What is going to happen to Ukraine's Crimea?

Emergence of statehood is evident in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. A government independent of Kiev has been formed, a referendum to change the status of the Crimea from the autonomy to a state has been announced, and a decision to form their own Ministry of Defense has been made. The primary goal is to hold a referendum on self-determination. But what's next?

Everything is done legally, because a constitutional republic has the right to hold referendums and amend the constitution. "We're trying to act strictly in the remnants of the legal field of Ukraine, although it has already been destroyed, but some reference points still exist," Andrei Nikiforov, a Crimean political scientist, Professor of Tauride University (Simferopol) told Pravda.Ru. "We are making every effort to ensure that there are no claims against the reference points in the Crimea, or that they are minimal, since it is revolutionary time.

In the end, we are no less democratic than they are European. When wolves were still howling in the bogs in Europe, the Crimea already had a democracy, a­ legal state system. We will be convincing them (Europeans), we will show them, but we will not give up our values to please them. "

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine withdrew from the field of constitutional law, if only because it did not impeach President Viktor Yanukovych according to the procedure stipulated, among other things, in the Constitution of 2004. It is no coincidence that Yanukovych announced at a press conference in Rostov-on-Don that he intended to travel to the Crimea to coordinate with the Crimea residents, i.e., he did not step down. This was a very important moment, because maximum adherence to the legal field was originally the position of not only the Crimea, but also Russia in all international conflicts.

Of course, the probability of the return of Yanukovych to presidency is null, but Russia needs his legitimacy to follow the stated position of the UN Security Council about the need to return the warring parties to the agreements made on February 21. Then Western mediators, Yanukovych and the opposition agreed to form a coalition government. Why wouldn't the UN Security Council raise the issue of the liability of the intermediaries for the failure of the peace agreements?

As for the referendum, according to some sources, there will be the following proposal: "The ARC has the state independence and is part of Ukraine on the basis of treaties and agreements." Possible choices are "accept" and "reject". However, this option was proposed two weeks ago, and since then a lot has changed and continues to change. The date of the referendum was changed (from May 25 to March 30), and I think that the proposal may also change. The state autonomy may well be formulated as the independence of the Crimea," told Pravda.Ru Pavel Podlesniy, head of the Russian-US relations at the Institute of USA and Canada. "If it happens, I believe that Russia may recognize this status. Ukraine, of course, will not recognize it, but there is nothing it can do about it."  

The referendum statement is close to the Declaration of Independence. So far, it is a return to the status that the Crimea had in the first half of the 1990s," said Andrei Nikiforov . "On May 5, 1992 a declaration on the governmental autonomy of the Crimea was adopted, and the Constitution was adopted stating a complete statehood. Article 9 of the Constitution is similar to the issue brought up to the referendum. There is no question of secession from Ukraine at this time, there is an issue of the terms that would make the Crimea agree to join Ukraine. This is a matter of a discussion and approval of these agreements with Ukraine. We will join as much as we deem appropriate. This status would allow in the case of incidents make the next step (towards independence). It is up to us, residents of the Crimea, to make this decision."  

Crimean lawmaker Sergei Tsekov, deputy of the Supreme Council of Crimea faction "Russian unity," confirmed to Pravda.Ru that the Parliament was also discussing a tough statement on Independence: "Today, there was a very tough statement. A number of statements should be supported by appropriate arguments and brought to the voters. Therefore, there may be different versions."

But most importantly, we offer the right to vote for our subjectness. That is, we are subjects of international law, an independent state. And then we will decide our fate, decide how we will live. There are three options here: Ukraine, Russia, and independence. Which option will we choose? We will choose the option that the Crimea residents need."

Will Kiev and the West allow the opportunity to hold a referendum on self-determination? Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, head of the Security Service of Ukraine, claims that Kiev would not allow it. "We will not allow holding a referendum," he promised, adding that this would require efforts of the Ukrainian Security Services and the Ministry of Justice. It is obvious that deployment of troops is required now because the internal forces and the police were dispersed or demoralized by the new Kiev authorities. On Saturday members of the Russian Federation Council unanimously approved the use of the Russian Armed Forces by the President of Russia on the territory of Ukraine "until the political situation in this country is stabilized." It appears that the troops will be moved in the event of the attempts to prevent the Referendum by force.

"There are doubts as to whether the referendum can be held peacefully, which is why the new government has taken control of the entire power unit. This will guarantee safety and peace. The government and public initiative are moving in the same direction. In the settlement where I live Russians and Tatars have agreed to create self-defense forces," said political analyst Andrei Nikiforov. "This is a grassroots initiative widely supported in the community, and this initiative will not allow disrupting the referendum," he said.

In what case will the Russian troops be introduced? The expert said that President Putin likely has some analytical considerations on this subject. For the residents of the Crimea simply the willingness to do so is very important because "now we know that we are not alone." However, Andrei Nikiforov believes that the Crimea and Sevastopol are the areas where Russian troops should not be introduced as "they are already there."

"The Black Sea fleet is located in Sevastopol and in a number of other areas under the agreement. Perhaps, in the case of some extraordinary situation these parts can be used to normalize the situation on the peninsula," said the analyst. It is not ruled out that they will not have to enter because the situation in the Crimea was normalized, law enforcement agencies and defense forces in the Crimea are in full control." This is the opinion of other experts polled by Pravda.Ru, including Rear Admiral Vladimir Solovyov, the head of public organization "CIS Countries' Institute in Sevastopol ".

Sergey Tsekov shares this opinion: "So far, there is no need to pull in Russian troops. So far everything is calm. In fact, I am on my way to work, all streets are clear. The streets that were closed five days ago are now quiet, traffic is restored, the work of the Supreme Council of Crimea is fully restored, same with the Council of Ministers. Virtually all structures located in the Crimea that were directly subordinate to Kiev were reassigned to the Crimea. That is, it confirms that our actions are correct," concluded the deputy.

Developments in the other pro-Russian regions of Ukraine will depend on the success of the actions of the Crimea.

Lyuba Lulko


Read the original in Russian

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov