To answer this question and to reveal possible consequences of this referendum, we have to analyze Ukrainian Constitution regulations and some other legal acts.
1. No doubt that the first question of this referendum (“Do you support the reunification of Crimea and Russian Federation?”) is related to the unity of Ukraine. According to art.73 of the Constitution of Ukraine “the issue concerning unity of territories of Ukraine must be determined by the referendum”. The same article states that the referendum is the only way to change country’s unity and its borders. Therefore, the Parliament of Autonomous Republic of Crimea has gone beyond its powers, as it has no right to start national referendum. It has no authority to declare the independence of Autonomous Republic of Crimea from Ukraine. That type of referendum could only be performed according to decision of the Parliament of Ukraine or according to the President’s decree.
2. The Parliament of Autonomous Republic of Crimea has gone beyond its powers peforming the referendum, which is going to be held on March 16. Art. 9 of the Constitution of Crimea states the authority of the Parliament of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and there is a restriction: the Parliament cannot adopt those acts or resolutions, which contradict Ukrainian legislation. It means that the referendum is unlawful as there is direct prohibition to submit the issue of country’s integrity. That decision can be taken only due to the results of the national referendum.
3. The decision of the Parliament of Autonomous Republic of Crimea is illegal because the President has already cancelled it, due the item 16 art.106 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The executive order was signed and adopted on March 7, 2014 (# 1702-6/14).
4. Attorney General of Ukraine has assumed measures to prevent this referendum performance. District Administrative Court of Kyiv has stopped the implementation of the decision of the Crimean Parliament. No person can take any measures to organize this unlawful referendum.
Summing up it could be stated that the referendum performed illegaly can provoke adverse consequences as follows:
There is no clarity about the status of those Ukrainian citizens, who are living in Crimea at the time – they are not going to be naturalized and their basic rights could be easily violated.
The status of property Ukrainian government is unclear. There is risk of its nationalization.
Crimean customs checkpoints and frontier stations to be set up could cause additional losses for business and common people. All the deals signed before the referendum might be reconsider according to international standards.
The price for water and electricity provision would increase as it might be calculated according to international tariffs and regulations.
It is needless to say that the withdrawal of Autonomous Republic of Crimea from Ukraine is illegitimate. It can provoke a lot of threats, risks and economic difficulties. Given referendum is a criminal offence (art.110 of Criminal Code of Ukraine).