Crimea resident: “All the fairy tales about a great life with Russia turned out to be just Aksenov’s yarns”

To the Southeast and all of Ukraine. My name is Andriy Sokolov. I am 37 years old and I reside in Yalta. I voted for the Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and I have already realized what a huge mistake I have made. There are no words to describe what is happening in Crimea. You have to see it for yourself. I am a businessman and own several cottages near the central beach. Crimea is now living in complete information, legislation, and grocery chaos. All the fairy tales about a great life with Russia turned out to be just Aksenov’s yarns. They pulled off what they wanted and simply vanished. No one tells us anything, so Crimeans have no clue what to do and how to live further. No one gives a rat’s tail about us.

There is no one to turn to, nobody wishes to explain and clarify anything. People mean nothing to them. On TV, or rather on the Russian channels, they show happy faces, but nobody talks about the problems faced by Crimea. We will run out of gasoline in 2-3 days; the price of A92 is 15 UAH, which means don’t buy it if you don’t want it. There is no petroleum products supply from Russia.

The banks are being closed; there is no cash. ATMs give only 20 to 50 UAH per day, and now many do not function at all. It has become a problem to make transactions through a terminal as well. They are simply not being serviced. There are problems with food in many supermarkets, not all of them though.

There is not a single tourist in Yalta. All hotels remain empty, and no one makes any forecasts. I have no idea how to make ends meet and how to pay taxes and utility bills. Many entrepreneurs are on the edge of bankruptcy. Even in 1991 it wasn’t like this. The main profits came from vacationers, but not even Russian tourists rush to come here. I won’t even mention the legal status of my business, which is simply up in the air.

In Hurzuf there have already been cases where guys wearing uniforms without any identifying markings have showed up and kicked out the owner, and there was nothing he could do about it. Crimea is now in anarchy. I would like to look those jerks in the eyes, who have done this to the peninsula with no thought for the consequences and the people. The courts do not work. Dear SOUTHEAST, don’t fall for the YARNS OF THE PRO-RUSSIAN AGITATORS.

You will be used and thrown away later like a used condom, and you most certainly will have to deal with consequences. People in power will not feel the hardships of the transition. We have also been informed that the airspace is being closed and Crimean citizens will not be able to fly to EU countries if they have a Russian passport. Of course, many haven’t gone there anyway, but this isn’t a pleasant fact. Also, our Simferopol International Airport was ranked third in passenger traffic in Ukraine. Now there are only flights from Russia.

We had a lot of tourists not only from Ukraine, but also from around the world. Yalta-Inturist Hotel is one of the largest resorts which hosted foreigners. We can forget about them, too.

P.S. V.V. Putin, did you think even a little about those people and their businesses when you invaded Crimea? Or have you been pursuing only your personal interests?

by Viktor Svyshcho



Translated by Katherina Smirnova, edited by Robin Rohrback




47 thoughts on “Crimea resident: “All the fairy tales about a great life with Russia turned out to be just Aksenov’s yarns”

      • Patricia, Putin does not need to show anything. You do not have a clue about history of Slavs. I have Ukrainian and Russian blood in my body and I fully support what he does for me and my family.

  1. I would like to understand more about why you voted for Russia’s annexation in the first place. What news did you listen to or watch. I’m truly interested. From people outside, it is amazing to us that people don’t understand what a liar Putin is and how dangerous he is. What it is that appealed to you about being part of Russia. Do you see their economy or opportunities as better? I appreciate your honest assessment of the post-anexation situation, but I would love to better understand the mindset of those in Crimea that supported annexation. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your honest assesment of post-annexation Crimea. But I have some questions. I would like to know why you supported annexation in the first place. What are your main sources for news? Do you depend on Russian news sources to make your decisions? What appealed to you about joining Russia? From the outside, it seems amazing that there are still people who don’t realize what a liar Putin is. Did you really believe his promises? What were your expectations about how annexation would benefit Crimea? I really would really like to get a better understand of your thinking. I would very much appreciate a response. I’m so sorry for all that is happening to you, but it is what most who were looking on from outside imagined would happen.

