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Crimea Annexation Process 'Could Take 2 Weeks'

Published: March 14, 2014 (Issue # 1801)



  • Volodymyr Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea's parliament.
    Photo: Aleksandr Homutov / Wikimedia Commons

Russia could absorb Crimea, currently part of Ukraine, in a matter of weeks after Sunday's referendum on secession, the head of the region's parliament said in an interview.

The referendum in Crimea, where ethnic Russians make up about 60 percent of the population, is widely expected to return a favorable result that will pave the way for annexation by Moscow.

After the referendum, Russia's lower and upper houses of parliament will hold a formal vote on whether to approve annexation, before President Vladimir Putin gives his final backing.

"We believe here in Crimea that these three actions will take a maximum of two weeks, and by the end of this period we should have a constitution. We will send it for approval to the Russian Parliament," said Volodymyr Konstantinov, the speaker of Crimea's parliament.

Crimea's parliament declared independence from Ukraine on Tuesday, adding in its statement that if the popular vote passes the country will become independent and will immediately request annexation by Moscow.

Konstantinov added that authorities in Crimea have already taken control of the region's Black Sea oil and gas fields, saying Russian companies including energy giant Gazprom should be involved in extracting the resources.

The move could foreshadow future disputes with energy-starved Ukraine, which also has territorial waters in the Black Sea.

"These fields and platforms will pass into the ownership of the Crimean Republic. We are already guarding them. These are our fields and we will fight for them," he said.

Officials in Crimea, which hosts a major Russian naval base, have refused to recognize as legitimate the country's new leadership that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22 following months of street demonstrations protesting his step back from closer ties with Europe.

Authorities in Kiev and international leaders have condemned the upcoming referendum as illegitimate and lashed out at the Kremlin for violating international law in attempting to annex the region.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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