Rights ombudsman invites international monitors to Crimea

A view of the Balaklava Bay in Sevastopol from the Castle Hill. © Vladimir Sergeev
Russia’s human rights ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova, has invited international observers to Crimea so that they can personally see the republic’s peaceful integration into the Russian Federation and the local population’s massive support for this.

Moskalkova made the statement ahead of a conference on human rights observation during the process of Crimea and Sevastopol’s accession into the Russian Federation. The event started in the Crimean resort town of Alushta on Thursday.

READ MORE: 95.7% of Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia - preliminary results

We welcome unhindered international monitoring and previously we have used international venues to invite international monitors to Crimea so that they could see with their own eyes the positive processes that are taking place there and the people’s opinion about the ongoing integration processes in order to dismantle the myth of occupation and summary violations of human rights,” she told reporters.

Moskalkova also reiterated that the reunification of Crimea and Russia was a choice made by the Crimean people.

The Crimean Republic seceded from Ukraine and joined Russia over two years back, after the ousting of the democratically elected Ukrainian president and the installation of a nationalist-backed regime, which almost immediately declared war on the pro-Russian regions in the southeast. The reunification with Russia was supported by 96 percent of Crimean residents – the majority of whom are ethnic Russians – in an urgently-called referendum.

According to a public opinion poll conducted before the second anniversary of unification in April, 95 percent of Russians describe their attitude to the reunification with Crimea as positive, versus just 3 percent who said their attitude to the event was negative.

Furthermore, 79 percent of respondents told researchers they think Crimeans benefited from the reunification. Three percent concluded the lives of Crimean residents had become worse, while 6 percent think the lives of people in Crimea remain the same as before reunification.

READ MORE: 1 in 3 Europeans say Crimea is Russia 2 years after historic referendum – poll

A former MP from the center-left opposition party Fair Russia, Tatyana Moskalkova was voted in by the State Duma as Russian human rights ombudsman in late April this year.