Referendum and territorial claims as a justification of annexation : Crimea casus.

Many people justify annexation of Crimea by the Russian president because of the historical reasons. They say, that Crimea was always Russian and that people who lived there speak and feel Russians. All of those claims is partially truth. Fact is that in some moment of history Crimea was Russian. Also people there speaks Russian and many of them feel that they are in fact Russians…


Even if Crimeans feel like being Russians, they do not necessarily wanted to become part of Russia. Despite the calls that „Ukrainian Nazists” persecute Crimean Russians vast majority of them in a year before the war, wanted to stay in Ukraine. There is even more – the tendency in two years period was showing decreasing number of those who wanted to join Russia – from 33 to 23 percent. In the same time for autonomy, but still in the Ukraine, voted over half of the people in the peninsula.


We could believe that the people in Crimea were persuaded by the Russian propaganda, but we have polls which shows that even in March and April of 2014 the number of people who wanted to join Russia was really small. Despite the radical propaganda actions, large majority of Crimeans knew that Russia doesn’t mean prosperity and success.


In this case it is obvious that the „referendum” was fake in at least three simple ways:

1. With use of Russian soldiers, leaving their barracks or transported by see few days before, who voted like they were inhabitants of Crimea.

2. Counting the votes. There was no supervision of any international commission or Ukrainian authorities. Numbers were sometimes extraordinary high – even higher then all inhabitants of the cities.Of course there were politicians of „scientists” from the European countries… even prom Poland, but by money You can always buy some sort of people. Those who were there from Poland are very well known here for being open to bribery and with no moral backbone.

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3. Armed Russian soldiers were all around. If that’s not the breach of the referendum rules, then what is then?

So the claims of the threatened Crimeans because of the Russians were fabricated, same as the referendum. Putin created the situation with no return. After annexation of Crimea, nationalism in Russia raised fast. So called hawks in Kremlin wanted more. People felt like the Tzar and Emperor appeared. Those moves make Putin famous in many countries which are far from Russian border. In the same time Finnlans, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland were terrify. Like always such actions are exiting for people who are not in danger by it. Peoples life has not great value when those peoples are far away.

But even in the western Europe, Egypt or Venezuela, people want to pretend they are honest and balanced. That’s why they say that there are historical reasons why Russia have to „take back” Crimea. Russia in fact owned the Crimea and gave it to Ukraine after II World War because Ukraine was a part of USSR, so this fact really doesn’t matter.

If we would like to be so honest and give back all the territories which used to belong to someone else, such attitude could be very dangerous for today’s world. Or even explosive! But most problems in that case would have… Russia it self. So depending what time in history we consider, Russia should give back most of it’s lands:


In the XXI century, the world refused to use territorial claims and stated to deterring the meaning of the borders. Poles didn’t call for return of Vilnius and Lviv, Ukrainians in vast majority didn’t call to get back Przemysl, Germans did not use their advantage over Poland to get back Wroclaw or Szczecin. Also Cyprus is not causing the war between Turkey and Greece even if there is still enmity. Romanians and Hungarians once bordering with Poland do not claim to go north again to get back what was their. What about Austria, It was really powerful empire, but it is peaceful now. North Ireland stayed with Great Britain and Scotland tried referendum but also there majority wanted to not divide. Even if Scots would vote to go alone, we can bet, it would cause no war with British. World, despite it’s problems, wrong policies, bad expeditions, got more civilised. But Russia stayed in the beginning of the XX century in a aspect of mentality, domestic policy, expectations for the country leader. Those Russians who care of the fighting the war in Ukraine, are the parents of the soldiers sent to mess in the other country order. They are afraid of losing their children and if they do, they know that this loss was useless.


Autor: Milczanowski Maciej

Maciej Milczanowski Maciej is a former professional soldier, participant of two foreign missions: UN in Golan Heights commander of platoon and position (1997-1998) and NATO Iraq Battle Capitan in Tactical Operation Center (2004-2005). Holds an MA in National Defense Academy in Warsaw and Ph. D. in Jagiellonian University both on politics in ancient history and he now works in University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland. Visiting Fellow in Hoover Institution, Stanford University. CEO of Institilute for Research of the National Security and leader of the Zimbardo Center for Conflict Resolution (Z-CenterC&R)

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