Crimea suffering from ‘East German Syndrome,’ Moscow scholar says

Left: Hitler announces the Anschluss of Austria on the Heldenplatz, Vienna, Austria on 15 March 1938. (Image: Wikipedia) Right: Putin speaking in occupied Sevastopol to celebrate 18 March 2014 anschluss of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine conducted by Russian military and special forces. May 9, 2014 (Image: kremlin.ru)

Left: Hitler announces the Anschluss of Austria on the Heldenplatz, Vienna, Austria on 15 March 1938. (Image: Wikipedia)

Right: Putin speaking in occupied Sevastopol to celebrate 18 March 2014 anschluss of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine conducted by Russian military and special forces. May 9, 2014 (Image: kremlin.ru) 

Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Russia

There have been almost as many premature deaths in Crimea as a result of rapidly rising mortality rates on the Ukrainian peninsula since the Russian Anschluss as there have been combat losses in the Donbas, 9400 compared to 10,000 respectively, Igor Gundarov, an independent medical expert in Moscow says.

For the fourth year in a row – that is for the period since Vladimir Putin seized the peninsula – “Crimeans have been under the influence of a growing increase in mortality rates, the cause of which has still not become the subject of scholarly analysis, he writes in Nezavisimaya gazeta.

What is happening in Crimea now, Gundarov says, resembles what happened in Russia in the 1990s and even more what happened in East Germany after reunification. It does not reflect what was the case before Crimea was annexed: “From 2005 through 2013, mortality” in Crimea as in Ukraine and in Russia, he points out, “had fallen without interruption.”

Russian special forces and mercenaries subdue and escort away a local resident before Russian troops assault the Ukrainian Belbek airbase, outside Sevastopol, Crimea, on March 22, 2014. (Image: AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Russian special forces and mercenaries subdue and escort away a local resident before Russian troops assault the Ukrainian Belbek airbase, outside Sevastopol, Crimea, on March 22, 2014. (Image: AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Medical risk factors like smoking and drinking don’t explain this because they don’t change so quickly, and in Crimea over the last four years, deaths from overconsumption of alcohol have even fallen. And there are other inexplicable developments as well, the Moscow medical expert says.

“For the first time in the history of demography, the acceleration of the growth of mortality among women has exceeded that of men. If in 2014, for every 1000 men aged 35 to 59 there were 1256 women, in 2015, that had fallen to only 982 women per 1000 men, that is, by 28 percent fewer.”

According to Gundarov, “contemporary medicine isn’t capable of explaining the cause of super-high mortality in Crimea,” but events in Russia in the 1990s and in the GDR at the time of reunification point to a possible explanation, the impact on geography of “a deformed public consciousness.”

This involves such things as theft, violence, murders, divorce and general criminality, factors that reflect how people really feel about developments in contrast to what they say. In Russia in the 1990s and East Germany at the time of reunification, people said they were pleased by the development. The same is true in Crimea, he reports.

But their actions, which reflect their “subconscious” feelings, point in a different direction and do have demographic consequences. Unfortunately, the link between subconscious feelings and demography and the impact of cognitive dissonance between conscious and unconscious feelings are “typically ignored by sociologists.”

A view of the Russian entry point into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea occupied by Russia in March 2014 (Image: Kommersant.ru)

A view of the Russian entry point into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea occupied by Russia in March 2014 (Image: Kommersant.ru)

What is taking place in Crimea now, Gundarov says, might best be termed “the GDR syndrome,” with rising crime, most of it economic, reflecting the “impoverishment of the population and the vulgarization of social relations. An MVD officer in Sevastopol says that crime is up because unemployment is up. “There is no work, but people want to live.”

“Two-thirds of those who commit crimes do not have a permanent source of income,” and increasingly they are committing ever more violent crimes, including murder, battery, and other attacks. And at the same time, they are turning away from activities of intellectual and cultural development. Moreover, “the number of divorces has increased 200 percent.”

All these factors taken together have depressed the birthrate and produced what can only be called “a humanitarian catastrophe,” the product the medical scholar says of “the GDR syndrome” there. What is especially unfortunate, he continues, is that the methods the authorities there are using to address this are not going to work.

