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Crimean authorities do not see risk of election boycott by Tatars

The elections will be held for the first time in Crimea after its reunification with Russia in 2014

SIMFEROPOL, September 6. /TASS/. Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov said Tuesday there will be no mass boycott of elections to the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, on the part of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula.

"I personally visit regions, talk to representatives of Crimean Tatars and, believe me, I have not heard any mass denial on the part of the Crimean Tatar population regarding elections," Aksyonov told TASS.

"Maybe someone will really not want to come [to elections], but it’s their right," he said.

Aksyonov said that "the Crimean Tatar people has long overcome dependence on former leaders of the Mejlis."

"All realize that they [Mejlis leaders] are solving their own political tasks rather than problems that concern the Crimean Tatar people. So their calls, I am convinced, will have no force on the territory of the Republic of Crimea," he said. "They are doing that in vain."

Earlier Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada deputy Refat Chubarov, the leader of the "Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people", which is banned in Russia, called on Crimean Tatars to boycott in Crimea the upcoming September 18 elections to Russia’s State Duma.

The elections will be held for the first time in Crimea after its reunification with Russia in 2014. Three single-member constituencies have been established in Crimea and one in the territory of the federal city of Sevastopol.

Crimean Tatars, according to the 2014 census, are the third biggest ethnic group in Crimea (232,300 people or 10.57%) after Russians and Ukrainians.

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 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, 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, 2014.

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 has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.