|Article Title||Russian President Delivers Crimea Address|
|Source||Current Digest of the Russian Press, The , No.12, Vol.066, March 17, 2014, page(s):12-16|
|Place of Publication||Minneapolis, USA|
Russian President Delivers Crimea Address
PUTIN: RUSSIA HAS ALWAYS SOUGHT TO HAVE SOUND RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE, THE WEST, BUT HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN THE SAME RESPECT; WEST'S HYPOCRISY ON CRIMEA'S SELF-DETERMINATION LEAVES RUSSIA NO CHOICE BUT TO UNILATERALLY ACCEPT REGION AS NEW CONSTITUENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION. (Rossiiskaya gazeta, March 19, 2014, p. 1. Condensed text:) . . . Friends, we are gathered here today because of an issue of vital, historic importance to us all. On March 16, the Crimea held a referendum [see the first feature in this issue, above] that fully complied with democratic procedures and the standards of international law. Over 82% of eligible voters took part in the poll. Over 96% of them voted for reunification with Russia. These figures speak for themselves. . . .
The Crimea is a unique melting pot where cultures and traditions of various ethnic groups are blended together. In this sense, it is similar to all of Russia, where not a single ethnic group has disappeared or dissolved over the centuries. Russians and Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and other ethnic groups have lived and worked side by side in the Crimea, preserving their identities, traditions, languages and faiths. Incidentally, out of 2.2 million people living on the Crimean peninsula today, almost 1.5 million are Russians; 350,000 are Ukrainians, most of whom consider Russian their native tongue; and 290,000-300,000 are Crimean Tatars, a significant part of whom, as the referendum has demonstrated, also see their future with Russia.
Yes, there was a period when Crimean Tatars, as well as some other minorities in the Soviet Union, were brutally mistreated. I will only say one thing: That period of repression affected millions of people of different ethnic origins, primarily Russians. Crimean Tatars have returned to their land. I think we should take all the political and legislative steps necessary to complete the rehabilitation of Crimean ...
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