Tag Archives: Crimean Tatar

Crimea, Sevastopol officially join Russia as Putin signs final decree

Russia has finalized the legal process of taking Crimea under its sovereignty, as President Putin signed a law amending the Russian constitution to reflect the transition.

Earlier Russian lawmakers ratified both the amendment and an international treaty with Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which was legally required for the incorporation.

Following the signing of the law, Putin thanked lawmakers and everyone involved in the historic change of European borders for their efforts to make it happen.

“I ask lawmakers of both chambers to work actively and do everything we can, to make the transition process not only painless, but also beneficial for all Russia and the people of Crimea,” Putin said.

The treaty and the bill were submitted for the approval of Russian lawmakers on Tuesday by Putin, following last week’s referendum in Crimea, which showed the overwhelming support of the peninsula’s residents for joining Russia.

The actual transition of Crimea to existing under Russian laws and regulations may take until next year. Local rules in the new Russian region will be changed to adopt the ruble, social benefits, tax requirements and other Russian legislation.

As was promised by the Crimean authorities, the treaty includes preferences for the region’s ethnic minorities, particularly Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. Their languages would be official in Crimea, on par with Russian.

Russia pledged to make the process as smooth as possible by offering funding and recognizing various Ukrainian documents, which were in force in Crimea before it declared its independence last week.

Moscow will retain military ranks and academic levels for Ukrainian troops who choose to serve Russia, give preference to Ukrainian officials who want to keep their positions in Crimea, and expedite the issuance of Russian citizenship to all residents of Crimea who want it. Citizenship would be given automatically to all except those who explicitly opt out of it no later than one month’s time.

The current interim authorities of Crimea will be replaced with new ones after elections, which will be held in September 2015.

Crimea’s rejoining Russia was triggered by an armed coup in Kiev, which ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanokovich from power. The new authorities took some alarming steps, including parliament passing a law revoking the regional status of the Russian language, which caused the predominantly Russian region to defy Kiev.

The public uprising in Crimea culminated in a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of over 96 percent voted in favor of asking for reunification with Russia. Moscow agreed, citing the will of the people and the historic justice of the move as its motives.

Kiev and Western countries deemed Crimea’s secession and Russia’s acceptance of the peninsula illegal, a notion that Moscow denies. The US and the EU issued sanctions against some Russian officials and businessmen in a bid to put pressure on Russia over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis. Russian authorities mostly mocked the sanctions.

RT News

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Treaty to accept Crimea, Sevastopol to Russian Federation signed

Russia and Crimea have signed treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation following President Putin’s address to the Parliament.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin requests parliament to ratify the agreement that would see both Crimea and the city of Sevastopol joining Russia.

“I ask you to consider the adoption of two new subjects of the Federation: Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol,” Putin told Parliamentarians.

Crimea, Sevastopol signing draft agreement on recognition as part of Russian Federation

Crimea, Sevastopol signing draft agreement on recognition as part of Russian Federation

Crimea was represented by Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov and Sevastopol mayor Aleksey Chaly, who signed the treaty. The two were accompanied by Crimean top official Vladimir Konstantinov.

“Since the adoption of the Russian Federation Republic of Crimea in structure of the Russian Federation two new entities – of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Federal importance Sevastopol – have been created,” the text of the treaty reads.

The Treaty enumerates 10 articles which will come into effect after ratification.

Russia will guarantee that the people who live in Crimea and Sevastopol will be given the right to keep their native language as well as the means and conditions for learning it.

Thus, article 3 of the treaty stands that there will be three official languages in Crimea and Sevastopol: Ukrainian, Russian and the language of Crimean Tatars.

Starting from the day of accession, the people of Crimea and Sevastopol are considered as Russian citizens, according to Article 5.

As it was agreed, the transition period will be acting till January 1, 2015. During this time, both sides will resolve the issues of integration of the new subjects “in the economic, financial, credit and legal system of the Russian Federation.”Crimea has already officially introduced the ruble as a second currency along with the Ukrainian hryvna, which will remain an official currency until January 1, 2016.

National elections to the state bodies of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol have been slated for September 2015.

