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Life in annexed Crimea: Protesting Russia’s brutal occupation

Crimean Tatar flag
Life in annexed Crimea: Protesting Russia’s brutal occupation
Article by: A. N.

Despite the  nearly-omnipresent and brutal neo-KGB secret police structures established by Russia in annexed Crimea, pro-Ukrainian Crimeans find clever ways to protest occupation as well as share news from the peninsula. Here are some examples from social media.

Please note that virtually all posts from Crimea are in the Russian language. Despite the claim by Kremlin propaganda that the Ukrainian state oppressed Russian speakers in Crimea, it was never true.

Translation: “Life in anticipation of ethnic cleansing and genocide. #Crimea. P.S. It’s the second day of mass arrests of Crimean Tatars, in response – complete silence.” The twitter user’s name includes “Bakhchysarai” which is the former capital of the Crimean Khanate.

This tweet is from the prominent Crimean blogger using the handle “KRYMsky Ukr” (loosely translated as “Crimean Ukie”) who compiles the popular daily overview of Crimean social media ironically titled CrimeaIsOurs News. Translation: “The [Crimean Tatar] Mejlis call for EU to ban Russia from using the SWIFT international banking system and embargo Russian oil

Displaying Ukrainian national symbols in Crimea–although not explicitly prohibited by Russian law–could land you in jail on charges of “extremism” if caught, an example of which is a jail sentence of 15 days for carrying a Ukrainian flag. People who take this significant risk show extraordinary courage. This tweet from user “Nevilnyi Krym” (Imprisoned Crimea) posts a picture of one such brave soul. Caption reads: “One more photo from Sevastopol today.”

The same user posted a short story from one of Sevastopol’s schools. Translation:
“A typical Sevastopol school. An official meeting is taking place, reviewing conduct and songs for May 9 [Victory Day] Children are dressed in camouflage and their uniforms. A wave of patriotism grips everyone from head to toe. A performance of the Russian Federation’s national anthem begins (at the same official meeting). And suddenly… It appears that a girl and a boy from one of the elementary (!) grades are standing silently. To a remark by her classroom teacher, the girl quietly replied: “This is not my anthem, I will not sing it” [in Ukrainian]. The boy stood silent, said nothing, but did not start to sing. Maybe it’s love?”

An anonymous resident of Crimea hidden behind the handle of Avgust Landmesser posted the photograph of graffiti depicting the yellow and blue Crimean Tatar tamga together with the Ukrainian national flag. Caption: “Bakhchysarai today.”

This Crimean family celebrated Victory Day with Ukraine. Translation: “#Crimea. We brought out the Ukrainian food stockpiles, cheese from Belarus and at the moment we feel great. :) Happy Victory Day, Ukraine!”

As mentioned above, wearing or exhibiting Ukrainian national and ethnic symbols–although not explicitly prohibited by Russian law–will land you in jail on “extremism” charges. All the more respect for this man, wearing it in downtown Simferopol, the capital of Russia-annexed Crimea. Translation: “This Brave Man walked in the center of occupied #Simferopol, not even attempting to hide. Respect!”

Another photograph from Crimea posted by “Lyudmila from Crimea” depicts colorful graffiti “Ukraine above all!” and has a caption: “Today in Simferopol.”

Tamga - the symbol of the Crimean Tatars

The Crimean Tatar flag has a light blue background featuring a golden symbol – the “tamga”, which suggests an inverted Ukrainian “tryzub” or trident, but is actually an abstract tribal seal historically used by Eurasian nomads.

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