The death of the Massandra winery in occupied Crimea

Photo: V.S. Biletskyi 


Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

In April 2014, a few weeks after the annexation of Crimea, I encountered the Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov during a broadcast of Radio Svoboda. The official was boorish and insolent.

When compared with other supporters of Putin’s adventures, he was especially rude and insulting when responding to comments about the real international status of Crimea. In short, it was obvious that Boris Titov was nervous.

Russian colleagues explained the reasons for this hysterical behavior after the broadcast. They said that the ombudsman was preparing to seize the winemaking enterprises on the peninsula and that my constant comments on the restoration of international law and the retribution facing Russian war criminals forced him to doubt the longevity of his own plans. This is why Titov reddened and paled during the broadcast and repeated “You’re a fool! A fool!” as if wound up. It was business, nothing personal.

Three years after the discussion with the odious official I read a great investigative article in the Russian online publication Medusa on the fate of Crimean winemaking. Boris Titov is mentioned only once, when the subject is his attempts to appropriate Novyi Svit (famous Crimean champagne house — Ed.). But the main part of the article is devoted to the sorry fate of the legendary Massandra winery, which was transferred under the management of the affairs of the president of the Russian Federation. In Russia everyone knows what this expression hides; the simpler phrase is “seized by Vladimir Putin.”

There are all kinds of  invaders. After all, one must know how to manage seized property. The problem in modern Russia is not only complete contempt for the norms of international law and morality, but also blatant incompetence. It can be seen very clearly in the fate of Crimean winemaking. Massandra will cease being Massandra, and Novyi Svit will cease being Novyi Svit. Everything will work out for Putin and Titov.  More accurately, nothing will work out.

Legendary Massandra sherry. Photo: Pavel Mozhaev

Legendary Massandra sherry. Photo: Pavel Mozhaev

When we think about the return of Crimea, we often imagine that we will return to “zero,” to the point when the annexation began. And that normal peaceful life will begin again, and that little by little Crimea with turn into a normal Ukrainian region with Crimean Tatar characteristics. But this is a great illusion. Right in front of our eyes everything is dying that once formed the essence of life on the peninsula, not only during its existence in the USSR and independent Ukraine but also in pre-Soviet times. To the local Crimean robbers who still hesitated to cut the branch they were sitting on were added the Moscow looters. Many of them are well aware that they will have to give up the peninsula sooner or later. And this is why they are rushing to squeeze it like a ripe fruit.

There is nothing new in any of this. This was pretty much the attitude of the Russian authorities regarding the Kaliningrad region after World War II. It seemed that this territory would not remain part of the USSR for very long and that is why the Russians removed everything from it. When 30 years later, after the Helsinki meeting, the European borders were declared inviolable, the decision was made to develop the Kaliningrad region. But it was already late. The former East Prussia had finally been transformed into a dead Russian province.

If Crimea is not liberated soon from the looters, it will suffer the same sad fate.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Radio Svoboda

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  1. Avatar Mykola Potytorsky says:

    Looting and stealing is something the Russians are very good at, a trait that their Golden Horde ancestors left to them.

    1. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

      Yeah, and name one good thing Ukrainians are good at? prostitution, isn’t one of them.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        So you don’t deny what Mykola said, i.e. that looting and stealing is something Russians are good at? Nor do you deny that these are traits inherited from their ancestors the Golden Horde? Okay….

        Now, as to your question about Ukrainians – you are correct that prostitution isn’t one of them, as the rate of prostitution in Ukraine is not high. But technology, nation-building, promotion of culture and art, military skill and industry – these are all things Ukrainians are good at.

        1. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

          Ha ha ha, omfg XD XD XD XD

          1. Avatar Alex George says:

            So in other words, you cannot respond to a single one of my points.

            Wow, the quality of Russian trolls is dropping. Like their economy I suppose…

        2. Avatar Mykola Potytorsky says:

          We know another thing – Rafael Hernandez is good – good for nothing.

          1. Avatar Alex George says:


          2. Avatar veth says:

            Not even for nothing, I guess.

      2. Avatar Mykola Potytorsky says:

        I agree with you, Russians are the best in prostitution, just ask Putin. He himself said Russia has the best prostitutes.

        1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

          Being married to a RuSSian male is no different to prostitution, except the pay is worse.

  2. Avatar Randolph Carter says:

    I hope someday to sample the Massandra wines as made by the Crimeans before the winery was taken, and after it is restored to its former status. I won’t drink the hogwash that Titov and his drunken friends will make. I’ll still buy some of theirs after Crimea is returned to Ukraine, but I’ll use it to take bugs off my car in summer, or to chase away vermin.

    All the theft of the winery (and everything else) shows is that Russians are too damn lazy or incompetent to make such fine things and the only way they can have them is to take them from somebody else.

    1. Avatar Murf says:

      They will probably slap a label on unfermented grape juice concentrate form China.
      Zero class.

  3. Avatar Brent says:

    Russian locusts. They have nothing and they leave nothing behind.

    That’s why Russia is Bangladesh with oil. I apologize to Bangladesh….

    1. Avatar veth says:

      Interpol has dismissed Russia’s request to post an international search alert for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.

      “I would like to state with pleasure and respect that in accordance with its protocol, Interpol, as an adequate and reputable international organization, has taken my letter into account and dismissed Russia’s absurd request,” the minister said on Facebook.

      1. Avatar Murf says:

        Hel, the image of the dorky looking Yats as a bad a$$ guerrilla fighter would probably get him elected President.

    2. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Another apt description is “Upper Volta with nukes”.

    3. Avatar Rafael Hernandez says:

      You are still such a liar

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        How is he a liar?

        1. Avatar veth says:

          Dont react on this RT nazzi troll.

          1. Avatar Alex George says:

            Hey its amusing. He has no stamina for a fight.

          2. Avatar veth says:

            I blocked all these RT trolls, so I see only ‘This user is blocked’… more spam from RT.

    4. Avatar Mykola Potytorsky says:

      The Congo with really big rockets – another one