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By Human rights investigations
Pew Poll: Crimeans happy with “annexation” by Russia, believe referendum was free and fair

The latest survey in Ukraine by the Pew Research Center, reveals 91% of Crimeans believe the recent referendum was free and fair and only 4% believe Ukraine is correct in not recognising the referendum results. The poll numbers underline that the official results of the Crimea referendum are a true reflection of the will of the Crimean people.

12 May 2014 | - : Russia Ukraine

This Pew poll was based on face-to-face interviews between April 5-23, with 1,659 randomly selected adults across Ukraine and Russia and the results may come as a surprise to those who depend on Western corporate media for information about current affairs.

It is worth noting that the Pew Research Center is internationally recognised for the accuracy of its polling. Even anti-Russian propagandist Professor Paul Roderick Gregory (who seemingly still retains his academic and writing positions despite having his credibility torn to pieces) has described it as a credible polling organization.

With members of the Svoboda Party (a party about whom the European Union stated “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party”, forming a major part of the “interim government” which has seized power in Kyiv, it is no surprise that the poll indicates only 21% of people in Eastern Ukraine and 7% of people in Crimea say they trust Kyiv to guarantee personal freedoms. And this poll was taken before recent massacre in Odessa and military incursion into Mariupol.

With regard to whether Kyiv should recognise the results in Kyiv the poll numbers are as below:

With regard to feelings toward Russia, Putin, the US and Obama, the pollsters say: “Crimean residents are almost universally positive toward Russia. At least nine-in-ten have confidence in Putin (93%) and say Russia is playing a positive role in Crimea (92%). Confidence in Obama is almost negligible at 4%, and just 2% think the U.S. is having a good influence on the way things are going on the Crimean peninsula.”

Most importantly the pollsters say that “For their part, Crimeans seem content with their annexation by Russia. Overwhelming majorities say the March 16th referendum was free and fair (91%) and that the government in Kyiv ought to recognize the results of the vote (88%).”

These figures tally well with the official results of the referendum in which, with a voter turnout of 83.1 %, 93 % pronounced themselves in favour of joining the Russian Federation.

Peoples have a fundamental right to use their own language and according to the pollsters: “A broad majority of Crimeans (74%) say both Ukrainian and Russian should be official languages in Crimea. About two-in-ten (21%) say it should be Russian only and nearly no one says it should be Ukrainian only.”

However, the results across Ukraine show a very worrying and deep divide:

Whilst Western corporate media has been very negative in its coverage of PM Aksvonov, the government in Simferopol and the role of the self-defense forces the pollsters find “Crimeans are very satisfied with the leadership in Simferopol. Roughly eight-in-ten (83%) say Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov is having a good influence on the way things are going in Crimea. Similarly, 82% give the government in Simferopol high marks. A majority of Crimeans (65%) also say the self-defense forces have had a positive impact on Crimea.”

It is also notable that just two-in-ten Crimeans say the upcoming elections for the next administration in Kyiv will be conducted fairly, which, given the past experience of fascists in power in Europe would probably be a fair assessment.

The failure of the EU and the US to defend the rights of Crimeans is reflected in the poll findings. According to the pollsters, “residents of Crimea overwhelmingly rate the EU and the U.S. as having a negative influence on Crimea (89% bad for EU, 88% bad for U.S.).”

On the other hand, “When asked separately about Russia’s influence on their territory, Crimeans are unequivocal in describing Moscow’s impact as positive (92%).”

Unsurprisingly, “93% express confidence in the Russian president, including 80% who say they have a great deal of confidence in his handling of foreign affairs.”

Confidence in Merkel stands at 13% and Obama at 4%.

Whilst Western media may highlight the poll showing that opinion in Ukraine has swung in a more pro-Western direction, this should be balanced against the finding that “Russian opinions of the U.S. are at their lowest point since Pew Research began polling in Russia 12 years ago. Only 23% give the U.S. a favorable rating, down sharply from 51% last year.”

Wildly inaccurate portrayals of the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum are being peddled in corporate media in order to reignite a Cold War and to drive a wedge between Europe and Russia.

However the poll shows the results of the Crimean referendum were indeed a true reflection of the will of the Crimean people and a natural reaction to the coming to power of neo-Fascists in Kyiv. With corporate media largely dedicated to spreading myth and propaganda, social media’s role in spreading the truth grows daily in importance.

Human rights investigations
evidence-based, independent and rigorous investigation of human rights abuses
May 12, 2014