A convoy of Russian subsonic anti-ship missile systems Bal-E ('Ball', SSC-6 'Sennight', GRAU 3K60) designed to attack vessels up to 5000 tonnes was observed in Crimea on May 29, 2015 (Source: LiveUAmap.com)
Many Ukrainians and their supporters abroad talk about the possibility of the peaceful return of Crimea to Ukrainian control at some point in the future, but such talk, while possibly understandable ignores the fact that Moscow is changing Crimea so dramatically that there will soon be no Crimea to return, according to Petro Oleshchuk.
Petro Oleshchuk, political scientist, professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
In “Novoye vremya” today, the Kyiv political scientist says that he understands perfectly well how “catastrophic” would be any attempt at a military return of Crimea. But he argues that “to lie about ‘a peaceful path’ is simply irresponsible with regard to Ukrainians. There is no ‘peaceful path.’”
It is of course possible to speak about Russia’s occupation of Crimea de facto while refusing to recognize it de jure. “Apparently, there is now no other way. But why sow in society false hopes and not prepare it for a struggle,” especially given what the Russian occupation authorities are doing to transform the Ukrainian peninsula into something else.
Oleshchuk makes five points in this regard:
- First, he points out, “Russia is completely changing the composition of the population in the peninsula. Mass shifts are taking place already now. After a certain time, Crimea will be completely different demographically. And there will not be an ounce of Ukrainian left in it.”
- Second, he argues, the imposition of anti-Ukrainian attitudes “after a few years will yield a generation which it would be impossible to reintegrate into Ukrainian society.” Third, “as a democratic state, Ukraine cannot solve its problems by deportations. But it also will not be able to integrate such an enclave.”
- Fourth, “every day, the development of the economy in the various systems is leading to a situation in which it will be practically impossible to combine into one again.” (In support of this, “Novaya gazeta” today describes the way in which Moscow is making Russian-occupied Crimea a money-laundering hub.
- And fifth, for Crimea to return to Ukraine, it would be necessary for Russia to descend into the kind of “government crisis in which no one in the world is seriously interested.” In short, Oleshchuk says, there is no reason to accept the idea that Crimea will somehow miraculously and peacefully return to Ukraine.
Additional evidence for his position, the Kyiv political scientist says, is provided by the continuing existence of “two Chinas, two Koreas, two Cypruses, and so on.” And he concludes that “it is not excluded” that in the decades ahead, “the issue of the return of Crimea” will agitate Ukrainians in much the same way the unification of the two Koreas agitates Koreans.
Protest against the shutdown of ATR Crimean Tartar TV channel in Crimea by the Russian occupation authorities (Image: krymr.org)
Crimea before the Russian occupation: In 2013 school year, 737 Crimean Tatar first-graders enrolled in classes with Crimean Tatar language of instruction. Such classes were opened at 38 Ukrainian schools in the peninsula. Simferopol, September 2, 2013 (Image: QHA)
A soldier of the Russian annexation force flashes a victory sign while marching near a Ukrainian army base in Perevalne, Crimea. March 2014
Armed Russian soldiers block the entrance to a Ukrainian naval border guard base in Sevastopol during the annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. March 2014. (Image: New York Times)
Trucks with the “little green men” – Russian soldiers hiding their identities and without insignia while annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea
Crimean Tartar protest against the Russian occupation.
Russian army invading Crimea, Ukraine
Crimean Tatars protest the Russian occupation. February-March 2014
Graffiti: Crimea is Ukraine
In a hybrid war operation, Russian “little green men”, heavily armed soldiers without insignia, annexed Crimea from Ukraine. February 2014.
Crimean Tatar protest against Russian occupation of the Crimea. The sign in Russian reads: “We are on our own land!”
Armed guards block the entrance to a naval border guard base in Sevastopol, in the Crimea region of Ukraine March 2014. New York Times
Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech celebrating the annexation of Crimea by Russia during his visit to the port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. (Image: YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Putin celebrating the Crimea Anschluss, 2014
A portrait of Putin with “Crimea” written on the upper lip
The Russian occupation authorities in Crimea opening a new Stalin monument to commemorate the Yalta Conference (February 4-11, 1945) between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin that legitimized the post-World War II occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union (Image: Wikimedia)
“Crimea is Ukraine”
“Crimean Tatars want peace” – Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
“No to war! Crimea is Ukraine!” Crimeans protest against Russian occupation, March 2014
A Crimean Tatar woman holds a sign “Crimea Is Ukraine” in protest to the “referendum” imposed by force by Moscow in March 2014.
A girl in a national Crimean Tatar dress holds a placard during a protest against the presence of Russian troops in Crimea, Bakhchysaray, Crimea, March 5, 2014 (Image: mfa.gov.ua)
Putin was shunned at the 2014 G20 meeting in Australia after the Crimea Anschluss by Russia.
Crimean Tartars (photo: oleg-leusenko.livejournal.com)
Chief editor of the Crimean Tartar-language “Avdet” Shevkey Kaybullayev, whose newspaper was denied a license to continue to operate in Crimea by Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor, as reported by an also-shuttering Crimean News Agency (Photo: QHA)
A soldier of the Russian occupation force atop an IFV in Crimea. (Image: epa.eu)
Celebration of Crimea Anschluss near the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia (Photo: ng.ru)
17 minutes before the channel shutdown, an online poll shows 99.2% of respondents said “Yes” to a question “Do you need ATR TV channel?” (Image: @CrimeaUA1 on Twitter.com)
A protester in Europe wearing a Crimean Tatar flag with a sign protesting the shuttering of Crimean Tatar media outlets by Russian occupiers in April 2015 (Photo: Olexei Ivanov, day.kiev.ua)
ATR poll in the bottom of the screen shows 82% of ATR viewers against the Crimea Anschluss by Russia in March 2014
Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian filmmaker and resident of Crimea illegally arrested on made-up charges and imprisoned by Putin’s regime #FreeSentsov
The pin on the chest of the protester says: “Don’t Kill ATR!” at the protest against the shuttering of Crimean media outlets by the Kremlin, March 2015
The Bell of Chersonesos in Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine with a sign reading “There was, is, and only be Kyivan Rus” in Ukrainian. The picture was taken in early 2015 while the city is still under the Russian occupation (Image credit: Anonymous author)
The sign in Kaluga, Russia says “Crimea Today – Rome Tomorrow! Happy Victory Day of May 9!” (Image: KP-Kaluga, May 2015)
Edited by: A. N.
Tags: Crimea, Russia, Russia's Anschluss of Crimea