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Crimea Reunification Day Commemoration
By Stephen Lendman
|March 18 marked the third anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia,
following the March 16 referendum, correcting a historic mistake.
An overwhelming 96.77% of Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia. Turnout was 83.1%. A 95.6% majority supported reunification in Sevastopol - voter turnout at 89.5%.
Crimea’s Supreme Council called ousting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych a coup, putschists replacing it illegitimate.
The Russian reunification referendum was held in response to what Crimeans reject, refusing to be ruled Nazi-infested fascists.
Putin obliged them, signing a decree affirming their wishes. Russia’s parliament overwhelmingly approved it. So did its Constitutional Court.
A document signed in the Kremlin said reunification was “based on the free and voluntary expression of will by the peoples of Crimea at a nationwide referendum, held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on March 16, 2014, during which the people of Crimea made the decision to reunite with Russia.”
Two new Russian constituent territories were formed - the Republic of Crimea and Federal City of Sevastopol, given “special autonomous status.”
Crimea’s land border with Ukraine became Russia’s state border. Crimeans automatically became Russian citizens. Those wishing to retain Ukrainian citizenship were free to do so.
Ukrainian forces manning Crimean military facilities overwhelmingly decided to join Russia’s armed forces. They got transport help to relocate their families and belongings.
On Saturday, Crimeans celebrated. Thousands took to the streets. In Simferopol, Crimea’s capital, and Sevastopol, rallies were held. Military bands played. Artists sang patriotic and other songs. Crimean creative groups performed.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s president “could not come to Crimea” this year. “(I)t is hardly necessary to expect him to travel to Crimea every year.”
“He already goes there regularly enough. The fact that he is not present at this or that festive event does not mean that this day somehow lost its significance for him.”
“He keeps the situation around Crimea under personal control, and I am convinced that he would take the same steps and decisions and would take the responsibility as he did” in March 2014.
Months later, he said Crimean reunification was historically closed. The territory remains part of Russia. Its residents won’t be betrayed by returning it to Ukraine.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.