Until then the now acting Parliament of Crimea and the Council of Ministers of Crimea as well as the Legislative Assembly of the city of Sevastopol will continue their work.

The document will be sent for approval to the constitutional court, and then to ratification in the parliaments of the two countries.

Russian lawmakers will meet with a parliamentary delegation from Crimea and Sevastopol on March 19 to review strategic aspects of cooperation, including “the prospects for the political and financial establishment of the Republic of Crimea.”

“A number of lawmakers will meet with our colleagues from Crimea and Sevastopol at 10:30 local time (0630 GMT),” said the speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, Sergey Naryshkin. “I suggest lawmakers wear the Ribbon of St George at the meeting with their colleagues, as we did today,” he added.

Treaty signing came after President Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly.

Putin stressed that the results of the referendum, in which more than 83 percent of Crimean residents came to polling stations and more than 96 percent of those voted for rejoining Russia, leave no room for equivocation.

The referendum on independence in Crimea was conducted in strict accordance with democratic principles and international law, he pointed out. He dismissed criticism of the Crimean referendum, citing Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence as an example of self-determination praised by the West.

The president recalled the history of Crimea, saying its cultural, religious and spiritual ties bind it with the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, which explains the attitude Russians have towards the peninsula.

“There are graves of Russian soldiers on the peninsula whose courage enabled Russia to make Crimea part of the Russian Empire in 1783,” Putin said. “Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars and other peoples lived side by side in Crimea preserving their originality, traditions, language and religion.”

He said Crimea had dark pages in its past, particularly the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities in the USSR. The authorities of Crimea seek to recompense for those ills.

“There was the period, where the Crimean Tatars experienced injustice· It is necessary to adopt political, legal measures to finalise the process of rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars. The measures should restore their rights, their good name fully,” Putin said.

One such move would be accepting the language of Crimean Tatars as an official language in Crimea on a par with Russian and Ukrainian.

Putin lashed out at former Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, under whose rule Crimea was attached to Soviet Ukraine without any regard for Crimeans’ wishes and in violation of the laws of the time.

Crimean separation from Russia was reinforced again after the split of the Soviet Union, Putin said. This could be partially blamed on Moscow too, as it hailed the so-called “parade of sovereignty” of the Soviet Republics.

Russia has since respected the results of the USSR’s dissolution, including Crimea being part of Ukraine.

Russia’s position was based on the assumption that Ukraine would remain a friendly partner respecting the historic ties between the two countries. Russia continues and will continue to view these relations as very important, the president said.

Putin criticized several governments in Kiev for neglecting average Ukrainians, seeing the country as a source of profit.

He said he sympathized with Ukrainians who took to the streets of Kiev in protest against President Yanukovich, whom they saw as profoundly corrupt.

But the current authorities who replaced Yanukovich after an armed coup are to a large degree controlled by radical nationalists, Putin stated.

Those same radicals have voiced threats against Ukrainians who resist their rule, particularly those living in Crimea.

Turning a blind eye to those threats and the moves of the current authorities, which violated the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, would be betrayal on the part of Russia, Putin said.

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About 95% of Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia – preliminary results

People celebrate as they wait for the announcement of preliminary results of today’s referendum on Lenin Square in the Crimean capital of Simferopol March 16, 2014

Around 95 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia and less than 5 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to preliminary results.

With around 50 percent of the votes already counted, preliminary result show that 95.5 percent of voters said ‘yes’ to the reunion of the republic with Russia as a constituent unit of the Russian Federation. In Sevastopol, the number of those who voted ‘yes’ stands at 93 percent, according to the head of the Sevastopol commission, Valery Medvedev.

The preliminary results of the popular vote were announced during a meeting in the center of Sevastopol, the city that hosts Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The overall voter turnout in the referendum on the status of Crimea is 81,37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.

Over a half of the Tatars living in the port city took part in the referendum, with the majority of them voting in favor of joining Russia, reports Itar-Tass citing a representative of the Tatar community Lenur Usmanov.

