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Russian Parliament speaker urges to give Crimean people right to self-determination

Russia's parliamentary upper house Speaker Valentina Matviyenko has called on the international community to stop applying double standards to the right of people to self-determination and to give an exclusively legal evaluation of the situation in Ukraine.

"Deciding to hold referendum is a sovereign right of Crimea's legitimately elected parliament," she said, adding that "the right of people to self-determination has not been abolished so far".

She told journalists that "Crimea's authorities understand their responsibility to hold the referendum in accordance with international requirements, making it transparent and legitimate".

Matviyenko noted that "if someone does not like the Crimean parliament's decision, this is only a matter of taste, while what we need is a strictly legal evaluation".

"I wonder why no one said that a referendum on Scotland's independence, scheduled for September this year, is a priori illegal. We have not heard such opinions," she said. "Then why should the people of Crimea be deprived of their legal right to self-determination?"

"Double standards have become so obvious that it is time to stop using them and to start speaking the language of law," she said.

Matviyenko especially stressed that "when Russia stated that the current authorities [of Ukraine] are illegitimate", it was guided "purely by Ukraine's constitution and Ukraine's legislation".

"If we read the same Constitution and the same laws, there can be no double interpretation," she said, noting once again that "there was an anti-government takeover of power" in Ukraine.

"We have detailed legal opinions, and not only from Russian lawyers," she added. "And we will circulate them to the international legal community to let them say what they would disprove."

A referendum on the Crimean Autonomous Republic's accession to Russia as one of the constituent regions is due to take place on March 16.

Crimean residents will be asked two questions: Do you support Crimea's reunification with Russia as its constituent member and do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 1992 and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 07Mar14]

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