Crimea Referendum 232

The principle of self-determination should be the overriding consideration, and the Crimean Parliament’s decision to hold a referendum on union with Russia is something which always needed to be part of a solution.  But plainly  this month is much too fast, and a referendum campaign which gives people an informed and democratic choice cannot be held while the Crimea is under Russian occupation and those against the proposed union with Russia are suffering violence and intimidation.

The EU needs to move towards Putin.  An approach that sticks rigidly to Ukrainian territorial integrity being inviolate is sterile.  An international agreement is possible, if the EU makes plain to Russia that it accepts the principle of self-determination.  Agreement should then be reached on immediate withdrawal of Russian forces into their allocated bases in Crimea, and back to Russia if there are indeed extraneous numbers, and an international monitoring presence for the OSCE.

The referendum should then be scheduled for the end of this year, with guarantees of freedom of speech and campaigning, equal media access and all the usual democratic safeguards, again to be monitored by the OSCE.

The apparent pullback from violence has been very useful, but the diplomatic and economic fallout is still potentially very damaging.  Following the Anschluss, Hitler held a referendum in Austria within one month of the military takeover and received 99.7% support.  At the moment Putin stands open to a legitimate accusation of pulling precisely the same stunt in precisely the same timescale.




232 thoughts on “Crimea Referendum

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  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Agree with you. And if Crimea did declare itself in favour of returning to Russia, so much the better – it would remove yet one more pretext for Russia to bully Ukraine into following its own failed model.

    I would also welcome a referendum in Chechniya. What say the Eminences?

  • John Goss

    An apple for one comment maker.

    It is very quick but in my opinion it would not matter if it was this month, next month or next year. The majority is likely to be opposed to Ukraine governance and in favour of Russian. Russia must feel somewhat aggrieved that a gift was made of Crimea to the Ukraine and from its point of view it has been stabbed in the back by the mafia of Kiev.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Tovarish Goss

    You seem annoyed that I agree with many of the things Craig has been writing recently?

    Or do you just object to me saying so? If so, please have a quiet word behind the scenes with the moderator.

    BTW, if I were in the business of distributing fruit I’d definitely give you a banana. 🙂

    [ John Goss has no more access to moderation than Habbabkuk or anyone else.]

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Tovarish Goss

    “Russia must feel somewhat aggrieved that a gift was made of Crimea to the Ukraine”

    I love that sift, understanding, cuddly kind of word : aggrieved. LOL

    Since the Crimea was gifted in 1954, and the Soviet empire and communism fell in 1991, it’s taken quite a time for the Russians to realise they were “aggrieved”.

    Always the useful fool!

  • John Goss

    The Guardian article is all right except I would not call the Batkivshchyna party moderate. It contains elements, as well as the Timoshenko family, who are very close to the mafia and Zionists. One such is Pashinsky who was caught by his own supporters with a rifle and silencer in the boot of his car. He is my main suspect, as I have seen no others with rifles and silencers, as the assassin who started this coup.

  • craig Post author

    John Goss

    I am open to the idea there was sniping from the protestors side too; I am open to the possibility of false flag sniping as well. But there certainly was sniping from the police and security force side. It wasn’t any one man who “started this coup”.

    The Timoshenkos certainly are oligarchs themselves. I am afraid being “close to the mafia and Zionists” is the norm for politicians throughout the FSU – including Putin, in a very big way.

  • John Goss

    Craig Murray. Yes, I’ve heard about the gun-carriers of the Ukraine and there seem to be a lot of them from many different factions. What worries me most is that this government that has taken over has not been elected – it has stolen power – and the west, whose hands in this may also not be bloodless, are supporting an illegal government. While the comparisons are not parallel I try to think what would have happened at the time of the Tottenham riots if the rioters had been offered money and the chance to rule if they attacked parliament and forced a change of government. As you said a few days back those who get to become leaders are rarely nice people. The Ukraine is in danger of becoming a tinder-box but my own feeling is that this government will not be in power long, or new borders will be drawn.