About 40% of Crimean Tatars went to polling stations on Sunday, the republic’s prime minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

In Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 have gathered to celebrate the referendum in central Lenin square and people reportedly keep arriving. Demonstrators, waving Russian and Crimean flags, were watching a live concert while waiting for the announcement of preliminary results of the voting.

International observers are planning to present their final declaration on the Crimean referendum on March 17, the head of the monitors’ commission, Polish MP Mateush Piskorski told journalists. He added that the voting was held in line with international norms and standards.

Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Aksyonov told Interfax. In his words, the dual currency will be in place for about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the Prime Minister said, adding that it could be done faster. However, they want to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges.

Moscow is closely monitoring the vote count in Crimea, said Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin.

“The results of the referendum will be considered once they are drawn up,” he told Itar-Tass.

The decision to hold a referendum was made after the bloody uprising in Kiev which ousted President Vladimir Yanukovich from power. Crimea – which is home to an ethnic Russian majority population – refused to recognize the coup-appointed government as legitimate. Crimeans feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect rights. Crimeans were particularly unhappy over parliament’s decision to revoke the law allowing using minority languages – including Russian – as official along with the Ukrainian tongue. Crimeans staged mass anti-Maidan protests and asked Russia to protect them.

Officials count votes of today’s referendum in the Crimean capital of Simferopol March 16, 2014

 RT News.

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Preparations for joining Russia already underway – Crimean PM

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said Monday that preparations for the southern Ukrainian region to become part of Russia are already underway.

A referendum to decide whether the region will become part of Russia will take place on March 16.

The peninsula will be ready to begin using Russian law within a couple of months of a pro-secession vote, and the local Finance Ministry is already working on a roadmap for switching from the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, to the Russian ruble, Aksyonov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

The referendum in Crimea, where ethnic Russians make up about 60 percent of the population, is widely expected to return a favourable result that will pave the way for annexation by Moscow.

Aksyonov also promised that Ukrainian would cease to be an official language if Crimea joined Russia.

“We use two languages on a daily basis a?? Russian and Crimean Tatar,” Aksyonov said. “It’s certain that the republic [of Crimea] will have two languages.”

About 15 percent of Crimea’s population of about 2 million people are ethnic Tatars, among whom support for the incoming regime in Kiev is reportedly strong.

Aksyonov has also promised senior political positions in a new Crimean government to members of the Tatar community.

Formerly the leader of a local pro-Russian political party, Aksyonov was appointed prime minister last month by a vote in the Crimean parliament.

The planned referendum has been brought forward twice from its original date of May 25 since it was announced by local lawmakers last month.

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​Why referendum? Crimeans speak out on Ukraine

Pro-Russian supporters attend a rally in Simferopol, March 9, 2014

Pro-Russian supporters attend a rally in Simferopol, March 9, 2014

A referendum in Crimea will say in a week if the region wants more autonomy from Kiev, or if it sees itself a part of Russia. RT’s Paula Slier asked residents of Crimea’s capital whether they want to have the region’s status changed and, if so, why.

Many in the Black Sea peninsula are refusing to recognize the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev, RT found out. Violent seizure of government buildings and bloodshed on the streets – that’s how Crimeans see recent events in Kiev.

“The government in power is not democratic because they had a revolution in an armed way so that everything it orders is not legal,” Aleksandr Mukharev, a writer told Paula Slier.

As the country remains bitterly divided between the EU-supporting west and pro-Russia east, Crimeans have doubts that people, who have come to power, will represent the interests of both the sides.

One of the first decisions by the new government – to revoke the law on minority languages, which includes Russian, – only contributed to Crimeans’ worries.

“Their mission is not to promote the Ukrainian language as much as suppress the Russian language and everything that is not Ukrainian,” believes Aleksey Vakulenko, a citizen journalist.

97 percent of Crimeans speak Russian. They weren’t happy, when Russian disappeared from government websites and fear that Russian TV channels might soon be banned. There have also been cases of Russian journalists being denied access to the country, something Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed on Saturday.

The news of far right political forces gaining prominence in Kiev is another source of concern for Crimeans. The interim Kiev government has six ministers – including the deputy prime minister, Aleksandr Sych, – from the nationalist Svoboda party.

