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(edited)

23 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Your last video there, as much as those journalists want to talk about all the issues, shows a city consumed by drug abuse, off-shoring of non-skilled jobs, liberal governments that think they can data the problem away.  They even cite lack of public housing and public toilets, as if.  The fact is America and the world has a drug problem.  Liberal governments up and down the West Coast focus on giving the homeless housing to stop them living on the streets.  I wonder why that doesn't solve the problem?  They talk about providing the homeless with a steady basic income (charity/welfare).  Why doesn't that solve the problem?  They talk about NOT putting people in jail for minor crimes, related to, you know, drug problems.  Why doesn't that solve the problem?  And they not only talk about such idiocy, they bankrupt their cities and their states testing their theories.  They don't know why none of it solves the problem.  I do, it's a drug problem: lock up repeat offenders and institute drug rehab.  3 strikes and you go up the river for a very long time.  

Now to your final question "Don't you think that Communism (with Chinese characteristics) with all its shortcomings, will at least give more people a good standard of living and happy lives?".  Let's take that question and put it together with how China, in this example, deals with druggies.  The following article is dated March 21st, 2019, and it has a pay wall after just a few paragraphs, but you'll get the gist:

China’s strong-arm approach to drug addiction does not work

Alittle over 20 years ago, when he was still a teenager, Lin Guangpeng tried heroin that his friends had brought to a party near his home in the south-western province of Yunnan. Soon addicted, Mr Lin—not his real name—spent many of the subsequent years behind bars, including several long stretches in detention centres for drug users. He says wardens in these “compulsory isolation detoxification” facilities put him to work in prison factories. Such places are meant to heal your body, he says (inmates are pictured exercising). But they “damage your soul”.

China is tough on drugs. Many traffickers are among the thousands of people executed annually. Sometimes they are paraded beforehand at public sentencing rallies. Attendees at these grim spectacles include busloads of schoolchildren. Drug users may be punished on the spot by police. Many are locked up in centres like the ones where Mr Lin was sent, often for stretches of two to three years without trial. In 2017 about 320,000 people spent time in such camps, says China’s anti-narcotics agency. That is about 36,000 fewer than in 2016 but about 120,000 more than in 2012.

Yes, drugs is a horrible problem.  But not all of the homeless people are  there due to substance abuse.  I used to watch this series of videos about 'Invisible People'.  Here is a guy who used to be a banker and lost everything.

Here is another guy who lost everything around the same time (2008 crisis), but he went to China.

He lives in Chongqing and has his own YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxsSAvWAL6dB480MfnglCw

Edited by Hotone

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18 hours ago, Marcin2 said:

It is proved without doubt that dead drug dealers do not sell drugs. Jailed and paroled drug dealers go back to their very lucrative job of drug dealing.

There are probably statistics how many people die per 1 active drug dealer. Easy access increases prevalence of usage, and in some drugs addiction comes very fast.

We have democracy so cannot kill drug dealers big and small on the spot, which is the cheapest method. And US has problem with violence in Mexico. I am trying to imagine this level of anarchy in China and just cannot. 

Legalization is the cheapest method. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/12/colorado-passes-1-billion-in-marijuana-state-revenue.html

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13 hours ago, Douglas Buckland said:

“So Putin chose to let Washington have Ukraine.”

I just knew that somehow, someway, it was the US at fault.....

Russian nationalists blame the United States to offset the humiliation of being a gas station masquerading as a country. If their horns aren't locked in a great power struggle then they have to acknowledge the fact they're living in a third rate economy under a mobbed up kleptocracy. Putin builds popularity through humiliation avoidance. 

GDP Russia: $1.5 trillion
GDP Mexico: $1.15 trillion
GDP California: $2.998 trillion

Gets even worse when we look at per capita performance

GDP Russia: $1.5 trillion (population 144 million)
GDP Canada: $1.63 trillion (population 37 million)
GDP California: $2.998 trillion (population 39 million)

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3 hours ago, Hotone said:

Yes, drugs is a horrible problem.  But not all of the homeless people are  there due to substance abuse.  I used to watch this series of videos about 'Invisible People'.  Here is a guy who used to be a banker and lost everything.

