After three months of occupation many Crimeans are rid of their illusions about “magical” life in Russia.
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea the citizens of the peninsula are coming face-to-face with new reality: sky-high prices, isolation from the rest of the world, empty beaches and redistribution of business, reports TSN.
A week before the so-called referendum, one of the most active separatists, Crimean Vice Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev assured that the interim period would last a year. So the hryvnia and rouble would be in circulation simultaneously, pensions and social payments would be increased, property would be re-registered formally, and the Crimeans would not feel any discomfort.
Three months have gone by, and the citizens of Crimea are fed up with “magical” Russian life.
“We had normal prices. Now they have gone up horribly – not even three, but four times,” laments local citizens Vira Pavlivna.
“According to Ukrainian legislation we got a certain sum of children’s money, aid, and according to Russian legislation, we will be getting even less, and the prices have gone up,” noted Crimean Oleksandr on his part.
“My pension was about 2 thousand 800 UAH. I never lived in luxury, but I never looked inside my pocket until the end of the month. Today, even though they raised our pensions 75%, it’s a bit hard,” added citizens of the occupied peninsula Oleksandr Bogachev.
The sky-high prices that the pensions cannot keep up with, lines, deficit, raising of utility service payments, incomprehensible policies for business, threat of property loss, a paralysed banking system, problems with water and electricity supplies, persecution of those who think differently – these are the realities of Russian Crimea.
Instead of the promised year, the hryvnia was “kicked out” of Crimea within 2,5 months after the “referendum.” According to economists, it was done with the goal to make business relations between Crimea and Ukraine as difficult as possible.
“Mr Purin’s advisors cannot grasp that Ukrainian goods, which are on average two times less expensive than Russian ones and several times better in terms of quality, are a constant advertisement for Ukraine,” noted expert in economics Andriy Klymenko.
The occupants’ first attempt at stopping this ‘advertisement’ failed. When the Russian service for customer rights banned Ukrainian milk from the peninsula, the prices grew and the shelves became empty rapidly.
The Crimean governors that rooted for Russia yesterday are now forced to tell the truth – practically, the anti-Russian truth. “Bulk prices for Russian producers are much higher than Ukrainian ones. The prices in Krasnodar krai, for example, are 50-60% higher on social goods and 50-100% on other goods groups,” reported Minister for Economy Svitlana Verba.
As such, the self-proclaimed government is forced to fight against the export and not the import of higher quality Ukrainian food from the peninsula, as the Russians hasten to buy them. “They have already taken all the cheap goods out of here, and now the delivery cost will be horribly high,” predicts a trucker from Stavropol krai Oleksandr Roman.
Meanwhile the truckers are refusing to drive goods from Russia to the peninsula. They spend half a month on one drive, because they spend weeks in line for the ferry, which has also gone up in price by 100%.
“How did it become 22 thousand? $700! A truck for Turkey cost as much before. And now onto Russian territory, the same $700. Any goods, a bottle of water will be twice as expensive as in Russia now,” assured Oleksandr Roman.
Meanwhile pro-Russian businessmen which are renting out the beach in Yevpatoriya are genuinely unable to understand why the country they wanted to be part of so badly is not responding in kind. Their constructions on the beach are being torn down.
“What did we fight for? Why did we go, block military units together with your guys? Now you’re making Ukraine laugh at us,” complains a businessman to Russian law enforcement officers.
Experts say that a simple redistribution of business and territory is underway in Crimea. The words about tourists’ rights protection are a cover. As there are simply no tourists.
Empty hotels, sanatoria and beaches – there had never been such a season in Crimea. “Neither Ukraine nor Russia is coming now. The children’s camps we usually work with did not open for the first session, and the second one as well,” said tourist office director Liudmyla Zayats.
Besides, annexed Crimea is avoided by airplanes and cruise ships. International companies are strictly adhering to UN recommendations regarding prohibition on ship entry to the occupied territory.
“Yalta this year, by the way, was supposed to accept 160 cruise ships from the entire world – it would be a record in Yalta’s entire history. We also expected a record cruising season in Sevastopol. This will not be. There are no ships and there never will be,” noted economical expert Andriy Klymenko.
Empty ports, car dealerships and a frozen property market. A vacant coast and deathly silence which will not be interrupted by famous musical festivals this year, which used to gather thousands of people at the coast. Kazantyp moved from Saky district to Georgia, Jazz-Koktebel – to Odesa. The Russian anthem, it seems, has silenced everything Crimea used to be proud of.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina