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In a recent interview with ABC for which he is now taking flak, Trump said:
I’m gonna take a look at it. But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also.
As usual, Trump is right and cannot be stumped.
Above is a list I compiled half a year ago with all the most prominent polls and referendums ever held that directly or indirectly queried Crimeans on their attitudes towards Russia and Ukraine, along with the performance of the single most “Russophile” option in each case*.
- In 1992, the Republic of Crimea proclaimed self-government as part of Ukraine with its own Constitution. The pro-independence candidate Yury Meshkov was elected President in January 1994 with 73% of the vote. 79% of Crimeans voted for greater autonomy two months later.
- In 1995, the Ukrainian parliament annuled the Crimean Constitution and removed Meshkov from office.
- Consistently ~80% of Crimeans voted for “Blue” parties and Presidential candidates who promised closer relations with Russia during their stint as Ukrainian citizens.
- 73% supported seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia in 2008 in a Razumkov Center poll (a Ukrainian pollster).
- Consistently 80% of Crimeans said they’d vote “Yes” in a referendum on joining Russia in a series of polls from 2009 to 2011 carried out by the UN Development Program.
- The one major exception to this pattern was in the two polls by IRI, a Ukrainian polling organization. There, a majority opted for autonomy in Ukraine, versus 26% who opted to be “separated and given to Russia.” Even so, far more Crimeans said they’d favor trade integration with Russia over the EU if they were forced to choose between the two.
- No majority support for independence in the two KIIS polls, but there the question referred to whether they’d like “all of Ukraine” to join Russia.
- Also, as with the IRI polls, at the time Crimeans likely regarded getting incorporated into Russia as unrealistic anyway, and thus might have decided to opt for the safe option of autonomy.
- After the Euromaidan coup, the beatings of Crimean counter-protesters at Korsun by Right Sector, and the Orwellian-named “friendship trains” that started spreading out from Lvov and Kiev to put down the less Maidan-enthused regions, support in Crimea for joining Russia became near universal.
- Even on the streets, the pro-Russian crowds were much bigger than the pro-Ukraine ones – that’s according to to a journalist then working at The Economist, that well known Kremlin propaganda organ. /s
- Both Russian (FOM, VCIOM) and Western/Ukrainian (GfK Ukraine, Gallup) pollsters consistently showed overwhelming, usually 90%+, support for joining Russia ever since the Crimean referendum – well in line with the official results that were supposedly obtained by Crimeans being “held at gunpoint.”
- The one exception to this pattern, an estimate of 50%-60%, was produced by the Russian President’s Human Rights Council. However, on closer examination, it was not any sort of official figure, as presented by Forbes blogger Paul Roderick Gregory – a professional anti-Russian hack who later claimed 2,000 Russian soldiers died in Donbass on the basis of some lurid claims from a completely unknown Russian “business news” website – but the mere personal opinion of a single member of the Council, Yevgeny Bobrov, who based his assessment on conversations with a couple dozen unnamed “activists.”
Note that this version of events is supported by records of discussions held amongst the leaders of the Maidan themselves. Debating on whether or not to use military force to keep Crimea within Ukraine at the height of the crisis, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and former SBU head Valentin Nalivaychenko both admitted that Russia’s actions enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Crimeans.
So if you disagree Trump for observing that Crimeans “would rather be with Russia than where they were,” you are also disagreeing with not just Western polling agencies but the main organizers of Euromaidan and current leaders of Ukraine, and guess what – that makes you a Putin stooge, or so I’ve been told!
* “Don’t Know” and N/A responses are discounted. The “Adjusted” version of the referendum results consider those who abstained from voting as having voted Against.