Monday March 30, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Crimea: An illegal and unconstitutional vote

A Crimean Tatar youth holding a sign reading ‘No illegal referendum’ as pro-Ukrainian demonstrators marched in the streets of Simferopol on Friday.

By John Kittmer *

A choice isn’t a choice when it is made with a gun to your head.

Yet on Sunday, the people of Crimea will be asked to make an impossible choice: to vote to become subjugated by Russia or to vote for independence – with no guarantee that Russia will show any more respect for the sovereignty of an independent Crimea than it did for the territorial integrity of an independent Ukraine.

The odds are clearly stacked in Russia’s favor – like the toss of a coin. Heads Russia wins. Tails Crimea loses.

The vote – whatever its outcome – is both illegal and unconstitutional: There can be absolutely no doubt about that. The terms of the Ukrainian Constitution are unequivocal: The vote can only be convened at the request of 3 million citizens; it must be an all-Ukraine referendum; and it can only be called by the Ukrainian Parliament. None of these conditions has been met.

The vote will be illegitimate. How can a ballot held in the shadow cast by the presence of armed Russian troops, in a region under military occupation, be anything else?

These questions should be settled in free and fair referenda – as we will see in Scotland later this year. But Sunday’s referendum in Crimea will be neither free nor fair.

For the last two decades, we have sought to put the tension and mistrust of the Cold War behind us: to recognize the powerful and positive contribution Russia brings to the international community – and to the prosperity of all our people.

A web of international agreements and institutions has been put in place both to help avoid repeating the bitter confrontations of the past and to settle disputes peacefully. Organizations such as the OSCE and Council of Europe, of which Russia is an integral member, exist to help states address questions of self-determination and defend the rights of minorities.

But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – the standard-bearer of electoral integrity – has declared that the referendum will be illegal and will not send observers to the poll.

Yet it is still not too late for Russia to use these institutions, to engage seriously in diplomacy and to find a peaceful resolution.

We continue to urge President Vladimir Putin to use his authority for the good of Crimea, Ukraine, Europe and Russia, and end this crisis.

A vital first step will be for Moscow to refrain from recognizing the outcome of Sunday’s referendum. After all, it will have no legal effect. It will have no moral force. And the result will not be recognized by the international community. It should not go ahead.

----------

* John Kittmer is the British ambassador to Greece. Follow him on Twitter: @HMA_JKittmer.

ekathimerini.com , Friday March 14, 2014 (20:39)  
Let´s change the subject
Too little, too late?
Time to get moving
The same old story
Work on tram extension begins in Piraeus
Traffic restriction began in Piraeus on Monday as work began to extend the tram line to the port. Drivers are advised to follow the diversions put in place by authorities. The work on the tr...
Claim of responsibility for Athens police precinct attack
An attack on Dafni police station in southern Athens has been claimed by an unnamed group. The attack led to four vehicles being burned and, according to the claim of responsibility publishe...
Inside News
Greece says not backing down on debt relief goal
Greece has not given up on its aim to renegotiate its debt to render it manageable, the country's deputy finance minister said on Monday as talks between Athens and its lenders on reforms to...
Greece´s OPAP 2014 profit jumps on new games, cost cuts
Greece's OPAP, Europe's second biggest gambling firm based on market value, on Monday reported an annual 41 percent rise in 2014 net profit, boosted by the launch of new games and cost savin...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Improved Greece draws 0-0 at Hungary
Greece ended up goalless with Hungary in Budapest on Sunday, on manager Sergio Markarian’s debut on the national team’s bench, a result that has left Greece at the bottom of its Euro 2016 qu...
HANDBALL
Hooligans mar PAOK´s handball cup triumph
PAOK won its second Greek Cup in handball beating AEK 29-27 in Sunday’s final in Thessaloniki, but the clashes between AEK fans and the police as well as the exchange of lethal flares betwee...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greece says not backing down on debt relief goal
2. Greece´s OPAP 2014 profit jumps on new games, cost cuts
3. Work on tram extension begins in Piraeus
4. Claim of responsibility for Athens police precinct attack
5. Flooding in Serres after river bursts its banks
6. European stock-index futures rise as investors look to Greece
more news
Today
This Week
1. ECB nerves fray on Greece as supervisors rile central bankers
2. Greek markets show all at risk should mistake trigger a default
3. European stock-index futures rise as investors look to Greece
4. Claim of responsibility for Athens police precinct attack
5. Flooding in Serres after river bursts its banks
6. Work on tram extension begins in Piraeus
Today
This Week
1. Next Monday is D-Day for state funds
2. PM faces Merkel amid race to detail reforms
3. Eurogroup unlikely to be held soon to discuss Greek reforms
4. Some more equal than others
5. Moscow expects progress from Tsipras visit
6. Greece to present reforms by Monday, says gov't spokesman [Update]
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.