News from the Crimea
I came to Yalta after leaving the pro-Russian Sevastopol. In the nest of the Black Sea Fleet the general mood is fine. Everyone is contented, people organised posts to collect donations for the city’s self-defence. Families with children are strolling, retirees are singing, cossacks with whips are patrolling the streets. Many people are holding national flags. In the parks young boys are offering toasts to the Motherland. The only thing is that the retirees are singing Russian songs – folk and Soviet ones; the flags are Russian national flags, the cossacks are Don cossacks, the self-defence is aimed at protecting the city against the banderites, and the toasts are drunk to Mother Russia. All the talks I had yesterday can be summed up in one sentence: the Crimea was, is and will be a Russian city. The troops sent by Moscow are seen as rescuers and protectors. People are really afraid of the fascist hordes coming to the city. That’s why there are barricades and car checkpoints on the roads leading to the city.
The streets of Sevastopol are ruled by rumours and Russian propaganda. Sure Maidan consists of stoned teenagers with AK rifles who killed brave Berkut officers. Fascists that have been trying for some time to commit a terrorist act. Several persons told me that at one of the checkpoints the self-defence members blocked the car with 600 kg of TNT. Perhaps it was aimed at blowing up the monumental mausoleum of the Great Patriotic War victims situated near the Nakhimova Square (one of the central squares of the city). People who have returned from Kiev are shocked. They have seen barbarians and rascals. Of course, they went to the capital as the representatives of Anti-Maidan, not even hiding the fact that they got money for this. Supposedly, some of them were diagnosed with drug intoxication caused by Euromaidan’s "charged" tea.
I could not act as a journalist, let alone a Polish journalist. But of course, an agent of the West sniffing around. Several persons refused to give comments as soon as they heard the word "Poland". One of them, though, laid his cards on the table: one of the posts for collecting donations for the Sevastopol self-defence was run by a man from... St.Petersburg. He came to save his Crimean fellowmen, having seen on Russian TV what was going on in Simferopol. As we remember, for the last few weeks Russian TV has been showing footage from the street fights in Kiev, claiming that this is how the capital of the Autonomous Crimean Republic looks now.
I found myself in another world; all the talks with their level were different from everything I had experienced before in the course of this revolution. The Russians, absolutely convinced they are being endangered, completely trusting the mass media. It won’t matter if someone goes to Simferopol and sees that nothing is happening there. This won’t undermine his vision of a world where Ukrainian fascism is at the gates. However, I’ve had one conversation which made me completely aware of what being a „Russian world“ representative means. Two guys, aged 31 and 38. The younger one, Vova, runs a small business. The elder one, Igor, is a construction worker. As they say themselves, they fell for the deception of mass media and voted for Yanukovich. This was their mistake, now they despise themselves for having let this man come to power – the man who brought about ridiculous levels of corruption. We are sitting in the park, drinking beer, I understand that these guys are the ones I can tell more. I tell them what happened in Kiev, who died there in reality, what kind of people stood there. The guys are eyeballing me, they don’t believe me. Finally, they say: You see, Tomek, how we were cheated. But, you know, Tomek... Who could benefit from that? From such bloodshed? From the new government?.... America. This is all its work, as well as Syria, Libya etc. Russia only defends itself, always defends, but never attacks. It’s a genetic thing. Until you poke a Russian, he will stay calm. But once you have pushed him, he will strike you back immediately. We part peacefully, as I would never convince a person who grew up in the „Russian world“ that not everything is the way propaganda presents it and that some mechanisms don’t look this way.
Everybody in the Crimea wants peace and stability, yet few people see the Crimea staying within the borders of Ukraine. The Russian citizens of Crimea came to believe that with Russia, their land will flourish – because they will be at home again, in their real Motherland. Russia. I will illustrate the story through a video of Russian guys having fun in Sevastopol. The group had orange-and-black ribbons pinned all over them, and when someone from the crowd asked them to play, a song by Nirvana, they answered, „Today – Russian songs only“.