Dimecres  05.03.2014  12:39

Russian TV says Crimea wants to hold a referendum on self-determination

Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister rejects self-determination for Crimea citing Ukraine Constitution · Russian TV report covers Catalan and Scottish referendums


Crimea wants to take advantage of Catalonia and Scotland's experience with referendums according to Russian television station NTV, citing official sources. The new authorities in Crimea want to hold a referendum at the end of March in order to change the political status of the autonomous Ukrainian republic, where a majority of the population consider themselves Russian. This week, the station broadcast the following report dedicated to the Catalan sovereignty process:

Natàlia Boronat, the Russia correspondent for the Barcelona-based El Punt Avui daily and Catalunya Ràdio had this to say about the report: 'The report speaks about the Catalans' desire for independence, "that they've been talking about sovereignty for three hundred years", and that there is general discontent for financial reasons.' It says that "Catalans are tired of financing the Spanish who are embroiled in debts and corruption scandals." Looking for analogies with the Russians in Ukraine, the report emphasizes the attacks on the Catalan language and points out that the European Union would surely not allow Madrid to send tanks to defend the Spanish language.'

Boronat notes that the report comes out in favor of Catalonia's referendum, and points out the surprising fact that it is a Kremlin-controlled television station that broadcast the report, despite the fact the independence movements were a taboo topic up to this point, for fear of secessionist movements within the Russian Federation. Now it seems that the Russian government is interested in following the example of the Catalan and Scottish sovereignty movements in order to apply it to Crimea.

Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister rejects referendum for Crimea

On Monday, Spain's Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo had rejected outright any referendum on self-determination for Crimea, saying that the Ukraine Constitution consecrates the country as an 'integral, indivisible' state of which Crimea is a part and therefore 'any attempt at secession', even via a referendum on self-determination, would 'be null and void'.

On Wednesday, Margallo appeared together with Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, at a press conference in Madrid. Lavrov warned that considering 'an armed assault of the power structure' that has taken place in Ukraine a fait accompli may be counterproductive because 'bad examples are contagious and you have to be aware of the consequences'. 

Margallo, for his part, insisted in particular that any agreement on Ukraine must begin with a scrupulous respect for the Ukraine constitution and the 'territorial integrity' of the former Soviet republic.