Life in Ukraine. Live, @ first hand.

Crimea’s Indigenous People See Their Future Only as Part of Ukraine


Kyiv, March 10, 2014 – The representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, Serhiy Kunitsyn, stated: “There are no Ukrainian authorities in Crimea. I was met by armed people at the airport, and I had to move around carrying arms every day, since I was being followed.” Mr. Kunitsyn also said there is no point in having negotiations with Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov, because “people from the neighboring state decide everything on their behalf. Very few people in Crimea realize what the 1992 Constitution entails. According to this document, Crimea is declared as a separate state, called ‘Republic of Crimea’.”

Commenting on actions by the central government authorities, Serhiy Kunitsyn underscored that the official Kyiv should delegate authority over economic issues to the Crimea, by means of adopting the relevant legislation: “I believe that Crimea could be turned into a Singapore.” Mr. Kunitsyn also said that the Crimean crisis cannot be settled without the international community, but that the Ukrainian government should firmly identify its positions: “The more diplomats, TV cameras, journalists, and parliament members there are in Crimea, the fewer chances there are for Russia to win.”

Chair of Bakhchysarai District Administration, Ilmi Umerov, contends there is risk of a genuine threat of genocide against the Crimean Tatars: “We are the indigenous people of Crimea, and we see our future only as part of Ukraine. Now we are united as never before.” Mr. Umerov also added that the summer beach season has already been disrupted: “One of Putin’s goals was to redirect the tourist flows. Even though Crimea’s annexation has not happened yet – but one cannot also find a prosperous Karabakh, Transnistria, or Ossetia on the world map.”

Commenting on the Russian law and the acceptance of new entities into the Russian Federation, Director of the Center for Near-Eastern Studies, Ihor Semyvolos, noted that these are referring to “a portion of the territory and its population, which has legally separated from Russia relatively recently.” In the expert’s opinion, this is a literal analogy to the Anschluss of Austria. Mr. Semyvolos also believes that it is important to prevent escalation of the conflict, to refrain from violence, and to continue with the “Gandhi” tactic of the Ukrainian military.

Serhii Kunitsyn, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, former Prime Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (1998–2001, 2002–2005), President of the Association of Free Economic Zones of Ukraine.

Ilmi Umerov, Chair of Bakhchysarai District State Administration; President of the World Assembly of Turkic Peoples (1997-1999) and Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea (2002-2005).

Ihor Semyvolos, Director of the Center for Near-Eastern Studies.

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