Sunday, March 16, 2014

Crimea's sham referendum

This one way to get out the vote -- using police to go door to door!  

This referendum was bound to be a farce -- there is no "No" option in favor of the status quo -- but this is simply absurd.  

UPDATE 1 (17.03.2014): Over 80 percent of residents of Crimea voted in the Sunday's referendum, according to Crimea's new Russian authorities, almost twice the voter turnout in the 2012 parliamentary elections, and despite the fact that most Tatars, who make up about 15 percent of Crimea's population, plus ethnic Ukrainians and many others, boycotted the elections.  

This improbable math makes sense, however, when you understand that anybody with a Russian passport was allowed to vote on the fate of Crimea.  All's fair, they say, in love and war.

As the Kyiv Post reported, "On voting day, alleged violations included Russian citizens being allowed to vote, bulletins being printed on ordinary office paper, journalists being denied access to polling stations, open pro-Russian agitation inside stations, and presence of paramilitary forces outside."

Furthermore, "polling stations had additional lists and were putting down the names of people who were not registered at those stations," hence turnout was so huge.

It bears repeating that this referendum did not offer residents of Crimea the option to preserve the status quo! That's not a real choice, that's political theater.  

Anyhow, well over 95 percent of voters, say authorities in Crimea and Sevastopol, voted for secession from Ukraine and unification with Russia.  Surely a majority of those voting would have gone in favor of unification of Russia anyway, but Putin and his Crimean puppets didn't leave the outcome to chance.

UPDATE 2 (17.03.2014): Some russkiy in Tennessee wrote a letter to his Senators in defense of Russia's occupation of Crimea and Sunday's sham referendum.  I won't copy the letter here, only my response:
I can't think of a single referendum for independence or increased autonomy that did not give its citizens the option on the ballot of preserving the status quo!  I can't think of a single legitimate referendum that took place while foreign troops paraded around with impunity and national police were absent and national military were trapped on their bases by invading troops.  I can't think of a single legitimate referendum that took place while opposition journalists, priests and politicians were being disappeared by foreign agents and pro-referendum "local defense forces."  I can't think of a single legitimate referendum that took place when all national TV stations had been blocked, and several anti-referendum journalists and news organizations were shut down, and replaced with absolutely pro-referendum news and foreign TV channels.  I can't think of a single legitimate popular referendum that was meant only to "confirm" the foregone decision of a parliamentary assembly.  I can't think of a single legitimate referendum that was held so quickly, without any public debate.  All this tells me the Crimean referendum was not legitimate. Moreover, it was contrary to the Ukrainian constitution, if that still matters.  
And by the way, if we Americans take Putin's argument as gospel, then tomorrow Texas could unilaterally secede from the United States and there would be nothing Obama could do about it.  I suppose this right could extend to any U.S. city as well, since the "absolute" right of people to self-determination should not be limited to sub-national/regional entities.  
UPDATE 3 (17.03.2014): Russian President Vladimir Putin already signed a decree recognizing the results of the Crimean and Sevastopol referendums to join the Russian Federation.  

March 16, 2014 | YouTube

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