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Crimean parliament adopts law on militia

June 12, 2014, 1:23 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

The bill, proposed by acting Crimea head Sergey Aksyonov, was adopted in the first reading in late May, but law enforcement agencies found problems with it

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SIMFEROPOL, June 12 /ITAR-TASS/. Members of the State Council (parliament) of Crimea, a former Ukrainian region that recently joined Russia, on Wednesday adopted in the final reading an amended law “On people’s militia - people’s patrols of the Republic of Crimea”.

The bill, proposed by acting Crimea head Sergey Aksyonov, was adopted in the first reading in late May, but law enforcement agencies found problems with it.

Law enforcers who studied the first variant of the draft law said the document meant militia’s powers would replace the powers of police bodies as people’s militiamen would ensure public order in cities, ensure security during natural disasters, catastrophes and epidemics and deal with the consequences of emergency situations.

Some of these clauses are out of line with the federal law “On citizens’ participation in public order maintenance”.

The reworked wording of the law clearly states that people’s militiamen may take any actions only “in cooperation with internal affairs bodies [police] and other law enforcement agencies, state power bodies of the Republic of Crimea and local self-government bodies.”

Experts who studied the first version of the bill also expressed concerns about the term “militia” but the term remained in the final wording of the draft law.

Crimean-registered Russian nationals aged 18 and older having no mental illnesses and no police record will be able to become candidates for Crimean militia. The structure will be funded “from the budget of the Republic of Crimea and from funds of organizations, public associations and other receipts conforming to the law”.

Earlier, while commenting on the possibility of legalizing Crimea’s self-defense units and establishing people’s militia on its basis, acting Crimean head Aksyonov said the structure is very effective.

“It works at checkpoints, helps inspect vehicles, and I assure you that over 50% of all offenses have been prevented by Crimean self-defense,” Aksyonov said.

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 new 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.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

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.

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