How amendments to Constitution of Ukraine proposed by president will affect Crimea. Estimate by Mustafa Jemilev | QHA media

How amendments to Constitution of Ukraine proposed by president will affect Crimea. Estimate by Mustafa Jemilev

22 December 2019, 11:30
фото: QHA
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Тетяна ІваневичQHA media

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that the Verkhovna Rada introduce amendments to the country’s fundamental law related to decentralization. Among other things, the amendments do not mention a special status for Sevastopol. For several years, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has declared the need to adopt amendments to Section X of the Constitution – on the status of Crimea. QHA media spoke with the leader of the Crimean Tatars, MP Mustafa Jemilev about how the amendments proposed by the president can affect the peninsula and how they are correlated with proposals for Crimean Tatar autonomy.

In the bill on the territorial structure submitted by the president, Sevastopol is not mentioned separately as a city with a special status. How appropriate is this?

The fact that Sevastopol is an integral part of the Crimea that’s fine. It was given a special status in the first years of independence, as specifics of Sevastopol were clear [the base of the Naval Forces – Ed.] and a direct governing from Kyiv was needed.

And after the adoption of the law on national-territorial autonomy, the need for a special status of Sevastopol completely disappears. That’s fine. And in the proposals to Section X of the Constitution on the status of Crimea, the special status of Sevastopol is not provided.

Another thing is that, according to the recommendation that we have prepared, the working commission developing the proposals does not use the word “republic” – just “autonomy”.

Well, after amending the Constitution [in the X section on the status of the Crimea – Ed.], of course, amendments will be made to this law as well, if it is adopted.

And how do you generally evaluate the proposed division? Some experts believe that it embodies the beginnings of federalization.

There is no federalization in it. A more centralized government is proposed.

Speaking about the territorial division within the Autonomy itself in the amendments developed, will it coincide with what the current law offers?

I think there is nothing bad if the division coincides with that used throughout Ukraine. I think there will be no problems in this regard. I do not see anything disturbing in this.

Will you support it in the vote?

We will discuss it, and listen to the opinion of our experts.

And another norm is proposed, providing that changing the status of entities, names and powers is decided not by the constitutional majority of the Verkhovna Rada, but by a simple majority. But the article does not mention Crimea separately. Will such a simplification also apply to Crimea?

It should not be mentioned separately. Crimea is a part of Ukraine, and everything that is adopted for the whole of Ukraine should extend to Crimea. Individual elements in our proposals [on autonomy] coincide with what is currently being proposed.