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Putin warns no Crimean ethnic group should enjoy special rights

August 17, 2015, 19:25 UTC+3

The president added that Crimea has representatives of 175 ethnic groups

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© Alexey Nikolsky/TASS

YALTA, Crimea, August 17 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned society against speculations that certain ethnic groups should have special rights in Crimea.

Inter-ethnic relations is a very subtle and delicate thing, Putin said at a meeting with representatives of national public associations of the Republic of Crimea.

"I consider any speculations about the right of representatives of certain ethnic groups in Crimea to enjoy any special rights to be extremely dangerous. It is necessary to protect the rights of all inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol, irrespective of whether they are ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars or representatives of other ethnic groups," Putin said.

Speaking about the situation in Crimea, Putin said he was confident that the "wisdom of Crimean Tatars" would not allow "professional fighters", whose ambitions have got nothing to do with the interests of Crimean Tatars, to destabilize the situation on the peninsula.

President Putin said that he always had special feelings and emotions whenever he arrived in Crimea. "Not only because Crimea is very beautiful and its nature is unique but also because you can feel in full measure that you belong to the common Russian history and to the unique cultural and spiritual heritage, which was created here, on this land, for centuries and was formed by various people’s and various ethnic groups," Putin explained.

He added that Crimea had representatives of 175 ethnic groups. The biggest ethnic groups include ethnic Russians (68%); Ukrainians (16%) and Crimean Tatars (over 10 %). According to the latest census, 84% of Crimean inhabitants consider Russian to be their native language; almost 8% - Crimean Tatar; 3.7% - Tatarian; 3.3% -Ukrainian; 99.8% of Crimean population knows Russia, which is the most widespread language on the peninsula.

"Crimea, in fact, reflects the multinational Russia. Here, like elsewhere in Russia, careful and constant attention should be paid to strengthening peace and accord in Crimea by combining the efforts of the state and civil society. That is why I consider the meeting with you, representatives of national public associations of the Crimean Federal District, to be vital and significant.

He recalled that one of priority steps after Crimea’s reunification with Russia was to institutionalize the equal status of the republic’s three official state languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar.

"It was a matter of principle because for more than two decades the solution of this matter was not impartial on the peninsula. That is why the restoration of historical justice and the balance of interests of various peoples just as full rehabilitation of the repressed peoples of Crimea as one of our major tasks," Putin stressed.

"I would like to emphasize that the creation of the atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding among people of various nationalities is the key factor for the region’s successful development. The region’s accumulated problems, including social support for the rehabilitated peoples, can be resolved only in conditions of political stability and inter-ethnic accord," the Russian president stressed.

Every region and territory of Russia, including the Crimean Federal District, should launch regional programmes of support for non-governmental organizations, which make their own contribution to the promotion of inter-ethnic peace and harmony. The receipt of applications for state grants to implement socially important projects and projects for the protection of human rights and freedoms has started on Monday. More than 61.2 million dollars have been allocated for the purpose this year.

"I assume that non-governmental organizations in Crimea and Sevastopol will take the most active part in this contest," Putin said.

On March 16, 2014, the authorities in Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum on the peninsula’s reunification with Russia in which 80% of eligible voters took part: 96.7% of the voters in Crimea and 95.6% in the federal city of Sevastopol voted for reunification with Russia.

On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on reunification of the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol with Russia. The Russian Federal Assembly (parliament) ratified the treaty on March 21.

Despite the convincing referendum results, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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