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You're reading: Nataliia Protasova: Referendum at gunpoint

Today in Kerch, Crimea, while some people glumly walked to polling stations with the understanding that their vote won’t change a thing, Russia’s supporters celebrated the long-awaited day.

Overall, I would describe atmosphere as unhealthily optimistic.

People who either have no idea what’s going on or who hope for a better life decided to close their eyes to what has been happening in Crimea for the past two weeks. According to exit polls, around 30 percent of all voters went to polling stations in the first hours after their opening on 8 a.m. Throughout the day, people congratulated each other in the streets.

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