The majority of Crimeans are still glad for their annexation, write John O’loughlin, a professor of political geography at Boulder, Gerard Toal, a professor of government and international affairs at Virginia Tech, and Kristin M. Bakke, a professor of political science and international relations at University College London for foreignaffairs.com. Well, let’s dive in.
Six years ago, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Moscow hastily organized a referendum on March 16, 2014, to give the takeover of the peninsula a veneer of legitimacy [so far, so good]. According to the official results [sorry, what authority released those official results?], 97 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia. Much of the international community, however, considered the referendum a sham, conducted at the barrel of a gun. In this view [oh, there is any other legitimate view?], Crimea did not freely join Russia; it was annexed.
It goes downhill even faster later on.
Do Crimeans feel that they live in an occupied territory, under the heels of Russian invaders? Some certainly do.[well, you have to throw a bone to the liberals or whatnot] But, according to the authors, those are mainly dissidents. And ”their surveys” in 2014 and again in 2019 – that what they call the surveys of Levada-Center [Russian allegedly non-governmental research organization] – shows that Crimeans were and remain mostly in favor of the Russian annexation.
And, according to the authors, that popular sentiment [delivered to us by the aggressive land grabber himself] complicates the West’s prevailing view of the seizure of Crimea as an aggressive land grab.
Stupidity is Here to Stay
The March 2014 referendum in Crimea was deeply flawed. The vote was rushed [yes, let’s call it that] in polarized conditions after a military invasion, and those opposed to Russia boycotted the referendum. But it is incontrovertible that most, though certainly not all, Crimean residents welcomed joining Russia. [Well, we are glad that you have reliable sources. Oh wait]
Numerous polls at the time of the annexation and in its immediate aftermath revealed broad support for joining Russia [conducted by the Russian research organization]. Yes, Russia was heavy-handed and expansionist in its actions in Crimea, flouting international laws and norms. But that did not bother most Crimeans [according to the Russian research organization].
Since 2014, Moscow has poured considerable amounts of money into Crimea [according to Russia]. With the severing of Crimea’s links to Ukraine’s water, electric, gas, and transportation systems, Russia brought the peninsula into its own infrastructural networks at a great cost [yes, the land grab almost the size of Belgium with plants, ports, and rich oil and gas resources probably cost them dearly].
Also, Russia’s most ambitious, attention-grabbing endeavor was a bridge across the Kerch Strait that symbolized the will of the Putin administration to bind Crimea to the motherland. [Because apparently Crimea’s motherland is Russia. Can you be more of a Putinversteher after this claim? I dare you.]
According to the authors, the survey used both direct questions as well as experimental ones that were designed to reach honest and reliable answers on sensitive topics. [Thank God we have finally got the “reliable answers.”]
The bottom line
There is some more bullshit about “the proportions by nationality”, after a huge amount of pro-Ukrainian citizens were literally forced to leave the peninsula and that it all corresponds to the ratios in the Crimean census of 2014. Good, good, Crimean census of 2014 carried out by the aggressor. Why not base all of your assumptions on that. This approach is beyond reproach.
Again and again and again. This “analysis” is based solely on the “data” from Russia – the country that has not only occupied Ukrainian territory by force but has a very solid history of lying. It seems that there is no point in digging any deeper because this article continues to whitewash Russian occupation using “survey data” from the state that repeatedly demonstrated that it has no respect for international law.
You can read further only if you want to hear more fairy tales about the high hopes and optimism across all ethnic groups.
Happy With Putin
These survey results should not be interpreted as a refutation of the image of Crimea that Ukrainian activists and advocacy groups present in the West, authors write. But, according to them, when Ukrainian activists and Western politicians claim that the residents of Crimea are “living under occupation,” they mistake the experience of some for the experience of all.
The authors claim to believe that the majority of Crimeans do not experience Russian rule as oppressive, alien, or unwelcome. Because, you got that right – Levada-Center. Or how they call it – based on the evidence of our surveys. This is really beyond stupidity, it can’t be blamed on blindsightedness either. This is apologism and it is hard to imagine that it would ever occur without any financial incentive.
They are reasonably happy to be living in Putin’s Russia, professors write. Well, I guess, who have never lived in Soviet Russia can easily assume whatever they want, including that anybody would ever be happy to live in Putin’s Russia.
So what really was that? The fallacy of “both sides” journalism? Well, it is not even that, because it doesn’t seem to have any other side or level, for that matter. And the authors, renowned academics of sorts, should definitely know better. Unless they do.