You forgot to put "referendum" in quotes.
Because it really was a referendum. Do you understand Russian politics? Do you speak/read Russian? Do you have friends who lived or live in Crimea? No? Then maybe you shouldn't continue to push anti-Russian propaganda. The residents of Crimea were thrilled to become citizens of Russia. Many of them were hoping for it for a long time. Opportunity and quality of life is up big time in Crimea since they joined the Russian Federation. Why do you think all media suddenly became silent on actual conditions there? Don't you think if things sucked there we would hear about it every day in order to further the anti-Russia story? The worst hit piece they were able to manage was a couple weeks after the transition, where people standing in line to have their passport (national ID) changed, and people were complaining how long it was taking.