Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 32

A delegation of Russian Duma deputies comprised mainly of Communists and agrarians descended on the Crimea for a "working visit" over the weekend. The delegation was headed by the Duma CIS Affairs Committee Chairman Georgy Tikhonov (People’s Power). At a meeting in Sevastopol with representatives of political and public organizations and naval officers, Tikhonov declared that the deputies regarded the visit as one to "our Russian territory." He also announced that his committee had drafted a law on the Black Sea Fleet designed to preserve the fleet for Russia. Communist deputy Anatoly Chekhoyev, who, like Tikhonov, is a veteran of the Soyuz [Union] movement to preserve the USSR, warned Ukraine that it would be unable to appropriate its share of the Black Sea Fleet after Russia’s elections in June, which would bring to power "forces that will stop the fleet’s breakup." (11)

Tikhonov’s statements spell continuity with the policy of his predecessor as CIS Affairs Committee Chairman, Konstantin Zatulin (Congress of Russian Communities), who repeatedly made similar statements in Sevastopol. Visits to that city to make inflammatory political statements are not an exclusive specialty of Russian Communists and ultranationalists. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who is politically far from the latter two groups, also described Crimea and Sevastopol as Russian by right on a visit to that naval city last month.

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