Europe

Tweeting a polling day lunch in Crimea

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Media captionWatch time-lapse footage of a visit to a house in Yevpatoria, a city in western Crimea, as the lunch guest of a local family

Following the Saturday night debate between two friends and their cat, tweeted live from an apartment in Sevastopol, I'm with a local family for late lunch on Sunday.

As well as eating and debating, those around me have also been casting their votes to determine whether their home of Crimea remains with Ukraine or joins Russia.

The morning has been overcast but that has not determined the voters of Sevastopol and the sun is threatening to appear.

Here are the edited highlights from the lunch in tweets and images. (All times are listed in GMT.)

Image caption There was copious food on the table
Image caption Voting was steady at Victory Avenue polling station, despite the rain in Sevastopol, Sunday morning

15:56 Setting out the table

Welcome to a table in a house in Yevpatoria, a city in western Crimea, where a family lunch is just beginning. I'm in the company of Ivan, 85, his daughter Sveta and his niece Irina. We're starting late today, not because of the referendum on Crimea's future, but because I was late.

All of my companions voted in favour of joining Russia. A fourth relation who voted for autonomy did not arrive for the meal.

Of course, let's give it half an hour to tuck into the food before the questions. Ivan grew up within earshot of the Battle of Kursk and early talk centres on the Second World War.

And, for those who can speak the language, here's Ivan, Sveta and Irina holding forth.

17:02 The questions begin

I've noted several questions, but start with one of my own.

Ivan: There will always be someone in a family who's never happy with anything. But personally I don't know any family split over the vote.

Sveta: I know a family in shock because they are subordinate to Kiev in their work and it will be really hard to re-orientate to Moscow.

Irina: I know some students who are really worried because they are taking their courses in Ukrainian, not Russian. They are training as teachers of the Ukrainian language and have no idea what jobs they will get.

Ivan: From the box. I watch mostly Ukrainian TV channels and some Russian. The only language I don't understand is Tatar. I have a very good friend who is Tatar, same age as me [85]. We talk about everything, the deportation and everything else.

Image caption Ivan expects to benefit from life within Russia

Sveta: I get my news mostly from TV, Ukrainian, Russian and Crimean, and a little from the internet. I compare TV reports to arrive at my own, independent opinion.

Irina: I rarely watch TV because I don't want to be brainwashed by the zombie-box. I prefer to read student chat forums as their opinion matters the most. The future belongs to them. I use Facebook, vKontakte, Odnoklassniki.

17:20 A question of communications

Julia KB tweets to ask if Ivan perceives a difference in the coverage between Ukrainian and Russian channels, and if there has been any change since the Ukrainian channels were turned off.

Ivan: We still receive Ukrainian TV channels by cable. There are more lies on the Ukrainian channels.

Ivan: We expect to be a little better off as part of Russia. We love the Ukrainian people - it's the politicians taking power there that we don't want.

Image caption The family and Patrick toast to "very good health"

Sveta: People here are really scared by the reactionary, pro-fascist mood among Ukraine's current leaders.

Irina: Nobody asked us if we wanted to be part of the EU. We are not ready here. In 22 years, not a penny was invested in Crimea. All the money was put into dachas and hotels for the government and the oligarchs.

And Hugh Barton-Smith asks: Could sought-after result been arrived at with less heavy-handed tactics? Was the rush justified in their view?

18:18 Soviet times and modern militias

After a break and a catch up with the news on Ukraine's Channel One, the family return to the tweeted questions.

Ivan: I didn't see any yet, I stay at home most of the time.

Sveta: I never see them. They don't bother me.

Irina: I never see them. I've never seen Martians either.

Patrick: I have seen quite a few since Wednesday, though not in Yevpatoria.

Ivan: Nowadays the media lie a lot. Soviet media just lied. I would have voted to stay in Ukraine had I thought it would join the EU five years from now.

Sveta: No because Crimea would perish as part of the EU. We are not competitive - what could be offer Europe?

Irina: Definitely not. I believe in an unattached Ukraine that would be on good terms with both the EU and Russia.

18:33 The divisions within and without

Sveta: It's a very difficult issue but we count on our neighbours being reasonable because our credit is good.

Irina: It will be hard, it will be expensive, but I don't think our neighbours would be so mean as to cut off supplies.

Ivan: I hope it won't be an issue. We should be able to reach a deal with Ukraine's south-east provinces.

Irina: Where were we supposed to go in 1954 when we were attached to Ukraine?

Sveta: We Crimeans are all one family. Nobody needs to leave.

And Ivan agrees with Sveta.

Sveta: Yes, that's true. The older generation are more inclined towards Russia than the younger one that grew up in Ukraine.

Ivan: My roots are in Russia so I am nostalgic for Russia.

Meanwhile, While Tatap Coc tweets to reply: Old folk only have TV and Ukrainian channels are jammed from Crimea. Young have internet.

18:59 Political terms

Irina: The fascists now in power or close to being in power, and their backers, preach Hitlerite ideas...

Sveta: People are scared by the open use of fascist symbols at rallies.

Ivan: Those who preach Hitlerite propaganda are fascists in my opinion.

However, Micheal O Ceirin tweets to say: Please tell Irina that my friends and family (were) at Maidan are not fascist, Nazi or even right-wing.

Sveta: I respect him greatly.

Irina: I wish Ukraine had had a leader like him.

Ivan: I respect him but I'm wary.

19:20 And what of the future?

Rob Corp tweets to ask: Do Crimean-Russians hope that by rejoining Russia, Moscow will reward them with some of its gas / oil wealth?

Irina: Well they promise we will - and we are trusting people.

Sveta: We only hope Russia is sincere and won't abandon us to our poverty and our needs.

Ivan: Crimea is the Pearl of the South. It's in Russia's interests to look after the place. I am sure it will.

Image caption Keeping up with the news between questions on a historical day in Crimea

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