More than a year ago, by flagrantly violating international law and principle of territorial integrity of a sovereign state, Russia illegally occupied the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine.
Within the span of one year, the presence of the “green men” in Crimea was officially recognized by Russia`s leadership. In fact, this “revelation” refutes abhorrent lies presented to international community and vehemently upheld by the Russian propaganda until today.
Does the illegal annexation of Crimea changed anything in the perception of the ordinary Crimea inhabitants? Do they feel better off, more secure or less nostalgic to the former USSR ceasing to exist in December 1991? Did they anticipate that kind of reaction of the overwhelming majority of the UN member states united in their condemnation of the sham “referendum” results carried out under the barrel of gun of notorious “green men”? Did they calculate the bare consequences of those irresponsible actions, which lead to total political and economic isolation of the peninsula, bringing real daily hardships to ordinary people? They did not without any doubt…
With the forced mass flag-wavering people assemblies all over Russia we witness today, allegedly in support of realization of the “life-long Crimea`s dream to return back to Motherland”, Russia`s leadership once again is trying to fool the whole world around. Do those people on the streets really strive one day in a lifetime to come to Crimea to witness its “historic transformation”? I bet they have never been to Crimea and have no interest in continuing to pay high price for this gamble.
My answer to this phenomenon is clear-cut. Russian leadership does not believe in objective reality, it is very comfortable to live in a virtual self-made world created by propaganda and animosity to the outside world. That would be funny if it weren’t so sad: Russia`s assertiveness bear high cost, its treacherous actions mount the toll of everyday casualties not only of Ukrainians but of ordinary Russians missing in actions.
Let’s not be mistaken: the living conditions in Crimea were not worse nor better than in the other parts of Ukraine. There were bright moments in the history of independent Ukraine, but there were also miscalculations, slow reforming and lack of a vision – it takes time to build any independent state at all, let alone a country that underwent “the Soviet experiment”.
But above all, people in Ukraine are free to choose their path and their leadership, to think and speak freely and they are ready to fight for the core European values, as they courageously demonstrated it at Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity. And what kind of a bright future Crimea may have as a hostage of “green men” first, outlaws and foreign aggressor soon after?
It’s, of course, a rhetorical question. I have no doubt that the future of Crimea belongs to Ukraine and Ukraine belongs to Europe. We will spare no effort, with the support of the whole civilized world, to restore the law and order and to finally bring peace to our land and to take Crimea back from the hands of the aggressor.
Unlike Russia, Ukraine needs Crimea not to make it hostage of someone’s chauvinistic and megalomaniac ideas but to work together to make us a prosperous European nation, a reliable partner and predictable peaceful neighbour.
When deporting Crimean Tatars from Crimea, Stalin was sure that they would not return to their homeland.
History proved him to be wrong…