Reuters reports that:
"The United States and European Union imposed personal sanctions on Monday on Russian and Crimean officials involved in the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the region as a sovereign state.
The moves heightened the most serious East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War, following a disputed referendum in the Black Sea peninsula on Sunday in which Crimea's leaders declared a Soviet-style, 97-percent vote to secede from Ukraine."
Are these sanctions on persons (such as freezing of the personal assets of Russian oligarchs) sufficient response to Russia's Soviet-style annexation of Crimea---part of the sovereign nation of Ukraine?
What makes it a "Soviet-style" vote? Perhaps I missed that in propaganda-101.
Even before this referendum, it was clear that a large portion of the Crimean people wanted to rejoin Russia. Perhaps 3% really is the extent of opposition to the plan. Perhaps those who were planning to vote against rejoining Russia couldn't be bothered because they knew there would be a huge majority voting for it. Perhaps it's a bit of both; I don't know, but if anyone has a genuine criticism of the referendum that goes beyond "I heard some guy on <insert American news channel> say it was bad" then I'd like to hear it.
I find it amusing and alarming that America and the EU supported an armed coup by Ukrainian fascists (allied with some liberals) that violently toppled a democratically elected leader because he didn't want to sign a trade deal with the EU. If some Republicans got together to topple Obama because he didn't want to trade with a country you like, would you pick up a baseball bat and help them, or would democracy suddenly mean something to you?
And don't tell me they were "protesters". That's what our media was trying to call them. Frankly it was ridiculous. The Ukrainian police were being shot at, beaten, and firebombed by violent fanatics while our media painted a picture of hippies with flowers in their hair getting oppressed by the evil dictator (who they kept forgetting to mention was elected by a majority in the Ukraine).
So if you're a fan of destroying democracy when it's in the interests of America and Europe, I wouldn't be surprised if Russia and Crimea's decision to ask the people what they actually want agitates you in equal measure. Referendums give power back to the people. It's democracy in its truest form.
Do you really believe that any meaningfully democratic---a substantively not procedurally democratic election, can result in a vote of 97% in favor of anything?
Rather than try to make some meaningless analogy between Republican and Democratic politics in the US, try this analogy:
Canada---spurred by Quebec, decides that there are (and there are in reality) many ethnic French-Canadians living in northern New York State. And, Canada decides that these ethnic French-Canadians are historically and socially and politically really part of Canada.
So, Canada occupies northern New York and then---totally contrary to New York State or US federal law, holds an election in northern New York. After the election, Canada announces that 97% of northern New Yorkers have voted to become part of Canada.
And the next day, the Prime Minister of Canada ratifies that election and announces that northern New York is now part of Canada.
That would be entirely legitimate, right?
If yes, then what Russia did in Ukraine is legitimate.
IF not, then what Russia did in Ukraine is not legitimate.
Be a Russian sympathizer all you want, but at least be honest enough not to claim that what Russia did is somehow justifiable under existing law.
Just be bold, like Gorbachev was today, and announce that you support Putin's efforts to reintegrate Ukraine into the former Soviet Union (now Russia) because it is in Russia's strategic geopolitical interests to do so and without reference to what the rest of the world thinks.
Yes, I really think 97% is statistically possible in a referendum. I've already explained why it's possible in this referendum. If you want to ignore that and instead base your argument on a meaningless appeal to skepticism by saying "do you really think..." then you clearly don't have a leg to stand on.
You've also ignored my question about what makes this a "Soviet-style" vote. Is there a number that, when reached, makes a vote "Soviet"? What is it? 95%? 90%? Perhaps 85%?
Oh look, you've ignored my analogy too. As I do have a leg to stand on, I'll do you the courtesy of addressing yours.
Your analogy is inaccurate because Russia didn't occupy Crimea. Pro-Russian Crimeans did it of their own accord. I don't blame you for thinking it was ordered by Moscow because that's what some of the more rabid news media have been trying to get us to believe. Now the media are being more careful with their words. Like here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26630062 they're saying "pro-Russian forces" because they can't keep lying to people.
Your analogy is also inaccurate because it's Crimea that is holding the referendum and announcing the results. You're making it sound like Russia is doing that. There is a parliament in Crimea you know. After asking their people what they want, they've decided to request rejoining Russia.
So, to put your analogy in its proper context.... if pro-Canadian New Yorkers took up arms and occupied airports and government buildings in a bloodless takeover because they were afraid of being persecuted by a fascist government; and if the local government within New York State decided to hold a referendum; and if 97% of them wanted to rejoin Canada; and if they used to be part of Canada 60 years ago... then I would support them returning. Wouldn't you?
There's a referendum for Scottish Independence coming up in the UK. I take it you're not a fan? (I'm not saying this is an analogy. Just a question to you.)
Ugh, right, so standing up for democracy makes me a "Russian sympathizer" and somehow dishonest, does it? If this was America (or Canada) I'd stand up for what is right in the same way, and I've said as much already. Give the low-blows a rest.