  • Abe Rene

    That’s how to make more Russian territory

    1. Expel the Tatar majority
    2. Infuse a Russian majority
    3. Hold a free and democratic referendum just for that piece of Ukraine
    4. Presto! Crimea is yours.

    They did it in East Prussia after the Second World War, substitute ‘German’ for ‘Tatar’. As Blue Peter would say ‘Here’s one I made earlier..’ 🙂

  • Ba'al Zevul (Even Mail Hacks Don't Read The Mail)

    Don’t know about ‘The Eminences’, but I’m neutral. And I think, all things considered, that Crimea is probably so Russian already that it wouldn’t notice the difference if it were formally Russian. Which is what I’m guessing is what Putin is after. As previously stated.

    But Craig has it. This is a mafia clan war, essentially. The deep involvement of the US neocon Nuland and her backers gives Putin as much propaganda as he needs on the subject of outside interference, while pulling the Sudetenland Gambit to justify his own intervention (as Hilary Clinton pointed out, to jeers from the historically blind). In the other camp, there are nationalists, some benign, some not so, and globalisers. But ultimately, this can only result in one bunch of oligarchs or the other parasitising the poor bloody economic infantry, as usual.

    The timing and legality of a referendum are peripheral.

  • Patrick Haseldine

    Professor Francis Boyle has described “a more disturbing ‘reality’ possibility” for the unfolding events in Ukraine:

    “I suspect this entire Ukraine Crisis had been war-gamed and war planned quite some time ago at the highest levels of US/NATO. Notice DOD slipped 2 US warships into the Black Sea just before the Olympics under a patently absurd pretext. In other words, what we are seeing unfold here is a US/NATO War Plan. They instigated the fascist coup against Yanukovich. They anticipated that Putin would then respond by taking over Crimea.

    “I suspect the US/NATO/EU response will be to introduce military forces into Western Ukraine and Kiev and thus make Ukraine a de facto member of NATO, which has been their objective all along. They have already anticipated what Putin’s next move after that will be. Notice also the massive anti-Russian campaign by the Western News Media working in lock-step with each other. Another sign that all this has been planned well in advance.

    “I suspect that US/NATO/EU figure that Putin knows they have this offensive, first-strike strategic nuclear capability with a rudimentary ABM/BMD capability so that at the end of the day he will be forced to stand down—or else. Compellence as opposed to Deterrence. Just like during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That is where this US/NATO/EU War Plan is heading on the assumptions that they can keep their deliberate Escalation Dominance under their control and that at the end of the day Putin will be forced to stand down just like Khrushchev did and for the same reasons. That would leave US/NATO/EU in control of at least half of Ukraine as a de facto NATO member state.”


  • craig Post author

    Abe Rene

    I agree. Ethnic cleansing has a long squalid history. But resolving conflicts needs to be done on the basis that people are where they are now.

  • ESLO

    John Goss

    An if the Batkivshchyna party is not moderate and Timoshenko is mafia – how would you describe the politics and business connections of the Great Leader?

  • ESLO

    John Goss

    And in your haste to address the aggrieved Russia perhaps you might wish to spare a thought as to how the Ukrainian and Tatar minorities might be treated going forward – especially given the somewhat patchy record of your boys when it comes to its treatment of minorities. Seriously how good do you think live now looks for these poor people?

  • John Goss


    Well actually the Tatars (Tartars) and Ukranian minorities have my sympathy. I hope they are treated well by the majority. But let us face it, if there had not been a mob takeover of the legitimately elected government, this would never have arisen. I do not agree with Craig about negotiations and talks should take place at where we are now. I would not have supported the Mark Thatcher led coup in Equatorial Guinea (2004) if that had succeeded either. And I doubt Craig would.

  • John Goss

    Beeston Regis, we discussed it yesterday at length, but thanks for keeping it in the public-eye. It has been largely ignored by MSM.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I favor the immediate referendum, provided Russian forces withdraw before it takes place, and I believe they will. The referendum’s outcome is certainly beyond doubt.

    To wait until the end of the year will just result in Ukraine’s end, as others parts, especially along the eastern and western borders, will want to leave too, especially with American ultra-nationalist slike-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton playing the Hitler card when it comes to Putin.