Consequently, the GDR syndrome is likely to last far longer than it did in Germany.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • veth

    Kseniya Kirillova: Serfdom in new Russia

    By Kseniya Kirillova. Published Sept. 30 at 10:13 am

    One of the basic features of the Russian mentality, actively promoted by the Kremlin and fully shared by the majority of the population, is that a person born in Russia will always remain the “property” of its state. One can no longer choose for himself another homeland, another country, or simply take the other side; he/she has no right to support those whom Russia once again declared enemies, and s/he does not have the right to self-identity or to self-determination.

    The end of the summer and the beginning of fall in Russia were marked by a new round of repressions against Ukrainians or pro-Ukrainian Russian citizens. On Sept. 11, the Supreme Court of Crimea sentenced Ahtem Chiyhoz, the deputy chairman of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people, to eight years of imprisonment on charges of organizing mass riots on Feb. 26, 2014. Ahtem Chiyhoz denied the charges, and in his last words he called his verdict “a verdict to the entire Crimean Tatar people.” Then his lawyer Nikolai Polozov and other Crimean Tatar activists repeated the same words.

    Meanwhile, at the end of August, another prisoner, Russian Denis Bakholdin, was brought to the Serbsky Institute in Moscow for a forced medical examination. His story is very revealing. As an active participant of protests, including pickets against the war in Ukraine, Bakholdin fled to Kyiv at the end of 2014 due to the increasing pressure from Russian authorities. However, in March 2017, the activist, according to his lawyer, went back to Russia to visit his sick parents. He was detained at the border crossing, after which the Federal Security Service, or FSB, officers began to beat and torture him, hoping to knock out confessions about his participation in the activities of the Right Sector, Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist political movement. Bakholdin’s mother found out that her son was detained and kept in a pre-trial detention center in Bryansk, Russia, only a few months later. At the moment, his arrest has been extended until Dec. 10. According to his lawyer, Svetlana Sidorkina, Bakholdin is being harassed at the institute by other patients (accused of stealing and murder, respectively), which is accepted with total connivance from the staff.

    Another Russian activist, chairman of the Yabloko Party in Toropets, Tver Oblast, Vladimir Egorov, who lived for some time in Ukraine, was detained in Belarus and thence sent to Russia, where he is currently being detained on charges of “calls for extremism.”

    At first glance, those types of cases seem to have little in common, and they appear to be in different categories.

    Chiyhoz is a citizen of Ukraine. He is a deputy chairman of the Mejlis, and he is a recognized Crimean Tatar leader. The main motive for his criminal prosecution, according to both, human rights activists and the Crimean Tatars, is carrying out a deterrent action against his whole nation.

    Bakholdin and Egorov, on another hand, are ordinary Russian protest activists, who are not prominent leaders of the opposition movement. They are connected only by one single fact – they both opposed the policy of Russian authorities, and they supported Ukraine (or simply fled there for a political refuge) and then found themselves within the reach of the FSB (in Belarus or on the Russian-Ukrainian border). Criminal cases against them were not publicly advertised, “for the edification of others,” their names are not well-known, and their activities abroad did not cause noteworthy damage to the Russian authorities. These young people are also unlikely to fall into the category of “hostages”: being Russian, not Ukrainian citizens, they cannot be exchanged for another party of “lost” military intelligence, or GRU, servicemen.

    And yet, in my opinion, a very specific logic can be traced in this series of repressions, and I see equivalence of the case of Chiygoz with the principles that Moscow applies to Crimea, Ukraine, and to the rest of the post-Soviet countries. This is the logic of serfdom. I remember that in 2014 a scandal erupted over the article of the chairman for the Constitutional Court of Russia Valery Zorkin, in which he justified serfdom and argued that its abolition caused enormous harm to society and eventually led to a revolution.

    “With all of the shortcomings of serfdom, it was exactly the main clasp that kept the inner unity of the nation,” ex-head of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation Valery Zorkin.

    However, proceeding from the whole political strategy of Russia during the 20th and 21st centuries, it can be concluded that the worries of “the main defender of the Constitution” are futile: serfdom in Russia has remained virtually intact – if not on paper, then certainly in the heads of officials, the security officers and with the majority of population. One of the basic features of the Russian mentality, actively promoted by the Kremlin and fully shared by the population majority, is that a person born in Russia will always remain the “property” of its state. One can no longer choose for himself another homeland, another country, or simply take the other side; s/he has no right to support those whom Russia once again declared enemies, and s/he does not have the right to self-identity or to self-determination.

