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Sergei Mironov: March 18 is a historical day, Crimea has returned to Russia!

20 марта 2014

On March 20, Sergei Mironov, the leader of A JUST RUSSIA faction spoke at a supplementary plenary meeting of the State Duma during discussion of Federal Constitutional Law "On adoption of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and formation of new constituent entities – the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city of federal significance, in the territory of Russia".

Dear Sergei Evgenievich, and dear colleagues, faction A JUST RUSSIA is sure to support both ratification of the international treaty between the Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation, and Federal Constitutional Law "On adoption of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and formation of new constituent entities – the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city of federal significance, in the territory of Russia".

Dear colleagues, today here, at the State Duma, we are completing the legal processes of adoption of two new constituent entities of the Russian Federation into Russia. The lawfulness of these procedures is beyond any doubt. It was spoken from this tribune several times about unanimity of opinions which is rare in our chamber. Of course, it is not by chance, because today, yesterday and the day before yesterday (when we made such important decisions) are historical days.

I would like to make a proposal. Maybe, it is worth thinking about introduction of a new date, i.e. March 18 – a historical day of reunification of Crimea and the Russian Federation – in the Law on Memorable Dates in Russia. Our federal constitutional law says that the date of signing the treaty is the one when two new entities of the Russian Federation appeared in the territory of Russia. In my opinion, such a legislative initiative might be introduced and supported by all State Duma factions.

Dear colleagues, at present many moralizers, defenders of international law are talking about the so-called violation of the norms of international law. The notorious double standards are still acting, and I am not going to repeat it again because the minister of foreign affairs Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov has already spoken on this topic with authority and in a clear-cut way. Moreover, now the above-mentioned double standards demonstrate quite evidently real intentions and concerns of those who pretend to take care of the norms of international law. We must be fully aware that a vicious campaign, an information war and an information escalation are sure to complete one day. But the decision made by the peoples of the Crimea to return to Russia will be kept forever. It is really a historical decision made by the peoples of the Crimea and a unanimous historical one taken by the whole multinational population of Russia, by both chambers of the Federal Assembly and by all people of our multinational country.

At present, the United States of America and the European Union declare that they will never acknowledge the results of the March 16 referendum in the Crimea. You and me know the following folk wisdom: "Never say Never" and "Time will Show". But now they say they do not acknowledge independence of the Crimea, and therefore, they do nor recognize adoption of two new entities in the Russian Federation.

But I’d like to remind the gentlemen who pretend to be legal experts about the resolution adopted at the Brussels session still in 1936. The Institute of International Law emphasized: "Recognition has a declaratory effect. The existence of a new state with all the juridical effects which are attached to that existence is not affected by the refusal of recognition by one or more States". (End quote).

At present, the principle of the right of people to self-determination is one of the imperative principles of international law, an erga omnes obligation ("for all peoples" – in translation from Latin) is acknowledged by States and confirmed by the practice of the United Nations International Court. As for its realization, history shows that there are no internationally recognized norms in part of exercising the right of nations to self-determination. Everything is always solved depending on the result of a definite political struggle or (in some cases) even an armed fight.

Here, it would be more than appropriate to remind that the referendum in the Crimea was held ‘with flying colors’, without any shots or excessive acts that we had witnessed in Kiev. The International Court of the United Nations in its advisory opinion on Kosovo on July 22, 2010 and on the basis of Article 1, point 2 of the United Nations Charter declared the following: "No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council on unilateral declarations of independence". And one more: "International law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence".

How is that, gentlemen? So far as concerned Kosovo, it was announced as somewhat unique event. But what about the situation in the Crimea which was part of Russia for several centuries, and then the Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferred it to Ukraine (although the Constitution of 1936 stipulated that it was to be done on the ground of the USSR Supreme Soviet Resolution)? Don’t you find this situation unique from any point of view: under international law, from the point of view of today’s realities and of the past? No, they in the West can’t see it.

Certainly, each nation has the right of self-determination, and first of all, within the framework of the existing State which (in its turn) has a duty to promote the right of self-determination to the maximum possible extent. However, if instead, the State tries to limit or even suppress execution of the people’s right to political, cultural and language autonomy and its some other kinds, or if such self-determination becomes impossible within the framework of the former State due to some objective reasons, for example, an attempt of the use of force, incapacity of the central authorities to reach understanding and agreement, national threat, originality of culture and many other things, this nation has the right to independently determine its political status, and the other States are obliged to respect this choice.

Dear colleagues, ratifying the corresponding treaties today and adopting the Federal Constitutional Law, we declare that we are not in need of either a mediative or control mission of international organizations; Crimea and Sevastopol are constituent entities of the Russian Federation. The rights of the citizens of Russia living in these territories are safeguarded from now on by the Russian Federation and its Constitution. We strictly follow the norms of international law, and we are open for a future dialogue with the legitimate and legally elected power of Ukraine.

Dear friends, the people of Crimea have made their choice which the international community can’t but take into account. The reason for this choice is evident – Kiev not only refused to listen to the voice of the people in Crimea for 23 years; moreover it was consciously imposing Ukrainization of the Crimean population and systematically cutting the rights of autonomy.

An overwhelming majority of the population of Crimea and an absolute majority of the Russian Federation citizens support reunification of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with the Russian Federation. Of course, dear colleagues, we are going to unanimously support this decision, without any doubt.

In conclusion, I would like to say a couple of words about the following: we already know about the President’s decision to start construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait. Let’s remember our experience of People’s Constructions, how we raised the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Maybe, we should trace back to the experience of the Great Patriotic War when a special fund of defense was established where people brought their hard-earned money: the intelligentsia brought the fees they got for the musical and art works, the collective farmers – the money they earned for work on the additional so-called ‘defense hectares’.

Maybe, all the Duma factions should initiate creation of a special fund for this purpose. Of course, we will make budgetary provisions but it would be symbolic if the resources of this fund would be invested in the construction of the bridge which symbolizes new spiritual ties and will unite all parts of Russia. In this case, it is going to be a real people’s construction.

Let’s help the Crimea – Let’s built the bridge!

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