Crimean referendum offers 2 choices: Secede & join Russia now, or Secede & join Russia later

The Kyiv Post, the largest English-language daily in Ukraine, and a source numerous experts pointed me to as one of the most credible voices for what’s going on in the region, reports that the “national referendum” that the Russians are having in Crime in a week offers only two choices: Secede and join Russia now, or Secede and join Russia later.

That’s it.  There is no “no” vote.  Nowhere to vote to stay a part of Ukraine.  The only choices on the ballot are whether to join Russia now or later.

Smells like Soviet spirit.

Crimea referendum ballot, courtesy of Kyiv Post.

Crimea referendum ballot, courtesy of Kyiv Post.

Kyiv Post’s Katya Gorchinskaya details the choices on the ballot:

Do you support joining Crimea with the Russian Federation as a subject of Russian Federation?

And:

Do you support restoration of 1992 Crimean Constitution and Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine?

That Constitution declares that Crimea is an independent state.

In other words, there is no option that says “don’t secede.” The only option on the ballot is “when” to secede.

Considering how often we’re told that the local population in Crimea, at least the ethnic Russian portion, is actually pro-Russia, then why does Putin need to cook the election?

Adding to the fun, there are reports that Russia now has 30,000 troops in Crimea:

Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the border guards’ commander, said there were now 30,000 Russian soldiers in Crimea, compared to 11,000 permanently based with the Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol before the crisis.

Putin denies that the forces with no national insignia that are surrounding Ukrainian troops in their bases are under Moscow’s command, although their vehicles have Russian military plates. The West has ridiculed this claim.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Nathanael

    Except China is better run than Putin’s Russia.

    Maybe they learned a few lessons after Tiananmen. In China, gross official corruption, when made public, is now dealt with by execution. (In Russia, it’s encouraged.) In China, civic unrest over the abuse of workers leads to the sudden enforcement of rules designed to protect workers; and civic unrest over environmental damage also leads to the sudden enforcement of certain environmental laws. (I’ve read the annual reports of some of the companies like FoxConn, which are very upset to see these laws suddenly enforced, because they assumed the laws would never be enforced.)

    In short, China’s current government makes efforts to appease people when things begin getting sticky. Putin seems to be completely incapable of this level of finesse.

  • Nathanael

    Right-wingers in Texas desperately want Texas to stay within the US. If it leaves, the fact that its population is on schedule to become majority Hispanic very soon will doom the right-wingers politically. If they stay in the US, they can use federal power, bolstered by delegations from places like Georgia and West Virginia and Idaho, to push their ideology.

  • emjayay

    Well, they could just buy the gas from Russia at market rates. This is how things are done in you know, the free market system. Not sure, but I believe that gas is radically subsidised in the Ukraine, a vestige of the old days when it was “free” under Communism. I suppose they were getting a below market rate from Russia which they apparently couldn’t pay anyway, I guess because they charged users ten percent of the actual cost.

    Anyone who could clear this stuff up, please do.

  • dula

    Putting aside the relentless desire for mental masturbation amongst those in the political blogosphere, and the need to speak from authority on every single issue under the sun, what scenario would be best for actual Ukrainians? Will the austerity loving EU (think Greece) be able to replace the $4 billion in oil Russia provides the Ukraine, along with 60% of its trade? We’ve seen what neoliberal economic policy has done to Americans (which we all claim to rail against on this site) yet many of you seem mighty eager to inflict that on Ukrainians via an EU economic agreement. I just hope whatever they end up with is better than what we ended up with.

  • pappyvet

    Election rigging !? Who ever heard of such a thing ! Can any one say Dubya. Sure ya can. Russians are learning.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    Oh, yeah. China really is the model. Republicans love a corrupt tyrant so long as he lets people make a lot of money while he’s in power. So long as Putin doesn’t do anything silly like nationalize a major industry he can oppress to Republicans’ hearts’ content.

