Moskou beschuldigt Den Haag van tegenwerken referendum

De woordvoerster van het Russische ministerie van buitenlandse zaken, Maria Zacharova, heeft donderdag felle kritiek geuit op de Nederlandse regering, die zij beschuldigde van het dwarsbomen van het referendum over het EU Associatieverdrag met Oekraïne.  Ook zegt Moskou ‘perplex’ te staan over beschuldigingen dat Rusland de organisatoren van het referendum zou steunen. Onderstaand de letterlijke tekst. Hier en daar heb ik wat woorden ‘vet gemaakt. (HdV)

Developments around the upcoming referendum on ratifying the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in the Netherlands

In recent days, we have been witnessing very interesting developments around the upcoming referendum on ratifying the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which is scheduled to take place in the Netherlands on April 6.

We acknowledge that the official Hague has launched an information campaign in the media with a view to discrediting the very idea of the referendum. Strange as it may seem, the main goal is to do everything to urge the population not to take part in the vote. I will quote one figure to illustrate the trend: the number of voting stations has been more than halved.

The officials did not even shrink from using 200,000 euros from the notorious Soros Foundation (how can one do without it!), which mostly sponsors colour revolutions and government reshuffles in those countries that cannot take care of themselves. All these steps are being made to prevent the quorum of 30 percent, which is a minimum requirement for the referendum results to be considered valid. This goal is absolutely clear because once it is reached the ratification of the agreement by the Netherlands will become a fait accompli.

We are perplexed that these developments are being accompanied by the allegations that “the Moscow hand secretly leads” the advocates of the referendum. This looks like paranoid delusion. One more figure: while it saves money on the referendum in its own country, the Hague has already allocated, without batting an eyelid, 1.5 million euros on combatting the bogey of “Russian propaganda.”

The only move we ventured to make – and Western countries are vigorously fighting against it – is to openly declare our position in the media, expressing the view that the referendum in the Netherlands is a natural reaction to the EU foreign policy, which is being carried out without taking into account public opinion in the EU member countries. The only thing the public wants is to be heard; the public wants its opinion to be heeded, if such a mess has already been made. Putting it mildly, the results of Europe’s lack of independence in international affairs have become a heavy burden on the Europeans. Every European saw the consequences of EU policy in Syria for himself, when the refugees started flocking to Europe.

What has prompted our stand on this issue? What is the rationale for our approach? We are convinced that the voting in the Netherlands, as in any other country, should take place with the observance of all democratic procedures, and that voters should not be subjected to excessive information pressure by the authorities.

Our colleagues in the Netherlands and many other Western countries have based their strategy of criticising Russia, for instance, as regards Crimea, on the premise that the Crimean referendum was illegitimate. Many politicians officially declared that the way a referendum was held was more important than the fact of the referendum as such. No doubt, the declaration of will by the population is of primary importance and it is vitally important to listen to it because citizens should call the shots in their own country. It transpires that the referendum should not have been held in Crimea the way it was held. Allegedly time was needed to prepare it properly. The “proper preparations” for the Dutch referendum is probably an example of the Western view on how the referendum in Crimea should have been “prepared:” the number of voting stations is being reduced and the official authorities are spending huge funds to push through their viewpoint.

In other words, the expression of will by the public should be organised, not when people want and are ready to voice their opinion that had been held back for decades, nor when they have received a chance to be heard, but when, as many Western politicians believe, they are duly “prepared.” Now the Hague authorities are showing us how the referendum in Crimea could have been prepared. After such preparations, the results of the voting would have probably been counted differently. The way this is being done causes major questions. Meanwhile, these are the nations that have always given top priority to the democratic principles of the expression of will by the population.

(Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, February 4, 2016)

Over Hans de Vreij

Dutch journalist. Former correspondent in Brussels, Geneva, Prague, East Berlin.
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