Crimeans “withdraw” their referendum vote on 5th anniversary of Russian annexation

On the fifth anniversary of the Crimean sham referendum which Russia used to legitimize its occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula, a leaflet campaign calling to "withdraw signatures" in the referendum spread through occupied Yalta. Photo: fb.com/mikhailbatrak85 

Crimea

Editor’s Note

It appears that the dissatisfaction of many Crimeans with life under Russian occupation is becoming more vocal. On the fifth anniversary of the “referendum,” which Russia held on 16 March 2014 to legitimize its occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula, the Crimean city of Yalta was plastered with leaflets criticizing life in Russia and calling to “withdraw” signatures in the sham referendum of 2014.

The photos of the leaflets were reportedly posted to Crimean forums. As twitter user wasily_crimea noted, the user who originally posted the photos is now unavailable, being supposedly blocked. However, photos of the leaflets had by that time spread like wildfire in the internet.

Here are some photos from the facebook account of Mykhailo Batrak, a Crimean living in exile in Ukraine.

The leaflets contain 10 reasons for dissatisfaction with life in Russian-occupied Crimea in Russian. Here is a translation:

“I am withdrawing my signature from the referendum!

For this, I have 10 reasons.

  1. We were promised protection from “banderites” [derogatory term for Ukrainian nationalists]. Instead, we got a terrorist act in [a school in] Kerch and confidence that this could be repeated in any part of Crimea;
  2. We were promised high pensions. Instead, we got high prices, in the result of which pensions stayed as miserable as they were in Ukraine;
  3. We were promised free healthcare. Instead, we got its complete ruination, with a lack of doctors, bad drugs, queues, and closures of hospitals;
  4. We were promised order in urban administration. Instead we got unreasonable requisitions for renovations and heaps of trash on the streets;
  5. We were promised deals for the Crimean industry. Instead, we got sanctions and job cuts at factories;
  6. We were promised assistance for small business. Instead, we got corruption, impunity, and predatory loans in dubious banks;
  7. We were promised the development of agriculture. Instead, we got the African swine fever, destruction of rice farming, and appearance of salt marshes in North Crimea [due to the lack of water for irrigation which had previously come in from mainland Ukraine];
  8. We were promised that our unique nature would be protected. Instead, we got a chemical catastrophe in Armiansk, the mass development of quarries, and juniper felling at the South Coast;
  9. We were promised an iron rule of law. Instead. we got a drug addiction boom, mass knifing with Chechens, and total impunity of the police;
  10. We were promised millions of tourists each summer. Instead, we got tourist taxes, bureaucracy, and impoverished crowds with state tourist vouchers.

We voted for the bright future of our native land, not for joining the state of liars, thieves, and lowlives.

If you are also for a normal life in Crimea, share this information in any way possible.”

The so-called “referendum” held on 16 March 2014 after unmasked Russian troops seized the Crimean parliament and administrative buildings. According to official data, 83,1% of voters had turned up to the referendum in Crimea. According to the same official data, 96,77 and 95,6% of people respectively, had voted in favor of the accession to Russia. However, according to Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, radio intercepts of the Russian FSB reveal that a much smaller number of Crimeans actually took part in the referendum (34,2%). The ballots contained two questions which left no room for the status quo, of Crimea remaining as an administrative part of Ukraine: “Are you in favor of the reunification of Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation” and “Are you for the restoration of the 1992 Crimean constitution of the Crimean Republic and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?.” A massive propaganda campaign had started at the same time urging the Crimeans to vote for the first option.

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