"Just be bold" and announce I support Russia's interests? You sound like a cop with no evidence trying to get a confession. Do you have a single point to make? Why do you think this referendum wasn't fair? And don't give me another "do you really think...." argument because it doesn't actually mean anything.
To suggest that a statistical possibility is a marker of historical or electoral reality; that Russia did not occupy Crimea; that Crimean officials are running the show; that Russia is not orchestrating and controlling these events is just absurd.
What you are arguing is that NO nation---basically anywhere in the world, has any right to expect that its nation and national borders will remain intact in the present, because claims to its territory are defined and defined infinitely and legitimately by the past.
So for example:
Great Britain retains indefinite legitimate control over the United States; Russia retains indefinite legitimate control over all the now sovereign nations that were part of the former Soviet Union; all colonial powers in Africa, Latin America, and Asia retain indefinite legitimate control all now sovereign nations that were once part of empires, etc.
This is total crap and you know it.
And as for the referendum passing with 97% of the vote: In what imaginary Soviet world?
Crimean authorities refused to allow certain international observers --- specifically, the ones from the U.N.'s Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) --- to oversee the referendum.
The 2 options on the ballot: (1) Join Russia now or (2) Join Russia later. There was NO choice #3---do not join Russia now or later.
No details of any voting results were issued in terms of precincts or districts. Rather a central RUSSIAN electoral committee oversaw and reported the results.
"To suggest that a statistical possibility is a marker of historical or electoral reality"
I didn't say it was. I said "Even before this referendum, it was clear that a large portion of the Crimean people wanted to rejoin Russia. Perhaps 3% really is the extent of opposition to the plan. Perhaps those who were planning to vote against rejoining Russia couldn't be bothered because they knew there would be a huge majority voting for it. Perhaps it's a bit of both; I don't know". You ignored what I said, and you're ignoring it again now. I'll add to this and say that many of the minority Tatar population boycotted the vote, which may explain why it was so unanimous.
"that Russia did not occupy Crimea; " - They didn't. As some of the media are now admitting, the "occupiers" are pro-Russian Crimeans. If you think they're part of the Russian army, provide some evidence to back up your claim.
"that Crimean officials are running the show;" - They are. They called the referendum and organized it.
"that Russia is not orchestrating and controlling these events" - Are they? For the 3rd and last time I'm going to ask if you have any facts to back up your claims. Otherwise there's nothing to argue here.
" is just absurd." - If this is your attempt at an alternative argument to "do you really think..." then I'm sorry to break this to you, but you still haven't made a single valid point.
"What you are arguing is that NO nation---basically anywhere in the world, has any right to expect that its nation and national borders will remain intact in the present, because claims to its territory are defined and defined infinitely and legitimately by the past. "
I'm really not. I said that people within a territory should have the right to democratically decide what country they want to be a part of. It's the basic right of self-determination. The fact that Crimea used to be part of Russia was something I mentioned because your analogy was lacking. It's not an excuse for secession. You're misrepresenting my argument.
"This is total crap and you know it." - Yes it is total crap. Good thing I didn't say it. If you want to fight a straw man I suggest you use a box of matches.
Your "facts" are distorted. The ballot paper asked voters two questions. The first was: "Are you in favour of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea reuniting with Russia as a constituent part of the Russian Federation?" The second question asked whether Ukraine should return to its status under the 1992 constitution, which would give the region much greater autonomy. If the people answer "no" to both questions, then nothing changes. That's how referendums work. The referendum for Scottish independence won't ask "do you want things to remain the same?", it will ask "do you want independence?" and if they say "no" then things remain the same.
Please provide evidence that impartial international observers weren't present. Every source I've read has said that international observers were satisfied. Every source has said the local election commission ran the elections. Also, why would Russia need to fix the vote? They have a clear majority in Crimea. The argument is whether the referendum was legal, not what the result was.
You can't just make stuff up and expect me or anyone to take you seriously. You're responding to my well-researched points with empty statements like "that's absurd", you're misrepresenting my other points and setting up straw men, and now you're distorting clear facts about what was actually in the referendum.
Let me try this again:
The point is the choices on the ballot were:
1. Join Russia now.
2. Join Russia later.
There was NO third choice of do not join Russia. This ballot could NOT possibly return any results other than a join Russia.
The UN is reporting that its observers were not allowed into Crimea.
The ballot paper asked voters two questions. The first was: "Are you in favour of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea reuniting with Russia as a constituent part of the Russian Federation?" The second question asked whether Ukraine should return to its status under the 1992 constitution, which would give the region much greater autonomy. If the people answer "no" to both questions, then nothing changes. For example, the referendum for Scottish independence won't ask "do you want things to remain the same?", it will ask "do you want independence?" and if they say "no" then things remain the same. That's how referendums work.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world … 93621.html
So for the last time, stop making things up.
When Putin's Russian army marches into the rest of Ukraine---and perhaps into eastern Europe, then you may begin to understand just how lacking in democratic authenticity of this referendum was.
Maybe then you will read some history and think about the last guy who talked about the importance of annexing land as part of a larger project dedicating to simply protecting ethnic minorities living outside of the borders of their homeland.
