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Krim: „Wir wollen ins Mutterland zurückkehren“

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Krim-Referendum-feiernVon Martin Banks

“We want to return to the Motherland” – that was the crystal clear message coming from voters in Crimea on the historic day its 2.5m population went to the polls to decide their future.

The ‘Motherland’ they refer to is the Russian Federation and all the indications are that they could soon get their wish.

I was in Crimea as part of an international election observation mission, organised by the Crimean Parliament which approved and oranised Sunday’s referendum on whether Crimea should seek reunification with Russia or continue to remain in Ukraine.

Andere Mitglieder des unabhängigen Teams kamen aus Italien, Israel und Spanien. Dazu gehörten regionale und nationale Politiker, politische Aktivisten und wie ich Journalisten.

Based in the coastal town of Evpatoria, which has a population of 130,000 and is about 45 minutes’ drive from Simferopol where flights from Ukraine have in the past few days been severely restricted. Like much of the region, the seaside resort has clearly seen better days and is comprised mostly of ethnic Russians.

Das Team besuchte eine Wahlstation in Saki mit 78,800 Einwohnern, darunter 35,000 ethnische Russen und 23,800 Ukrainer.
Alexander Ovdienko is head of district administration of Saki – where the Crimean War started – and responsible for the election across the whole region.

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Obwohl er selbst aus der Ukraine stammte, hatte er keinen Zweifel daran, wo seine Sympathien liegen, und sagte, er würde für die Wiedervereinigung mit Russland stimmen.

Ovdienko, who is also a deputy in the Crimean Parliament and once served in the Soviet Army, said: “There have been no complaints from citizens about the process and, despite the poor weather, people have been coming out to vote in some numbers.”

The father of three told me: “I was born in Ukraine, speak Ukrainian and my parents still live there but people, including me, want change. Crimea historically belonged to Russia and,mentally, most of us here think ourselves as being Russian. However, no matter what the nationality, there has been a sense for a long time that things are not right in Crimea and in order to improve our economic situation we have to do something about changing our status.”

Die wirtschaftliche Notlage auf der Krim ist ein Thema, das immer wieder bei den vielen Menschen auftauchte, mit denen wir gesprochen haben, als wir von einem Wahllokal zum anderen gereist sind, um das Verfahren zu überwachen. Und angesichts des heruntergekommenen Zustands vieler Häuser, des schrecklichen Zustands der meisten öffentlichen Autobahnen und des allgemeinen Gefühls fatalistischer Depressionen, die sowohl über der Region als auch über ihre Bewohner herrschen, ist es schwer, nicht mit dem Fall zu sympathisieren, den sie argumentieren.

Most of the polling stations (which almost all had Russian Federation flags fluttering outside with not a sign of Ukrainian flags to be seen anywhere) were fairly busy from 8h when they opened and by 10am Ovdienko reported 18.4% of the local population in  Saki Region had already cast their vote at 71 polling stations. Ovdienko said he expected the ‘yes to reunification with Russia’ to be approved by as many as 90% of the Crimean electorate.

In einer anderen Stadt nannte Frunze, die Bürgermeisterin von Valentina Genri, erneut die verzweifelte wirtschaftliche Entbehrung auf der Krim als Hauptgrund für die Trennung der Verbindungen zur Ukraine.

With, bizarrely, songs by 1980s British pop star Rick Astley being played on the tannoy, she told me: “Russia is our Motherland and our brothers are all Russian. There is no place for the neo-Nazism we have seen recently in Kiev. What has happened there amounts to a military coup but people in Europe have been getting a false picture of the situation here in Crimea. They do not understand that we have badly suffered economically with little or no investment in Crimea by the central government in Kiev. This cannot continue and, today, we are simply exercising our democratic right to vote to determine our future. Is that a crime? Surely not.” She added: “This referendum has been branded illigitimate but what is really illigitimate is the current government in Kiev.”

She countered Western criticism that the referendum had been organized with undue haste, insisting: “That is no the case at all and I cannot understand the hystical reaction to this vote by Western politicians. When people round here heard they might get the chance to vote, they mobilised all efforts to ensure the vote would go ahead and also take place in a right a proper mannger which I believe has been the case.”

Vassily Gierasimenko ist Chirurg in Evpatoria of U.

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