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Russia isn't just picking the rules, Russia is also twisting the facts. Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine are *not* a case of national determination, but Russian press is not very free and people inside Russia believe that it is because of the propaganda. Russians outside Russian territory don't generally think so much of Russian's claim to Ukraine, even using the same rules, because they have access to different facts.

I don't know. For Crimea, even though the referendum was obviously fake, it seems plausible that the majority would prefer to join Russia, for the simple reasons that the standard of living (including pensions, social security payments etc) are higher there, and, as most of the Crimean population is not ethnic Ukrainians, many of them don't have emotional attachment to Ukraine. If there was a really free referendum in Crimea, I don't know what the outcome would have been - maybe it would be for joining Russia (though clearly it would not have been as skewed as the results of the fake referendum). I have no idea what's the situation in Eastern Ukraine, and where the people's sympathies lie. Since almost everyone there is Russian-speaking, they are also watching the Russian TV that spews anti-Ukrainian propaganda 24/7, so this probably also influences how they feel about the conflict.
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