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This Happened - March 16: The Crimean Referendum

Crimea voted on this day in 2014 in a controversial referendum to secede from Ukraine to join Russia.

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When was the Crimean referendum held?

The referendum was held after the ousting of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent political crisis in Ukraine. The referendum was controversial as it was not recognized by the Ukrainian government or many other countries, and was considered illegal by the Ukrainian constitution, notably for the presence of Russian troops.

What was the result of the Crimea referendum?

The referendum had a turnout of 83% of eligible voters, and according to official results, 96.77% of voters supported the idea of Crimea joining the Russian Federation. However, the legitimacy of the results has been questioned by many international organizations and governments.

Why was the Crimea referendum controversial?

The referendum was controversial for several reasons. First, it was conducted under the presence of Russian troops who had entered Crimea prior to the referendum. Second, the referendum was held without the consent of the Ukrainian government or international observers, and many people were not given the opportunity to vote. Third, the wording of the referendum was biased, and the choices offered did not include the option of maintaining the status quo.

What happened after the results of the Crimean referendum?

Russia recognized Crimea as an independent state the day after the referendum and later annexed it on March 21, 2014. The annexation of Crimea was widely condemned by the international community, and several countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government did not recognize the results of the referendum and declared it illegal. Ukraine considers Crimea as an integral part of its territory and has continued to seek international support to reverse the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

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But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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