Here is another guy who lost everything around the same time (2008 crisis), but he went to China.

He lives in Chongqing and has his own YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxsSAvWAL6dB480MfnglCw

What are you doing?  One man that used to be a banker?  We're talking about the 10s of thousands on the streets of all the cities on the Left bank.  And that guy in Chongqing that has a YouTube channel, Whoopee!  People keep bringing this guy up.  I have no problem with him or what he produces and presents.  I never spoke ill of my Chinese hosts when I lived there either; wouldn't be too smart, would it?  I loved China (especially the ladies), except for all the things I didn't love about China (government, snooping, following, tapping and bugging, minders, etc.).  He has found an audience who wants to hear and see about his experience in China, and he appears to generate some income doing that.  More power to him.  But put it into perspective at least.

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Dan Warnick said:

What are you doing?  One man that used to be a banker?  We're talking about the 10s of thousands on the streets of all the cities on the Left bank.  And that guy in Chongqing that has a YouTube channel, Whoopee!  People keep bringing this guy up.  I have no problem with him or what he produces and presents.  I never spoke ill of my Chinese hosts when I lived there either; wouldn't be too smart, would it?  I loved China (especially the ladies), except for all the things I didn't love about China (government, snooping, following, tapping and bugging, minders, etc.).  He has found an audience who wants to hear and see about his experience in China, and he appears to generate some income doing that.  More power to him.  But put it into perspective at least.

Yes, I agree that my post was pretty stupid.  I was trying to say that drugs is not the only cause of homelessness, and sometimes it is due to circumstances or mental health issues.  

This guy is first case of homelessness that I really noticed - in 2003.

https://www.quora.com/profile/Kevin-Barbieux

In his case, the problem wasn't substance abuse, but rather he claims that he suffers from Asperger's.  People had more compassion in those days, and they helped him to get off the streets. 

I used to work in a rural factory town, where I could see a lot of people doing drugs.  Even so, I never understood why people get addicted.

Edited by Hotone

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20 minutes ago, Hotone said:

Yes, I agree that my post was pretty stupid.  I was trying to say that drugs is not the only cause of homelessness, and sometimes it is due to circumstances or mental health issues.  

This guy is first case of homelessness that I really noticed - in 2003.

https://www.quora.com/profile/Kevin-Barbieux

In his case, the problem wasn't substance abuse, but rather he claims that he suffers from Asperger's.  People had more compassion in those days, and they helped him to get off the streets. 

I used to work in a rural factory town in the late 1980's, where there was a lot of drugs.  However, I can never understand why people would get addicted, especially when they have decent jobs.

Did you watch the video I post "Seattle is Dying"?  Real world numbers, all you have to do is watch it.

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Just now, Dan Warnick said:

I used to work in a rural factory town in the late 1980's, where there was a lot of drugs.  However, I can never understand why people would get addicted, especially when they have decent jobs.

The drugs "we" had in the 80s are NOT the drugs people are getting hooked on today.  The only thing we had that was more or less instantly addictive was heroin, and I only ever met one guy that was a vietnam war veteran who did heroin.  Nobody else I ever met.

The stuff they have nowadays will grab you from the first use.

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(edited)

16 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Did you watch the video I post "Seattle is Dying"?  Real world numbers, all you have to do is watch it.

I watched it some time ago and just watched it again.  You should hear what Charlie Munger said about how Lee Kuan Yew dealt with the drug problem in Singapore.  Lee found the solution from AMERICA.  Listen at 4:40

 

Edited by Hotone
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(edited)

18 hours ago, BradleyPNW said:

Actually every illegal drug, even cannabis is worse than legal drugs: alcohol and tobacco ( from long term society point of view).

With some drugs like heroin addiction is After a few uses.

Causing Drug addiction is like murder, only much worse for the rest of the society than just killing a person.

So when you catch drug dealer with significant amount of substances it is like finding serial killer with his 30 knives or guns.