    No legal factors can shake this fanatical confidence of Kremlin. Any person who was born in Russia, or at least somehow is connected with it, must remain faithful to the “lordly patrimony” until the very end. The fact that a person may already have another citizenship, that he or she has consciously and absolutely legally took an oath of allegiance to another state, or that he or she may not be Russian by nationality, that a person can already live and work for the benefit of his new homeland for many years, will change nothing. The attitude towards this type of a person will always remain the same – a fugitive serf must be strictly punished for the very fact of trying to escape.

    This logic was best formulated by the odious Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov in his scandalous speech in June of this year, calling participants of protest actions in Moscow “2 percent of feces.”

    “You’re a vile, smelly, creepy bug. Do you think that you do not love authorities? No, you hate Russia. Only you were not lucky. You were born in Russia. And whatever you do, you will remain a Russian. Even if you escape abroad, you cannot get away. Because you were not able to become a real Russian, and you will remain flawed for the rest of your life,” Vladimir Solovyov, speaking on air to one of the radio listeners

    Here Solovyov, with amazing sincerity, displays the main postulates of the Russian attitude towards its own citizens. First, he recognizes that being born in Russia is, by quoting literally, ‘bad luck’. Secondly, he insists that such birth is a kind of stigma that is impossible to get rid of, “whatever you do”, including moving abroad. A run-away serf is denied the opportunity to become a full-fledged citizen of another state. According to the logic of the Kremlin, s/he is not able to become an American or a German, but only remains a “flawed Russian.”

    It is this logic that explains the “hunt” for Russian citizens who “dared” to support and to prefer Ukraine to Russia. Even if there is no direct benefit to the Kremlin for tracking and abducting ordinary opposition activists, the Russian authorities can no longer get away from their own logic of treating people like they are in a violation of serfdom.

    Examples include both, opposition politician Leonid Razvozzhayev and former FSB officer Ilya Bogdanov, whom Russian secret services also kidnapped and tried to take home ­– fortunately, unsuccessfully. Those, who Kremlin is not able to return, they will simply eliminate. The most vivid examples are of journalist Pavel Sheremet and of a former State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov.

    There are also absurd accusations against the housewife and the saleswoman for sending innocent text messages or making phone calls to foreigners. Communicating with foreigners without the permission of the master and, even more so, to the detriment of the master, is also a violation of serfdom. The arguments about ordinary human friendships with citizens of other countries are not taken into consideration, such as, as we know, serfs do not have the right to choose their friends if the master does not approve.

    Let’s recall another example of denying a person their right to make a choice – a kind of “Russification of the dead,” or the habit of Russians to write into the ranks of their great cultural history the figures of science, culture, etc., whom Russia itself (the USSR) had forced into exile. These people were accepted by other countries, they were provided with conditions for work and for creativity, they have obtained the citizenship of these countries and they became great cultural or science figures of another state. Moreover, many of them considered themselves Americans, French, English, Germans, etc., and certainly would not want their achievements to be attributed to the country that have rejected them. However, as have already mentioned, neither legal formalities, nor person’s own willpower would make any difference to the Russian serfdom.

    The same inexplicable logic led to the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia to “terminate” the activities of the news agency “New Region” on the lawsuit of Roskomnadzor in March 2015. The word “terminate” here is not accidentally quoted, as the agency continued to work quietly until the strange death of its founder, Alexander Schetinin, in August 2016. At the time of filing the claim by Roskomnadzor to the Supreme Court, the “New Region” has long been officially a Ukrainian news media, and therefore, the decisions of the Russian court drawn-out to this news agency’s work meant no more than the magic of voodoo. However, even for the highest judicial Court of Russia this indisputable legal fact had no significance. Because “New Region” was originally created in Russia and because it was at one time Russian, in their minds, it continued to remain forever Russian, despite the existing reality.

    Just like at the highest courts, the same level of “sense of justice” is demonstrated by the Russian officials. After the closures of the Consulate General of Russia in San Francisco and a couple of trade agencies, which were followed by subsequent inspections of the premises by the American side, the “voice” of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, threatened American diplomatic missions with carrying out similar “inspections.” Thus, she demonstrated the inability to grasp the difference between an acting consular establishment and a building that is no longer serves that function, as per her logic, whatever has been once titled the territory of Russia must forever remain that.

