. Representatives of Crimea’s ethnic Russian majority are being quoted as hoping for a communist-nationalist victory in Russia’s December 17 elections to the Duma. Their spokesmen are quoted as saying that if Crimean Russians had the right to take part in the Duma elections, many would choose Gennady Zyuganov’s Communist Party or General Aleksandr Lebed’s Congress of Russian Communities, since both are committed to reunifying the peoples of the former USSR. However, only a small fraction of Crimea’s 1.8 million-strong Russian population are citizens of the Russian Federation. They number just 8,000 civilians and 12,000 servicemen of the Black Sea Fleet. (10)
Despite prodding from Moscow, Ukraine does not have dual citizenship legislation in place that would permit Crimea’s Russians to enjoy the rights of Russian citizenship. To a large extent, Russian irredentism there has been defused by the diversion of Moscow’s attention to the war on Chechnya; but the current calm on the peninsula may be temporary, and can be shattered by a triumph of the hard-liners in the Russian elections.
Chechen Resistance Shows Strength.