So i repeat we have democracy, and brilliant humanrights, countries that do not have them can sentence drug dealers on the spot. The money drug dealer and society spends on the legal process, sentencing, jail time is millions of dollars each time.

When this money could be spent on healthcare or other government  programs like in Philippines pr China it saves a lot of human beings instead  of protecting rights of drug dealers.

And drug dealing becomes less attractive job Opportunity if your life expectancy in this profession suddenly decreased from 75 to 30 years.

 

Edited by Marcin2
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9 hours ago, Marcin2 said:

Actually every illegal drug, even cannabis is worse than legal drugs: alcohol and tobacco ( from long term society point of view).

With some drugs like heroin addiction is After a few uses.

Causing Drug addiction is like murder, only much worse for the rest of the society than just killing a person.

So when you catch drug dealer with significant amount of substances it is like finding serial killer with his 30 knives or guns.

So i repeat we have democracy, and brilliant humanrights, countries that do not have them can sentence drug dealers on the spot. The money drug dealer and society spends on the legal process, sentencing, jail time is millions of dollars each time.

When this money could be spent on healthcare or other government  programs like in Philippines pr China it saves a lot of human beings instead  of protecting rights of drug dealers.

And drug dealing becomes less attractive job Opportunity if your life expectancy in this profession suddenly decreased from 75 to 30 years.

 

Healthcare knows how to treat addiction. Attempting to treat addiction through law enforcement is expensive and causes more harm than good. It's also incredibly corrupt. Illegal drugs enter the United States through ports of entry (bribery.) I'm pretty sure we don't want to start killing our cops just because some of them accept bribes to make side money. 

 

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10 hours ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Legalize opioids? What a great idea!

When I say legalize regulation is assumed. I forget there are people whose political spectrum toggles between the extremes of autarchism and military dictatorship. For those individuals I am happy to clarify that legalization includes lots of planning, regulation, and controls. Things we don't get when drugs are governed by the black market. 

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On 5/28/2020 at 3:32 AM, Strangelovesurfing said:

Isn't Ukraine an independent country? How is it Russia's rice bowl? (more like wheat bowl but if you're from China then rice bowl works) 

If it's that easy to just pay people to fight and die regardless of their actual belief, the US would have 'won' every civil war it barged into the last 70 years.

I should have said Potato Platter  ............                                                                                                                                     

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1 hour ago, BradleyPNW said:

Healthcare knows how to treat addiction. Attempting to treat addiction through law enforcement is expensive and causes more harm than good. It's also incredibly corrupt. Illegal drugs enter the United States through ports of entry (bribery.) I'm pretty sure we don't want to start killing our cops just because some of them accept bribes to make side money. 

 

Best treatment of opiod  (and other hard drugs) addiction is to provide heroin or isolate addict, looks like very expensive solutions. It is much easier to prevent.

I think cops taking bribes related to illegal drugs should be treated just like drug dealers.

You are part of the drug smuggling and dealing ring you are drug dealer. Only final consumer is protected.

Otherwise you could divide the whole operation into 20 steps that are individually relatively harmless.

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15 minutes ago, Marcin2 said:

Best treatment of opiod  (and other hard drugs) addiction is to provide heroin or isolate addict, looks like very expensive solutions. It is much easier to prevent.

I think cops taking bribes related to illegal drugs should be treated just like drug dealers.

You are part of the drug smuggling and dealing ring you are drug dealer. Only final consumer is protected.

Otherwise you could divide the whole operation into 20 steps that are individually relatively harmless.

Yeah, no. I'm not ready to start killing cops for taking bribes. Especially when legalization is a superior option in almost every regard. 

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6 hours ago, BradleyPNW said:

When I say legalize regulation is assumed. I forget there are people whose political spectrum toggles between the extremes of autarchism and military dictatorship. For those individuals I am happy to clarify that legalization includes lots of planning, regulation, and controls. Things we don't get when drugs are governed by the black market. 

You mean like the properly controlled legalized dope?

