More Than 90% of Crimeans Vote for Secession

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 16 2014 5:12 PM

More Than 90% of Crimeans Vote for Secession

479142603-pro-russian-crimeans-gather-to-celebrate-in-simferopols
Pro-Russian Crimeans gather to celebrate in Simferopol's Lenin Square on Sunday

Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Crimeans have voted and, as expected, it wasn’t even close. After 50 percent of the ballots were counted, the head of the referendum committee said more than 95 percent had voted to join Russia, reports the Associated Press. Earlier, Russian state media had reported on exit polls that claimed around 93 percent of Crimean voters chose to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. Citing data from the Crimean Institute of Political and Sociological Research, RIA Novosti reports that only seven percent of voters chose to remain an autonomous republic within Ukraine.

Crowds of voters gathered in Simferopol to celebrate, reports the BBC. The final results are likely to take a day or two, notes Reuters. But that wasn't stopping Crimea’s pro-Russian leader who said he would apply to join Russia tomorrow. "The Supreme Soviet of Crimea will make an official application for the republic to join the Russian Federation at a meeting on March 17," he wrote on Twitter.

Advertisement

In Crimea, it was as if the pro-Russian crowds had already won even before a single vote was counted as Russian flags were flown throughout the region. Even though some had vowed to boycott, voters appeared to turn out in large numbers and the Crimean election commission reported a turnout of around 75 percent, which would be far above the 50 percent needed to make the referendum binding, reports the Associated Press. “This has never happened before in any other election” in Crimea, said a senior election official, Mikhail Malyshev, at a news conference.

At the ballot box, voters faced two options, either uniting with Russia or giving the region greater autonomy to choose its own path, which could eventually include closer relations with Moscow anyway. The vote came after “a hasty and one-sided campaign that featured intimidation and heavy-handed tactics blocked most voters from hearing a vision for any alternative other than unification with Russia,” reports the Washington Post.

The Ukrainian government in Kiev, as well as the West in general, has said the referendum is illegal. Sanctions against Russia now seem all but inevitable as concern grows the vote “could encourage rising pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine's east and lead to further divisions in this nation of 46 million,” notes AP. For now, Russia and Ukraine have apparently agreed to a truce in Crimea until March 21, reports the Guardian. "No measures will be taken against our military facilities in Crimea during that time," Ukraine’s acting defense minister, Igor Tenyukh, said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Federal Law Enforcement Has Declared War on Encryption

Justice and the FBI really do not like Apple’s and Google’s new privacy measures.

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?