17 March, 2014

Bershidsky on Europe: Crimea Votes for Russia - Bloomberg View

Bershidsky on Europe: Crimea Votes for Russia - Bloomberg View:

According to preliminary results, 96.6 percent of Crimea's population
voted in a hastily arranged referendum on Sunday for their territory's
secession from Ukraine and inclusion in Russia. The plebiscite was,
predictably, a farce, with the votes counted behind closed doors in the
absence of observers or the press, and with almost the entire indigenous
population of Crimean tatars failing to turn out. There were, however,
fireworks on Sunday night, and locals celebrated in the streets. Most of
them do want Crimea to be part of Russia, and it's anybody's guess why
Russia and the pro-Russian authorities on the peninsula decided against
arranging a real, honest, transparent vote. For some reason, Russia
appears to be full of resolve to become an international pariah or
expose the cynicism of Western politicians if they do not confer that
status on Moscow. The Russian parliament is promising to act quickly to
make Crimea part of Russia. The die is cast, and the Kremlin is now
waiting to see what the costs will be, pretending as best it can that it
does not care one way or another.