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(edited)

I would just like to make everyone aware that Ukraine has received tens of billions of dollars from the west over the past six years and there is absolutely no prospect of it switching to its own financing.

Every year, Russia contributes some $ 2 billion to the Crimea budget to equalize the standard of living with Russia.

Ukraine as a whole is roughly 20 times larger. Russia simply cannot afford to support whole Ukraine.

In general of course Ukraine had considerable economic and population potential back in 1991, but for 30 years of oligarchic feudalism it was completely stolen and basically ruined by oligarchs thats simple reason of two Maidans and extreme nationalism in western part..

As a result, Ukraine and especially the poorer industry-deprived nationalist western part with Lvov as capital is really not today a land full of treasures.

Valuable is industrialized eastern Ukraine  with coal and NG and military industry. In western antirussian part of Ukraine   there is only agriculture admittedly with excellent fertile land but only agriculture with hardly no industry..

But fundamental problem that not everyone realizes is that in Ukraine, oligarchs  dominates countryside like princes on their territory so this is classic oligarchy they even have private military units on their own after war in Donbass..

There is absolutely no chance of adopting Ukraine to the EU in next 30 years because its a mentally post-Soviet country which is incomparably closer to Russia than to the European Union or West.

And economically with Moldovia its now poorest country in Europe.

 

Putin's position could be expressed in such a way that he took from Ukraine what is most valuable to Russia and let the West tire with Ukraine which Russia will bleed until the West and Ukraine are disappointed with each other and then the Ukrainians will remember the Russians with whom they lived for over 300 years in one country.

 

] Russians see that in a situation in which the West sought to even Ukraine to join a military alliance hostile to them they must bet on China.

Recently there was a survey in Russia of the independent Levada center which is the organization most disliked by young people in Russia. With 56% of the votes was won by NATO.

Historically, Russia has never attacked the West.

It was Napoleon who attacked Russia and the Russians finished the war in Paris.

Hitler attacked the Russians and  finished the war in Berlin. Historically,

Russia was never the first to attack Western countries and in wars with Western countries it always fought in alliances with other Western countries when the US was still not on the map for a long time.

This is the story why  the fact that West is not particularly afraid of Russia is not surprising.

 

Edited by Tomasz
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Perhaps let's try this. Each and every country go back to their own sandbox and fix there own problems.

 

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Poland and Finland might have issue

19 hours ago, Tomasz said:

I would just like to make everyone aware that Ukraine has received tens of billions of dollars from the west over the past six years and there is absolutely no prospect of it switching to its own financing.

Every year, Russia contributes some $ 2 billion to the Crimea budget to equalize the standard of living with Russia.

Ukraine as a whole is roughly 20 times larger. Russia simply cannot afford to support whole Ukraine.

In general of course Ukraine had considerable economic and population potential back in 1991, but for 30 years of oligarchic feudalism it was completely stolen and basically ruined by oligarchs thats simple reason of two Maidans and extreme nationalism in western part..

As a result, Ukraine and especially the poorer industry-deprived nationalist western part with Lvov as capital is really not today a land full of treasures.

Valuable is industrialized eastern Ukraine  with coal and NG and military industry. In western antirussian part of Ukraine   there is only agriculture admittedly with excellent fertile land but only agriculture with hardly no industry..

But fundamental problem that not everyone realizes is that in Ukraine, oligarchs  dominates countryside like princes on their territory so this is classic oligarchy they even have private military units on their own after war in Donbass..

There is absolutely no chance of adopting Ukraine to the EU in next 30 years because its a mentally post-Soviet country which is incomparably closer to Russia than to the European Union or West.

And economically with Moldovia its now poorest country in Europe.

 

Putin's position could be expressed in such a way that he took from Ukraine what is most valuable to Russia and let the West tire with Ukraine which Russia will bleed until the West and Ukraine are disappointed with each other and then the Ukrainians will remember the Russians with whom they lived for over 300 years in one country.

 

] Russians see that in a situation in which the West sought to even Ukraine to join a military alliance hostile to them they must bet on China.

