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Crimea cannot be denied right to hold self-determination referendum — Pushkov

February 28, 2014, 9:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Head of the State Duma international affairs committee said such a referendum would be a more legal form for changing Crimea’s status than “spontaneous Maidan” in Kiev
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, February 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Crimea cannot be denied the right to hold a referendum on self-determination, head of the State Duma international affairs committee Alexei Pushkov told reporters on Friday.

“If Crimea holds a referendum, this will be an absolutely legislative and legally binding base for changing its status, if the majority of the population votes for this,” he said.

Pushkov said such a referendum would be a more legal form for changing Crimea’s status than “spontaneous Maidan” in Kiev.

“If we are told that the Maidan could be a source of power, well, this is the will of the people. But why then the will of the people cannot be the source of power and self-determination for Crimea. I think it cannot be denied this right,” the parliamentarian said.

On Thursday, the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea announced it would hold a referendum of the autonomy’s status and expansion of its powers.

 

“Verkhovna Rada’s decision on ousting president Yanukovych unlawful”

The resolution of Ukraine’s parliament on ousting President Viktor Yanukovych is unlawful, Pushkov said.

He added that “the process of removing Yanukovych from power was quite hectic and raises big concerns in terms of legitimacy”. The Russian lawmaker pointed out that the opposition leaders, who signed the agreement February 21, with guarantees to be fulfilled by EU representatives, agreed that Yanukovych will remain president of Ukraine until the elections. Nevertheless, Pushkov says, the Verkhovna Rada “literally on the next day stated that Yanukovych does not fulfill his duties”. “Why doesn’t he fulfill his duties? He left for Kharkiv for one day, not for two or three weeks. However, this is used as a pretext to practically overthrow him, and Turchynov proclaims himself the interim president. Why on earth, who capacitated him? And why Yanukovych’s leave from Kiev is by default interpreted towards stripping him of his powers?” the Russian lawmaker wonders.

Pushkov believes that the opposition wanted the February 21 agreement “only for ousting Yanukovych”. “That is why the legitimate basis of Verkhovna Rada’s resolutions causes serious doubts. “The resolution of Ukraine’s parliament on ousting President Viktor Yanukovych is unlawful,” head of the State Duma international affairs committee stated.

Pushkov believes the Ukrainian parliament “acts only in compliance with the needs of revolutionary usefulness, as back in the day used to act the bolshevists, and as the masterminds of any coup do”. The Russian lawmaker also expressed his doubts that Ukrainian deputies have the right to conduct a speeded up process of changing the basis of state power. “If a new president was elected, then the authorities would had new legitimacy. But this authorities have a restricted legitimacy, if any at all,” head of the State Duma committee stressed.

In addition, Pushkov recalled that the new Ukrainian authorities are established under ultra-nationalistic, even Banderovite slogans. “I believe that the Russian-speaking residents, and these are over 10 million people, have every reason to fear that they may become outlaws and pariahs in the so-called “new” Ukrainian democracy. Anyway, all the events in Kiev and on the west of Ukraine point to a serious threat of the mentioned kind,” he said.

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