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26.02.2014

Uladzimir Kudzinau: Russia to lose referendum in Crimea 5

14:55, — Politics

Uladzimir Kudzinau: Russia to lose referendum in Crimea

A former member of the Supreme Council of the 13th Convocation lives in Crimea and thinks the peninsula will remain in Ukraine.

He said it to Radio Svaboda in an interview.

Mr Uladzimir, are calls to separate Crimea from Ukraine popular on the peninsula?

There was a rally on Nakhimov Square in Sevastopol. Among the calls were proposals to make Sevastopol a part of Russia. The rally gathered 20,000-25,000 people. But Sevastopol's population is 400,000 people, so only a part of them came to the rally. The most objective thing is holding a national referendum on the peninsula's status to prevent quarrels about who owns the city Russia or Ukraine. In my view, the most reasonable thing is to make the city a free economic zone so that all people Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians and Europeans could visit it freely. Some will go there on holiday, some will make investments. I think both the Ukrainian and Russian authorities should solve the situation together. I understand that Russia is afraid of reviewing the Kharkiv Accords on the Russian Fleet. Historically, Sevastopol is the city of the Russian military glory, so Russia pays much attention to Sevastopol and Crimea.

We are speaking about public moods in Sevastopol, but Crimea is not only Sevastopol.

Seventy percent of Sevastopol's population are Russian-speaking. About 70 percent of the city residents will vote for Sevastopol as a part of Russia if the referendum is held. It's objective.

That's right, but Crimea is larger than Sevastopol. When Russian politicians speak about the situation of Crimea, they mean the whole peninsula, not only Sevastopol. As a former politician, a member of Belarus's Supreme Council and a local resident, what is the probability that the whole Crimean peninsula may join Russia? Is it possible? Are these moods popular in Crimea?

I don't think it's possible. About 2.2-2.3 million people live on the Crimean peninsula. Twenty percent of them are Crimean Tatars, about 30 percent are ethnic Ukrainians, about 5 percent are Belarusians, so the ratio of other nationalities and Russians is 60 to 40. About 40% may support the idea of giving Crimea to the Russian Federation. It seems that certain politicians in Simferopol want a referendum to vote on three issues: Crimea as a part of Ukraine, Crimea as a part of Russia or Crimea as a free autonomic territory, a separate state. I think none of the options can collect 50 percent of votes.


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