Cross-posted from Asia Times
This was direct democracy in action; no wonder the US State Department hated it with a vengeance.
Turnout was huge. The landslide victory for independence was out of the question. Same for transparency; a public vote, in glass ballot boxes, with monitoring provided by Western journalists -- mostly from major German media but also from the Kyodo News Agency or the Washington Post.
That's clear by the Kremlin's measured official reaction: "Moscow respects the will of the people in Donetsk and Lugansk and hopes that the practical realization of the outcome of the referendums will be carried out in a civilized manner."
The cautious tone is also reflected by the Kremlin urging the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to help broker the negotiation.
Yet once again, there's concrete proof that the NATO neo-liberal neo-fascist junta does not want to negotiate anything. Farcical "acting" President Oleksandr Turchynov labeled the exercise in direct democracy a "farce, which terrorists call the referendum"; and Washington and Brussels branded it "illegal."
And all this after the Odessa massacre; after the deployment of neo-nazi paramilitaries disguised as a "National Guard" (the goons US corporate media calls "Ukrainian nationalists"); dozens of CIA and FBI agents on the ground; plus 300 of the inevitable Academi -- former Blackwater -- mercenaries. What else to expect when the current Ukrainian Secretary for National Security is neo-nazi Andriy Parubiy, the previous commander of the Maidan's "self-defense forces" and a cheerleader of World War II nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
Banderastan -- with its remix of 1980s Central American-style death squads -- doesn't do referendums; they'd rather burn to death ethnic Russian civilian "insects" who dare to occupy buildings.
The Empire of Chaos wants -- what else -- chaos. Crucially, the Empire of Chaos now blatantly supports the deployment of an "army against their own population"; this was strictly verboten -- punishable by NATO bombs or NATO-enabled jihad -- in Libya and Syria, but now is just the new normal in Ukraine.
In Libya and in Syria -- they tried three times at the UN -- this would be the ultimate pretext for R2P ("responsibility to protect"). But in Ukraine the "terrorists" -- Dubya-era terminology included -- are the population, and the good guys are the Kiev neo-nazi militias. US ambassador to the UN and top R2P cheerleader Samantha Power exceeded all her previous levels of batshit craziness when she depicted the NATO junta onslaught against civilians as "reasonable" and "proportional," adding that "any of our countries" would have done the same in face of such a threat.
Berlin, for its part, wants, tentatively, to go the diplomatic way, although there's a clear split between stony Atlanticists and German captains of industry -- who have identified clearly how Washington is aiming no holds barred to destroy the Russo-German economic synergy. The Empire of Chaos's game is to erect a wall between them, manifested in practice by a Russian "invasion." It's true that Moscow could easily pull a Samantha and invoke R2P to protect Russians and Russophones in Ukraine. But chessmaster Putin knows better than to invent a new Afghanistan in his western borderlands.
For Berlin all that matters is the economy. Germany will grow by 1.9% at best in 2014. With 6,200 German businesses in Russia and over 300,000 German jobs depending on two-way trade, American-style sanctions are beyond counter-productive, although Russophobia and Cold War 2.0 hysteria remains somewhat rampant.
Paris, for instance, has seen the writing on the wall. The US$1.66 billion contract to sell two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia will go ahead, as Paris diplomats admitted the cancellation -- in terms of penalties and lost jobs -- would hurt France much more than Russia.