Voices from Russia

Monday, 5 January 2015

A Renaissance for the Crimea? Peninsula Looks with Hope to the Future

00 crimea. pro-novorossiya rally. 05.01.15


A few days before the end of 2014, I visited Crimea to see the immediate effects of its reunification with Russia. I found a peninsula largely content with its historic choice, but grappling with a future that, whilst promising much, won’t be easy. The Azov Sea winds roared and the waters were choppy. A lone Russian policeman is trying to keep order among hundreds of frustrated car drivers on the approach to Port Kavkaz, from where it’s only 4 kilometres by ferry to Crimea’s Kerch. I’ve been slowly inching forward for five hours. Frustration is general and rain lashes down. I approach the officer, asking if I can expect to reach Crimea tonight. He explained, whilst pointing towards the sky, “Normally, it only takes an hour or two, but the weather was horrible all day. Until we build a bridge across the strait, we’re at His mercy”. As I return to my vehicle, a man in a Sevastopol-registered car rolls down his window and asked for an update, “What’s he saying?” I replied, “That God will decide when we get there”. He shot back, “I hope God knows we’re trying to get home for New Year. I’m tired. I’ve already driven from Rostov”. I retorted, “Maybe if Crimea goes back to the Ukraine, God would call off the storm?” My interlocutor moaned, “No, No, No! Crimea is never returning to the Ukraine! I’d sit here for six months rather than do that”.

I’d arrived at Port Kavkaz at 19.00. Eventually, we rolled onto the ferry at 01.00. It might have been the music, Damien Rice was monotonously warbling on my stereo, but I instantly fell asleep. At 05.00, the angry occupant of the car behind knocked at my window, “Wake up! Wake up! We’re here!” So, we go off the boat, into Kerch. There are no lights at all. The Ukrainian authorities cut off electricity to the Crimea. Better to head for Simferopol then than wait for Kerch to wake up. The roads aren’t as bad as I’d feared; clearly, the new Russian authorities have already made some investment in them. However, the evidence of two decades of Kiev’s misrule is hard to miss. Wild dogs roam the villages and material poverty is obvious. Bear in mind that I’ve crossed from the wealthy Russian southwest… Sochi, Anapa, Novorossiysk. Compared to the glitz, glamour, and modernity of prosperous Sochi, this is another world. It’s akin to leaving San Diego and immediately entering Albania.

In Simferopol, the power is back on. It’s breakfast time at the Hotel Moscow. I asked the server, “Where are you from?” She replied, “Yalta, Russia”. Yalta is a legendary Tsarist and Soviet resort; until a year ago, it was the Ukraine’s “summer capital”. Oddly, when I was in Yalta in 2013, a friend from Lvov asked me what it was like. I answered, “Russia”. The differences with the mainland Ukraine were already glaring then. At the next table, Dmitri and Leonid, two local entrepreneurs, are having a pow-pow. I seize the opportunity to gauge their feelings about the new Crimea. Dmitri said, “Imagine you’re a dog at the pound and you’ve just given up hope, then, suddenly, a kind man comes and takes you home… that’s how we feel”. Leonid butted in quickly, “Putin adopted us, rescued us. I’m 30. I’ve lived in a failed state for most of my life. This is the first time I feel there are real prospects for the Crimea. Kiev didn’t care about us… only to steal from us and have holidays here. I noted that the new sanctions from the US would surely affect the business climate. Dmitri laughed, “Obama’s a donkey, let me be clear. When a drunken Ukrainian from the Donbass [Soviet leader N S Khrushchyov] handed the Crimea to the Ukraine, did the Americans have sanctions then? No, they didn’t. I had American English teachers from the Peace Corps. These Americans were always talking about democracy and freedom. We democratically voted to rejoin Russia. If they love democracy so much, why do they sanction us for our free choice?” As I left, Leonid shouted, “Crimea was Russia, Crimea is Russia, and Crimea will always be Russia!”

The next stop is Sudak, where I promised to meet a Tatar who contacted me via social media after reading a piece I wrote about the Crimea earlier last year. Tamila defines herself as Ukrainian and is just back from Kiev. She said, “It’s like communism here again”. I replied, “It seems pretty capitalist to me”. She shot back, “I mean it’s like the Soviet Union”. Tamila doesn’t like Russia, although she’s never been to the mainland. She supported the Euromaidan, but is disenchanted with the movement. “Of course, the Ukraine’s destroyed. Of course, we’re economically better off than them. Of course, Poroshenko betrayed the Maidan. However, I don’t trust Russia. Stalin deported my ancestors”. I counter that Stalin was Georgian. Tamila exclaimed angrily, “He was the ruler of Russia then”. I asked her, “What do you really want?” She said, “I think Crimea should be independent, its own country, but if that isn’t possible, I’d rather be managed by Kiev instead of Moscow”. Tamila accepts that most locals prefer union with Russia, saying forlornly, “The people think they’re going to be rich because they joined Russia. The Kremlin wants Crimea for its strategic military value. The Byzantines, Ottomans, even the British fought for this place. I understand that Russia won’t let the Americans come here, but I’d like to see another way”.

