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Duma speaker calls referendum in Crimea historic event for Russia

March 16, 2014, 23:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, in which the voters expressed their will on the future of their region, is a historic moment for Russia
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Sergei Naryshkin

Sergei Naryshkin

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Dzhaparidze

MOSCOW, March 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, in which the voters expressed their will on the future of their region, is a historic moment for Russia, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in an interview with the Moscow-based Channel One television channel.

He called for awaiting the final results of the referendum first, yet he underlined the fact Russia had mostly been losing people in previous years.

“And here at last we’re getting our compatriots back,” Naryshkin said. “So that’s a historic moment for Russia.”

“The figures produced by the referendum speak for themselves, just look at the voters’ turnout,” he said adding that only 49% Crimeans came to the polling stations in 2012 when the election to the regional legislature was held.

“We now have only the data from exit polls but it’s already clear how impressive the final results will be,” he said.

Naryshkin warned against running before the hounds, saying it would make sense to await the official results first “although we can predict what they will look like.”

“Our fellow-deputies of the Duma were spent the past few days in Crimea, in Sevastopol, as observers and they told us about the enthusiasm the local people came to the polls with - especially people of senior generations who put the ballots into the ballot boxes with tears of joys swelling in their eyes,” he said.

“We realize of source that all the 23 years since the obtaining of independence by Ukraine were the period of expectation, during which they waited for this particular day,” Naryshkin said.

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