    • Exactly carolyningeorgia, how could the people of Crimea not realise what was coming – surely they knew that the protests at Maidan were aimed at getting a better life, away from the control of Russia, not going backwards by becoming part of Russia AGAIN! The people who were blinded by these empty promises and who voted to support the annexation of Crimea have allowed the Heavens Hundred to lose their lives in vain. The rest of the world could see what was happening. I also feel for these people, but being part of Ukraine at the time, they had access to information on how the rest of the world was responding to these events, and chose to be blinded by lies.

  3. I am sorry for the suffering people need to endure in order to learn that freedom isn’t free and that history repeats itself if improperly ignored.

    I do see all the signs that Crimea will, once again, suffer from a great hunger of a Soviet-era style and the dissolution of authority is exclusively due Russia’s illegitimate grab of Crimea.

    If Russia had any legitimacy in its pursuit, any at all, administration and authority wouldn’t have dissolved into nothingness.

    Ultimately, authority is given by the people, for the people, not the by the military, as it has been see more than a dozen times in the past century.

    I deeply regret your voting for joining Russia, I regret we are – once again – on the brink of a Cold War and that – once again – you are on the wrong side of history.

    I am confident, however, that this time you will learn.

    Because it will not be a decade until Ukraine will be prosperous again, because Ukraine has powerful, committed friends in spite of the the past policies that hurt us on more than one occasion.

    You see, Ukraine already won.

    Crimea hasn’t and it’s yet to prove its willingness to be a truly European land, not just some peninsula on the USSR2 map. But the signs are nowhere to be seen and the enemy walks along you…

  4. it kinda was obvious from the very beginning. Sure Crimea was “out of sight” from capital, sure Putin is liar and tricked everyone, but dont you, people, have own brains? Banderits didnt come for you after Maidan, they are not going to die for you now, but many will lend the hand if Crimeans fight for freedom. Should my homeland was occupied, I fight for my home. If you are not brave enough, better become Ruski’s faster

  5. Next on the line: Russian FSB-linked “businessmen” arrive and take over whatever businesses they want, backed up by those unmarked gunmen. They will also have plenty of official documents to back up their claims if somebody cares to ask. After that, only connection to money ordinary Crimeans have is a view to big datchas far high on the hills.

  6. Pingback: Blue Marble Times | Crimea resident: “All the fairy tales about a great life with Russia turned out to be just Aksenov’s yarns”

  7. I am very sorry for the hardship that you are experiencing. But did you REALLY believe Putin cared about you or your business? Did other people in Crimea believe that Putin had their interests in mind?

    You think Putin brought Troops into Crimea because he was worried about your interests? Maybe if people realized they were being used as a pawn in Putin’s chess game to crush an uprising against his regime, they would’ve voted otherwise. Either way, it’s not like the outcome would have been different if the majority of Crimea voted against Russia, they would have just forged the results.

    How can I blame you for voting for the Russian annexation. You must not have had access to information. Otherwise you would have known that the situation in Russia is just corrupt, that no one’s interests are being cared about, only money and power.

    I wish you all the best in the future.

  8. It became completely obvious its complete BS at this point:

    There is not a single tourist in Yalta. All hotels remain empty, and no one makes any forecasts.

    There are no tourists now because, erm, it is not tourist season.

    Try harder, EuromaidanPropaganda.

  9. Someone I know recently said that she was so happy that Crimea is part of Russia again, even though she is not even a Russian national, and even after I told her the annexation and referendum were illegal and unrecognized by nearly the entire world. She claimed she had friends in Crimea who told her that everything is calm and perfect there. She said she was planning on going to Crimea this summer, and denies the fact that there are any “Crimean Self-Defense Forces” there walking the streets and standing in front of the airports. She also said that all the violence and problems are in Kyiv, everything on the news is a lie, and that she only believes what her friends there tell her. I’m neither Russian nor Ukrainian, but I felt as though I was having a conversation with a friend who is suffering from psychosis, because she chose not to get all the facts.

      • It was safe and calm when I visited two and a half years ago, and it was safe and calm before the Nazi-style invasion of Putin’s little green men. There is no way it is safe and calm there now, just very tense.

