Russia invaded and annexed the peninsula in 2014 following the Euromaidan Revolution that toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Since then, the Kremlin militarized the formerly popular Ukrainian holiday destination while the Russian occupation authorities of Crimea keep oppressing pro-Ukrainian residents of the peninsula among which are many Crimean Tatars, members of the indigenous people of Crimes.
The online campaign was announced a week before the event:
Please RT this important message. And be Ready to Campaign for #Ukraine.
July 30th is a #CrimeaIsUkraine Campaign Day. A chance for all of us to use the hashtag and highlight Russia's invasion & 6 year occupation of Ukraine's #Crimean Peninsular. #Crimea pic.twitter.com/1ioaZq7CNB
— Glasnost Gone (@GlasnostGone) July 23, 2020
On 30 July, Twitter users posted thousands of tweets presenting the facts about the Russian annexation of the peninsula, the current situation in Crimea, and called to stop and reverse the Russian occupation.
The official account of Ukraine on Twitter engaged in the campaign about 10 a.m., reminding that the illegal occupation of Crimea is still ongoing and adding the meme showing the love confession with the words “Crimea is Ukraine!”:
It took about seven hours for Russia on Twitter to come up with an idea of how to oppose Ukraine’s three-words meme, “Stop it, dummy!” said Russia in its reply in particular:
However, Twitter’s Ukraine resorted to its absolute weapon, an “ex” joke, “Stop t-ex-ting,” was the final reply that disarmed Russia that stopped any further attempts to tamper with the #CrimeaIsUkraine Twitter storm,
Officials and politicians
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry participated in the storm, and its account and those of its officials and various Ukrainian embassies posted messages to support the campaign:
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Austria Olexander Scherba compared Putin’s annexation of Crimea to Hitler’s Anschluss of Austria:
— olexander scherba (@olex_scherba) July 30, 2020
Crimean local Emine Dzeppar, the first Deputy FM of Ukraine, believes that the occupation won’t last long:
Occupation of #Crimea by Russia brings widespread searches, detentions, violation of the rights to freedom of opinion &religion, forced displacements, militarization of peninsula.
This is a serious threat grows at the center of the Black Sea region and Europe. #CrimeaIsUkraine pic.twitter.com/sbef0shkXH
— UKR Embassy in USA (@UKRintheUSA) July 30, 2020
MP Inna Sovsun (Golos) supported the campaign too.
— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) July 30, 2020
Among the foreign officials and politicians who participated in the Twitter storm were former Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Waschuk, MEP Rebecca Harms, US Ambassador to the OSCE James S. Gilmore III, and others.
At a resort community on the shores of Lake Ontario, we found this reminder that #CrimeaIsUkraine, and a very Canadian form of support for the Tatar flag. And @DmytroKuleba is right – the rest of our day after these sightings was karmically delightful. pic.twitter.com/ktzmsBH45t
— Roman Waschuk (@WaschukCanUA) July 30, 2020
Dear friends from Crimea. Thanks for your gifts which always remind me about your love and your fights for your peninsula, for your country and for freedom and democracy. #CrimeaIsUkraine #CrimeanTatars #LetMyPeopleGo @Crimeantatars @T_Tasheva pic.twitter.com/8bHKKDsNtH
— Rebecca Harms (@RebHarms) July 30, 2020
The United States calls on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea and withdraw its forces and materiel from eastern Ukraine. We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. #CrimeaIsUkraine Full Statement -> https://t.co/heUjNYcYsn pic.twitter.com/bftOJ45n03
— Ambassador James S. Gilmore III (@USAmbOSCE) July 30, 2020
In a social media fight back against the whitewashing of Russian Government crimes against the people of Crimea, where Tatars are persecuted, political speech is clamped down upon and activists often find themselves imprisoned, please join today’s #CrimeaIsUkraine campaign. pic.twitter.com/Nxq8HUtoIP
— Stewart McDonald MP (@StewartMcDonald) July 30, 2020
Activists and average users
Most of the #CrimeaIsUkraine came from various Ukrainian and international activists and common twitter users.
The activists of the InformNapalm community presented their investigation of the participation of Russian military units in the invasion of Crimea:
I took this photo when I was in Crimea. We also unfurled the Ukrainian flag there. I know that Russia will be defeated and Putin's regime will fall. And in #Crimea, there will be Ukrainian flags everywhere again. pic.twitter.com/t9dRWBPlgw
— Roman Burko (@newsburko) July 30, 2020
— Steve Komarnyckyj (@komarnyckyj) July 30, 2020
— Marko Enqvist (@menqvist70) July 30, 2020
This perfectly sums up Russia's occupation of #Crimea. The only Crimea-is-Russia tweet posted so far today, uses a cartoon depicting Russian soldiers sexually assaulting a #Ukrainian woman, hanging a man and burning #Ukraine's flag. #CrimeaIsUkraine pic.twitter.com/TnajYSkvk1
— Glasnost Gone (@GlasnostGone) July 30, 2020
— Tetyana (@TetySt) July 30, 2020
When the Muscovites invaded, many Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars were forced from their home and native land. I took this photo of a rally of refugees ("internally displaced persons") in Kyiv in May 2014. They're holding Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian flags, saying #CrimeaIsUkraine pic.twitter.com/jTVEO7727Q
— Michael MacKay (@mhmck) July 30, 2020
The campaign Let My People Go reminded that Russia oppresses the indigenous nation of Crimea, Crimean Tatars:
In a raid conducted on March 2019, the Russian occupation authorities arrested 23 Crimean Tatar Muslims on baseless charges of "terrorism." Dozens more were sentenced to up to 16 years in prison. Russia's harrassment of Crimean Tatars must stop!#CrimeaIsUkraine #LetMyPeopleGo pic.twitter.com/4d8o3sjvlb
— Let My People Go_En (@LetMyPplGoUA_en) July 30, 2020
— КРЫМский бандеровец (@CrimeaUA1) July 30, 2020
The hashtag was supported not only on Twitter but other online platforms as well. Alex King who was behind the current campaign found that some 82,600 mentions of #CrimeaIsUkraine emerged in Google Search results on 30-31 July:
WOW and double WOW.
Use of #CrimeaIsUkraine hashtag now stands at 121,000. Yesterday at 1pm #Google showed 38,400 results. Incredibly that means at least 82,600 posts yesterday and some today. What can I say but thank you for giving #Ukraine a voice. #Crimea. pic.twitter.com/EwbkZXpzEd
— Glasnost Gone (@GlasnostGone) July 31, 2020
- Sanctions on Russia are working, but they’re not enough
- Ukraine’s water blockade of Crimea should stay, because it’s working
- Russian-occupied Crimea: Lessons of hypocrisy
- FSB tortures detainees in occupied Crimea as law enforcement goes Soviet-style, UN report confirms
- Documentary “Crimea. As it Was” shows the very beginning of Russia’s occupation of the peninsula
- Russian propaganda around annexation of Crimea doesn’t stop
- UN officially recognized Russia as an occupying power in Crimea (2016)
- Anti-award atlas of #CrimeaIsUkraine selfies to be presented to French publisher on Christmas (2015)
- #CrimeaIsUkraine, Oxford University Press and Larousse twitter/message storm. Clickable tweets here (2015)