'Anyone with sense of fairness should accept the choice of the Crimeans'
RT:Can you describe what you observed during the voting?
Aymeric Chauprade: We are living in a historical time. The people of Crimea have chosen in a massive vote to be reunified with Russia. It's quite an amazing time and people are incredibly glad. All of the day I was an observer in different places, in Simferopol, in Sevastopol and I can certify that it was a democratic choice and a historical choice for the people. It was a very peaceful day, people voted massively and now we know the result which is quite incredible. And I think and I hope that the Western world will be fair because we have a massive vote in favor of reunification with Russia, with homeland.
RT:Has everything been up to international standards? Did everything go as any other election or referendum would go?
AC: Yes. In terms of international standards I can certify as I told you because I was in several voting stations. Everything was OK, well-organized, people were very peaceful. You can verify the list. You can see everything.
RT:What's the reaction to the referendum in the streets of Crimea?
AC: There are fireworks, people are very glad. It’s incredible and I’m very glad as a French [person] to be here, I’m very proud because I feel the freedom for these people. They have decided to take into their hands their destiny, their future. Anyone who has sense of fairness should accept that choice and see that it is something incredible. I hope that the western world will see that because there is nothing to say against that vote.
RT:Were you surprised that the West has now come out and say that this vote was illegal? You were there, you saw the people, you saw the turnout. Is that a fair judgment from their side?
AC: It’s impossible to say that this vote is illegal. Of course, it is a legal vote because we are talking about real men and women who are Russian in their heart, in their history and of course there is a double legitimacy and historic legitimacy because in a long-term view Crimea has been part of Russia. And political legitimacy because we are talking about the democratic choice and we are talking about democratic parliament that is the Rada and the choice to decide themselves. So if we do not accept that vote there would be a problem, it means we are in double standards because it means they [the West] accept democracy when that’s according to their strategic interests and they refuse democracy when it’s not according to their own interests.
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