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This is the seventh in a series of guest publications and translations which The Henry Jackson Society is producing by arrangement with Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. This publication was written by Vladimir Voronov, a Russian investigative journalist, and translated by Arch Tait.
On 15 March, Crimea marked the first anniversary of the referendum on whether it wanted to be incorporated as part of Russia. Shortly before,Vladimir Putin signed a decree instituting a new national holiday: Special Operations Forces Day. This is to be celebrated on 27 February, the day in 2014 when the “little green men” embarked on their operation to seize key facilities in Crimea. The day before the announcement, Russian television aired a film titled “Crimea: the Path Back to the Homeland”, in which Putin describes taking the decision to begin the operation to annex the peninsula. For all that, certain details about the operation and the Russian president’s motives remain obscure.