Reasons for Crimea joining Russia are far from ideological for Lianu Stepanova, a flower seller.

“The prices will be lower and the salaries will be higher,” she believes.

The east and southeast of Ukraine have never quite embraced the partnership deal with the EU, bearing in mind austerity cuts weaker economies there have to implement. Now the West is promising economic aid through the International Monetary Fund. The prospect of Ukrainians having to tighten their belts is ever more real, as the assistance comes under the strictest of conditions.

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Most Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region’s side – sources

The majority of resigned Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea have switched to the side of local authorities and are expected to take military oath soon, Russian news agencies report.

Facts you need to know about Crimea and why it is in turmoil

Earlier, Ukrainian troops in Crimea were said to be resigning on a massive scale. Living quarters, weapons and ammunition have all been left under the protection of the so-called ‘self-defense forces.’

Letters of resignation have been coming in since early morning, as the self-defense forces continue to preserve order on the streets of Simferopol, RIA Novosti said citing own reporters on the ground.

Since Thursday, the city’s Supreme Council and a number of other buildings have been occupied and guarded by the self-defense forces run by the local population.

Crimea’s deputy prime minister, Rustam Temirgaliev, announced earlier that the Ukrainian armed forces have all but surrendered their military capabilities and that no active units remain in the Crimea.

“The entire Ukrainian armed forces stationed on the Crimean territory have been blocked – a number have been disarmed, while another big portion is switching to the Crimean side,” Interfax reported him as saying.

“The self-defense forces have taken control of the landing strips of all the Crimean airports and airfields,” Temirgaliev added.

The deputy PM said that that the region’s security services and emergency services now report to the local government, while self-defense forces control all the runways at Crimea’s airports and airfields.

The local government, Temirgaliev went on, will promise the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority a place in Crimea’s Supreme Council, adding that funding for programs of resettlement and reintegration of those deported during the Stalin era will be plentiful. The Crimean Tatars have been supporting the self-proclaimed authorities in Kiev.

Crimeans began protesting after the new self-imposed government in Kiev introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official documents in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population are Russian and use only this language for their communication. The residents have announced they are going to hold a referendum on March 30 to determine the fate of the Ukrainian autonomous region.

via Most Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region’s side – sources — RT News.

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Crossroads of Crimea : Facts you need to know about Ukraine region

Ukrainian police separate ethnic Russians (L) and Crimean Tatars during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.

With its multinational society and a long history of conquests, the Crimean peninsula has always been a crossroads of cultures – and a hotbed of conflicts. Amid Ukrainian turmoil, every ethnic group of Crimeans has its own vision of the region’s future.

What is Crimea?

Now known as Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the picturesque peninsula shooting out into Black Sea from mainland Ukraine was for centuries colonized and conquered by historic empires and nomadic tribes. Greeks, Scythians, Byzantians and the Genoese have all left traces of their presence in Crimean archeological sites and placenames. Nomadic invasions, such as that of the Goths and the Huns, oftentimes redrew the ethnic picture of the region.

The most long-lived, however, proved to be the conquest of the peninsula by Turko-Mongols, who settled in the region, mixing with indigenous and other Turkic people already living there and in 1441 formed the Crimean Khanate. The local Turkic-speaking population became known as the Crimean Tatars. While the Khanate proclaimed its independence from the Golden Horde, it soon became a Turkish protectorate.

How does Russia come into picture?

The Crimean Khanate became notorious for its brutal and perpetual slave raids into East Slavic lands, in which tens of thousands of people were captured annually on Russian, Polish-Lithuanian and later Ukrainian territories. The Crimean-Nogai raids made up the Khanate’s economy through a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. They also caused vast steppe territories, known as the Wild Fields, to be unpopulated for centuries.

As the Tsardom of Russia grew stronger, one of the most vital issues for its rulers was to protect the southern borders against the raids. For this purpose, Moscow accepted the loyalty of Cossack-ruled Zaporizhian Sich, which also proved to be a defining moment in the formation of present-day Ukraine.