Recently there was a survey in Russia of the independent Levada center which is the organization most disliked by young people in Russia. With 56% of the votes was won by NATO.

Historically, Russia has never attacked the West.

It was Napoleon who attacked Russia and the Russians finished the war in Paris.

Hitler attacked the Russians and  finished the war in Berlin. Historically,

Russia was never the first to attack Western countries and in wars with Western countries it always fought in alliances with other Western countries when the US was still not on the map for a long time.

This is the story why  the fact that West is not particularly afraid of Russia is not surprising.

 

Poland and Finland might have issues with your post. They were blatantly attacked by Russia

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On 5/22/2020 at 3:20 PM, Douglas Buckland said:

In an effort to get the world’s economy back on a secure footing by resolving the US-China trade dispute, I think we should try the following strategy:

Have China block ALL imports AND exports from/to the US. By the same token, have the US block ALL imports/exports from the US to China.

This is fair and equitable to both countries and avoids all the ‘tariff’ issues.

Both countries agree not to interfere with trade with the rest of the global economies.

Let’s see what happens!

For that to happen, the U.S. has to become a socialist state with heavy regulation. Also, it will be weakened considerably as more countries move away from the dollar.

 

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19 hours ago, El Gato said:

Poland and Finland might have issue

Poland and Finland might have issues with your post. They were blatantly attacked by Russia

Well I wrote explicitiy about West. About France Germany Italy Great Britain. Poland and Finland is not the Western Europe.

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6 minutes ago, Tomasz said:

Well I wrote explicitiy about West. About France Germany Italy Great Britain. Poland and Finland is not the Western Europe.

Last time I checked they were west of Russia. The Baltic states have no love for Russia either

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2 hours ago, El Gato said:

Last time I checked they were west of Russia. The Baltic states have no love for Russia either

Well Its fact they are west of Russia.

 

Only the historical division into Eastern and Western Europe has been along the Elbe River since the beginning of the 16th century and I can find a mention of this in every historical textbook.

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Quote

 

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/ukraine/2020-04-03/russia-love

To Russia With Love

The Majority of Crimeans Are Still Glad for Their Annexation

By John O'Loughlin, Gerard Toal, and Kristin M. Bakke

April 3, 2020

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A celebration of the completion of a railway line from Russia in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, December 2019

Alexey Pavlishak / Reuters

Six years ago, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Moscow hastily organized a referendum on March 16, 2014, to give the takeover of the peninsula a veneer of legitimacy. According to the official results, 97 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia. Much of the international community, however, considered the referendum a sham, conducted at the barrel of a gun. In this view, Crimea did not freely join Russia; it was annexed.

Russia and its critics mark different anniversaries to remember this event. Russian officials commemorate March 18, 2014, as the day of “the return of Crimea” to the motherland, when Crimea formally acceded to Russia. Opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin mourn the annexation of Crimea on February 27, 2014, the day Russian forces launched clandestine operations to seize the peninsula from Ukraine. On that day this year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a press statement declaring that “Crimea is Ukraine”: “The United States does not and will not ever recognize Russia’s claims of sovereignty over the peninsula. We call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea.”

Do Crimeans feel that they live in an occupied territory, under the heels of Russian invaders? Some certainly do. International human rights organizations and local activists have documented numerous cases of the suppression of dissent and the jailing of activists belonging to the Muslim minority Tatar population on trumped up “terrorism” charges. Local authorities have raided the homes of suspected activists, crushed independent media, and banned the Mejlis, the most significant Tatar civil society organization. But the perceptions of the bulk of the peninsula’s residents don’t get the same attention in the West as do the reports of dissidents. Our surveys in 2014 and again in 2019 show that Crimeans were and remain mostly in favor of the Russian annexation. That popular sentiment complicates the West’s prevailing view of the seizure of Crimea as an aggressive land grab.

