Crimea wakes up to the reality of Russian rule

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In Crimea, there were scenes of celebration when President Putin signed the bill absorbing the peninsula into Russia.

In Sevastapol, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, crowds gathered to witness the historic moment.

One woman in the city’s main square said: “We are proud that we have a president like Vladimir Putin. Smart, kind, responsible and we are happy Crimea will now be a part of Russia.”

“It is a pleasure and honour to return to Russia. The happiest day for me will be when I receive a Russian passport,” said another woman.

A massive 97 percent of Crimeans who took part in Sunday’s referendum apparently voted to break-away from Ukraine. But not everyone is overjoyed. In the regional capital Simferopol some voiced discontent at the split.

‘‘It all looks pretty depressing given the rhetoric I’m hearing from Putin. I don’t think he will stop with Crimea, let alone Ukraine,’‘ said a student.

“I think the push to restore the Soviet Union’s former territories is a step back into the past. I can understand those of an older generation responding enthusiastically to this call, but we are the ones, the younger generation, who will build the future,’‘ said another student.

The treaty signed by Putin and Crimea’s leaders must now be approved by Russia’s constitutional court and then ratified by the Duma, Russia’s parliament.

But, happy or not most accept that is now a formality to be finalised in the next few days.

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