  • Thom Allen

    Maybe he’s got the Russian version of Rand Paulitis. Just takes whatever speeches he wants.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Remember Sudetenland? ‘Protecting German speakers’ was the same rationale.

    Yeah, Putin either needs new speechwriters, or someone with access to Wikipedia.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Maybe they’re planning on letting all those occupying Russian soldiers and sailors vote, too.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The question is always, “Who is the intended audience?”

    I don’t think it’s intended for most of the West, except possibly for those who want a handy reason to excuse this rather blatant Russian aggression. In that, perhaps PR is the answer.

    I think the actual intended audience here is multi-layered.

    First, it’s a deliberate FU to the Ukrainian government, telling them in no uncertain terms who is boss, and also to discourage any move towards allying with NATO or the EU.

    Second, it’s pure propaganda. As such, it’s intended to convince any Crimeans or mainland Ukrainians that this is a fait accompli, and that Russian annexation is actually what the Crimeans want. And it’s also to convince Russian citizens in general that what is being done in their name is right, legal, and proper. Even though it isn’t.

  • Thom Allen

    Did anyone else notice, that when Putin first sent troops into Crimea he said that it was to “protect Russian speakers.’ Not native Russians or descendants of native Russians, just Russian speakers. Using that logic, Spain could invade Arizona to protect Latinos because they’re Spanish speakers. I think Vlad needs new speechwriters.

  • Thom Allen

    Maybe just in case some neighboring Turks or Ukranians want to vote for secession, too. You know how much they love Russia.

  • Thom Allen

    Does that mean that Texas and all those other dead beat, mooching, pesky red states will follow Crimea’s lead and try to split from the USA? Maybe Putin will send over some – uh- I mean, maybe some local partisans will show up, armed, and support the secession.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Printing more ballots than the entire population of Crimea.

  • FLL

    Maybe they are tickled by Putin’s conversion from a warmed-over Commie into an advocate for extreme laissez-faire capitalism (with a 13% flat corporate tax rate). Poor Marx and Engels are doing somersaults in their graves.

  • FLL

    A pretty accurate summary of the state of affairs in Crimea, sadly. Is this referendum Putin’s version of public relations? He has a warped concept of PR. I’m sure the global community will tacitly accept Russia’s hold on Crimea, but not because of this ham-handed attempt at PR. What a joke.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    Have you seen this from Digbysblog? http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/lovin-vlad.html

    It’s always been just a little sickening to the stomach when our right-wingers posture themselves as defenders of freedom so it’s almost heartening in a way when they reveal just what they really like, which is a big strong Daddy–er, sorry, an effective leader who can get things done. The fact that the Russian Daddy–damn, sorry again, effective leader–who moistens their shorts is a warmed-over Commie does kind of trouble them but then after all they’ve decided that Obama’s a Commie too so really Putin is an improvement!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It gets better. From Ms. Gorchinskaya’s article (linked above):

    Malyshev also said that 2.5 million ballots will be printed. However, according to the Central Election Commission data, as of Feb. 28, 2014 there were only just over 1.5 million voters in Crimea.

    Can you say “ballot box stuffing”? I knew you could.

    I’ll also wager that America’s radical right conservatives are creaming their BVDs right now over Putin and Russia’s tactics and wishing they could institute them here.

    - Create a reviled and oppressed minority, and a cadre of thugs to assault these scapegoats — gays and immigrants mostly, but also civil rights activists like Pussy Riot — publicly and visibly, to keep the citizenry in line. Check.
    - Don’t even bother to hide election rigging. Check.
    - If some portion of the government, federal or local, doesn’t do what you want, overthrow them or simply declare them to be illegitimate and install your own puppets and goons. To hell with constitutions. Check.
    - Ignore the U.N. and international law. Check.
    - Secession, baby. The solution to every geopolitical or cultural or economic conflict. Status: In progress.

  • cole3244

    like calling heads on a two headed coin, win win for putin lose lose for the ukraine.

  • melitagnm105

    My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST by
    working off of a computer. try this B­i­g­4­1­.­ℂ­o­m

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