Historical speech by President Putin to Russian lawmakers March 18 2014 about the referendum in Crimea and the acceptance of Crimea into the Russian Federation.
I remember being in Moscow listening to the direct transmission of this historical speech by president Putin. Even if I am not Russian, I couldn't help to feel how this speech touched many souls of ordinary Russian people (and some foreigners like myself).
Watch the carefully made video, and read carefully the transcript below of this excellent speech (which Putin is said to have composed himself). You will find there the truth about how Putin motivates his actions and also about his intentions for the Rest of Ukraine and other neighboring countries.
In my mind there is absolutely no doubt about what Putin did and what the lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to, was the right thing to do. The events in Odessa, Donetsk and Lugansk have actually proved so.
This is how the maker of the video describes it, and below the video, you can find the transcript.
This speech is of historic significance and defines vector of future global policy development. Russian President was the first global leader to address vital issues that people concern about all around the world. Via youtube.com
Dear friends, we have gathered here today in connection with an issue that is of vital, historic significance to all of us.
A referendum was held in Crimea in full compliance with democratic procedures and international norms.
More than 82 percent of the electorate took part in the vote.
Over 96 percent of them spoke out in favour of reuniting with Russia.
To understand the reason behind such a choice it is enough to know the history of Crimea and what Russia and Crimea have always meant for each other.
Everything in Crimea speaks of our shared history and pride.
This is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptised.
His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
The graves of Russian soldiers whose bravery brought Crimea nto the Russian empire are also in Crimea.
This is also Sevastopol – a legendary city with an outstanding history, a fortress that serves as the birthplace of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.
Crimea is Balaklava and Kerch, Malakhov Kurgan and Sapun Ridge. Each one of these places is dear to our hearts, symbolising Russian military glory and outstanding valour.
Incidentally, the total population of the Crimean Peninsula today is 2.2 million people, of whom almost 1.5 million are Russians, 350,000 are Ukrainians who predominantly consider Russian their native language, and about 290,000-300,000 are Crimean Tatars, who, as the referendum has shown, also lean towards Russia.
We have great respect for people of all the ethnic groups living in Crimea.
This is their common home, their motherland, and it would be right – I know the local population supports this -for Crimea to have three equal national languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar.
After the revolution, the Bolsheviks, for a number of reasons – may God judge them – added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine.
This was done with no consideration for the ethnic make-up of the population, and today these areas form the southeast of Ukraine.
Then, in 1954, a decision was made to transfer Crimean Region to Ukraine, along with Sevastopol, despite the fact that it was a federal city.
The USSR fell apart. Millions of people went to bed in one country and awoke in different ones, overnight becoming ethnic minorities in former Union republics, while the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders.
It is also obvious that there is no legitimate executive authority in Ukraine now, nobody to talk to. Many government agencies have been taken over by the impostors, but they do not have any control in the country, while they themselves – and I would like to stress this – are often controlled by radicals.
In some cases, you need a special permit from the militants on Maidan to meet with certain ministers of the current government.
This is not a joke – this is reality.
Those who opposed the coup were immediately threatened with repression.
Naturally, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russian-speaking Crimea.
In view of this, the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives, in preventing the events that were unfolding and are still underway in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov and other Ukrainian cities.
Naturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress. This would have been betrayal on our part.
First, we had to help create conditions so that the residents of Crimea for the first time in history were able to peacefully express their free will regarding their own future.
They say we are violating norms of international law.
What exactly are we violating?
As it declared independence and decided to hold a referendum, the Supreme Council of Crimea referred to the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the right of nations to self-determination.
Incidentally, I would like to remind you that when Ukraine seceded from the USSR t did exactly the same thing, almost word for word. Ukraine used this right, yet the residents of Crimea are denied it.
Why is that?
Moreover, the Crimean authorities referred to the well-known Kosovo precedent – a precedent our western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation, when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country's central authorities.
Pursuant to Article 2, Chapter 1 of the United Nations Charter, the UN International Court agreed with this approach and made the following comment in its ruling of July 22, 2010, and I quote: “No general prohibition against unilateral declarations of independence may be inferred from the practice of the security council” and “General international law contains no applicable prohibition of declarations of independence”.
Crystal clear, as they say.
Here is a quote from another official document: the Written Statement of the United States America of April 17, 2009, submitted to the same UN International Court in connection with the hearings on Kosovo. Again, I quote: “Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.” End of quote.
For some reason, things that Kosovo Albanians (and we have full respect for them) were permitted to do, Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea are not allowed. Again, one wonders why.
Today, I would like to address the people of the United States of America, the people who, since the foundation of their nation and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, have been proud to hold freedom above all else.
Isn't the desire of Crimea's residents to freely choose their fate such a value? Please understand us.
I believe that the Europeans, first and foremost, the Germans, will also understand me.
Let me remind you that in the course of political consultations on the unification of East and West Germany, at the expert, though very high level, some nations that were then and are now Germany's allies did not support the idea of unification.
Our nation, however, unequivocally supported the sincere, unstoppable desire of the Germans for national unity.
I am confident that you have not forgotten this, and I expect that the citizens of Germany will also support the aspiration of the Russians, of historical Russia, to restore unity.
I also want to address the people of Ukraine.
I sincerely want you to understand us: we do not want to harm you in any way, or to hurt your national feelings.
We have always respected the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state, incidentally, unlike those who sacrificed Ukraine's unity for their political ambitions.
They flaunt slogans about Ukraine's greatness, but they are the ones who did everything to divide the nation.
Today's civil standoff is entirely on their conscience.
I want you to hear me, my dear friends. Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea.
We do not want to divide Ukraine; we do not need that.
We want to be friends with Ukraine and we want Ukraine to be a strong, sovereign and self-sufficient country.
Ukraine is one of our biggest partners after all.
We have many joint projects and I believe in their success no matter what the current difficulties.
Most importantly, we want peace and harmony to reign in Ukraine, and we are ready to work together with other countries to do everything possible to facilitate and support this.
But as I said, only Ukraine's own people can put their own house in order.
The most recent public opinion surveys conducted here in Russia show that 95 percent of people think that Russia should protect the interests of Russians and members of other ethnic groups living in Crimea – 95 percent of our citizens.
More than 83 percent think that Russia should do this even if it will complicate our relations with some other countries.
A total of 86 percent of our people see Crimea as still being Russian territory and part of our country's lands.
Almost 92 percent of our people support Crimea's reunification with Russia.
Thus we see that the overwhelming majority of people in Crimea and the absolute majority of the Russian Federation's people support the reunification of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with Russia.