An extraordinary session of the dissolved Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, which now calls itself the State Council, proclaimed the ‘Republic of Crimea’ to be an independent sovereign state in morning hours of March 17. Reportedly, the decree “On the Independence of Crimea” got 85 votes. They resolved to proclaim Crimea an independent sovereign state called the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status. Councilors said that the Ukrainian legislation would remain in force in Crimea apart from acts adopted after February 21, 2014. They “stopped functioning of state agencies of Ukraine in Crimea,” with their powers, property and funds transferred to the authorities of the Republic of Crimea. All institutions, enterprises and other organizations established by Ukraine have been declared “institutions, enterprises, and other organizations established by the Republic of Crimea.” State property of Ukraine becomes “state property of the Republic of Crimea.” At the same time, “the Republic of Crimea represented by the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea appeals to the Russian Federation to admit the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation as a new subject of the Russian Federation with the status of republic.” Moscow time will be introduced in the Crimea from March 30...
By the time this issue will hit the street, we will already know that delegation of the dissolved Crimean Verkhovna Rada would have been received in Moscow where it flew out on March 17 night, and discussed with representatives of the State Duma and other members of the Russian leadership details of further annexation of Crimea. Results of the vote, which the Crimean authorities called a “referendum” were announced on March 17 morning and surpassed all expectations. According to Mykhailo Malyshev, 1,275,000 out of the 2 million Crimeans attended it, and 96.7 percent of them voted for accession to Russia. This is even more than the dubious exit poll held by the Crimean Regionnaires’ sociological institute showed.
It should be said that legality and purity of the Crimeans’ vote was the last thing on this farce organizers’ mind, so today the world’s governments and international organizations are confirming their previous statements about the illegitimacy of the referendum and the Crimean “government.”
UKRAINIAN SERVICEMEN STAND GUARD AT THE ENTRANCE TO A BASE IN THE VILLAGE OF LIUBYMIVKA, NEAR SEVASTOPOL. MARCH 15, 2014
Life will change abruptly in Crimea starting on March 17. The Crimean Tatars and the Ukrainian community in Crimea perceive the situation as especially dangerous. According to the deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Nariman Jelal, the Mejlis, which has stated it will not recognize the results of the referendum and appealed to the leadership of Ukraine with declaration of self-determination in the form of an autonomous republic within Ukraine, expresses fears now that the situation is fraught with ethnic cleansing and even a new overt or covert deportation of objectionable persons from Crimea.
Pavlo Vlasenko, the head of the Simferopol city branch of the Prosvita Society, said that the Ukrainian community feared a new wave of Russification. Breakaway Crimean authorities with the participation of Russian military have already set border checkpoints at the Perekop. Russian soldiers restrict movement to and from Crimea, in particular blocking all things Ukrainian from entering the peninsula by detaining people, stopping Ukrainian newspapers, checking mail. It should be noted that our Crimean subscribers have not been able to get the latest issues of Den/The Day in this regard. Crimea stopped broadcasting all Ukrainian TV channels, suppressed Ukrainian radio, people are detained and beaten for any sign of dissent, including a Ukrainian flag on the car or blue and yellow ribbons on their clothes or bag.
SOME 10,000 PEOPLE TOOK PART IN A RALLY IN DOWNTOWN LONDON LAST SUNDAY TO PROTEST RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE. THE RALLY STARTED AT MARBLE ARCH AND THE PROTESTERS MARCHED DOWN BAYSWATER ALL THE WAY TO THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY AT KENSINGTON PALACE GARDENS
When answering the question “how to live on?” Crimean journalists are hoping for help from the international community and the international media law. Known Crimean journalist Ruslan Yuhosh wrote on his page on Facebook: “I do not recognize the so-called referendum. I will not go to live under Russian rule. I was and am a citizen of Ukraine. I believe Crimea to be a temporarily occupied territory. I will do what I can to resist the occupation.” Today this is the predominant view among more than a third of the population of Crimea who boycotted the “referendum” and have had their views disregarded.
Serious analysts are quite clear that the stunning figure of 96.7 percent which, however, no one believes in, is hiding dangerous social trends that are fraught with the destruction of all the ways of life in Crimea. Russian annexation of Crimea is now proceeding with a heightened tempo.
MARCH 15, 2014. PEOPLE TAKE PART IN AN ANTI-WAR PROCESSION AND A RALLY IN MOSCOW. THE PARTICIPANTS, INCLUDING OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS AND SUPPORTERS, WERE PROTESTING AGAINST THE INCURSIONS OF THE RUSSIAN ARMY INTO UKRAINE’S CRIMEA, ACCORDING TO ORGANIZERS
Crimean banks have stopped customer services, accounts are being transferred to rubles, and “premier” Serhii Aksionov urges his subordinates to complete the transition into the ruble zone by the end of March.
The Crimean Tatar Mejlis believe that the so-called “self-defense units” can turn to violence. “These groups are likely to become engaged in suppressing those who opposed the referendum, illegal government and its actions,” Jelal stated. “Here is where incidents may occur which may completely destabilize the situation in Crimea. We are very wary of any provocations by those who are in the euphoria at the results of the referendum, in which journalists and eyewitnesses recorded numerous violations, and somewhat rigged results. Those, to whom this referendum was calculated to appeal, are today in a certain euphoria state and can engage in very inappropriate behavior against opponents of the referendum... Russia has got the situation in such an impasse where either its image and the nation itself should suffer, or Ukraine and its inhabitants, including Crimean Tatars. We can only wonder whether Russia will decide to include Crimea as its region, or we will become a breakaway, non-recognized territory, such as Transnistria, Abkhazia, and Ossetia,” Jelal noted.
MARCH 9, 2014. PRO-RUSSIAN DEMONSTRATORS STAND AT A STATUE OF SOVIET STATE FOUNDER VLADIMIR LENIN AS THEY ATTEND A RALLY IN DONETSK / REUTERS photo