  • Paul Rigby

    I’m looking forward to the referendum for the people of rump Ukraine on the question of the IMF’s terms and conditions. There will be one, won’t there?

  • Ba'al Zevul (Even Mail Hacks Don't Read The Mail)

    Breaking, mafia-related –

    Jointly run by –

    Whose hobby is –

    (he has joint Ukranian-Israeli citizenship, and as befits a patriotic son of Ukraine, lives in Switzerland)

    Mafia Wars….

    Always follow the money.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Trowbridge H. Ford

    If you tell me at least 5 substantial differences between Putin and Hitler I will be glad to educate myself on this matter.

    I for once can tell you about 5 communalities.

    1. Suppression of opposition and reducing legislative branch of power to rubber stamp.

    2. Confrontational foreign policy to straighten support at home.

    3. Support and encouragement of chauvinism and fascism (Russian in this case).

    4. Drive of hegemonic attitude towards neighbouring countries from Belarus to Central Asia and Caucasus.

    5. Masterly planned and executed provocations (similar to Wehrmacht solders dressed in Polish military uniform shooting German civilians).

  • Ba'al Zevul (Even Mail Hacks Don't Read The Mail)

    Actually, despite Clinton’s slightly clumsy exposition, there is an eerie similarity between the problem of a German-speaking population in a unified Czechoslovakia, and the Ukraine today. Then as now the US was prominent in its solution – or otherwise. Long before Hitler.

    ‘ After Coolidge became witness of German Bohemian demonstrations,[2] Coolidge suggested the possibility of ceding certain German-speaking parts of Bohemia to Germany (Cheb) and Austria (South Moravia and South Bohemia).[citation needed] He also insisted that the German-inhabited regions of West and North Bohemia remain within Czechoslovakia. However, the American delegation at the Paris talks, with Allen Dulles as the American’s chief diplomat who emphasized preserving the unity of the Czech lands, decided not to follow Coolidge’s proposal.[3]

    Four regional governmental units were established:

    Province of German Bohemia (Provinz Deutschböhmen), the regions of northern and western Bohemia; proclaimed a constitutive state (Land) of the German-Austrian Republic with Reichenberg (Liberec) as capital, administered by a Landeshauptmann (state captain), consecutively: Rafael Pacher (1857–1936), 29 October – 6 November 1918, and Rudolf Ritter von Lodgman von Auen (1877–1962), 6 November – 16 December 1918 (the last principal city was conquered by the Czech army but he continued in exile, first at Zittau in Saxony and then in Vienna, until 24 September 1919).
    Province of the Sudetenland (Provinz Sudetenland), the regions of northern Moravia and Austrian Silesia; proclaimed a constituent state of the German-Austrian Republic with Troppau (Opava) as capital, governed by a Landeshauptmann: Robert Freissler (1877–1950), 30 October – 18 December 1918. This province’s boundaries do not correspond to what would later be called the Sudetenland, which contained all the German-speaking parts of the Czech lands.
    Bohemian Forest Region (Böhmerwaldgau), the region of Bohemian Forest/South Bohemia; proclaimed a district (Kreis) of the existing Austrian Land of Upper Austria; administered by Kreishauptmann (district captain): Friedrich Wichtl (1872–1922) from 30 October 1918.
    German South Moravia (Deutschsüdmähren), proclaimed a District (Kreis) of the existing Austrian land Lower Austria, administered by a Kreishauptmann: Oskar Teufel (1880–1946) from 30 October 1918.

    The U.S. commission to the Paris Peace Conference issued a declaration which gave unanimous support for “unity of Czech lands”.[4] In particular the declaration stated:

    The Commission was…unanimous in its recommendation that the separation of all areas inhabited by the German-Bohemians would not only expose Czechoslovakia to great dangers but equally create great difficulties for the Germans themselves. The only practicable solution was to incorporate these Germans into Czechoslovakia.

