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    The city hall in Saarbrucken, the capital of Saarland, at night

    Germany Forgets Its Own History but Blames Russia for Crimea

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    Crimea's reunification with Russia might still be a subject of intense debate among politicians and officials in Europe but German elites could well relate to Crimea's experience because of Saarland and its unique history of direct democracy in the mid-20th century.

    In 1935 and 1955, the people of Saarland, which is Germany's smallest federal state, took part in two referendums to determine their fate. Both times the majority voted to join Germany and both times these wishes were granted.

    In 1935, voters in Saar were asked whether they wanted to reunite with Germany, unite with France or remain under the League of Nations’ administration. Over 90 percent chose the first option.

    Two decades later, on October 23, 1955, people of Saarland were again given the choice whether they wanted to become and independent territory, economically tied to France, or not. The victory of the No vote (67.7 percent) was seen as a desire to reunite with West Germany.

    Saarschleife (Bend in the Saar) near Mettlach
    "Saarschleife" (Bend in the Saar) near Mettlach

    That plebiscite could also be seen as "a 'No' to a Europe, which was at the time in its infancy and cannot be compared to the pseudo democratic institutionalism that sanctioned Russia and Crimea for their direct democracy," Austria's Contra Magazin noted.

    In March 2014, Crimea determined its future much like Saar did over half a century earlier. Over 95 percent of people living in the Black Sea peninsula voted in favor of reuniting with Russia in a referendum conducted according to international standards.

    The history of the two referendums which took place in the Saarland in the mid-20th century exposes "the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media outlets," the publication stated.

    Russian regions. Crimea
    © Sputnik / Vladimir Trefilov
    Russian regions. Crimea

    "One might get an impression that Brussels has never heard of a separation by means of a public vote. The Russians are accused of rigging the vote but referendum observers said that it was carried out properly. They also seem to have forgotten Kosovo's secession, which took place after illegal NATO bombings," the media outlet observed.

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    democracy, referendum, vote, politics, Crimean referendum, Saarland, Germany, Crimea, Europe, Russia
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