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Crimean people would gladly vote to join Russia again, polls show [Video]

The Western narrative that Crimea was “stolen from Ukraine” takes a hit as Crimean citizens express their satisfaction with joining Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On March 16, 2014, Crimea held a referendum election on the question of rejoining the Russian Federation and seceding from Ukraine. The vote passed by an enormous margin, nearly 97% of the voters saying they wished to rejoin Russia. That number was amplified by the 83.1% voter turnout. Clearly this was a very pressing matter for the Crimean people.

But now it is just about five years later. Do the Crimean feel that their rejoining Russia has turned out well for them? TASS reported on a poll that was taken on 10 March to address this question. The agency that took the poll was the Russian Public Opinion Research Center.

Many people in the West may laugh at this title, but this is only because they are themselves steeped in the narrative that Russia is somehow still the Soviet Union, with repressive laws against freedom of speech, expression, the right to gather and so on. The results of the poll would also seem to lend further credence to this idea because the answer was overwhelmingly positive about the transition to Russian sovereignty for the province. The TASS report follows (with emphases added):

Crimea remains positive about the peninsula’s reunification with Russia and if the referendum was held today, 89% of Crimeans would support joining Russia, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center announced the results of a poll on Thursday in Simferopol.

“The attitude towards Crimea’s reunification with Russia remains decisively positive. Eighty-nine percent would cast their votes to reunite with Russia if a referendum were held next Sunday, and 93% view the reunification in a positive light. The level of negative attitudes and support for an Autonomous Republic of Crimea as part of Ukraine are minimal (3% each), the data says. The survey also noted that across Russia, 85% of respondents would support the reunification.

According to the poll, the reunification’s effects are also viewed positively. For instance, 86% of respondents believe that Crimea is developing more successfully as part of Russia, while 72% say that the reunification had a positive effect on their lives and the lives of their families. Moreover, 82% of respondents in Crimea are satisfied with their existence, which exceeds the same number across Russia (64%). More than half of those who participated in the survey (56%) are satisfied with their financial standing.

The majority of respondents (59%) also say they have noticed positive changes on the peninsula in the last year. Road works, power supplies and an improvement in communities were listed as the spheres of biggest developments.

According to the poll, Crimea’s confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s is higher than in the rest of Russia. His work is viewed positively by 90% of the respondents (64% across Russia) and only 3% expressed a negative attitude.

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center conducted a nationwide poll on March 12, 2019, among respondents over 18 years of age. The poll was carried out via phone interviews with 1,600 people and margin of error being no more than 2.5%. The Center’s regional survey in Crimea was conducted on March 10.

These kind of numbers are unheard of in the West, for example, where presidential elections have so often been no wider than maybe 53-45 percent for the winner, and where a 60% approval rating is almost unheard of except in times of war. But in Russia the thought is different, and not because of government controls.

President Putin is an effective leader. While the criticism of Russia’s government from the West (and even from many people in Russia) is that there are no real choices besides Putin, this criticism ignores the reasons why there has been no good alternative to him. The Crimean poll above actually gives some reasons why his ratings are high throughout Russia, but especially so in Crimea:

  • Road improvement,
  • Power supply improvements,
  • The completion of the Kerch Strait Bridge, joining both road and rail lines to the Russian mainland from the peninsula.
  • All of these things show the Crimean that President Putin is actually interested in their welfare – the Ukrainian government is remembered as disdaining and neglecting these people.

It is quite logical that the spirits in Crimea run rather high. They have been made one of the targets where Russia can present its face to the world, especially given the American presence and influence in Ukraine, which seems not to be going so well.

Perhaps one of the reasons that American poll ratings do not rise so high is that most of the structure of the US government is designed to keep autocratic power from exceeding its bounds. One of the side effects of this is that the overall government itself does not work efficiently, so the opinion of its leadership tends to be somewhat neutralized. But the mainstream US press and politicians will usually not address this fact, preferring to claim “greater freedom” than Russia has, while the US cannot even keep its own borders secure.

In order to be fair in assessing Russia and her government, one has to examine things with an insider’s viewpoint. Many Russian people are used to seeing money disappear into the dachas of the lucky, when that money could have built a 21st century class road system. They are used to a Duma that set the pattern for many years that is now being emulated by the American representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the young prima donna of the American hard left.

Love him or hate him, President Putin has a talent and ability for getting things done in his country. While such power as he possesses may be considered the source of a problem in the West, his actual history and accomplishments show anyone willing to look honestly that President Putin has largely brought Russia back to greatness. There is still much to do, but the resounding record of the Russian leader’s actions appear to be shown in results that have helped his country get up and out of the awful position it was in not even thirty years ago.

Ukraine, by contrast, appears to be lost in corruption among its elite class, while regular people live their lives in awful conditions. This, while the US pours money and resources into the country, seeing no progress in return. In fact, in just the last day or two, President Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, got warned by the Azov Battalion (who helped him get into power in the first place) that if he did not meet their demands, they would increase street violence and sabotage Mr. Poroshenko’s re-election chances. As it is, he is presently running last among the top three, with sixteen days remaining until the March 31 elections.

This video, made by independent British reporter Graham Phillips, gives a bit more background on Crimea, and does a bit of myth-busting about the province and the politics associated with it.

It appears that the Crimeans are feeling the love – for Russia.

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“Eighty-nine percent would cast their votes to reunite with Russia if a referendum were held next Sunday, and 93% view the reunification in a positive light”. Hmm. I wonder why the 4% (93% minus 89%) have a positive view of the reunification but wouldn’t vote to reunite with Russia “next Sunday”. Some Crimeans might support an Autonomous Republic of Crimea as part of Ukraine, but since Crimea gained autonomy once and Ukraine retracted it they might not trust Ukraine. Besides, Ukraine is a basket case so what sane person would want to be under its umbrella? The 89% of Crimeans… Read more »

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From an honest American perspective:

Pardon the obvious but seriously, what Crimeans in their right mind would consider voting for a return to Ukraine?

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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