The Russian Empire eventually did away with its historical rival in the 18th century as a result of several victorious Russo-Turkish wars. As part of the 1774 Kuchuk-Kainarji peace treaty the Crimean Khanate aligned itself with Russia, but Catherine the Great soon annexed its lands, giving them a historic Greek name of Taurida.

The City of Sevastopol on the Black Sea shore, the Crimea.

During the Crimean War of 1853–1856, the peninsula again became a major theater of war. The Russian Empire lost the war to Ottoman Empire’s British and French allies following the bloody Siege of Sevastopol, but retained Crimea due to success on Turkish front. Despite the defeat and total devastation of the city, the heroic 11-month long defense of Sevastopol became known as an iconic event in Russian history, which has ever since been associated with the courage of the Russian military.

Later on during World War II, Sevastopol’s heroic struggle against Nazi Germany earned it the title of Hero City, reinforcing its special historic status for the Russians. As the war ended, the city had to be completely rebuilt for the second time in its history.

Ethnic controversy

By the beginning of the 20th century, Russians and the Crimean Tatars were equally predominant ethnic groups in Crimea, followed by Ukrainian, Jewish and other minorities. Crimea was both a royal resort and an inspiration for some of the great Russian poets, writers and artists, some of whom lived or were born there.

The turmoil of the Russian Civil War gravely affected the region, bringing both the notorious “Red Terror” and a severely weakened economy, which caused the Crimean population to be unable to cope with the great famine of 1921–1923. Of the famine’s 100,000 victims some 75,000 were Crimean Tatars, mainly because they relied on livestock breeding in mountainous areas with very limited lands and did not grow many crops.

Still, even more disastrous for Crimean Tatars was the aftermath of the WWII, in which some 20,000 of them allied with the Nazi German occupants, but many others also fought the Germans within the Soviet Army. Citing the collaboration of Crimean Tatars with the Nazis, Joseph Stalin ordered the whole ethnic group to be deported from Crimea to several Central Asian Soviet republics. Officially, 183,155 people were deported from Crimea, followed by about 9,000 Crimean Tatar WWII veterans. That made up about 19 percent of the Crimean population on the eve of war, almost half of which was by then Russian.

While the move was officially criticized by the communist leadership as early as in 1967, the Tatars were de-facto unable to return to Crimea until the late 1980s. The tragic events surrounding Stalin’s deportation obviously shaped the ethnic group’s detestation of the Soviet regime.

Other Soviet citizens got to know Crimea as an “all-Union health resort,” with many of those born in the Soviet Union sharing nostalgic memories of children’s holiday camps and seaside.

How was Crimea separated from Russia?

Another controversial decision involving Crimea followed in 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, himself an ethnic Ukrainian, transferred the peninsula to the Ukrainian SSR, extracting it from Russian territory.

The health resort Krym (formerly Frunzenskoye), 1980.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev’s “present” has been widely criticized by many Russians, including the majority of those living in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Adding to the confusion was also the status of Soviet-times Sevastopol, which not only remained the largest Crimean city, but also retained its special strategic and military profile. In 1948, Sevastopol was separated from the surrounding region and made directly subordinate to Moscow. Serving as an important Soviet naval base, it used to be a “closed city” for years.

In the 1990s, the status of Sevastopol became the subject of endless debates between Russia and Ukraine. Following negotiations, the city with the surrounding territories was granted a special “state significance” status within the Ukrainian state, and some of the naval facilities were leased to Russia for its Black Sea Fleet until at least 2047. However, the city’s Russian majority and some outspoken Russian politicians still consider it to be a part of Russia.

Referendums and hopes

In 1991, the people of Crimea took part in several referendums. One proclaimed the region an Autonomous Republic within the Soviet Union, with 93.26 percent of the voters supporting the move. As the events unfolded fast, another one was already asking if the Crimeans supported the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union – a question that gathered 54 percent support. However, a referendum on Crimea’s independence from Ukraine was indefinitely banned from being held, leading critics to assert that their lawful rights were oppressed by Kiev authorities.

A rally in support of the Crimea independence referendum, 1992.

