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Senator predicts how long it will take four new regions to fully integrate into Russia

Olga Kovitidi said the judicial integration of the regions should come first

SIMFEROPOL, September 29. /TASS/. Speaking to TASS on Thursday, a Crimean senator said that integrating the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republics as well as the Kherson and the Zaporozhye Regions into Russia would go as rapidly as possible, but their complete integration could take up to 10 years.

"Undoubtedly, the legal procedure for the accession will have to be carried out. Taking into account Crimea’s experience, that would not take long after holding the referendum in the territories. The transition period in Crimea was not long, it lasted <…> 10 months, and we also deliberately extended the timeframes for education, healthcare and other spheres. A number of economic sectors exist where the transition period is still underway. Given all the specifics, [the integration process] could take up to 10 years, while the short-term integration [in some spheres], as we can see in Crimea, could last up to 10 months," Olga Kovitidi explained.

The senator said the judicial integration of the regions should come first. This procedure would require the Russian president’s decision to admit the territories to Russia based on the results of the referendum, with some more stages, including the signing of a special international treaty, envisaged, too.

"I guess the Donbass republics, the Kherson and the Zaporozhye Regions will be facing short-term issues, specifically social guarantees, safety, food and energy security, and longer-term ones. We will certainly have to address social issues. <…> Also, there should be economic integration which would require a thorough assessment and analysis of the entire economy of [the new regions], which is currently in a deplorable state," she specified.

According to Kovitidi, education and the upbringing of children and youth requires special attention, since the system of traditional values was completely uprooted in Ukraine, having been under foreign control. "We have to admit that neo-Nazi influence on youth, children and teens has been quite powerful and endemic," she insisted.

From September 23 to September 27, the two Donbass republics, the Kherson Region and the liberated areas of the Zaporozhye Region held a referendum where the majority of voters opted to join Russia as separate constituent members. On Wednesday, the leaders of the four regions submitted their official requests to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking to be admitted to Russia.