    Several German minorities according to their mother tongue in Moravia—including German-speaking populations in Brno, Jihlava, and Olomouc—also attempted to proclaim their union with German Austria, but failed. The Czechs thus rejected the aspirations of the German Bohemians and demanded the inclusion of the lands inhabited by ethnic Germans in their state, despite the presence of more than 90% (as of 1921) ethnic Germans (which led to the presence of 23.4% of Germans in all of Czechoslovakia), on the grounds they had always been part of lands of the Bohemian Crown. The Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919 affirmed the inclusion of the German-speaking territories within Czechoslovakia. However, over the next two decades, some Germans in the Sudetenland continued to strive for a separation of the German-inhabited regions from Czechoslovakia.

    (Wikipedia, sorry, but it’s concise)

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Beeston Regis

    Interestingly propoganded (if there is such word in English) matter. First of all I am positive that the hacking was not by Ukrainian KBG but very Russian KGB (similar to the hacking of Nuland’s conversation). Second interestingly the matter of shooting of both sides with the same weapons was referenced to the doctor who has stated quite clearly that she had no access to the wounded Berkut personnel, so she could not make a verdict of similarity of wounds. Thirdly (and this smells very fishy) Russian Duma (puppet parliament) is now enthusiastically investigating this (this looks to me like a bone that was thrown by Putin to his puppet parliament dogs).

  • Uzbek in the UK

    John Goss

    You said “But let us face it, if there had not been a mob takeover of the legitimately elected government, this would never have arisen.”

    Are you serious? Why could not you look further into the roots of the problem and not just a form? First of all I do question legitimacy of Yanukovich (as much as I question legitimacy of Karimov, Nazarbaev and other thugs). Secondly, the main reason of this all Crimea shenanigans is not what form of revolution has taken place (even if Yanukovich was dismissed by impeachment as Putin claims would have been legally) Russia would have acted as it is doing now. Understandable that Crimea is too important to Russia to risk even possibility of denial of stationing of Russian Black fleet there, so there is no question Russian reaction in a case of ANYONE running Ukraine without approval of Kremlin. Even after Orange revolution Russia had only calmed when received personal assurances that Black Fleet will not be touched, plus Russia was much weaker back in 2004.

    The only way for Kiev to keep Crimea under its authority is to submit to Kremlin. There is no other way. Every diplomatic initiative will be as useful as fart on the wind.

  • Ангрысоба

    Interestingly propoganded (if there is such word in English) matter.

    “Propagandized” might be the word you are looking for, although my very own spell-checker seems to have put a big angry red line under it.

    I notice that the Putinistas are all excited about the intercepted call between Lady Ashton and the Estonian foreign minister, although to me it seems obvious that he is reporting what are rumours among many of the protesters.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Your commonalities reduce Hitler to almost our average tyrant, elected strongman and dictator.

    Putin has successfully avoided war when under terrific provocation, particularly when American attack subs wanted to sink the USSR after the surprise assassination of Sweden’s assassination, sank the Kursk by mistake while tracking it when the Chinese were looking into buying one, wanted to attack Syria after a ‘false flag’ gas attack, and hoped to set the scene for a similar domestic one during the Sochi Games.

    Putin is no war monger, only trying to work out national and ethnic problems so post-Soviet Eastern Europe can become a peaceful, prosperous place where Russia is given due recognition, not just a target for the neocons who want to get rid of it because of its potential.

  • John Goss

    Uzbek in the UK

    One of the first things that Catherine Ashton said in response to the revelation by Paet was that there needs to be an investigation. It is how we like to think we operate in this country too. If there has been a shooting it needs to be investigated. You would agree with that wouldn’t you?

    ‘Interestingly propagandised matter’ but ‘Interesting propaganda’ would probably be better. 🙂

    I heard a terrible joke about what is propaganda.

  • Ангрысоба

    when American attack subs wanted to sink the USSR after the surprise assassination of Sweden’s assassination, sank the Kursk by mistake while tracking it when the Chinese were looking into buying one, wanted to attack Syria after a ‘false flag’ gas attack, and hoped to set the scene for a similar domestic one during the Sochi Games.

    It always helps if you invent examples of Western evil, in order to show off Putin’s magnanimity.

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