Unfortunately, for those seeking independence, the referendum was not recognized and was declared illegal by the Central Election Commission Of Ukraine.
As history proves, the people of Crimea have not been as keen on being a part of Ukraine as Western media suggests. Although Russian coercion is a highly probable reason for the support in the 2014 Crimean referendum, there is a very high likelihood the vote would have turned in Russia's favour without it. At the very least, the likelihood of a pro-Ukrainian outcome is not favoured by history.
Crimea's population has historically remained predominantly pro-Russian since the fall of the Soviet Union. This has been admitted by several Western media outlets
In 2014, pro-Russian protesters and rebels made their dissatisfaction with Yanukovych's ouster known. Pro-Russian protests and riots erupted in the streets of Crimea's largest cities, including Sevastopol, following the pro-European revolution in other parts of Ukraine.
In Ukraine's 2004 presidential election, a majority of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine supported pro-Russian Yanukovych by large margins, as seen on this map (blue):
Yanukovych came from Ukraine's Russian-friendly Kuchma dynasty.
Yanukovych's success in Eastern Europe, and most notably in Crimea, are indicative of the turmoil and political divisions in Ukraine between pro-Russian and pro-Independence elements. His success also indicates the pro-Russian sentiments of Eastern Ukraine, where much of the more aggressive pro-Russian movements have emerged.
Since 2014, the Donbas region of Ukraine has been plagued by pro-Russian insurgency. Since 2014, the Ukrainian military has been shelling and bombarding regions in Donbas to quell insurgent forces. Pro-Russian insurgents and Ukrainian forces have frequently exchanged fire and faced casualties throughout the past eight years of conflict. In that frame of time, 30 ceasefire agreements have been violated by both Russian insurgents and Ukrainian forces.
In 2014, Donetsk saw massive pro-Russian protests in response to the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych—another strong indication of the region's pro-Russian sentiments. In the 2004 presidential election, support for Yanukovych was within significant margins in both Donetsk and Luhansk.
In early 2022 or late 2021, it is presumed, leaders from the insurgent forces of Donetsk and Luhansk met with Russian president Vladimir Putin to request his help in securing Donbas from Ukrainian forces. In February, Putin officially recognized the region's independence from Ukraine and began sending military support.
Support For Joining Russia
Support for the Russian Federation is much higher in Crimea and Eastern Europe than what is reported in American media. The political divisions between pro-Independence and pro-Russian movements have been the cause of conflict for a good part of Ukraine's history as an independent nation. Due to the geopolitical importance of Crimea, both Western and Russian influences have attempted to propagandize the divisions in the region.
Russia's oligarchy, systemic corruption and record on human rights will make choosing sides a no-brainer for most supporters of democracy, but it is important to see through the fog of war and to recognize the efforts to influence public opinion on both sides.
Russians would have the world believe that all of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are being held hostage by Western forces and that Russia is merely acting as the liberator. The West would have the world believe that Putin's lust for power and his ambitions to restore the Old Soviet borders are the Kremlin's utmost priority and that a majority of Eastern Ukrainians prefer independence.
Neither narrative is entirely accurate.
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