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National cultural autonomy to be guaranteed to Crimean Tatars if Crimea accedes to Russia

March 12, 2014, 0:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 11, 23:23 /ITAR-TASS/. If the Crimean people decide on accession to Russia, the republic will have all the rights and opportunities of a constituent entity of the Federation and Crimean Tatars will have the right to create a national cultural autonomy, speaker of the Federation Council upper house of Russian parliament Valentina Matviyenko said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel on Tuesday.

“If the Crimean people decide to accede to the Russian Federation, the Republic of Crimea will have all rights and opportunities as a constituent entity,” the speaker of the upper house said. She stressed that it is not only the matter of “social standards which are much higher than in Ukraine” but also of the right of Crimean Tatars to establish a national cultural autonomy, which will enable them to preserve their language and culture. “And nobody will dare encroach on this, as this is recorded in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and ensured by our entire legislation and by the nationalities policy the Russian Federation pursues,” Matviyenko said.

The speaker of the Federation Council recalled that national cultural autonomies in Russia have broad rights, including the establishment of schools with instruction in national languages and support for their national culture, languages, traditions and crafts. She cited the data according to which there were about 1,000 autonomies in Russia in 2013, including 16 autonomies at the federal level and 244 at the regional level.

At the same time, Matviyenko expressed concern over pronouncements of some Ukrainian politicians on behalf of Crimean Tatars. “I regard them as provocations,” Matviyenko said, noting that “noone has authorized Ukrainian politicians to speak on behalf of the people, including Crimean Tatars.” “These are provocative statements aimed to affect the expression of the will of people living in Crimea. There is nothing behind them. These are provocations,” Matviyenko said.

“I am sure that Crimean Tatars who have lived through a harsh destiny are peacefully inclined. They aim to preserve their rights, their culture, their language,” the speaker of the Federation Council said, noting that if this decision is made, these rights are guaranteed by Russian laws.

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