Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 15

The Crimean parliament, the Supreme Soviet, has refused to make many of the changes to Crimea’s draft constitution that the Ukrainian parliament had demanded. Kiev had objected to 20 of the draft’s 136 articles. Amendments drafted by a working group of Crimean and Ukrainian parliamentarians were put to the Crimean Supreme Soviet last week. (UNIAN, Interfax-Ukraine, January 15; Interfax, January 16)

The Supreme Soviet did agree to change the name of the republic to Autonomous Republic of Crimea (instead of Republic of Crimea), though it insisted on changing upper-case "Autonomous" to lower-case "autonomous." But it refused to change some of the most contentious articles. Rejecting Kiev’s wording, according to which "the special status of Sevastopol is defined by Ukrainian law," the Supreme Soviet voted to keep its original, that "the status of Sevastopol as an integral part of Crimea is regulated by corresponding legislation." The Supreme Soviet also retained a contentious article stating that Crimea’s borders may be altered only with the consent of the Crimean parliament. This is certain to raise hackles in Kiev at a time when Sevastopol has become an object of dispute not only between Kiev and Simferopol but also between Kiev and Moscow.

The Crimean parliament also rejected the formulation on citizenship agreed by the Ukrainian/Crimean working group, according to which "citizens of Ukraine permanently resident in Crimea are citizens of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea." It insisted instead on retaining its original, reading: "Crimea has its own internal citizenship. Every citizen of Crimea is also a citizen of Ukraine… Citizens of Crimea have the right to dual citizenship." Ukrainian law forbids dual citizenship except in exceptional circumstances, and Kiev is determined to rule it out in Crimea, where the majority of the population are ethnic Russians.

… As Crimean Parliament is Emboldened by Deterioration in Russian-Ukrainian Relations.