It would be good if you just admitted you were wrong.
To be right in your eyes I need to support Putin's aggression and illegal annexation of one part of a sovereign nation and pretend that a referendum in Ukraine (where 52% of the people are not ethnic Russians) resulted in a 97% favorable to Russia vote to be annexed by Russia. I also need to disregard history; to disregard all of the informed commentary of experts inside and outside of Russia. And I need to pretend that Putin's conduct is not indicative of any imperialist-driven ambitions to recreate the now defunct Soviet Union.
You seem to have replied to me by accident. If what you just said resembled the truth in any way, then I wouldn't call it "right". I'm sure your straw man is reeling though. Let me know how he responds..
Do you know how Crimea came to be part of Ukraine?
Do you aware of the treaty that was ratified between Russia and Ukraine that (1) granted Ukraine sovereignty and (2) that got Russia's nuclear weapons back from Ukraine?
Do you speak Russian? Do you speak Ukrainian?
People who do were very clear in stating that the soldiers were speaking Russian not Ukrainian.
Russian is a common language in the Ukraine and you can expect pro-Russian Crimeans to be speaking it! Dear lord you're an... well I can't say it for fear of being banned from the forums... but flipping heck.
Well sure, 97% is believable.....especially when you consider 104% of Crimeans voted....DUH!
How could I forget to include that?
Observers are reporting that almost 100% of the dear-departed of Crimea also voted. Good for them! No need to leave elections to the living...
Provide a source or you're making it up (again). Dead voters were left on the register by the Kiev government, and this was passed to Crimea. If you have any proof that these dead voters had any votes recorded, then let us know. And I ask again, why would Russia need to fix a vote that they'd easily win without fixing? The outcry is about whether the referendum itself was legal, not what the result was. No-one is disputing that a majority of Crimeans want to rejoin Russia.
This conversation reminds me of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem "The World Is a Beautiful Place".
And yes, many people---including many living in Crimea, dispute whether or not Crimeans want to rejoin Russia---particularly since if one knows just a little about the history of Crimea in terms of Russia, then one knows that this "joining" (once upon a time in the not so distant past) was not by choice, but rather, by result of a little something called the Crimean War and another little something called the Bolshevik Revolution.
Firstly the West has not yet got over the hangover of its imperialist past. They have grandiose dreams of dominating the world, not realizing that times have changed. UK and France are puny powers and berefit of colonies are riding piggy back on Uncle Sam. They have instigated troube in Ukraine witha view to encircle Russia. Its bound to fail and ultimately the entire Ukraine people will realize that they have been taken for a ride by the west.
The Crimea vote is legitimate and in fact entire Ukraine for its own good must rejoin Russia. Otherwise it will go further into bankruptcy and the west itself with its economy mortgaged to China wont be able to help.
So you actually believe that 97% of the population of a sovereign nation voted to give up their national sovereignty and be annexed to Russia and all of the analysts looking at this election outcome as utterly preposterous are wrong?
That's right, Mr. Singh: Blame America first, if that doesn't work...blame the Americans.
Keep that old soviet playbook handy, you're probably gonna need it.
Keep Chairman Mao's book handy, too.
Speaking of playbooks: Am I the only one who sees this cat (Putin) is working from Hitler's 1939 playbook?
Hell, he's damn near using the exact terminology from 1939! He oughtta be sued for plagiarism.
And, let's not forget the ol' Soviet spymaster has the old KGB playbook opened as well.
Then, this crazy S.O.B. opened up Nikita Kruschev's playbook, and threatened to turn us into "nuclear ash."
At least he didn't plagiarize his "we will bury you" line while banging his shoe on the dais (would'a been too obvious, I guess).
Comrade Vladimir has made no secret of the fact he would love nothing better than to revive the old Soviet empire- even if it is under a different name.
You, Mr. Singh, are SOOOOO wrong on SOOOOO many levels. I am an old Paramedic and we had a medical term for stuff like this: F.O.S. (Full Of S--t).
Any semblance of Democracy in Russia went away with Boris Yeltsin.
Make no mistake about it, people: Vladimir Putin's Russia is nobody's friend and the world is finally beginning to come to that realization.
Heads up: Hub coming....
Exactly. The one thing I could NOT get out of my head when Putin's invasion of Crimea began was his statement that he was protecting the interests of ethnic Russians. Can we say Sudetenland?
I was born in 1955 and lived my entire childhood waiting for Soviet bombs. I thought we solved this problem back in 1989. I don't want my children and grandchildren reliving the nightmare that was---for those of us who lived it, the Cold War.
Larry J. Sabato just posted a comment worth repeating:
"Tammany Hall, I mean Russia, has released Crimea results: 97% in favor of joining USSR, I mean Russia."
This is exactly right.
Whether you like it or not, the people of Crimea have voted. The VAST majority wanted reunion with Russia, and there are celebrations on the streets today.
It is now time for the US and EU to accept this, just as they have done in similar, previous situations elsewhere in the world (Kosovo for example). Otherwise they could be accused of double standards, and (Lord forbid) even hypocrisy . . .
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