Lawmakers to Draft Constitution for Crimea Within 2 Weeks
Published: March 28, 2014 (Issue # 1803)
Lawmakers in Crimea, which became part of Russia last week, are expected to draft a constitution for the region within two weeks, a senior Crimean official said Thursday.
The region, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev which seized power as a result of a coup last month. Crimea instead sought reunification with Russia, a move backed by over 96 percent of voters in a referendum.
"We have a very tight timeline since a federal subject [of Russia] cannot remain long without a constitution," said Grigory Ioffe, the first deputy speaker of Crimea's State Council.
"The task before us is to prepare the document within a two-week timeframe," he told a session of the council.
Federal subjects of the Russian Federation - of which there are several types - have their own head, regional parliament and constitution or charter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Russian lawmakers Thursday to work on absorbing Crimea into the Russian legal system.
"We should enshrine in law all issues related to the development of the economy and social life in Crimea and Sevastopol," the Russian leader said.
Putin said the representatives of Crimea and Sevastopol should also join Russia's Council of Legislators, and advisory body created in 2012 to facilitate ties between the federal government and leaders of the country's regions.
The republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which has a special status within the region, were added as 84th and 85th federal subjects of the Russian Federation after Putin signed a decree finalizing the reunification last week.
Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, told Putin on Thursday senators from Crimea would join the legislature by the middle of next month.
She added the Federation Council will consider the issue of supporting Crimea's banking system on April 1.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday called on a number of ministries to prepare an initiative by April 15 to make Crimea a special economic zone.