SIMFEROPOL, January 20. /TASS/. Autonomy that Crimea gained after a referendum held on January 20, 1991 helped the region combat Ukraine’s aggressive policy and contributed to its reunification with Russia, Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov said.
At Crimea’s first referendum in the history of the Soviet Union, more than 93% of its citizens approved of the creation of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. After the plebiscite, the peninsula gained autonomy as part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. However, the region regards this referendum as the first step towards reunification with Russia.
"This is a milestone date in Crimea’s modern history. On January 20, 1991 the peninsula’s peoples during the referendum on the state and legal status of Crimea unanimously voted for the restoration of Crimea’s autonomy as part of the renewed Soviet Union. To a large extent, this autonomous status helped us combat aggressive Ukrainization [policy of increasing the usage of the Ukrainian language and promoting Ukrainian culture] and remain part of the Russian world, preserve stability and accord. And ultimately, to return home leaving behind the Ice Age of Ukraine’s annexation," Aksyonov said in a statement on occasion of the Republic’s Day.
Aksyonov noted that despite the outcome of the referendum, Crimean citizens had to live for a quarter of century in economic recession, being separated from Russia and experiencing constant interethnic tensions.
The Day of the Crimean Republic became an official holiday in December 2014, when the local parliament passed a special bill.