Speaker of the Russian State Duma states that it is not his country, but Ukraine, who annexed Crimea in 1991. The leading Russian official is citing the results of the referendum of doubtful legitimacy, which took place on the peninsula back then. So when and who really did annex the peninsula?
Speaker of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, Sergey Naryshkin was completely serious when he stated the following from the Parliament booth on Wednesday: “Essentially, 23 years ago the annex of Crimea was conducted.” It was conducted, according to him, by Ukraine – “thanks to the irresponsibility of a number of Russian politicians.”
He mentioned the referendum that took place in Crimea on January 20th, 1991. Back then the vast majority of its participants in the former Crimean oblast of the Ukrainian SSR gave a positive answer to the question: “Are you for the renewal of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as a subject of the USSR and participant of the Union agreement?” According to Naryshkin, this referendum, “essentially but the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine under doubt.” And as the peninsula remained Ukrainian in the end, this, to his mind, became a “peaceful annex.”
So what really happened? Yes, the consciously vague question at the referendum, approved by the Crimean boast government in violation of the former Soviet legislation, really did avoid the definition of what, according to its authors, Crimea was to become. As in those times the Soviet government was discussing the reform of the USSR and the settlement of a new Union agreement between the Soviet republics. However it is unclear how an autonomous Soviet republic could be part of such a union with much less power.
The former, Soviet, government of Ukraine, accounted for the part of the referendum’s decision that could be realised. Kyiv renewed Crimea’s autonomy which was liquidated by Moscow back in the day – naturally, as part of Ukraine, as the Crimean oblast was part of it. And the issue of vagueness of the formulation of the question fell away by itself: the Union agreement was not signed in the end – the USSR fell apart in the end of 1991.
We add that the indigenous population of Crimea, the Crimean Tatars, did not practically participate in the referendum. The majority boycotted it. The decision regarding the referendum was made without their participation – in the oblast council of the Crimea there were no Crimean Tatar representatives. What is more, at the time very few Crimean Tatars had returned to their Motherland from the locations of Stalin’s deportation. The Middle Asian republics, where the majority of the people lived at the time, prohibited the referendum among Crimean Tatars on their territories. And in Crimea itself, as observers have noted, significant contingents of the Soviet army were involved in the voting, first and foremost, regular soldiers who came there to serve from outside of the peninsula.
And in the end of 1991, at the Ukrainian referendum on December 1st regarding the support for state independence, over 54% of the participants from the newly-created Crimean ARSR voted for independent Ukraine.
Who and when conducted the annex of Crimea?
Annexation is the forcible capture of a territory of one country by another. That in 1991 Crimea was and remained part of Ukraine cannot be called annexation.
Instead, the actions of Moscow regarding Crimea in the current year fall well under the definition – the violent attachment of foreign territory. As the so-called will to join Russia of the locals in the autonomy was “expressed” at the falsified “referendum,” which was confirmed by Crimean lawyers; more than half of the members of the UN General Assembly also deemed this “referendum” illegal and illegitimate.
Another fact: in 2009-2012 a government body called the “President’s Committee in Countering the Attempts of Falsifying History In Damage to Russian Interests” existed in Russia. The entire time the committee that did not fight falsifying history in Russia’s favour existed, it was headed by Sergey Naryshkin himself.
Source: Radio Svoboda
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina