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Protesters in Crimea call for snap elections in Ukraine

About a thousand activists of a number of political and public movements held a rally Saturday in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol demanding extraordinary parliamentary and presidential elections. "We have gathered here to express our indignation at the authorities who have led our country to poverty and extinction," said Igor Shamaiko, the head of a Crimean community organization. "President [Viktor] Yushchenko, the government of [Prime Minister Yulia] Tymoshenko and the parliamentary majority consisting of oligarchs and NATO henchmen have shown that they are unable to get the country out of the crisis. Ukraine needs a total change of power, otherwise it will face famine, ruin and death," read a resolution adopted by the rally participants. The rally was attended by representatives of the pro-Russian Party of Regions, the Progressive Socialist Party and the Socialist Party, as well as activists from veteran, Cossack and youth groups. Protesters who took part in another rally in the city involving the Natalya Vitrenko party and pro-Russian organizations voiced support for closer ties with Russia and said Crimea should not be turned into "a bridgehead for political adventurism." "We see our future only in a union with Russia and Belarus," said Yevgeny Dubovik, a rally organizer. However, Sevastopol administration head Sergei Kunitsyn said in February on Ekho Moskvy radio that Crimean residents would not like the peninsula to become part of the Russian Federation. The Crimea became an autonomous republic in Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1994, Ukraine's parliament abolished the post of Crimean president and the republic's constitution. Four years later, Crimea adopted a new constitution that reduced the republic's autonomy.
http://en.rian.ru


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