Here are the broad and most important facts about the Crimean referendum:-When did it happen?
Crimeans registered their votes on Sunday, March 16, 2014
to decide whether they will cease being a part of Ukraine and return to Russian rule.
The results were released on the same day and it was unequivocal Crimea 'votes for Russia union'. Residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join RussiaWhat were the referendum questions?
According to a BBC report
the Crimeans were asked two questions on the referendum ballot to determine the direction they want the autonomous region to move in. This is a copy of the 16 March ballot paper
released by the Crimean parliament. The first option asked,
“Do you support reunifying Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?
” The second option asked "Do you support the restoration of the 1992 Crimean constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?"
The ballot paper carries a warning
in all three languages that choosing both available options makes it invalid.Note: Crimea is currently an autonomous republic that is a part of Ukraine. But when the 1992 constitution came into effect, it declared that Crimea was not a part of Ukraine. The constitution was later altered to make Crimea an autonomous republic within Ukraine.
What the ballot isn’t clear on is which version of the constitution should be restored. Most analysts agree that there is no clear option to simply maintain the status quo. Basically, the options are: leave Ukraine and become a part of Russia or remain an autonomous region that may or may not be a part of Ukraine.
As far as Crimea’s pro-Russian government is concerned, the republic is already independent. Parliamentarians voted to declare Crimea independent of Ukraine on March 10. 'Independent' Crimea in Russia bid What happens to Sevastopol?
While Crimea is a recognized autonomous republic within Ukraine, at the moment, the port city of Sevastopol and its surrounding area on the southwestern tip of the Crimean peninsula are not a part of the autonomous area. As of now Pro-Russian forces seize Ukraine's naval headquarters in Sevastopol
That area is a part of Ukraine and has a special administrative status as a city. The only other place in Ukraine with such a status is the capital city Kiev.Map of the Crimean peninsula, including the autonomous region of Crimea and the Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol.
But aside from the fact Russia has had an agreement to base its Black Sea naval fleet in the city since Ukraine’s independence, Sevastopol has a majority Russian-speaking population — 71.6 per cent according to the 2001 census
(the next national census was postponed until 2016).
Sevastopol’s city council voted on Mar. 6 to take part in the referendum, but as a “separate entity.” Russia’s ITAR-TASS
reported Sevastopol residents "will be asked if they support Sevastopol’s accession to Russia and offered to answer the questions of the Crimean referendum." A pro-Russia crowd in Sevastopol, Crimea, listened to the broadcast of President Putin.Is it legal?
That depends on who you speak to. EU calls Crimea referendum 'illegal', US says it won't recognize outcome
Russia and the Crimeans consider it a legal vote, while western powers and the Ukrainian government do not. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Thursday
, the vote was an "an illegitimate stunt" and said the Canadian government has no intention of recognizing the result. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held the Obama administration’s stance that the referendum was illegal. Kerry said if the Russian parliament ratifies a Crimean vote in favor of accession to Russia it would be akin to a "backdoor annexation."Putin confirms Crimea annexation as Ukraine soldier becomes first casualty
Russia, meanwhile, takes issue with any claim that the vote is illegal. State-owned news agency Russia Today
pointed out other examples of independence referendums western governments have not "taken issue with" – including Kosovo, South Sudan, the Falkland Islands, Scotland (which has yet to happen
) and Spain’s autonomous region of Catalonia (also yet to happen
The US had put forth a draft resolution calling on the Security Council to declare the referendum as "illegal". It was clear that the resolution won't be passed as Russia would use its veto power. As expected Russia vetoed the resolution and China abstained from voting. The 13 other council members voted "yes." Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution on Crimea How much did the referendum cost?
The English language site for Russia’s state-owned Ria Novosti
cited a tweet from a Twitter account
attributed to Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov saying the referendum would cost around $1.8 million.Which countries sent their observers to monitor the vote?
According to Russian News agencies there were to be 50 observers from 21 countries monitoring Sunday’s referendum. Among the countries observers would have represented are France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Poland Greece, Israel and the United States. (Sources:Ria Novosti
, Voice of Russia
On 17th March 2014: Russia recognises Crimea as nation
On 18th March 2014: President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Crimea signed a bill to absorb the peninsula into Russia. Putin signs Russia-Crimea treaty Cossacks installed a Russian flag and a Crimean flag on the roof of the City Hall building on Monday in Bakhchysarai, a city in central Crimea.
The EU and US have announced travel bans and asset freezes against a number of officials from Russia and Ukraine. EU and US impose Crimea sanctions
The EU published a list
of sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials after a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels. The list includes the acting prime minister of Crimea, the speaker of Crimea's parliament, three senior Russian commanders and several senior Russian parliamentary officials. Here is the executive order on sanctions by the US. Page on treasury.gov Public reactionThousands celebrated the results of the referendum across the Crimean peninsula.Not everyone was satisfied - many Crimean Tatars want the peninsula to stay with Ukraine.To sum it all in one picture!! (the following image seems to have been created by a pro-west or anti-Russian person. Not my views.)
Sources:-Crimea referendum: What does the ballot paper say? Crimea 'votes for Russia union''Independent' Crimea in Russia bidPro-Russian forces seize Ukraine's naval headquarters in Sevastopol