    The creation of the same perverted thinking is the policy of “collecting Russian lands” in general, and the oppression of the Crimean Tatars in particular, since the annexed Crimea, in the minds of Moscow, has become the land with serfs, who had to accept the power of their new master and to formalize the corresponding citizenship, which is a Russian citizenship. Those who refused to do so (in the first place, representatives of the indigenous people of the Crimea) have violated the serfdom law, since the surfs do not have a right to not accept the new master of the land.

    Serfdom is realized in Russia both in relation to individual citizens and in relation to the entire regions and populations, who are persistently denied the possibility of self-determination. The same attitude was manifested in the case of Ukraine and other post-Soviet republics, when the very fact of choosing the European path of development was perceived as a betrayal not only by Russian authorities, but also by the overwhelming majority of the public. If you ask an average Russian, he will say that the Ukrainians “had to support us,” but instead they “betrayed and turned toward the enemies.” This conviction is also an indicator of the attitude towards other nations – as for serfs. A free man (country), making free choice, cannot betray anyone by definition, but the serf is destined for betrayal by his own desire to leave his master.

    The most malevolent part of this style of thinking is that it is shared not only by the supreme authority of Russia (including, first of all, the president), but also by the majority of the population. The longing of Russian Diasporas in other countries for the “Russian world” is, if you will, also the manifestation of the “Stockholm Serfdom Syndrome,” the desire to return under the power of the master. It is a pity though, that the supporters of the “Russian world” do not understand one simple thing – after falling “on the radar” of their “master,” they, according to Kremlin’s logic, will never be able to escape from it.

    Any “disappointments,” or the desire to return to their previous status, or the wish to break off relations with Russia (by voluntarily accepting foreign citizenship, or by being located on the captured territory, or by establishing business connections) will be considered by the Kremlin in only one way – as an attempt by the serfs to escape, with all of the subsequent consequences. From the bondage of the “Russian world,” as from the satanic cult, according to the logic of its adherents, there is no way to escape; neither alive nor dead. At least not until the “empire” itself collapses, having met, at last, a worthy derision to its aggression.

    • zorbatheturk

      RuSSians are a species of feces.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    In regards to Crimea and shortly after the restoration of Ukrainian independence, Ukraine’s first President, Leonid Kravchuk, wryly noted; “They (Russia) gave us (Ukraine) a broken doll (Crimea) and we fixed it. Now they want it back”. Well, they got it back via a totally illegal military invasion and occupation that has been soundly condemned by the vast majority of the international community and which occurred thanks in part to Ukraine’s foremost “Quisling”, larcenist and world champion 350 pound athlete or so he thinks, Viktor Yanukovych, who had just succeeded gutting the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the request of his fellow reprobate, Vladimir Putin. So what has Russia’s Grand Pederast done for Crimea and its residents since the Russian occupation in 2014? Have there been any improvements in the lives of the locals, or in the fields of industry, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, education, health care, or the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and so on? Moreover, other than introducing nuclear missiles to Crimea, has Putin even tried to clean up Sevastopol harbor which has been filled with fuel leaking antiquated relics from the so called Russian Black Sea Fleet? Would the answers of anything but or absolutely not, be sufficient? Has oppression not caused depression for most of Crimea’s residents? Finally, would this not be an appropriate time for the Russian chauvinists living on this Ukrainian peninsula to look in the mirror and ask themselves why would any sane individual want to live in Putin’s poverty filled purgatory? Well, the answer lies next door in their reunion with Ukraine and the time could never come soon enough.

    • Screwdriver

      Yes, sure.. :-)
      Crimeans just learned about new Ukrainian language laws, and mass ordering Ukrainian textbooks, to get themselves ready.
      Russians in Crimea can not wait to bring they kids to Ukrainian schools, so children will learn the whole truth about katsaps, Moskoviya, Holodomor ,and Glorious Bandera / Shukhevich and Co..

      • Brent

        and about Russo Nazzi toilet cleaners hiding like cowards in South Philly!!!

      • Murf

        So what is the dominant language in your country?
        Does everybody speak it universally?
        If not then how are minority languages handled?

