Crimeans have defied Western calls to boycott the referendum and have voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. Early results from more than 50 percent count showed that 95.7 percent of the vote was in favor of joining Russia. Western rulers are livid with the result and have vowed not to accept it but what can they do?
Sunday March 16, 2014, 21:39 DST
Early results from Crimea’s referendum show people’s overwhelming support for joining Russia. Of the results known so far, more than 95 percent of voters support union with Russia, according to Russian news agency RIA.
The voter turnout was reported at more than 80 percent by Russia’s Inter Fax news agency.
Mikhail Malyshev, head of the referendum commission, provided the figures after more than half the votes were counted today.
Peter Sharp, the Qatari-based Al Jazeera's correspondent in Moscow, also reported after the vote closed: “most people in Russia are delighted by the news.”
The West led by US President Barack Obama has led a chorus of opposition to the referendum in Crimea calling it “illegal.” The people of Crimea have shown that Western rulers cannot determine their future. Western rulers have a habit of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs.
Washington and its European allies have announced a series of sanctions against Russian entities. More sanctions will be announced tomorrow but this has not cramped Russian President Vladimir Putin’s style whose popularity has soared in Russia because he is standing up to the meddlesome West.
A Friday meeting in London between Russian Foreign Minister Sergeo Lavrov and his American counterpart John Kerry failed to resolve the issue because American demands were untenable. They wanted the referendum vote cancelled amid promises that the US would respect “Russian interests in the Crimea.”
Russia would have none of this. It has said the people of Crimea 60 percent of whom are Russians, must decide their own future. Moscow, however, has vowed to defend the rights of Russians wherever they may be residing.
The Russians are also furious at how Western-backed neo-Nazis carried out a putsch on February 22 ousting a legitimately elected President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich from power. A contrived vote in the Ukraine Parliament that did not achieve the two-third majority as required by the constitution dismissed him from office.
The entire process was rigged. The constitution calls for presenting evidence in parliament to impeach the president, if he is found in breach of his oath of office. The matter must then be presented to the country’s Constitutional Court that the new, Western-backed and financed neo-Nazi government also dismissed unceremoniously.
Russia maintains its Black Sea fleet in the Crimea and under a security treaty, it can station up to 25,000 troops in the Crimea. The agreement is valid until 2040.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's new Western puppet prime minister echoed his masters’ voice by decrying the referendum result. Putin is standing his ground and he will not allow the West to undermine Russian interests in the region.
Crimea’s original inhabitants, the Tatars make up only 12 percent of the Peninsula’s population. Unfortunately because of their bitter experience with past Soviet policies, they have sided with the West.
Their leaders are making a big mistake assuming that the West can be their friend. While Russians may have mistreated them, they should not repose any faith in the hypocritical rantings of Western rulers.
Crimea and Ukraine have revived the Cold War rivalry between Russia and the West.