Driving toward Feodosiya, I spot a Ukrainian flag painted on a lamppost. It’s the first I’ve seen all day. Entering the city centre, there’s a traffic accident. A Russian-plated Toyota smacked into the rear of a Ukrainian-registered Lada. A crowd gathered… perfect timing to try talking to a few locals. Igor is an off-duty policeman. Although he’s not wearing it, my question is how does he feel in his new uniform? He told me, “I’m not political, but I know one thing, in the Ukraine, they paid me 2,000 grivna a month, which is about 8,000 roubles (819 Renmnbi. 8,352 INR. 132 USD. 157 CAD. 165 AUD. 112 Euros. 87 UK Pounds). It isn’t possible to live on this money. Suddenly, we joined Russia and my salary increased to 50,000 roubles (5,114 Renminbi. 52,655 INR. 823 USD. 967 CAD. 1,028 AUD. 697 Euros. 545 UK Pounds). So, one month pays more now than six did before. My wife’s a nurse, she also got a bigger amount of money, and the Russians are fixing the hospital”. I take a spin around Feodosiya, which is where the Crimean Riviera starts. At the main promenade, I buy a souvenir from a kiosk. The sales assistant, Galina, gave me a clear opinion, “When the USSR ended, we were promised the sun and stars; instead, for 20 years, it got worse here every year. My view is that the Ukraine’s a failure; it’s too weak. People here have more in common with Vladivostok than Lvov. It’s another world. The Ukraine should be like Yugoslavia and just break up into parts where everyone can be happy”.

Leaving Crimea was easier than entering it. The weather was calm and the crossing took only four hours from the start of the queue to landfall in Port Kavkaz. However, the urgent necessity for a bridge from the peninsula to the rest of Russia is obvious. Another stark observation is the difference in living standards between old and new Russia. Despite current economic problems, western media commentary fails to mention just how prosperous Russia is in comparison with most of its former Soviet satellites. During its time in the Ukraine, Crimea fell to pieces. Currently, Crimeans have hope. They earnestly believe that their economic nightmare under Kiev’s rule is over. How Russia responds in this regard will be vital. If it keeps its promises and invests money in great quantities, Crimea could be poised for a golden age. However, if Moscow fails to honour commitments, the mood may change.

5 January 2015

Bryan MacDonald




Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Events in the Crimea Take a Nasty Turn

00 Crimea referendum sign. 11.03.14


The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea (VS ARK) formally transferred control of raion administrations in the ARK from the Ukrainian junta in Kiev to the Council of Ministers of the ARK. Previously, the President of the Ukraine appointed the heads of local administrations; they were agents of the central authorities in Kiev. The VS ARK media release stated, “The chairmen of raion administrations in the ARK shall exercise power under the control of the Council of Ministers of the ARK, being accountable and responsible to it”.


Note how everything done by the ARK government is according to normal legal standards, according to the rule of law. Note how everything done by the Timoshenko junta is anarchic; they trample the rule of law into the mud… the “law of the jungle”, “might makes right”, and “blat” rule supreme. One of these things is NOT like the other!



A police source said that Crimean cops arrested infiltrators disguised as policemen, who demanded that people show them their passports, then, they mutilated the documents. According to the authorities, on Monday, cops arrested an unstated number of suspects in Simferopol and Saki, noting, “Disguised as police, they demanded that citizens show them their passports, after which they took them away or mutilated them”. The government is telling people in the region affected by the actions of the fraudsters to contact the police and passport offices immediately, to ease getting new documents. To vote in the all-Crimea popular referendum on 16 March, citizens will have to show identification to get a ballot. Earlier, the mayor’s office in Simferopol voiced fears that infiltrators are trying to derail the referendum. According to sources in the mayor’s office, citizens only need to present their passports to vote in the referendum, more documentation isn’t required.


Sergei Zheleznyak, Vice Chairman of the RF Gosduma and deputy secretary of the General Council of the United Russia faction, said that the Russian Federation doesn’t need to pass new legislation to annex the Crimea as a federal subject. On Tuesday, the Soviet of the Gosduma shall decide how the Gosduma will consider a bill introduced by Just Russia deputies on simplified rules for the entry of new territories into the Russian Federation. Zheleznyak told reporters after a meeting of the United Russia Presidium, “In terms of the current Constitution and legislation of the Russian Federation, there are no obstacles to accession of territories of other countries as new federal subjects of Russia”. At the same time, he noted that there was no discussion of the bill other than by the Just Russia faction. In his view, the proper Gosduma committees must carefully and professionally consider any suggestions for optimising the process of joining new federal subjects to the Russian Federation coming from other factions in the Gosduma.


