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All Sevastopol residents to receive Russian passports by yearend - governor

October 16, 2014, 2:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

As of August, 263,000 passports were issued in Sevastopol

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Sevastopol Governor Sergey Menyailo

Sevastopol Governor Sergey Menyailo

© Nikolay Galkin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. All residents of the federal Russian city of Sevastopol will receive passports of citizens of the Russian Federation by the end of 2014, Sevastopol Governor Sergey Menyailo said at a press conference in TASS Wednesday.

“By the end of the year, we should recognize all Sevastopol residents Russian citizens and issue passports to them,” Menyailo said.

According to him, despite the fact that nearly all city residents have obtained passports, lines do not decrease because Ukrainians from the mainland come to Sevastopol for Russian citizenship. They have to prove their right to Russian passports in court.

“The number of those wishing to get them increases due to the simplified scheme of obtaining Russian citizenship,” the governor added. “We are working on it jointly with the Federal Migration Service.”

Menyailo also said that in order to resolve the problem of lines, the Sevastopol authorities plan to increase the number of permanent personnel. He said there are no problems with issuance of foreign passports in the city.

As of August, 263,000 passports were issued in Sevastopol.

There is the problem of the growing number of Ukrainians without Crimean registration who want to obtain Russian citizenship. Some 15,000 Ukrainian residents have filed applications for Russian citizenship in the Republic of Crimea.

Various fraud schemes to receive passports by Ukrainian nationals are used in this connection. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Investigative Committee are conducting work to reveal such schemes.

According to the Federal Migration Service’s official data, more than 98% of local residents have received Russian passports in the Crimean Federal District. The process to issue documents was launched in late March and was accompanied by huge lines in FMS offices.

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 authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, when ultranationalist rhetoric could be heard from representatives of the junta.

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.

As of late 2013, Russians accounted for 58.5%, Ukrainians for 24.3%, Crimean Tatars for 12.1%, Belarusians for 1.4% and Armenians for 1.1% of Crimea’s population.

Crimea joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

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 acceded to the Russian Federation.

The West led by the United States has subjected Russia to sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, following Crimea’s incorporation by Russia. Russia has dismissed the language of sanctions.

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