The Crimea has long been very grateful to Russia for liberating it from centuries of domination by the ruthless, crushing force of the Ottoman Empire. It happened under Catherine the Great. That gratitude has outlasted and outweighed any negative feelings they might have about Russia in the Soviet era.
In the nineteenth century we made the stupid mistake of going to war with Russia over the Crimea and we were certainly on the wrong side. Now we should keep out entirely.
If Scotland is entitled to a referendum and to independence from England, then the Crimea is entitled to a Referendum and the choice of becoming re-united with Russia. Good luck to it. I say England deserves the same right. I notice the Russians can organize a referendum in two weeks, but here in England it takes five years - or in the case of an EU referendum, n years since the date never gets any closer.
I have a friend who lives and works in Kharkiv, and like so many people in the Ukraine she identifies as Russian. She has not seen or heard any sign of the so-called violence and unrest reported by American news media, and she says bluntly that she regards the presence of Russian troops in the Crimea as reassuring. They are in her eyes a peace-keeping force. As for the threats of war spreading, the land boundary between the Crimean peninsula and Ukraine is so narrow it could be defended by one Russian platoon with a dozen tanks. Crimea has never been geographically a true part of the Ukraine.
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2014 10:19 AM
Subject: Crimea and democracy
Sir,Your headline today "Crimea poll leaves Russia isolated” shows extraordinary ignorance of the facts on the ground and the history of Crimea. Yes, a democratic referendum with observers from 130 countries would leave a democratic Russia supported by 97% of voters ”isolated" in the increasingly anti democratic West - but not elsewhere in the world.
Russia has not "occupied" Crimea, it is there (on land which for over 150 years was part of Russia) under international treaty and is entitled under that treaty to far more troops (25,000) than it has. And nobody asked the people of Crimea if they wanted to be transferred from the Russian Federation within the USSR to Ukraine in the first place.
A democratically elected President in Kiev (the religious and cultural origin of Russians) was violently deposed and an international agreement to hold new elections was overturned - and with the connivance of the EU which has never yet tolerated a sovereign democratic nation within its domaine!
Rodney Atkinson Alderley
Meadowfield Road, Stocksfield
To the editor of The Telegraph
So the United States declares it will never recognize the return of the Crimea to Russia? In that case, perhaps Russia will consider refusing ever to recognize the United States’s aggressive conquests of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, nor the genocidal occupation of Indian territories in the Great Plains. The Crimean decision has been arrived at peacefully, through the ballot box. The American approach was rather different. As General Sherman wrote to Grant in 1866: ‘We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men women and children’.