If I’m not mistaken, an op-ed piece is an opinion piece that normally should be based on generally accepted facts, and not simply be propaganda.
The Russian ambassador, Yuriy Filatov’s article about Crimea is nothing but a pack of Russian lies: ‘Crimea: West still plays ‘occupied’ card five years after vote’ (Irish Examiner, March 20).
(1) The referendum [for Crimea’s reunification with Russia held on March 16, 2014] was illegal under Ukrainian and international law;
(2) it was held barely three weeks after Russia invaded the peninsula and took over the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine);
(3) there were men with machine guns everywhere;
(4) the ballots did not offer the choice of keeping the status quo (and the referendum was NOT about “rejoining Russia” incidentally);
(5) the ballots were mere photocopies with no security markings, numbering or registration involved; and
(6) an early report on the results by the Russian Commission was that turnout was 32% and less than 50% voted in favour of breaking with Ukraine (by contrast, in 1991 55% of Crimeans voted to go with independent Ukraine), and that report quickly disappeared from the internet.
It says a lot that the only photo accompanying the article is one of people partying in central Moscow, not depressed Crimea.
Oh yes, the ambassador never mentions the human rights violations, especially against Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians and activists in the last five years, including Oleg Sentsov, a filmmaker, being given a 20-year sentence because he was against Russia’s takeover. Or the fact that Crimeans were forced to take Russian citizenship (isn’t there a law somewhere that forbids that kind of thing?) or lose jobs, property, and businesses? And he forgets to say anything about the peninsula being militarised, rather than developing its once thriving tourist industry and preserving some of its beautiful natural and archaeological sites for future generations. I could go on.
If your readers want to understand about the “pseudo-referendum” in Crimea in 2014, barely three weeks after Russia invaded with its unmarked soldiers and took over the peninsula, the cartoon in this article explains it very well: tinyurl.com/y6kcyj8f
Moscow cultivates useful idiots and then there are paid “useful idiots”.
Which is the Examiner?
The Editor writes: The Irish Examiner did not receive, nor pay money, for said article. As for being “useful idiots” the clue is in this phrase which we footnoted with its publication on Wednesday: “This article is the personal view of Yuriy Filatov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Ireland.”