|Crimean referendum, 2014|
|whether Crimea should join the Russian Federation or restore 1992 Constitution and remain within Ukraine|
|Date||16 March 2014 (in 2 days)|
|Part of a series on the|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Autonomous Republic
|Politics of Ukraine|
A referendum on the status of Crimea (Russian: общекрымский референдум, Ukrainian:загальнокримський референдум, Crimean Tatar: Umum Qırım referendumu) is scheduled to be held on 16 March 2014 by the legislature of Crimea as well as by the local government of Sevastopol. The referendum will ask the people of these regions whether they want to join Russia as a federal subject, or if they want to restore the 1992 Crimean constitution while remaining within Ukraine. On March 11, 2014 the Supreme Council of Crimea and the Sevastopol City Council adopted a resolution expressing their intent to declare independence following the referendum.
There will be two simultanenous referendums, one, which is orgnised by the city council of Sevastopol and another, which is organised by a special committee set up by the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The latter voting can take part in 1 534 815 voters. This list was achieved from the data base of the central election committee, 28 February 2014, before the access to the database was denied.
As for the ODIHR of the OSCE, it will not take part in the election observation as it has not been asked by the Ukrainian government to do so and because of this it does not consider the referendum constitutional from the All-Ukrainian perspective. Representatives of the mass media do not have the right to observe the referendum, according to the bill.
Crimea and Sevastopol are neighboring subdivisions of Ukraine located in the Crimean peninsula, a region with a long and complex history. Demographically, the region is currently populated by Russian-speaking majorities but with such demographics undergoing dramatic changes for the past 200 years that have shifted the ethnic majorities from Crimean Tatars to ethnic Russians, due in part to thetheir deportation 70 years ago.[a][b][c]
The interim Ukrainian government, United States, European Union, and several other nations state that any referendum held by the local government of Crimea without the express authority of Ukraine is unconstitutional and illegitimate; and that the local Crimean government lacks under authority under Ukrainian law. Additionally, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (a representative body of Crimean Tatars) has called for a boycott of the elections.
Russia and the Crimean parliament argue that the referendum is legal, citing the UN recognized right of self-determination and the advisory opinion on Kosovo in which the International Court of Justice declared that international law contains no prohibition against declarations of independence. Western legal scholars have disputed the validity of the Kosovo analogy.[d]
The Associated Press described the referendum as, “essentially a declaration of independence from Ukraine”.[e][f] The approval to hold a referendum, however, was taken under a highly diffused environment polarized by uncertainty that lacked external diplomatic observers while Crimea was under a military intervention by Russia. Five days before voting day the OSCE chair, Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, declared the referendum as illegal under Ukrainian law and because of that the OSCE will not send observers.