If the survey that appeared on the pro-Russian Krymskaya Pravda website was real, then were a referendum to now be held on the status of Crimea, 61% of the respondents would vote for greater autonomy within Ukraine, and only 19% would vote to join Russia. It is a big ‘if’, with Krymskaya Pravda now claiming that the survey was the “latest provocation by enemies of Crimea”.
Since Krymskaya Pravda was notorious for its pro-Russian position and hate speech against Crimean Tatars long before Russia’s invasion, it is possible that they are telling the truth, however novel this may be for the particular publication. On the other hand, there are important discrepancies in their version. They claim that false results were posted immediately prior to the website being subjected to a DDoS attack (when the server is brought down through multiple requests), meaning that it could not be accessed. In fact the answers above, and results of two previous, equally interesting, questions, had already been seen early and widely reposted on social networks from Sunday evening onwards. The figures above are reported by Radio Svoboda’s Crimean Service as being from 8.00 on March 9, after 4, 510 people had responded. At 12.40, Radio Svoboda reports, the site went down.
Krymskaya Pravda’s Chief Editor Mikhail Bakharev is reported as claiming that the results of the survey via email and a hot line showed “the contrary”. Instead of elaborating, however, the publication “took the decision to cancel the results of the Internet service and asks colleagues to not quote it and not play into the hands of provocateurs.”
Surely giving the actual results, and providing screen shots of the voting before the alleged hacking would have been a much more effective remedy against ‘provocateurs’?
If the results were real, then they are damning. As well as the question reported above, there were two earlier ones, with the voting closed, precluding influence from outside, or post-factum.
896 people answered the question: “What fate would have awaited Crimea if it had not become part of Russia?”
10% (90 people) answered: Like in the south-east of Ukraine
28% (248) Even worse than in Odessa or Donbas
58% (523) Everything would have been peaceful and fine
4% (35) Russia would have defended us anyway