[Ed. – Oops.]
To make sure no one misses this:
Official Kremlin results: 97 percent of polled voters for annexation, turnout 83 percent, and 82 percent of total Crimean population voting in favor.
President’s Human Rights Council mid-point estimate: 55 percent of polled voters for annexation, turnout 40 percent, 22.5 percent of total Crimean population voting in favor.
A member of the Human Rights Council, Svetlana Gannushkina, talked about election fraud on Kanal 24 (as replayed on Ukrainian television), declaring that the Crimean vote “discredited Russia more than could be dreamed up by a foreign agent.”
We can debate the extent of fraud in the March 16 referendum, but only the Council’s highest estimate just yields the fifty percent turnout ratio normally required for major referendums. What counts is that the Putin regime solemnly announced to the world that 82 percent of the Crimean people voted to join Mother Russia, and many in the West swallowed this whopper. At best, according to Putin’s own council, only 30 percent did.
Putin plans to repeat the Crimean election farce in the May 11 referendum on the status of the so-called People’s Republic of Donetsk. He will use the same tricks to produce an overwhelming vote for “independence” and a high turnout. The few international election monitors will object, but Putin counts on repetition of his Big Lie to convince his own people and sympathetic politicians and press in the West that the people of east Ukraine actually want to separate from Ukraine.