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HERE TO STAY

The March 2014 referendum in Crimea was deeply flawed. The vote was rushed in polarized conditions after a military invasion, and those opposed to Russia boycotted the referendum. But it is incontrovertible that most, though certainly not all, Crimean residents welcomed joining Russia. Numerous polls at the time of the annexation and in its immediate aftermath revealed broad support for joining Russia, including one the Levada-Center conducted on our behalf in December 2014. Writing earlier about these survey results, we termed the disconnect between the international community, which saw the takeover as illegitimate, and the people within Crimea, who were generally supportive of the move, as “the Crimea conundrum.” Yes, Russia was heavy-handed and expansionist in its actions in Crimea, flouting international laws and norms. But that did not bother most Crimeans.

Since 2014, Moscow has poured considerable amounts of money into Crimea. With the severing of Crimea’s links to Ukraine’s water, electric, gas, and transportation systems, Russia brought the peninsula into its own infrastructural networks at great cost. Electricity lines now run to Crimea from the Russian city of Rostov, and an underwater gas pipeline runs to Crimea from Krasnodar. Russia’s most ambitious, attention-grabbing endeavor in the region was the construction of a 19-kilometer-long road and railway bridge across the Kerch Strait (completed in 2019), a mega-project that not only visibly connected Crimea to Russia but symbolized the will of the Putin administration to bind Crimea to the motherland. Along with these and other projects, thousands of new Russian residents have come to Crimea, more than a quarter of a million by some estimates. Crimea was the fastest-growing region of Russia in 2019 and has attracted many Russian tourists.

As part of a broader polling project in the post-Soviet states, we asked the Levada-Center to return to Crimea in December 2019 to survey public attitudes there, five years after our initial survey. The 2019 survey consisted of face-to-face home interviews with 826 people, with a response rate of 54 percent. The survey used both direct questions as well as experimental ones that were designed to reach honest and reliable answers on sensitive topics. The proportions by nationality—the common term for ethnicity in post-Soviet countries—in the sample closely correspond to their ratios in the Crimean census of 2014. In our sample, 66 percent of respondents identified as Russian, 13 percent as Tatar—the ethnic Turkic group that makes up about one-eighth of the population of the peninsula—and 16 percent as Ukrainian.

Crimea was the fastest-growing region of Russia in 2019.

In general, Crimea’s annexation in 2014 gave residents grounds for optimism, with a majority of Crimeans hopeful that their lives would change for the better. After five years of development initiatives, more than $20 billion worth of investment from Moscow, and integration into Russia’s infrastructure, have expectations in Crimea changed?

From our survey data, it is possible to compare how Crimeans saw their future in December 2014 and how they perceived it five years later. Interviewees were asked if they expected to be better off after two years. Russians in Crimea harbored high hopes in 2014 (93 percent expected to be better off in two years), but they were somewhat less hopeful in 2019 (down to 71 percent). The proportion of Tatars who indicated that they thought being part of Russia would make them better off rose from 50 percent in 2014 to 81 percent in 2019. Ukrainians in Crimea remained generally optimistic: 75 percent indicated they expected to be better off in 2014, close to the 72 percent who did so in 2019. These generally high levels of optimism across ethnic groups suggest that most Crimeans are pleased to have left Ukraine for Russia, a richer country.

Despite the everyday logistical difficulties involved in breaking away from Ukraine, support for the exit remains undiminished. Approval of the outcome of the March 2014 referendum was still very high among Russians (84 percent) and Ukrainians (77 percent) in December 2019, both unchanged from 2014. Surprisingly, the levels of support for the annexation grew among Tatars, up from 21 percent in 2014 to 52 percent in 2019, although this latter number is about 25 to 30 points lower than for the peninsula’s other residents. This minority group has long harbored a particular resentment and suspicion of Moscow.  In 1944, Joseph Stalin deported all Tatars from Crimea to Central Asia as punishment for perceived disloyalty during World War II. After 1991, their descendants returned to an independent Ukraine but struggled to reclaim their properties and find new livelihoods. It is a measure of the economic advantages of incorporation into Russia that many Tatars have warmed to life under Russian rule. At the same time, many Ukrainians and Tatars—potentially as many as 140,000, according to some estimates—who presumably did not want to live under Russian rule have left Crimea since 2014.

