How did Crimea vote 97% in favor of rejoining Russia

My understanding is only about 60% of the area is ethnic Russians, the rest are Ukranians and Tatars (whatever they are). The ethnic Russians may support rejoining Russia, but the other groups, to my knowledge, do not.

Add in the fact that Russia has a very well known history of repressing their satellite states. Ukraine under Stalin was a world full of terror, repression and famine. Why people would want to rejoin a nation that did what Stalin did to them just 80 years ago is confusing to me.

So how could 97% of people vote to rejoin Russia? I’m assuming the election wasn’t valid (you can’t get 97% of people to agree on anything). But normally when dictators hold fake elections they get 99%+ of the vote. Why pick 97%, why not 55% or 99.9%? If this was a fake election, getting 58% or so of the vote would seem more realistic. Getting 75% would seem quasi realistic.

Wikipedia implies only 70-80% of people in Crimea voted for ousted president Yanukovych. That means the western leaning candidate got 20-30% of the vote. What happened to those voters?

Were only people who supported rejoining Russia allowed to vote?

Much of the opposition did boycott the vote.

Related thread.

In the pro column: Stalin was a long time ago. People hold grudges, but for all his many faults, Putin is not Stalin.

In con: 97% is always a suspect number. Kim Jong-un is only worse, with ~100% for his team.

I think in some ways, you answered part of the question yourself. But it’s probably more complicated than that as well.

I agree Putin is not Stalin by any means, however Stalin is still (from what I know) held in reasonably high regard by Russian society. It isn’t like Germany, which has tried to make amends with Israel for its treatment of the Jews. I don’t think Russia has ever admitted any wrongdoing with the Ukraine.

I saw the other thread, but didn’t feel it did enough to address the referendum. I didn’t know people with Russian passports were voting though.

It helps when you are the only one on the ballot with no chance of a write in.

I don’t think we need to invoke outright election fraud here. Everyone knew that they would vote for secession. The Russians have no reason to rig the vote, and the opposition decides not to participate in what they consider an illegitimate election.

Boycotting elections you think aren’t fair is a time-honored tactic. It looks better to declare the election illegitimate from the beginning than to vote, lose, and then start whining. The cynic inside me says in many cases it’s just the losing side not wanting to admit they have lost, but in this case I think there’s a pretty good case to be made that this elections isn’t exactly all on the level.

Your assumption may be correct, but surely not for the reason you claim. It’s not at all rare for legitimate referendums to attract near-unanimous votes. Take for instance the Strathclyde water referendum of 1994, where 97% of 1.3 million voters were of the same opinion. A recent nationwide referendum in Iceland saw unanimity of nearly 97% (disregarding a couple thousand spoiled ballots). Last year in the Falkland Islands sovereignty referendum 99% of voters endorsed the status quo. The figure was 98% for a similar referendum in Gibraltar.

I think you could also vote for “Jong-un, Kim” or however you reverse a surname-first name. But he was also claiming a ridiculous voting percentage. Which is possible, if they know that you didn’t vote.

I thought that a good number of Ukrainian speaking Crimeans might boycott the election, but I don’t think that the overwhelming majority would (like 9 out of 10 would have had to boycott.)

Plus I also find it difficult to believe that 100% of Russian speakers support joining Russia: some might prefer Ukraine as the lesser of two evils, while actually preferring true independence.

So in short I think that 97% would be too high for even a boycott. It’s probably either vote rigging or intimidation or both.

It’s not too difficult to get 97% in favor of succession when the turnout is so high. In the city of Sevastapol the turnout was 123 percent!

Wow. Did they import the residents of Chicago’s cemeteries?

As I understand it, the options in the referendum were “Yes, Crimea should join Russia”, or “Yes, Crimea should revert to its 1992 constitution (which states that it’s a part of Russia)”.

So I guess Sevastopol is part of the deal? Because it’s “in” Crimea, but has a special status as its own entity, and isn’t the capital. As I read it, it looks like both Crimea and Sevastopol had separate votes towards the same result. Will it be united with Crimea as one state in Russia?

Sevastopol is also a port occupied by a Russian fleet, so a little different from the rest of Ukraine politically and socially already.

Why the assumption that the vote was rigged? Most people expected strong support for rejoining Russia; plebiscites can and do result in extremely large majorities; the opposition has refused to vote; Crimeans who voted in the Party of Regions have been horrified to see a minority protest group (Euromaidan) seize power without an election and immediately make overtures to ban their political opponents, put far-right, anti-Russian politicians in key ministerial positions and demote the status of the Russian language.

Even the opprobrium of Western leaders has been that the referendum is ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘rushed’, not fraudulent. Given that these talking heads just supported the decidedly unconstitutional movement of “demanding a unilateral change in government without an election because we don’t like our president’s policy decisions” only a few months ago, complaining that a plebiscite doesn’t sit with Kiev’s 2004 constitution all seems rather silly.

The narrative of ‘big, bad Russia and its tyrants versus earnest Western liberal democracy’ is an appealing one, but the situation in Eastern Europe is a lot more complicated than it looks.

Because the country was invaded, a quick vote was called, and it turned out extremely favorably to the invading country. Whether it was rigged or not, the outcome is invalid because of the circumstances.

Because only about 70-80% of people voted for the president seen as pro-Russian in the 2010 election, so why would 97% of those same voters vote to rejoin Russia?

Also as I said Crimea is not pure ethnic Russians. It has various other groups that are seen as hostile to Russia.

This outcome is about what I expected. The Russians didn’t allow members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to observe the election. This suggests there was cheating going on - if the election were held fairly, wouldn’t they want observers to validate it?

What percentage of elections are ‘validated’ by the “Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe” and,at the very least, why aren’t they in Florida every four years?

I don’t think elections in Florida take place with foreign troops on the ground. Neither are they the kind of elections where you’re allowed to vote with a Mexican passport. And they’re not usually organised two weeks in advance, giving no time for a proper campaign, and with an important regional TV network having been banned from broadcasting.

Are you saying you’re surprised Florida elections aren’t more reliable?