Parts from the address by President of the Russian Federation
Crimea is a unique blend of different peoples’ cultures and traditions. This makes it similar to Russia as a whole,
where not a single ethnic group has been lost over the centuries. Russians and Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and people of
other ethnic groups have lived side by side in Crimea, retaining their own identity, traditions, languages and
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.
True, there was a time when Crimean Tatars were treated unfairly, just as a number of other peoples in the USSR.
There is only one thing I can say here: millions of people of various ethnicities suffered during those repressions,
and primarily Russians.
Crimean Tatars returned to their homeland. I believe we should make all the necessary political and legislative
decisions to finalise the rehabilitation of Crimean Tatars, restore them in their rights and clear their good name.
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.
18 March 2014