 

Crimeans are also bullish about Russia’s resilience in the face of external economic pressure. The United States and other Western countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea. Five years later, concerns about the effects of these sanctions among ordinary residents of the peninsula have eased. In our December 2014 survey, 80 percent indicated that they were worried about the effects of international sanctions. That proportion fell to 54 percent in 2019. Crimeans, like people elsewhere in Russia, appear to have become used to life under sanctions.

An eventful five years have elapsed since our previous survey, but the new data from December 2019 show similar results to 2014 for Russians and Ukrainians in Crimea who agreed that their lives have improved since the annexation. The attitude of the Tatar population, however, was markedly more positive in 2019 than it was in 2014. With a vexed historical relationship with the central rulers in Moscow—thanks in large part to the deportations—Tatars were more pessimistic about their future following the 2014 referendum than were Russians and Ukrainians. But the distance in views between Tatars and others in 2014 narrowed dramatically in 2019. For instance, only 19 percent of Tatar respondents strongly agreed in 2014 that conditions in Crimea were better since Russia took over; in 2019, that proportion rose to 45 percent.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Despite this general goodwill and the positive attitudes toward the annexation, most residents are quick to identify continuing difficulties in the peninsula. In 2014, 73 percent of survey respondents expected “major” or “many” problems in making the transition to join Russia. Five years later, many of those concerns remained. We posed an open question in December 2019 to all respondents, asking them to identify the three biggest problems in Crimea. The consolidated answers are shown in the graph below.

In assessing the problems in Crimea, opinions didn’t differ much across the three main ethnic groups. People in Crimea expressed major economic concerns about low pensions and wages and the continued specter of unemployment. Low government investment in education and health care ranked second overall in the list of concerns. Crimeans also worried about the sustainability of the local economy, inflation, and the slow pace of infrastructural development in the region. At the same time, in response to this open-ended question, Crimeans seemed less concerned with political issues, including the nature of local and national governance, human rights, and relations with Ukraine and other countries. This attitude is in line with sentiments in many other post-Soviet countries, where pocketbook issues take precedence over political ones.

 

The architect of the Crimean annexation, Putin, gets mixed reviews in our 2019 survey. Putin’s overall approval rating has been declining in Russia over the past few years after peaking in the immediate aftermath of the Crimean annexation; it is now down to 68 percent, according to a Levada-Center national poll conducted in January 2020. Adjusting for any self-reporting bias via an experimental question, Putin’s overall approval rating in Crimea is 55 percent. His ratings are notably higher among Ukrainians (61 percent) and Russians (60 percent) than among Tatars (only 34 percent), suggesting a lingering suspicion of Putin’s government among Crimean Tatars even if they are pleased with changing local economic conditions. Asked directly in 2019 if they trust Putin, 85 percent of Crimeans indicated that they trust the Russian president, exactly the same proportion who indicated that they trust him in 2014.

HAPPY TOGETHER?

These survey results should not be interpreted as a refutation of the image of Crimea that Ukrainian activists and advocacy groups present in the West. Recent testimony before Congress painted a grim picture of “life under occupation” in Crimea. There is no doubt that human rights abuses occur in the peninsula. Life is difficult in the territory for activists and those still opposed to the annexation. Corruption remains endemic.

But when Ukrainian activists and Western politicians claim that the residents of Crimea are “living under occupation,” they mistake the experience of some for the experience of all. The majority of Crimeans do not experience Russian rule as oppressive, alien, or unwelcome. Instead, based on the evidence of our surveys, they are reasonably happy to be living in Putin’s Russia.

JOHN O’LOUGHLIN is Professor of Political Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is a College Professor of Distinction.

GERARD TOAL is Professor of Government and International Affairs at Virginia Tech and is the author of Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest Over Ukraine and the Caucasus, which won the ENMISA Distinguished Book Award in 2019.

KRISTIN M. BAKKE is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at University College London and Associate Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

The authors received funding for this work from a joint U.S. National Science Foundation/Research Councils UK grant.

 

 

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