The necessity of holding the first Crimean referendum in 1991 was caused by the threat of destruction of the Soviet Union. That was the first time Crimeans faced with the appearances of the Ukrainian nationalism. Such an opinion was given to a correspondent of the “Crimean Information Agency” by the representative from the legislative body of the Republic of Crimea in the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Sergei Tsekov (people’s deputy of the UkrSSR in 1991).
“We understood we needed the additional rights to protect Crimea. That time I participated in the election campaign and I can say almost all segments of the Crimean society unanimously understood that if we wanted to get the additional rights, so it was necessary to restore the Crimean autonomy, which was eliminated in 1945”, — Tsekov said.
He noted the expectations of Crimea’s habitants for the referendum hadn’t been realized to the full extent, as in the ideal case we wanted to restore the autonomy being part of the RSFSR, but not as part of the Ukrainian SSR. Moreover, the year of 2014 put everything in its place.
“Being part of the independent Ukraine, we got both triumphs and great failures. Certainly, Ukraine deprived us of our rights, but the existence of the autonomy allowed us to preserve the Russian language, our cultural and spiritual values and historical heritage, what helped us to form the community called “people of Crimea”. We could stand against the rampage of the Ukrainian nationalism in 2013-2014 and took the decision to hold the referendum on the reunification of Crimea with Russia in the absolutely legitimate way”, — Sergey Tsekov noticed.
According to him, on its own the title “Crimean Autonomous Republic” pointed to the fact that Crimeans possessed the additional exclusive rights comparing with the regions of Ukraine what is quite similar to the autonomies of other countries.
“The decision of 20 January 1991 served as the powerful basis for making the decision of 16 March 2014. Definitely, it was one of the main of our achievements gained during the period when the region was part of Ukraine. In those times, many people called our autonomy as the “paper-based one”, but I responded to them that the fact of the existing autonomy meant much and precious for us. And as for the plenary powers, the Crimean community will continue consolidating and gathering strength, as well as we will show our will with time. Previously, we had already demonstrated our will in 2014”, — Sergei Tsekov concluded.
Note: the referendum on the public and legal status of Crimea was held on 20 January 1991. The most residents of the peninsula supported the restoration of the autonomous status of the region as the subject of the USSR. That referendum became the first one on the territory of Crimea and the Soviet Union.