A story from a Crimean girl
What has happened to us since the March change? What has changed and to what common denominator did Crimea come? I think that our region will not forget the day when «they» came. It happened early in the morning, 3 AM, when the hum of steel war machines procession were moving through the streets made us breathe discontinuously.
I can not and I won’t not speak for all people and their emotions. All that I know is an opinion and feelings of my family and all of our friends. It was the second time in my life when the real fear settled in the heart. Who are these people? Why are they here? And the most important question: What have we done and what are they going to do? We had no enemies and wealth also, and, consequently, nothing to fight for or against.
We had nobody to be protected from. We have never been oppressed. The whole Crimean palette of nationalities always coexisted peacefully and there were no conflict among them. Crimea has always been the multinational peninsula. And we lived in peace and consent. Yes, the average citizen was not
extremely rich or prosperitive, yes, there were some difficulties, but we still had some features of post-soviet-union territory and, perhaps that was the main reason of proceedings.
Crimea has always been a bright and cozy harbor, to where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. It was light, sunny, breathing and vibrant place. But all the colorful metaphors changed directly on the opposite “that night”.
It was first time in life when we were so scared to go out to the streets in the home city. Who said that it is safe when armed men from another country are standing at every corner of the city? Contrariwise, it is direct evidence that things are going not pretty good. And looked like the question and the answer were obvious, but there were no strength and bravery to voice it.
Sometimes we were scared to raise eyes to the guests in uniform. What if they can read a hint of disagreement or protest? I had a feeling…that even thoughts are forbidden. The whole city was cordoned off, streets were closed, we had no possibilities to use the usual routes, there were no people and luminous windows on the streets. Actually, it had more common with Detroit, but not with sunny and southern Crimea.
We have a traditional mother’s and women’s day on 8th of March.This day is really special in Ukraine and Russia. Crowds of men of all ages rush through the streets of cities with armfuls of flowers and tons of candies at this time usually. But our March was black. For sure, it was black and bloody in whole country, but now I am just trying to describe the Crimean atmosphere. Neither the general happiness, no flowers, no smiles passersby or couples, sitting at a cozy table at a café.
Cold. Dark streets. People divided into two halves: those who overjoyed and those who did not perceive the guests who came as liberators. I never thought that it possible the 21st century. We remember the noise of army planes late at night, shacking furniture and windows, we remember explosions (as it turned out some kind of gas balloons and stun grenades appeared in our inner yards), we remember all those terrible stories about Don Cossacks, but the internet blog is not for it.
Perhaps somebody just wanted to scare us and made to sit silently than water and below the grass.
The results of the world famous Crimean referendum were published three days before it happened. The city became filled with slogans about “Crimean returning to the home harbor”, the Ukrainian TV channels and radio were cut, even the light was turned off and the water began to break up. Some families and friends began to drift apart.
Individual cases are endless to count, but it is out of sense to describe all of them. One word: Crimea lost its atmosphere of lightness, ease and happiness. And with these traits jazz festivals and tourists left us. By the way, it was one of the main sources of income for residents.
The supermarket and pharmacies’ shelves became empty, it was impossible to buy basic medicines, shopping malls closed, prices rose in several times. Russian banks entered Crimea, Ukrainian went away at the same time.
After a month vacation in the sunny Europe, where people believe in a future and perspectives, and feel no fear for their lives it was incredibly difficult to come back home. Now it’s a place where your word can be regarded as EXTREMISM , where anyone who disagrees with the opinion of the masses – a potential extremist and unreliable resident.
People are afraid to speak, afraid to express their opinion, they are afraid to be different.
Today the Ukrainian goods and products passing to the Crimea is very limited. And the “new owners” are in no hurry to develop the newly acquired region. One of the largest Ukrainian banks freezed the accounts of Crimeans because of the registration. People still did not receive monetary compensation. Customs appeared on the border between Crimea and Ukraine today. I think it makes no sense to explain what it entails, just: limitation of the business and additional price growing.
Rereading this pretty plain text I understood I gave no sharp emotion, but perhaps it can truly explain the total Crimean atmosphere-continuous sluggish depression, enforced silence, the absence of movement. This article is not for entertaining or amazed sighs, just to see and feel true.
One can only hope and believe that this sunny, charming and incredibly beautiful region will not become depressed raw materials appendage. But today Crimea has become a place where we do not want to go back, where we do not want to take friends, a place that after moral violence has lost its charm and warmth.
“New government” fed people with promises about new better life, about renewing the environment, about new places for working, about incomes and totally better life conditions. But the number of beggars increased, nobody takes care about our environment, people cant find jobs, because their previous organizations shut down and etc. Simferopol airport has always had an international status.
Yes, due to the fact that peninsula is a small region there were no big amount and diversity of flights, but still. Today we have flights only to Moskow and St. Petersburg. That’s mean that if we were able to fly from Simferopol to Jerusalem for 1,5 hours , than today we’ll have to make a specific detour: Simferopol-St.Petersburg-Jerusalem. Guys, just take a map and compare the destinations.
I will not raise the topic about Crimean boys who appeared in new government’s hands because of the fact that they dared to disagree with the new regime. For personal reasons.
And more. Today we live under the new laws. And these laws ordered to keep quiet even in social networks. People who put “Like” or repost any kind of “suspicious”, “undesirable” or “shady” information can be interpreted by government officials as extremists (it’s a buzzword today) and can get a prison term. “The State Duma has finally approved a bill that introduced prison sentences for public calls to extremism through the Internet, as well as the financing of extremist activity. For extremism on the web you can now go to jail for five years, for the financial support to extremists court has the right to punish six years in prison, according to ITAR-TASS. The reason for the criminal article may be repost or Like provocative records on the Internet.
As the result of the transition period from Ukrainian laws to Russian and of expectations for some kind of “go-ahead” or “start” sign people lost their jobs in private enterprises, medium-sized business organizations and some other Ukrainian institutions who had to shut down their work because of “changes”. Using these conditions the smartest Russian businessmen flooded peninsula and began opening their organizations, bringing their goods, hiring their people. It pretty interesting : are they going to earn on Crimean who have lost their jobs or retirees and small percentage of civil and government workers?
I addition to previous text I would like to write several words about reasons for which some certain percentage of the population is happy. Well, pensioners and civil workers payments were recounted into Russian level, and for sure, its definitely higher than Ukrainian. Today they are happy. The figure certainly changed in several times. The only question that prices and currency rate grow every day.
And as far as I can see the results can be the same. But in other estimates and bills. Nobody wish evil to anybody in this text because of politics, people are all the same – they all want to live comfortably, safe and contentedly. But where is the logic…? And yes, Crimean can get a medical incurrence we never had in Ukraine.
We have never been a kind of rich region. But we were free. And whether it makes sense to change the most important and most valuable thing in life to some minor payments to pensioners? I don’t think people died for fact that today 20% of the population can buy 2kg of meat more …
I would like to wish everyone to have a peaceful sky above your heads, guys. Let no man in the world fall or die for someone’s plans and ambitions. Life goes on. Let’s hope for the best! Or at least hope. Peace to everyone. Thank you.
Editors note: out of concern for family and friends still in Crimea, the author will remain anonymous.