Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the People’s Front Viktoria Siumar said that the fate of the uncontrolled part of Donbass and the Russian Peninsula of Crimea should be decided by a referendum. The correspondent of the Federal News Agency spoke with an expert who expressed the opinion that the Siumar’s proposal is a very logical idea.
According to Siumar, the holding of a referendum on the fate of Donbass and Crimea is what today everyone is afraid to say. In her opinion, Ukrainian politicians are engaged in facile optimism when they say: “We will return all the land.” She noted that the return of Crimea and Donbass, even in the next five years, will be extremely difficult.
Siumar emphasised that Donbass hates Ukraine. That’s why, in her opinion, the issue of Donbass and Crimea should be put to a national referendum that asks how the Ukrainians see the future of these territories. And that only on the basis of the results of it, the policy towards Crimea and Donbass can be built.
“A very logical idea was sounded from the lips of the former Deputy Chairman of the NSDC of Ukraine. Moreover, this idea has been hovering for a long time in Ukrainian society. Another thing is that it is a great rarity to see this point of view in Ukrainian mass media, which shapes public opinion exclusively from above orders. Thus, two years later, not only the Ukrainian people, whose opinion no Ukrainian government was ever interested in, but also some politicians came to the same point of view that Donbass had already in 2014, before the start of the military conflict. However, over the past two years a lot has happened, and a solution for the future “non-government controlled areas of Donbass and Crimea via a referendum lost relevance for the DPR and LPR, and especially for Crimea, which is now officially a part of Russia,” said FAN political analyst, expert of the Institute of CIS countries Artem Zhurko.
According to experts, after the referendum held in Donbass in 2014, the minimum claimed by the Republics was control over the entire territory of the former Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Therefore, even in the case of holding an all-Ukrainian referendum on the status of the Republics of Donbass, any expression of will is unlikely to suit the DPR and the LPR in this formulation of the question.
“I do not believe that in the near future a referendum can be held in Ukraine, especially with such categorical questions. A referendum is a really good tool for solving many problems, especially in the conditions of Ukraine, which has been affected by years of political crises. Another thing is that, I repeat, the opinion of people always went against the opinion of those who were in power. That is why referendums in Ukraine are rare. There were only 2 all-Ukrainian referendums in Ukraine, and the results of these referendums were either interpreted in favor of the government, or it was ignored. There was, of course, regional referendums, but there was no response from the authorities on their results, and sometimes the initiators were accused like today, of the phenomenon of “separatism”.
The last attempt by referendum to prevent the condition in which Ukraine is now in, was taken by the Communist party of Ukraine. The Communist party planned to raise the issue of the future of Ukraine in the Customs or European Union on the eve of Maidan. At this time I recall that the number of signatures necessary for the referendum was collected, but the referendum never took place. So personally, I do not believe in the results of the referendum on the recipe from Siumar, nor that such a referendum could take place in the near future at all. Although with properly presented questions, it could become even temporary, but still a kind of solution for the existence of the Ukrainian state as such,” concluded Artem Zhurko.
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