      • Come to Crimea? After it was invaded, illegally occupied, illegally annexed via an unconstitutional sham referendum? After all flights have been restricted, except for to and from Moscow which would now require a transit visa? You have got to be joking, a troll or out of your mind.

      • Agreed Tatiana, they should talk to the Tartars, Jews and Ukrainian Orthodox church among many others. It’s so great there that there at least 5,000 have come to mainland Ukraine and they don’t feel safe in Crimea. I have two people staying with me.

      • Yeh, you know better then me, as well as everybody here who is not from Crimea. When I say that it is safe here, I mean this, but for you I become troll immediately. Do you know that Kyiv’s “authorities” blocked water channel and now we do not have water for agriculture here? Where do you live, Andy? Are you from Kyiv?

      • I have people from Crimea staying with me. One is English but had lived there for seven years. His passport was taken off him and burnt. The Crimean woman couldn’t get access to her money in the bank, and was abused because she was talking Ukrainian. She has had friends and relatives abuse and disown her because she sees herself as Ukrainian and refuses to get a Russian passport. For the same reason she will probably loose her job. I’ve had to register her as living with us so that she could get her bank to transfer her money to a Ukrainian branch. Yes, it’s a great life if you don’t want to stay Ukrainian, aren’t a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox church or a Tartar.

    • Do I have to prove that me and hundreds people who are my relatives and friends ARE happy? I don’t think so. Do not lie, nobody is against Tatars or Ukrainians. My father is plain Ukrainian. But as far as now Crimea IS part of Russia, everybody who does not want to change citizenship will have to follow rules and laws of Russian Federation and these people are treated as any other foreigner. Nobody kicks out people out of here, they just need to respect new rules. And please do not make me to remind how it happened in Serbia. What do you think, by the way, about visits of US officials to Kyiv to give them stupid directions starting with this bloody maidan up till now? Which scenario would you prefer in Ukraine: Irak, Libya, Syria? Do you know that in Lviv you are dead if you speak Russian? And the last question: do you support nazis? Be aware that they are empowered now in Kyiv and they are driving the country.

  10. Of course there are no tourists there. Mass media keeps writing about troops’ movements in the region, taking over military bases and Ukrainian troops across the border training just in case the situation escalates. Who in their right mind would spend their vacation in Crimea at this point?
    Silly comment about tourism aside, did the author honestly think that a whole region switching countries is easy and that Crimea will become a paradise to live in the next day after the vote? It’s simply too early to evaluate whether it was a good or a bad idea to vote for joining Russia. It’s not even been a month yet and a long time will pass before things will pick up. I spent the 90s in Russia and I can tell you it took YEARS after the collapse of the USSR before the situation stabilized.
    So, it’s a bit too early to panic.

    • Tell that to the people who lived there all their lives and now live in fear or have got out because of that fear. Also tell that to the Ukrainian government who people expect to snap their fingers and get everything fixed.

      The people there (pro-Russians) were told it would change almost immediately. They can’t get money out, they can get stopped in the street just because the little green men can and want to show how big they are. People heard speaking in Ukrainian language are being abused (don’t say it was the same for Russian speakers, it wasn’t). People are queuing up tor Russian passports because they have been told they have to and are afraid not to.

      The way you’re talking it’s OK to take property off Ukrainians. I am English and have house and land in Ukraine, nobody has told us we can’t cos we’re not Ukrainian. Most of my neighbours are Russian speakers and they also have no problems with that and no abuse because of it, nobody has tried to take their property off them.

      The Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Greek Catholic churches are being targeted as well.

      The Russians are doing a big show of ‘You are now part of Russia and you will do what you’re told or else.’ Get real girl and look around you, or is it that you don’t want to admit you made a mistake. At least this man has the guts to say he was wrong.

