With exit polls indicating a landslide victory in favor of Crimea joining Russia, those opposed to the region coming under Moscow’s authority spoke to AA about Sunday’s referendum.
Osman, 37, Crimean Tatar
We Tatars reject this referendum. Our social leaders decided that the vote is illegitimate.
Our community was never consulted by either side. The (pro-Russian) Crimean parliament’s overtures regarding language and property rights were anything but genuine offers. They were simply trying to draw us into the political dialogue.
Elena, 18, Ukrainian
I didn’t vote. The referendum is illegal…it won’t be recognized by the international community and it will keep us from having better relations with Europe.
I don’t know what I will do now. I’m thinking I’ll move to Ukraine. I am Ukrainian and want to be Ukrainian, but I was born in Crimea.
My whole family and I are so confused by what’s happened.
Nastya, 31, Ukrainian
I voted for Ukraine. I was born and educated in Simferopol. I lived in Russia for seven years. When I had the chance to come back to Crimea, I returned immediately.
All of these nationalistic feelings from the Russians are completely manufactured. We lived together for so many years and never had any problems. I’m actually half Russian and love Russian people.
This goal of dividing us is nothing more than a big plan to divide us. I voted for a united Ukraine.
Inan, 40, Crimean Tatar
What’s the point of voting in an illegal referendum? Nearly all of us in the community have been here for 20 years rebuilding our culture. We will not lose touch with it again.
Yes, there were problems sometimes, but Ukraine has let us do that for the most part. I fear we’ll become like the other small Muslim communities in Russia.
We’re a small but strong people. We’ll stick together and everything will be fine. Our communities and families always take care of one another. We will continue with passive resistance.