        • Ihor Dawydiak

          How are minority languages handled in Russia? Let us briefly examine the Ukrainian example. There are anywhere between 2.5 million to 11 million ethnic Ukrainians living in Russia but the teaching of the Ukrainian language is almost non-existent. Why? A lack of demand? Rubbish! In fact, there has always been the same true answer to this question since the inception of the Principality of Muscovy. Most Russians view themselves as the center of the universe and as such all ethnic minorities residing in Russia and their languages should either be ignored or treated with contempt. In short, aside from their constant denials, lies and deliberate distortions of the truth, Russia is only a Federation on paper. In truth it is and has always been a prison of nations and where total russification of all minorities has always been the primary objective.

        • Screwdriver

          Russian was the dominant language in Ukraine. And this is natural, there was Rus, people called themselves “russkie” ( not rusins!) – read Vladimir Monomakh) and spoke russkiy, and malorusskiy. Galicians spoke they own surzhik, mix of malorussian and polish, and then all of the sudden they decided they speak “Ukrainian”, because somebody discovered that those lands were once called “okraina” in 15th century chronicle. LOL
          And for Crimea is very simple. Crimea was Russian , remains Russians, and will stay this way.
          Ukrainian senator Vadim Rabinovich is a very smart guy , he proposing to make Ukraine similar to Switzerland, peaceful country, where everybody can have they own language, officially.
          4 official languages in Switzerland, no nationalists, no separatists, everybody happy.

          • Murf

            I didn’t ask for a history lessson.
            How is the teaching of languages in schools handled in YOUR country and YOUR country alone.
            Right here, right now.
            Don’t obfuscate.
            Don’t resort to Whatabouts.
            Simply Answer the question.

          • Screwdriver

            Irrelevant. Different countries have different laws. When there is a civil war, it is double stupid to keep dividing people.
            But lets talk about USA since you asked. When you go to Russian speaking neighborhood, lets say Brighton Beach, ….most of the businesses there have Russian speaking personal. And they job is to smile to you and talk to you in Russian. Banks, pharmacies, law offices, medical offices, you name it. Nobody would ever say you with an anger to speak “derzhavna mova” .
            I was shocked when I first time came to Miami, at the airport all the announcements first come in Spanish, and then in English.
            You nazis have to learn from the civilized world how to deal with your own people.

          • Murf

            Whataboutism it’s your go to answer for difficult questions.
            The fact you are struggling to avoid is that Russia won’t let Ukrainia n speakers have their own library.
            How many Ukraine language schools are there in Russia?
            How many Ukraine language classes are there?
            So why ANY Russian thinks they have a right to criticize Ukraines language policy is beyond me.

          • Screwdriver

            It was criticized by most of your neighbors. Hungary have a right to veto in case EU would vote one day about taking Ukraine to EU.

          • Murf

            Cheap diversions. Your second go answer.

            You just can’t answer the question can you?
            I’ll restate: what do they do in your country?
            Compare and contrast that with Ukraine’s.
            Come on Screwball you can do it!
            Just let it out!
            You know you want to.

          • Screwdriver

            I already explained you how things are in USA, you did not read ? Not my problem.

          • Murf

            So you are an American?
            How embarrassing for the US.
            So then you know that classes are taught in English except in areas that have high forgone language speakers, mainly Spanish.
            Even then after about 4th grade they go to all English.
            However they get to take foreign languages in high school. The exception being privet schools which can’t each how they want.
            So how the Hel is that different than Ukraine?
            ,3

          • Dale Davies

            A flat blade screwdriver easily slips out of the slot. Can’t request much more from it.

          • zorbatheturk

            RuSSians are slimy sheeitheads.

  • Brent

    Welcome to the “RUSSIAN MIR”…..

    • zorbatheturk

      Bahahahahahaha… Count Stalin welcomes you…

    • Dale Davies

      Did the Mir space station not fall to earth? Looks like the country is due to follow.

  • Murf

    The just deserts of treason and apathy.
    My dear old Father used to say. “It is a whole lot easier to give up your freedom than it is to get it back.”
    The Crimeans are going to find out the truth of that.

  • zorbatheturk

    Crime is on the rise in CrimeA. In other words, it is becoming like the rest of RuSSia: a failed state.

  • Dale Davies

    Number of women to men ratio dropped from 1200 per 1000 men to 982 per 1000 men. Stupid Russian. Don’t tell me the women all of a sudden started dropping like flies in the streets! Given dire enough circumstances the women will also turn to stealing, booze and drugs, but I venture that many of those have not had a trip through a morgue but a trip to Ukraine on foot.