Ukraine is divided into 24 administrative regions (oblasts) plus the autonomous Republic of Crimea. In addition, the cities of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and Sevastopol, capital of Crimea, enjoy oblast status. The oblast is divided into districts, each of which has a representative in the Rada (Supreme Council).
A strong secessionist movement has risen up in Crimea. In a nonbinding referendum held in 1994, over 78% of the 1.3 million people who voted supported greater autonomy from Ukraine. In 1995 Ukraine's parliament and President Leonid Kuchma moved to contain secessionist elements in the region. Kuchma temporarily took direct control over the area and afterward decreed that he must approve all candidates for premier of the region. The Crimea adopted a new constitution in 1999 providing for additional budgetary autonomy from the rest of Ukraine.