by Volodymyr Prytula, 21 February 2014
Simferopol. The so-called “separatist” parliamentary session in Crimea announced for Friday, 21 February 2014, never took place. Instead, members of the Crimean Parliament held a meeting of the Party of Regions faction to discuss the political situation in Ukraine,
including the country’s territorial integrity. Speaker of the Crimean Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Konstantinov, from the Party of Regions, despite promising to do so, never made any remarks to journalists.In the meantime, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) threatened “certain politicians” with prosecution for separatism.
From Thursday evening till noon on Friday, Crimea anxiously awaited the unscheduled parliamentary session. Just before, Speaker Konstantinov admitted the possibility of separation of the Crimea from Ukraine during a visit to Moscow. At the same time there was information that upon his return to Simferopol he would call an unscheduled parliamentary session to possibly consider separatist issues.
However, it reported on Friday morning that no session would be held, and that a meeting of the Party of Regions faction would take place instead. Nonetheless, both supporters and opponents of the existing status of Crimea in Ukraine came to the parliament building. The opponents of a Ukrainian Crimea, radicals from the group “National Liberation Movement,” attacked those who came displaying the Ukrainian national flag. The radicals broke the flag and injured one of the opposing protestors. Police present at the scene reacted rather passively towards these events.
Representatives of the pro-Russian radicals addressed members of the Parliament via Sergiy Donych, the first deputy speaker of Crimean Parliament who came out to see them, and demanded the immediate reinstatement of the Crimean Constitution of 1992, which proclaimed the peninsula to be a semi- independent state. Mr. Donych thanked the radicals for their support, but informed them that the issue of Crimean national status was not going to be discussed during the meeting of the Party of Regions faction.
According to another deputy speaker, Hryhoriy Loffe, the following issues were discussed during the closed meeting: return of Crimean special forces from Kyiv, burial of corpses, and the problem of securing the normal operation of housing and utility sectors; and not any separatists topics at all.
“The key message from the Speaker and the Parliament Members who spoke during the meeting, was the necessity to use best efforts to preserve stability and the constitutional system, and that the Crimean Parliament stands for the territorial integrity of the state,” said Loffe.
The results of the visit to Moscow by the Speaker of Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Konstantinov remain uknown, as he refused to communicate with the journalists. The parliamentary press-centre expects that he will do this in the future.
The separatists got scared, according to Chubarov
The Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (the “Mejlis”) expressed his doubts about separatism in the interview with Radio Svoboda. According to him, Konstantinov will soon have to provide his clarifications to law enforcement authorities. Currently the SBU made a statement announcing strict measures to stop any interference with the territorial integrity of the state, and to hold liable anyone involved in such activities – in particular, against those holding “separatist discussions with the representatives of foreign states… regarding possible division of the country into several parts.”
Refat Chubarov announced that a large number of Crimean Tatars were ready to enter the premises of the Crimean Verkhovna Rada on Friday, 21 February 2014, if the Party of Regions were to have called the unscheduled parliamentary session. In his judgment, this warning together with the change of the political situation in the country stopped the separatists.
Chubarov believes that “Mr. Konstantinov hesitated for a long time on whether to act on his promises made in Moscow, versus acting on the real situation in Ukraine. His instinct for self-preservation prevailed.” He further believes that, in these circumstances, the parliamentary leaders must resign and the Crimean Verkhovna Rada must be dismissed.
Translation: Svitlana Skob
Edited by: Anonymous