Monday, 17 March 2014

This Ukraine "referendum" is a farce even by the standards of Putin's Russia

97% of the Crimea voted to split from Ukraine and go back to Mother Russia. But we are right in the EU to reject the findings. This is somethoing dreamt up by Putin, enforced by Putin and seekeing to solve propblems elsewhere that Putin cannot control. History teaches us that when a country has domestic problems at home, particularly economic, it creates a smokescreen elsewhere. Remember the Argentinian Falklands invasion to smokescreen domestic economic woes in Buenos Aires? Similar comments could be made about many other conflicts not least the First World War.

On the ballot paper, voters were asked whether they would like Crimea to rejoin Russia.

A second question asked whether Ukraine should return to its status under the 1992 constitution, which would give the region much greater autonomy.

Crimea is presently an autonomous republic within Ukraine, and transferred from Russia in 1954
It has:
Ethnic Russians - 58.5%
Ethnic Ukrainians - 24.4%
Crimean Tatars - 12.1%

There was no option for those who wanted the constitutional situation to remain unchanged.
As with all referenda it is the question which is key. Hence why the Scottish question is so fair, and the Crimea question so biased.

Last week I met with Ukrainian MP, Andri Shevchenko, in London. He made it clear that Ukrainians see the Crimea as the first step of future Russian agression. Ethnic Tatars, who make up 12% of the population, mostly boycotted the election. Sanctions are going to follow, and we have a debate in the House of Commons and a statement by William Hague tomorrow.