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Crimean leader calls citizens denying results of 2014 referendum "liars and provocateurs"

April 18, 2016, 18:28 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Sergey Aksyonov has supported the proposal to classify denying the results of 2014 referendum in Crimea as extremism

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Sergey Aksyonov

Sergey Aksyonov

© Mikhail Klimnetyev/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, April 18. /TASS/. Crimea’s head Sergey Aksyonov has supported the proposal of Russia’s Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin to classify denying the results of 2014 referendum in Crimea as extremism. Aksyonov’s press service said on Monday that the results of the referendum should not be questioned.

"Those who try to deny them are liars and provocateurs. Speculations on this issue outrage and insult not only the majority of Crimeans who voted for reunification with Russia but also all citizens of our country who supported our choice. I think that such speculations should be countered - toughly and in the framework of law. That’s why denying the results of the historical referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia should be classified as extremist activity," Aksyonov said.

The Crimean head noted that distorting historical facts is an instrument of hybrid war being waged against Russia. "This instrument is actively used not only by enemies of our Fatherland beyond our borders but also by representatives of the ‘fifth column’ inside the country," he added.

In an interview with Kommersant-Vlast magazine published on Monday, Bastrykin proposed to introduce criminal penalty for denying the results of the referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The referendum represents "an act of legitimate expression of the will of Crimean people," and it became "an indivisible part of Russian constitutionalism," he said. Considering the referendum’s significance "in the system of hierarchy of values of the Russian state and society, legal protection is definitely needed, including by means of criminal law," the IC head added. "It is necessary to make amendments to the federal law ‘On countering extremist activities’, expanding the notion of extremist activities by such a manifestation as denying results of the referendum," he said.

"It is necessary to decisively thwart the deliberate falsification of our country’s history," Bastrykin said reminding that "introducing criminal penalties for denying or falsifying historical events that have special significance for the state and society, is a common practice."

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

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