Volunteers in the ARK started a website, Crimea Together, where you can find and download materials explaining why the ARK should join the Russian Federation. One can find educational materials, badges, and infographics on the website that show the advantages of the ARK rejoining the Russian Federation. In particular, one can see that doctors and teachers in the ARK receive much less pay than their Russian counterparts do, the price of fuel in Russia is half that in the Ukraine, and there are incentive programmes for young educators and scientists simply not available in the Ukraine.


The British Foreign Office recommended that British subjects not travel to the ARK, and advised British subjects there to leave. The Foreign Office said, “The Foreign Office advises that everyone should refrain from all travel to the Crimea. Britons should leave Crimea now. The Foreign Office won’t be able to carry out consular services to those who decide to stay in the Crimea”.


This is another sign that the West is getting ready to knife Russia in the back. Why should Britons leave, unless the American neoliberal filth are egging on their puppets in the oligarch junta to attack the Crimea? I’d say to Russia… “Be watchful… the Amerikantsy are pigs. They talk out of both sides of their mouths and are the slipperiest bastards on the face of the planet. After all, their motto is, ‘Winning is the only thing’. Amerikantsy, especially, those who mouth religious platitudes are vicious, violent, and feral… they bear watching constantly”.



Employees at the dispatching service at the airport told RIA-Novosti by telephone that the airlines involved cancelled or delayed several flights scheduled to leave Simferopol. Our source told us, “In the morning, not even a single flight departed. Right now, two flights from Moscow to Simferopol landed”. A notice on the airport website reported that on the morning of 11 March 11, that the airlines cut a flight to Kiev and two flights to Istanbul; another flight to Kiev had a delay for nine hours to 18.00 MSK. There were further cancellations… two flights from Istanbul to Simferopol, a flight from Kiev Borispol Airport, but two flights from Moscow to Simferopol are still valid. Our source said, “The airlines decided to cancel or delay the flights”. Earlier, the authorities closed the airspace over Simferopol to civilian aircraft from 28 February to 1 March, when no flights left or departed the local airport.


A staffer told RIA-Novosti by telephone that the VS ARK adopted a Declaration of Independence from the Ukraine and stated their intention to enter the Russian Federation as a federal subject, saying, “The decision was the only item on the agenda for this extraordinary session. 78 deputies voted for the declaration”. There are 100 deputies in the VS ARK. An officer of the VS ARK said, “Crimea is a sovereign independent state, after it holds a popular referendum, it’ll appeal to the Russian Federation requesting that the Russian Federation accept it as a federal subject”. Our source said that the Declaration entered into force immediately following its adoption. Moreover, the Sevastopol Gorsoviet supported the ARK Declaration of Independence. The declaration stated that the VS ARK and the Sevastopol Gorsoviet made their decision “based on the provisions of the UN Charter and many other international instruments recognising the right to self-determination, as well as taking into account confirmation of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo of 22 July 2010 stating that a unilateral declaration of independence by a state doesn’t violate the rules of international law”. The Declaration declared the ARK an independent state with a republican form of government, and that residents of the ARK and Sevastopol will vote in a scheduled 16 March all-Crimea popular referendum on their future status.


Look at how Vova FUCKED the Americans. The legal justification is one that the neoliberal slimers can’t explain away… if Kosovo is independent (and have an American Embassy), defying the wishes of its former sovereign, why, the ARK can do likewise, and the USA has to eat a gigantic shit sandwich in front of everybody. That’s why I believe that the chance for a violent and treacherous outcome in the near term is high. The Amerikantsy are arrogant and peevish… if one doesn’t kiss their ass constantly, they get huffy and throw temper tantrums. Do reflect on the fact that such greedy self-centred toddlers have nuclear weapons… scary thought, isn’t it?



Editor’s Note:

NATO AWACS aircraft are in Romania. That means that the NATO warpigs are getting ready to aid a junta strike on the Crimea. We are closer now to a real major war than we were in 1962 in Cuba. Note this well… American neocons and rightwing elements in the Ukrainian diaspora are playing with hand grenades and giggling manically. The Crimea is closer to Moscow than Havana is to Washington. Do you get the picture?


That’s what’s at stake, kids. There’s nothing more that I, a single little person, can do. May God preserve us all.

