The official UK Ukrainian Twitter feed, which reads as if it’s written by a 13-year-old pro-Ukraine radical, has recently been trumpeting this –
All very convenient for a retweet. Sadly, complete gubbins – none of them were anywhere near Crimea at the time of the referendum. I was, and here’s the 5 real differences –
1. The Scottish referendum wasn’t held after a violent revolution (Euromaidan – pictured below) had installed a far-right government which had, as its defining aims the destruction of its history culture (from historical monuments to removal of Black Sea Fleet).
2. Euromaidan deposed an elected president, and government, voted for democratically by the people of Crimea, who emphatically did not support Euromaidan. Why should they have been forced to accept a terrorist coup? (More Euromaidan pictured)
3. Access to Crimea was free to anyone who wanted to observe the referendum. I entered in a car with no licence plates without any letter of journalistic accreditation.
4. Any oppression or intimidation came on the side of those who wanted to support Russia, but were not allowed to do so. Several Crimean Tatars expressed to me they had been warned their homes would be burned down if they voted for Russia. Some Tatars even tried to remove ballot boxes, there was no security to stop them, locals stopped them. However, some Tatars openly supported Russia.
5. There were no soldiers or guns at any of the polling stations. People voted freely, the result reflected the wishes of the vast, vast majority of Crimeans.