'Crimeans reject Kiev's electricity - it shows they don't want Poroshenko'

 EMERCOM staff use a light tower at Kerch's bus terminal. © Mariy Antipina
Crimeans’ vote against an electricity contract with Ukraine was a positive step that demonstrated to the West that the peninsula doesn’t want to be part of the Kiev regime and feels a greater affinity with Russia, says author James Petras, a professor at Binghamton University.

The recent opinion poll ordered by President Putin revealed that over 93 percent of Crimean residents are against signing a new electricity supply contract with Ukraine, even if that would mean electricity shortages over the next few months. Kiev insisted that a new contract – which would replace the one that expired December 31 - would define the peninsula as part of Ukraine. Crimea has faced blackouts since November when the pylons of four power lines leading to Crimea from Ukraine’s power grid were blown up.

READ MORE: Crimeans vote to give up electricity contract with Ukraine even if it means more power cut-offs

RT: What are your thoughts on this? Was there a need for a poll in the first place? Couldn’t a decision have been reached without putting this to the public?

James Petras: I think it’s a positive step because it reaffirms the idea that the Crimeans do not want to be part of the Poroshenko regime; that they are looking for a more democratic alternative, they are looking for greater autonomy, they feel a greater affinity of working with the Russian state. I think it was a demonstration for all concerned Europeans, North Americans, and others that the Crimeans don’t want to be part of this regime in Ukraine. So, I think it was a necessary step and a repudiation of the terrorist campaign that’s being organized from Kiev. I think there is a division of labor here between the extreme right and the Poroshenko regime. The terrorist extreme-right blow up the [electric] pylons, the electricity system and the Poroshenko-ites are engaged in a diplomatic game, trying to play up their conciliatory attitude which is not really very conciliatory at all. I think it’s a two-headed monster here that is operating completely interdependently: the terrorists on one side, Poroshenko on the other. I think Russia eventually will have to be the main supplier of power to the Crimeans.

RT: Do you think that will happen soon? Do you see any point in signing a contract with Ukraine when they are finding it difficult to actually guarantee any power supply?

JP: They can’t guarantee it because within the very [Ukrainian] regime itself you have the extremists operating and simply hooking up again will lead to another blow-up, another conflict, another claim of innocence on the part of Poroshenko. But the regime is infested with right-wing extremists and it’s engaged in this kind of externalizing enemies because they’ve totally lost the internal support. All the polls domestically show that the Poroshenko regime is in the low tens or teens. As far as popularity [is concerned], the prime minister [Arseniy Yatsenyuk] doesn’t even touch the single digits. So I think they need these external distractions to try to [distract] the public, but they’ve been totally ineffective: the public in Ukraine today is decidedly against this regime and no distractions from the outside will be effective in deviating their support for a change in government.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.