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'There Was No Quorum': Crimean Lawmaker Calls Vote To Join Russia Flawed

Crimea MP Leonid Pilunsky
Lawmakers in the parliament in Crimea voted on March 6 for that Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia and hold a referendum on endorsing the decision. Several lawmakers opposing the move, however, say they were either not notified or physically barred from entering the parliament building to cast their vote. RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Dmitry Volchek spoke to one of them: Leonid Pilunsky, of the faction Qurultay-Rukh.

RFE/RL: Did you take part in today's vote?

Pilunsky: Of course not. They didn't let me in. Even yesterday I couldn't get close, the building is entirely cordoned off by people acting aggressively. There are many faces there that I've never seen. They are rumored to be Kuban Cossacks....

According to our information, there was no quorum. All these decisions resemble a schizophrenic outburst....

Crimean Tatars will categorically refuse to be part of Russia. They have just started returning home and settling down after more than 50 years in exile.

RFE/RL: You said there would inevitably be resistance to Russian rule in Crimea. What would this resistance look like?

Pilunsky: It will depend on what kind of draconian measures they decide to slap on the population.

RFE/RL: Ukrainian military bases are already refusing to lay down their weapons.

Pilunsky: Of course they are refusing. [Russian forces] are behaving like Nazi troops, asking people to surrender. That's exactly what's happening here. Suddenly, people in an independent state are asked to hand over their weapons. All this brings many sad, unhappy thoughts. You start wondering what kind of place you live in and whether this really is the 21st century.