Complicating the issue was the return of the Crimean Tatars, who not only started to resettle in tens of thousands, but also rivaled local authorities. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People was formed to represent the rights and interests of the ethnic minority. Although it was never officially recognized as an official organization, the body has enjoyed undisputed authority over most of Crimean Tatars and has successfully pushed for some concessions for the ethnic group in local laws.

While the Crimean Tatar re-settlers and the peninsula’s current Russian majority have learned to understand one another as neighbors, hardcore politicians from both ethnic groups also created grounds for a heated standoff. Calls for wider autonomy and aggressive lobbying for Crimean Tatar rights have prompted several pro-Russian Crimean political leaders to call the Mejlis an “organized criminal group” leading “unconstitutional” activities. The remarks sparked furious claims of “discrimination” from the Crimean Tatar community.

Who lives there now?

The majority of those living in Crimea today are ethnic Russians – almost 1,200,000 or around 58.3 percent of the populations, according to the latest national census conducted back in 2001. Some 24 percent are Ukrainians (around 500,000) and 12 percent are Crimean Tatars. However, in the Crimea’s largest city of Sevastopol, which is considered a separate region of Crimea, there are almost no Crimean Tatars and around 22 percent of Ukrainians, with over 70 percent of the population being Russians.

An absolute majority of the Crimean population (97 percent) use Russian as their main language, according to Kyiv International Institute of Sociology poll. One of the first decisions of the interim Kiev government directly hit Crimea, as it revoked a law that allowed Russian and other minority languages to be recognized as official in multi-cultural regions.

What’s happening now?

After the Ukrainian President was ousted and an interim government was established in Kiev, the Russian majority started protesting outside the regional parliament, urging local MPs not to support it. They want the Autonomous Region to return to the constitution of 1992, under which Crimea briefly had its own president and independent foreign policy.

The parliament of the Crimea autonomous region was due to declare on Wednesday the region’s official position toward the new authorities in Kiev. The Tatar community has spoken out sharply against holding a parliamentary session on the issue, expressing their support for the new central authorities.

Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede as a flag of Crimea is seen during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014

Two separate rallies, consisting of several thousand protesters, faced each other in front of the parliament building in the Crimea capital Simferopol. Two people have died as a result of scuffles and stampede and about 30 were injured, before the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, Refat Chubarov, called for the participants of the rally to go home peacefully.

Following the example of Kiev, vigilante groups are being formed, with about 3,500 people already patrolling the streets of Crimea along with police to prevent any provocations.

After the central government in Kiev disbanded the Berkut special police task force, new authorities in Sevastopol have refused to comply and welcomed all Berkut officers who feel intimidated to come to live in Crimea with their families. Sevastopol earlier elected a new mayor after the popular gathering ousted the Yanukovich local government, which tried to cling to power by pledging allegiance to Kiev’s new rulers.

What happens next?

The ultimate goal of the ethnic Russian population protesting in Crimea is to hold a referendum on whether the region should retain its current status as an autonomous region in Ukraine, to become independent, or become part of Russia again. In the meantime they claim to have a right to disobey orders of the “illegal” central government.

The Tatar minority meanwhile feels that ethnic Russians are trying to “tear Crimea away from Ukraine” excluding them from deciding the land’s fate.

Right-wing radicals from Western Ukraine earlier threatened to send the so-called “trains of friendship” full of armed fighters in order to crush any signs of resistance to the revolution they were fighting so hard for.

The Kiev authorities busy with appointing roles in the revolutionary government in the meantime embraced a soft approach towards Crimea. The interim interior minister even did not undertake any “drastic measures” to arrest fugitive ousted president Yanukovich, fearing that may spark unrest.

Russia repeatedly confirmed it does not doubt Crimea is a part of Ukraine, even though it understands the emotions of the residents of the region. This week Russian MPs initiated a bill that will allow Russian citizenship within six month if the applicant successfully proves his or her Russian ethnicity. It is prepared especially to save Russian speaking Ukrainians from possible infringement of their rights.

Ukrainian police try and separate ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars (R) during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.

Ukrainian police try and separate ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars (R) during rallies near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014.

via Crossroads of Crimea: Facts you need to know about Ukraine region — RT News.

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