A parliamentary delegation led by Morozov is visiting Crimea, Ukraine’s peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea.
The decision to hold a referendum “coincided with expectations of Crimea’s residents about a new future form of government many had been discussing,” the parliamentarian said.
“This is not separatism, as residents of Crimea say themselves. This is not separation from Ukraine. This is simply the granting of broader powers to the peninsula, not only political, but also economic ones,” he said in an interview with Itar-Tass, adding that after a session of the Supreme Council “the situation in Crimea had calmed down slightly.”
“The mood of Crimea’s residents was on the rise, people were expressing their joy on the squares and streets and the intensity of tension registered two or three days ago had subsided,” Morozov said.
For the past 15-18 years, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea had been transferring a large part of its taxes to the central budget, which had affected the state of its economy. Housing infrastructure had worsened, public utility tariffs had snowballed and the burden on small business had became exorbitant, the parliamentarian said.
“A new form of state administration which residents of Crimea will vote for in fact means a return to the 1992 autonomous status,” Morozov said. “This will give an opportunity to residents of the peninsula to plan their budget on their own. The more so since they know that they have a budget surplus despite seasonal fluctuations in the tourism industry.”
Morozov said Russian parliamentarians would hold further meetings with representatives of different political parties and public bodies in Crimea. They had already had several meetings with newly elected mayor of Sevastopol Alexei Chaly, who had stressed the importance of holding a referendum as the only way Ukraine could remain intact.