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MOSCOW, May 20 /ITAR-TASS/. About 900,000 applications for Russian passports have been received in Crimea, and some 750,000 passports have already been issued, Russia’s Federal Migration Service told Itar-Tass Tuesday.
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 the new Ukrainian authorities, brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, 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.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems is actively underway now that Crimea has become part of Russia.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.