Crimea after annexation: ‘We feel utterly discouraged,’ resident says

The annexation of the Crimean peninsula might have finished but the arguments over the issue are not dying down. Meanwhile, Crimeans are trying to adjust to the life in a different country.

Crimea is reported to be experiencing shortages of electricity. In spite of Moscow’s assurances, pension payments have not been increased yet. To clear which problems Crimeans are facing Belsat TV has interviewed Elvira, a resident of the town of Sudak.

Pensions down

-Are there any delays of goods delivery or arrears in payments?

To get their money, pensioners are waitiing in lines. People have not got accustomed to rubles yet. There are both Russian rubles and Ukrainian hryvnias in circulation. My friend who lives in Kerch wanted to buy some filler but failed to find in. But there is no shortage of goods in Sudak.

What can you say about electricity and water supply on the peninsula?

In some districts they started to switch electricity off. We don’t know what will be in summer: we get water from the Dnipro, that is why we are highly dependent on Ukraine.

Do the Russian authorities fulfill their promise and increase social payments?

When Crimea seceded, I was shocked. Some fell into euphoria and failed to realise what was going on, because there were a lot of promises. They said pensions would be doubled – and sparkles of hope and joy flashed in people’s eyes. Now we see that the hryvnia’s rate to the ruble’s is not appropriate. Pensioners are 200 hryvnias shortchanged. They promised that payments would remain on the same level, but in vain.

97% is unreal

What way was the referendum carried out in Sudak? You, Crimean Tatars, were boycotting it. Did you participate in it?

We refused to take part because their result was predictable taking into account that armed people ‘from nowhere’ were keeping it under control. But everyone knew where they were from. Independent observers were barred from watching.

{movie}Ukraine’s emblem is being dismantled in the town of Sudak, Crimea|right|15652{/movie}

How did other residents of Sudak, not Tatars, take the referendum?

Most people ignored it. Our friend who live not far from a military unit said that Russian soldiers cast their votes at an election stations. This was nothing but fabrication. Have you seen the video showing a Russian citizen who was allowed to vote? 97 % for accesion to Russia is unreal, and even not consistent with the reality at all. My Ukrainian neighbour failed to cast her vore as well. There are 14 % of Crimean Tatars, she said, but we are actually more in number. A lot of people were out of town, which also should be taken into account. More than half might well have voted for Russia, but what way did they organise it? Before the referendum the Crimean Verkhovna Rada was seized by armed people who announced that Crimea was part of the Russian Federation.

Hopes to go back to Ukraine

Do you have any opportunity of watching Ukrainian TV channels?

No, everything was disconnected, even the Chernomorskaya TV and radio company. Russian TV channels’ content is full of propaganda. We watch news on the Internet or on satellite channels. Some people are not aware of the actual state of things at all.

You work in tourism. Are you preparing for a decrease in number of tourists?

Yes, we are. It will take time so that all could go back to normal. A lot of people will avoid going to an unrecognised republic. Among our tourists Ukrainians prevailed; Belarusians, Russians, Germans, Poles, Turks also arrived. Of course, we are expecting decline. We feel utterly discouraged.

Do you hope Crimea goes back to Ukraine?

Opinions differ, but we [Crimean Tatars] would like it to happen. Ukraine is a democratic state, everyone can express their own views.

Don’t you hope to gain any freedom in Russia?

Unfortunately not. Russian channels and their way of giving information remind of Soviet times. Mr Putin was very ostentatious saying that Crimea joined Russia unanimously. But this is a lie. I can’t even watch it…

Nastassia Yaumen

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