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Pro-Russian Activists Quarrel In Ukraine's Crimea

Russian Community of Crimea leader Serhiy Tsekov
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- Pro-Russian activists in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula have accused a moderate pro-Moscow group of betraying the "Russian movement" in Crimea, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The activists held what they called a "people's tribunal" for several hours on September 28 in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, where they read a list of "sins" committed by Russian Community of Crimea leader Serhiy Tsekov and his colleagues, saying that they had betrayed voters.

At the end of the gathering the activists announced a "verdict" of "eternal shame."

Tsekov, who is also a deputy in the Crimean parliament, did not comment on the accusations. His nongovernmental organization quoted an earlier decision by the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots, which forbids groups from encouraging a split in the pro-Russian movement in Crimea.

Local observers note that the Russian Community of Crimea has close links to the Russian consulate office in Crimea.

Analysts say tensions have been created because of plans by Moscow to increase its financing of pro-Russian groups abroad.

Crimean analyst Mykola Semena told RFE/RL that the "Russian pre-election campaigns are being transferred to Ukraine."

About 60 percent of Crimea's 2 million people are ethnic Russians and Russian is the dominant language on the peninsula, which has greater autonomy than other Ukrainian regions.

Crimea was transferred from the Russian Soviet republic to the Ukrainian Soviet republic in 1954.

Read more in Ukrainian here