On the 1st of October, Catalonia is due to hold a referendum on secession from Spain. Catalonia has been an autonomous region of Spain since 1932. With its population of over 7.5 million, and 32,000 sq kilometres, the region has a distinct language, and identity, from the rest of Spain.
Does this remind you of anywhere? Crimea, distinct identity from Ukraine, distinct language Russian. And a real reason not to want to be a part of Ukraine in 2014, after a terrorist overthrow of government had put far-right Ukrainian ultra-nationals in power, bent on eliminating the language, culture, and history of Crimea. The very essence of Crimea.
In Spain, a democratic process elected the government currently in power, in the election of June of 2016, returning the conservative ‘People’s Party’ of Mariano Rajoy, current Prime Minister. Couple of photos of that here:
That’s right, after Euromaidan there was no election, nothing of the kind. The ultra-Ukrainians who forced out a Ukrainian president democratically elected in 2010, and Ukrainian government democratically elected in 2012, simply seized power. They then immediately set about implementing their radical ultra-national manifesto, which would have done away with everything constituting the basis of Crimea – language, Russian, history, Russian, Black Sea Fleet, Russian, people – mostly ethnically Russian.
Now, of course both cases are specific, and have their own nuances. And I, personally, generally support the right of Catalans to hold their referendum on self-determination. And I’m not alone in this, let’s take the Guardian, one of the UK’s main papers, and though it pains me to say, most influential. They’ve given generally blanket favourable coverage to Catalonia’s referendum – there’s this –
The Guardian view on Spain’s mishandling of the referendum movement in Catalonia
They even gave an editorial to the president of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont – Spain’s attempt to block Catalonia’s referendum is a violation of our basic rights
Yet, look back to 2014, and it was a very different story from the Guardian, and Crimea’s referendum: Crimea’s referendum was a sham display of democracy:
(Note the difference in photos, as well, Catalonia’s bright and mass, to Crimea’s few and gloomy….. not a propaganda trick missed).
And it really went on and on, on the same theme – Crimea votes to secede from Ukraine in ‘illegal’ poll and many more.
And while the Guardian have given screeds of coverage to the impropriety of the Spanish government, back in 2014 there was barely a whisper of the fact that Ukraine’s new government was formed by a terrorist overthrow Crimea had emphatically rejected, Euromaidan, and heavily comprising a neo-Nazi party, and how the people of Crimea may perhaps have the right to protest against this.
They weren’t alone in this either, so there’ll be more on the theme, as in the western media, there really is a world of difference in coverage of the two referendums.