Apparently following up on hints dropped on Twitter, or perhaps on a New York Times story that noted “it has been half a century since Crimea was lopped from Russia, but for many, it may as well have been yesterday,” the new authorities in Crimea have again changed the date of the referendum. Yes, it will be held yesterday.
Update Friday March 7: On the Guardian live Ukraine blog today there is a post indicating that the March 16 Crimean referendum ballot has no option to vote against Crimea joining Russia! So, vote yesterday, and vote yes or yes.
Expert and quasi-expert commentary continues to be divided between “Putin is reasonable, within his rights, and maybe brilliant” (Stephen Cohen of NYU, as well as the bizarre American right-wing man-crush on Putin) and “Putin has bitten off more than he can chew” (Chrystia Freeland in the NYT, some of the Carnegie Europe and Moscow Center bloggers, and Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands). In Tolstoy’s story “How Much Land Does A Man Need?” the protagonist’s “walking purchase” kills him, as he walks faster and faster so as to claim as much land as possible before the sun sets, but he collapses and dies, ending up with only six feet of space in the ground. Will that be Putin’s fate?