Two weeks ago, March 3rd, 2014, I spoke about Crimea being invaded by Russian militants. In fact, I even said “To me, this whole “I’m going into Russia to help my fellow Russian speaking citizens” is a cover-up to try to regain back their old region.” Interestingly, Crimeans voted today, March 16th, 2014, to decide whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Recent reports indicate around 95% of voters favored the secession. There were two questions on the referendum: (1) Are you in favor of unifying Crimea with Russia as a part of the Russian Federation?; (2) Are in favor of restoring the 1992 constitution and the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?
However, this public referendum was deemed illegal by Western leaders and vowed to punish Russia with sanctions. The Ukraine government has no intention of giving up their land. In addition, Obama made it clear, to Putin, that the referendum violated the Ukrainian constitution and occurred due to the duress of the Russian military intervention. Moreover, he mentions that the United States and the international community would never recognize Crimea under Russian control.
Putin, on the other hand, disagrees with Obama and the international community. He claims he has every right to go into Crimea in order to protect his Russian supporters and people. In my opinion, I do not see this voting process being close to fair. There are Russian militants throughout Crimea and protestors all over the streets supporting Russia. How can you have a fair voting process? Crimeans are definitely getting scared and do not know what to do. Maybe they are getting threatened. I do not think this is the right time to vote on whether Crimeans should be unified with Russia.
Do you think voting on whether to be a part of Russia is fair? Do you think it’s illegal? What do you think will happen to those who do not want to be a part of Russia? What will happen if Russia actually annexes Ukraine?
I think the voting is absolutely illegal. Russia is just exerting their political influence over this small region for the economic benefits. The United Nations tried to issue a ceremonial resolution regarding the matter, but Russia vetoed the entire proceeding. It is a wonder that anything gets accomplished by these organizations; when the countries that need to be publically reprimanded, have the ability to tailor the exact proceedings against them. These elections have already been deemed to be invalid by the United States Government, and I imagine that a majority of other countries will follow suit. The manner in which this whole operation has been carried out is just so crude. Our country must work quickly to enact trade sanctions against Russia. This must be a proactive action centered on giving the Ukrainian government a sustainable form of leadership to fend off this boarder entry, and any further Russian antagonism in the region.
I think voting is a good way to see what the people of Crimea choose regardless of what the Ukrainian or the Russian Government desires because the interests of the citizens of Crimea should come first. However, the conditions and the timing in which the voting took place are nowhere close to being “fair.” I do not believe that the outcome of this referendum can possibly reflect the reality given the circumstances. These days, the people of Crimea are facing a serious threat, and they have no life safety. Before coming up with this referendum solution, the lives of Crimea citizens should have been secured. After all, if the citizens of Crimea would still vote “yes” to be a part of Russia, then it is a fair game.
On the other hand, one should not forget that this voting took place, probably, in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution. No matter what is happening at this stage, Crimea is still “officially” a part of Ukrainian land so whatever happens within Crimea’s boundaries should comply with the Ukrainian Constitution and its laws. Thinking otherwise would make no sense at this point.