On March 16, 2014, Crimea held a referendum election on the question of rejoining the Russian Federation and seceding from Ukraine. The vote passed by an enormous margin, nearly 97% of the voters saying they wished to rejoin Russia. That number was amplified by the 83.1% voter turnout. Clearly this was a very pressing matter for the Crimean people.
But now it is just about five years later. Do the Crimean feel that their rejoining Russia has turned out well for them? TASS reported on a poll that was taken on 10 March to address this question. The agency that took the poll was the Russian Public Opinion Research Center.
Many people in the West may laugh at this title, but this is only because they are themselves steeped in the narrative that Russia is somehow still the Soviet Union, with repressive laws against freedom of speech, expression, the right to gather and so on. The results of the poll would also seem to lend further credence to this idea because the answer was overwhelmingly positive about the transition to Russian sovereignty for the province. The TASS report follows (with emphases added):
Crimea remains positive about the peninsula’s reunification with Russia and if the referendum was held today, 89% of Crimeans would support joining Russia, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center announced the results of a poll on Thursday in Simferopol.
“The attitude towards Crimea’s reunification with Russia remains decisively positive. Eighty-nine percent would cast their votes to reunite with Russia if a referendum were held next Sunday, and 93% view the reunification in a positive light. The level of negative attitudes and support for an Autonomous Republic of Crimea as part of Ukraine are minimal (3% each), the data says. The survey also noted that across Russia, 85% of respondents would support the reunification.
According to the poll, the reunification’s effects are also viewed positively. For instance, 86% of respondents believe that Crimea is developing more successfully as part of Russia, while 72% say that the reunification had a positive effect on their lives and the lives of their families. Moreover, 82% of respondents in Crimea are satisfied with their existence, which exceeds the same number across Russia (64%). More than half of those who participated in the survey (56%) are satisfied with their financial standing.