11 March 2014









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Viktor Baranets: Junta Wants to Storm the Crimea and Sweep the South-East

00 Russian priest blessing soldiers in Crimea. 04.03.14


KP military observer Viktor Baranets answers five naïve questions about whether a real war will break out over the Crimea

1. Where are the tanks going?

On the internet, a video showed Ukrainian army elements on the move from their places of permanent deployment. Where is all this equipment going? Are they going south to the border with the Crimea? Not if you believe so-called “Defence Minister” Igor Tenyukh’s statement, “They’re not going towards the Crimea”. According Tenyukh, it’s just normal exercises, “To carry this out, some units may leave their places of permanent deployment to move to training areas”. However, it’s more possible that these statements are a ruse to cover the plans of the Ukrainian junta. Especially, just before this meeting at the Minoborony Ukrainy, Tenyukh insisted, “Whack these bitches from the Crimea” (direct quote). It’s curious that Ukrainian troops moved mainly to the southern bases… closer to the Crimea. The Ukrainian borders stand undefended.

2. What are American advisors doing in the Ukraine?

What are the American military advisors and intelligence officers doing in the Ukraine? Observers have seen them; they seem to be in control of the situation. Reports tell us that the Americans delivered equipment to the US Embassy in Kiev to deploy a state-of-the-art command and control centre. US Army liaison officers disguised in Ukrainian uniform are at the Minoborony Ukrainy and the General Staff, and one finds them within manoeuvre formations as well. Simultaneously, a group of American advisers are actively involved in “informational warfare”… they’re undercover in the Ukrainian media… they’re spreading black propaganda about an alleged impending landing of Russian forces in Kherson.

3. Can the Kiev junta seize the Crimea?

One of the possible options is dropping Ukrainian troops in the rear of the Crimean defences on the isthmus. Simultaneously, they could support these landings with artillery fire and airstrikes. Their objective would be to ensure movement of mechanised infantry, tank, and other formations of the Ukrainian army into the Crimea. Chances are, they’d infiltrate spetsnaz into the Crimea Ukrainian to blockade the units of the Black Sea Fleet. Judging by the fact that ARK intelligence agencies and police increasingly detain infiltrators from the Ukraine, it means that there’s been active scouting of the situation on the peninsula. The Russian General Staff, the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, and military intelligence are ready for this; they’ve developed several possible scenarios of an attack.

4. Do the Ukrainian forces have any real combat capability?

There’s a common “armchair strategist” opinion saying, “In effect, there isn’t a Ukrainian Army”. This is a fallacy. The Ukraine has combat-ready units. Yes, their military equipment is largely outdated (Soviet), but there’s some new stuff too, as one can see in the Oplot MBTs sold on the world market. It’d be dangerous to sneeze at it all. However, the morale of the Ukrainian troops is low. Very few want conflict with the Russians over the Crimea. Yet, there’s an ultra-rabid minority (mainly from the Western Ukraine). To get around the problem of minimal motivation and questionable loyalty, the junta replaced most of the commanders in the south-east with fanatics from the Western Ukraine. There are other details… Tenyukh instructed the General Staff to develop a plan of repression for the south-eastern Ukraine, as it resists the legitimacy of the Kiev junta. They want to use the Army for police purposes, to send it against its own people.

5. Would the Ukrainians be able to inflict losses on the Russian forces?

A Ukrainian military expert put it thusly, “Even though the Russian forces received new weapons over the past five years, enough to give them an edge compared to the Ukrainian forces’ equipment, the latter still retains some combat capability”.

11 March 2014

Viktor Baranets

Komsomolskaya Pravda


Editor’s Note:

Pass this on to as many people as you can… the Timoshenko junta “Prime Minister” Yatsenyuk is due in Washington on Wednesday; it’s probably to announce the beginning of a joint American-junta attack on the Crimea. This article means that the Russian special services caught the Yanks and their oligarch buddies in the act. The USA is using diaspora Ukrainians to carry out its evil intentions. That has “internal” ramifications, by the way, that’s the topic of another post. The USA is using fanatical rightwing diaspora Galician elements to strike at Russia. This is Zbig’s ultimate wet dream… it’s what he’s wanted all his life. Pigs like Nuland, Herbst, and Kerry are unfit company for any decent person… they’ve planned an underhanded assault on a free people.

Pass this on… pass on the warning…

We might avert a war if enough people get the news and act upon it (at least, pass the link on to others)…


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Monday, 10 March 2014

Konstantinov: It’s Time to Return the Crimea to Where it Belongs… As a Part of the Russian State!


Vladimir Konstantinov, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea (VS ARK) said, “The time has come when we can fix the injustice that occurred 60 years ago and return the Crimea to where it belongs… as a part of the Russian state. The motherland is waiting for us. If we make the right choice, it’ll help if we do our best to adapt ourselves to our homeland’s norms. We’ve already established the necessary programmes for students, state employees, and retirees, to protect the interests of our citizens and allow them to avoid losses during the transition. We’re ready to help the central government of the Russian Federation and the Russian regions in accomplishing this. By rejoining Russia, Crimeans will finally be able to look confidently into the future. However, let’s focus on the main thing… we have a historic opportunity: we’ll always be Crimeans, we’re not going anywhere, but we’re going back home… to Russia. Let’s not miss it!”

10 March 2014



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