Overwhelming majority in Crimea today would still vote to join Russia – German survey
Researchers from an independent international institute based in Germany have found out that "the vast majority of the Crimean population would vote for the status quo in a future repeat referendum." Almost 80 percent said they would choose for their region to join Russia if a new vote were to happen.
Asked directly, "How would you vote if a referendum about Crimea joining the Russian Federation was held today?" 78.8 percent of respondents in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol said they would vote "the same as in March 2014." Only 2.4 percent said they would make a different choice, while 6.8 percent declined to answer the question.
Alongside "a clear overall confirmation of the ‘Yes’ vote" in the question concerning a personal vote, the survey also showed that more than 85 percent of the respondents believed other people in Crimea would largely vote the same, with only a minority expected to change their mind three years after the referendum. Meanwhile, different ethnic groups, including Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars "live peacefully side by side" on the peninsula, over 80 percent of the respondents say. The majority of Crimeans trust Russian state institutions, with almost 90 percent saying they are not thinking about leaving Crimea.
Those who are considering moving to a different place name Russia as the most preferred destination (62.8 percent), while immigration to Ukraine would be a choice for 17.8 percent. Just above 6 percent said they would like to live in the US, and 7.8 percent in an EU country.
Conducted by the Center for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) between March and May this year, the survey is based on "individual face-to-face interviews" with 1,800 Crimean residents of various ethnicities aged 18 plus. Titled "Terra Incognita" (Unknown Land), it "provides a rare glimpse into the public mood in the region," according to researchers from the Berlin-based institute. Saying that "access to the peninsula has been restricted," the authors of the report suggest that the problem for foreign journalists traveling to the region apparently emanates from Kiev, as they then "risk not being allowed into Ukraine."
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"Reports by Ukrainian sociologists, Crimean Tatar and human rights organizations and individual Crimean Tatars suggest that the region is de facto cut off from Ukraine, and that there is continued general public support for Russia despite harder living conditions," it said. Researchers have also found out that the Crimean population "agree that Ukrainian governments neglected the region over many years." Kiev’s policy was the "main cause" behind the 2014 change of the region's status, roughly a third of the respondents believe.
''We don’t return our territories. Crimea is a territory of the Russian Federation' - Zakharova https://t.co/S7EAyDWFJ9— RT (@RT_com) February 15, 2017
The 2014 referendum in the region was held following a violent coup in Kiev. The democratically-elected president was ousted and a new government installed, which almost immediately declared war on regions in southeast Ukraine that refused to recognize the newly-imposed regime. Over 96 percent of residents in Crimea voted for reunification with the Russian Federation. The EU, US and some of their allies reacted with imposing sanctions on Russia, having accused Moscow of "annexation" of the region.