MOSCOW, June 11, 6:15 /ITAR-TASS/. Over a million of Russian passports have been issued for the residents of the Republic of Crimea, which seceded from Ukraine and merged with Russia in March, the head of the Russian Federal Migration Service said.
“We are issuing 20,000 passports daily,” Konstantin Romodanovsky said in an interview with Russia’s Izvestia daily. “We hope that the by the end of June the majority of Crimea residents will be handed with documents stating their Russian citizenship.”
“I would like to reiterate that all people registered as Crimean residents before March 18 have been recognized as Russian citizens,” he said. “Therefore, we [the service] are obliged to hand them out passports within a three-month period.”
The official said that in order to speed up the process and avoid long lines of waiting people a total of 300 mobile offices for issuing passports were opened across Crimea with over 1,000 personnel from the Federal Migration Service working at them.
The Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities, brought to power amid riots after a coup 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. The voter turnout stood at 83.01% in Crimea and 89.5% in Sevastopol.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals on March 18. The deals were subsequently approved by both houses of Russia's parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council. On March 21, he signed the federal constitutional law on accession of two new constituent members to the Russian Federation - the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.
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.