Federation Council to pass bill proclaiming Crimea's transfer to Ukraine in 1954 illegal

The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, will pass a bill declaring Crimea's transfer from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) to Ukraine in 1954 during its spring session in 2015 to be illegal, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said.

The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, will pass a bill declaring Crimea's transfer from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) to Ukraine in 1954 during its spring session in 2015 to be illegal, Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said.

She told reporters the bill was bound to restore legal and historical justice.

"I suppose this document will be passed by our house which is entitled to deal with border issues during the spring session. We have been accused of annexing Crimea and the adoption of this law will prove to the entire world that a one-man decision to transfer Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was not legal," Matviyenko said.

She said that decision was arbitrary. "The constitution of the country which dealt with the integrity of borders was breached; the decision was due to be made at a referendum of the country's citizens and cleared by the Supreme Council. None of that was done. Violations were committed and legislative procedures were seriously abused. The adoption of the new law will disavow the old decisions regarding Crimea," Matviyenko said.

According to Matviyenko, legal experts and specialists probing the matter have come to a unanimous conclusion that "the decision was unlawful and extrajudicial."

"Decisions of that kind were due to be made with the consent of the RSFSR but no such consent was given... Every legal procedure pertaining to this matter was flagrantly violated," Matviyenko underlined.

Consequently, the Federation Council has decided "to restore justice" with a relevant bill. "There is every ground to declare illegal the old decisions regarding Crimea," Matviyenko said.

If it hadn't been for "severe violations of law, Crimea would have been a constituent part of the Russian Federation since 1954," she remarked.

"It is necessary to restore legal and historical justice, to prove that the old decisions are void and to make their assessment. The RSFSR Supreme Council analyzed the matter and decided that the transfer was illegal already in 1992 but it did not bring the issue to a logical conclusion," the speaker said.

The upper house of the Russian parliament will do so now by adopting a relevant law, she said.

"Crimea wanted to be part of a single country, the Russian Federation, already at that time but it was deceived and promised the broadest [possible] autonomy within Ukraine. The broad autonomy was declared and taken away piece by piece until Crimea and Sevastopol were totally stripped of the rights and powers of a Ukrainian region. Because of that policy, Crimea and Sevastopol did not get enough financial resources for their development. It seems that was done on purpose to reduce that territory to the state of decline it was in at the moment of its reunion with the Russian Federation," Matviyenko said.

Russia needs to prove legally that the decision to incorporate Crimea was not "an annexation", she said. "In fact, the annexation was done in the past, in 1954. But that was regarded as a matter of minor significance because the state was united at the time. I repeat that the decision was illegal. It was made by bodies which had no right to take such steps," Matviyenko said. "The decision was made by one man and everyone else simply said yes."

Speaking of specifics, the Crimean leaders were strongly opposed to that decision and deemed it illegal, Matviyenko said. "But no one listened to them," she said.

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