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The annexation of the Crimea, Putin's great asset to the Russian electorate

More than half of the electorate considers the accession of the peninsula the main asset of the head of State during its mandate

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The annexation of the Crimea, Putin's great asset to the Russian electorate

The Crimea's annexation, which 80% of Russians supported, plays an important role in Vladimir Putin's campaign to revalidate his position as president in March 18 elections. At that date four years have been fulfilled since Russian authorities incorporated state into Crimea, thus ending respect for territorial integrity of Ukraine declared in agreements signed when USSR disintegrated.

"Crimea is strongest and most substantive factor in favor of Putin, although it may not be main reason for vote, because emotions have already passed," says Igor Míntusov, president of Russian Association of political advisers. "In Russian public opinion, CRIMEA has set role of Putin as a politician who thinks of interests of State. With conservative estimates, for 50% or 60% of electorate, Crimea is chief asset of head of state in six years that it has lasted its last term, "says veteran analyst.

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The main reasons for great support of Russians to annexation, according to Míntusov, were value of gesture as a symbol of "resurgence of greatness of Russia" and "defense of interests of Russians re resident toger with restitution of historical justice". Two presidential candidates, Liberals Grigori Yavlinski, founder of Yabloko party, and journalist Ksenia Sobchak, have expressed mselves against annexation, which means that "y can forget entry of 60% of electorate."

"Like a dog's fleas"

P. B

Aleksandr Gorni, a popular Crimean blogger, has announced that he will not support Putin in elections. In Crimea, says Gorni, "everything revolves around four things, budget money, land, privatization of nationalized facilities and illegal constructions, which here are like fleas of a dog."

"I am disappointed. I shall not vote for Putin in presidential election as long as he does not personally order in Crimea. The Crimeans are fed up with promises, Vladimir Vladimirovich. You have given Crimea to mercy of Rascals. He was not returned to Russia for this, "says blogger.

Gorni denounces persecution of local journalists who reveal arbitrariness of leaders of peninsula, given indifference of federal authorities. "Abuses, robbery and corruption" that "flourished" in Ukrainian times and which motivated inhabitants of Crimea to run towards Russia, Flourish now starring "Scoundrels" who protect mselves "under Russian flag" and "with portraits of Putin," he says.

The me of "harassed fortress" and idea that " whole outside world is against Russia" will be used in Putin's campaign, because y allow society to be consolidated around leader, says Míntusov. In general, Russians do not relate country's economic problems to Kremlin's performance in Crimea, and link m rar with decline in price of crude oil and sanctions, considered a product of "Antirussian" attitudes.

The role of Crimea in campaign is also reflected in appointment of journalist Andrei Kondrashov as press officer of Putin's electoral team, which was constituted on Wednesday and will lead collection of 300,000 signatures necessary for Presentation of candidacy in capacity of independent. Kondrashov is author of "Crimea, Way Home". This tape of more than two hours offers Russian version of events of February and March of 2014 in peninsula and was premiered by Russian television at time of its first anniversary. In it, Putin said that he had been prepared to make nuclear weapon available during Russian military operation, he acknowledged using troops from Army Espionage Service (GRU), Marines and paratroopers in taking Local parliament in Símferópol ( capital of Crimea) and have neutralized communications system of 20,000 Ukrainian military who were in peninsula.

In Crimea re are more than 2 million people and Russian citizens (including those of "new batch" who received ir passports after annexation) are invited to vote in presidential office from age of 18. The Crimeans are massively pro-Putin, but complain about ir local leaders, who enjoy subsidies from Moscow envied by many Russian provinces. The construction of bridge over Strait of Kerch, commissioned to companies linked to a friend of Putin's childhood, progresses despite all difficulties, but anor thing is daily life of population.

Nationalizations in Crimea

In Crimea, state properties of Ukraine were nationalized, but in addition, authorities of peninsula expropriated hundreds of companies (from hotels and residences on coast to petrol stations, through transport and food companies) that They belonged to both natural and legal persons of various nationalities, including Russian citizens. This decision contravened same Russian legislation according to which only one can expropriate service of State by judicial decision and with economic compensation.

For several years, Russian courts have ignored demands of those affected, until last November Constitutional Court gave a "decaf" verdict that allows those affected to claim ir properties in courts, if y can Prove y were hers. The procedure is complicated because of difficulties in obtaining reliable documents on titles of property under current conditions. Moreover, day after constitutional resolution was known, Crimean authorities announced auctions to get rid of confiscated property, which makes it even more difficult to follow trail. Zhan Zapruta, a Crimean attorney specializing in defence of expropriated persons, considers this maneuver as "anor proof of manipulation by Crimean authorities. At first y confiscated ( property) as a necessity for Republic, and now (y sell it) to cover up incompetence of ir management. "

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