Stories from occupied Crimea

2014/05/06 • Analysis & Opinion

How can you find opportunities for any personal development in a country with a dictatorial regime, cult of the leader and persecution of political opponents? Personally for me the situation has changed for the worse.

First of all, I cannot withdraw the rest of my money (not much is left) from my account in ‘Privatbank’ and the company I worked for has suspended its activities. So, I am running out of cash.

Secondly, it is emotionally difficult to see the Russian tricolor on the buildings of public institutions, watch widespread phobia against anything Ukrainian, listen to lies, and see the betrayal of our collaborationist Crimean officials. It is even more unbearable to watch the locals who are sincere in their approval of what Russia is doing and hate everything that in any way relates to Ukraine. There are quite a few people like that here and they represent the Crimea that I am ashamed of.

What do I think about the future? I see no prospect for Crimea or for myself in Russia. I think there’s no sense for Russia to develop the tourism industry on the peninsula. They consider Crimea to be a place where they can increase their military power, a vantage point. I cannot even imagine my future in Russian Crimea: there are no opportunities for any personal development in a country with a dictatorial regime, cult of the leader and persecution of political opponents. This is the socio-political environment in Crimea now and I do not want to imagine my future in such an environment. I sometimes worry about my safety because of the aggressive attitude of the Crimean authorities (and a lot of locals) to the participants of Euromaidan or rallies for the integrity of Ukraine. Well, yes, I participated in Euromaidan in Kyiv and I took part in the protests in Simferopol.

I do not intend to receive a Russian passport. I have already submitted my rejection of Russian citizenship papers, as I am a citizen of Ukraine. I do not want to be a citizen of the country that occupied part of the territory of my homeland. I have a Ukrainian passport – that’s enough for me. I didn’t take part in the referendum on May 16th, I boycotted it and urged others to do likewise. This referendum was contrary to all norms of the Ukrainian Constitution and it does not reflect the public opinion.

Regarding the situation on the peninsula. There has not been any shortage of food so far. Although the range of some brands is decreasing, you can buy almost everything you need. However, prices are rising exponentially. It’s impossible to pay for anything by credit card, you have to use cash. Transition to rubles brings a lot of inconveniences to the sellers who have to accept payments both in rubles and hryvnias. They have to constantly rework price tags as the exchange rate is so volatile.

I’d like everyone to know that here, in Crimea, regardless of the ethnic, linguistic or religious identities a lot of people still consider themselves Ukrainian. Do not believe the results of the referendum shown by Russia! Most of the Crimeans didn’t vote. Still, there are people who are happy to be ‘liberated’ by Russia because of their stupidity or shortsightedness. One day they’ll realize their mistake. I am sending you my best regards and, like many Crimeans, I remain a citizen of Ukraine. Although the Crimean officials and authorities say that ‘Crimea is a part of Russia’, it is an integral part of Ukraine for us!

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