      • Well, first of all, I did not vote, because I’m not a Ukrainian citizen and as I don’t live in Crimea it’s really non of my business who it belongs to.
        My only point was: if Crimeans wanted things to stay the way they were, with no chaos ensuing or the military gathering at their borders, they should have voted against joining Russia. Because integrating a region into another country is always chaotic, no matter if that country is Russia, US, UK or any other. I live in Austria and there are really a lot of people coming here for work from Eastern Germany. It’s almost been 15 years since Germany’s reunification and there are STILL economic differences between the two. Germany doesn’t care about their citizens and Eastern Germany? I don’t think so.
        It’s just that things don’t get great in 1 day, regardless of what politicians promise (they all promise a LOT).

      • a lot of the time it wasn’t the Crimeans who voted either. People were allowed to vote with anything as ID if it was known they would vote for Russia. The man at the door would say to the others ‘shall we let this person vote’, they all shouted yes and the person voted. Many were Russian ‘tourists’. Ones likely to vote for Ukraine had their ID passports taken off them and destroyed.

        The results were given out 15 minutes after the polling stations closed. They have a paper vote the same as in England and no way could they have legally known that quickly. The Russians realised they had made a mistake saying that so soon, and said they hadn’t completed the count, but next day declared exactly the same results.

        They have now started on three more regions the Ukrainian side of the border, some are pro-Russian Ukrainians, but mostly Russian ‘tourists’.. Lugansk, Kharkiv and another one, my mind’s gone blank on the name.

        Crimeans have had their bank accounts frozen, most ATMs aren’t working, pensioners can only get their pension from the post office and the queues are out the door and they pray there is still money in when they get to the front.

      • Patricia, this is the biggest LIE I’ve ever read! The greatest majority of people voted to be part of Russia! You like it or not, but this is the reality!

  11. How is everyone going to come to Crimea to talk to people with the little green men doing their Nazi-style occupation? The railways are restricted. The only flights are to and from Moscow and there are no European cruise ships coming any time soon. Voice of Russia has already reported that Sevastopol has already LOST 37,000 so far this year, who were to visit the city on cruise ships. Oh, and what about those land mines on what is now a disputed border near Armyansk? Are you a Kremlin mouthpiece? Do you even live in Crimea? Do you have a little green man standing behind you, telling you to say that everything is fine there? Having an illegal referendum at gunpoint is NOT democracy. Russian media reports that May 1 was the opening of tourist season, which is laughable. Where are the tourists, anyway? First, Russian media reported that Crimea wanted the usual 6 million tourists AFTER the invasion, illegal occupation, unrecognized, illegal and undemocratic referendum, and illegal annexation. Then they said they were expecting 3 million tourists. A 50% reduction. That spells economic disaster. How do you expect an illegally occupied peninsula to compete with better and cheaper places like Bulgaria, Egypt and Turkey? Oh, and let’s not forget about the ghost town that is now Sochi. Will tourists to Crimea be asked to put away their f***ing cameras? Or will their cameras just get confiscated? About the water, if you wanted to be a part of Russia so bad, then have Russia send the water! Who cares who turned off the water from mainland Ukraine? How are the lines outside the buildings to get a Russian passport? What about the lines outside the banks and the bankomats/ATMs? Face it. Thanks to Russia, the economy and tourism in Crimea are ruined. Stop living in denial because that is the real danger.

  12. It’s obvious that you really like The Guardian, because it agrees with what you WANT to believe. Nice try, Tatiana. It’s amazing, and rather pathetic, how instead of answering any of my questions, you resort to avoid them by resorting to biased information and cop outs. How sad. Stop the begging already.

    • Andy, this is what I see with my own eyes. And yes, I believe my eyes better then you or somebody like you.

      • That is all a matter of opinion. Your opinion. Few, if any on here, agree with your opinion. Don’t confuse perception with reality.

    • I am not going to waste my time to reply your silly question,and by the way, Sochi Olympics were just the best ever, in spite of the fact that people like you tried to shit online. Same will be with Crimea. We are now part of the great country and we need few time to fix everything fucked up by Ukrainian “independence” for this years.

      • Ah, the truth finally comes out. A Ukrainian hater! So, you thinking that questions are silly doesn’t make you want to answer them? How did Ukrainian Independence “fuck everything up?” Are you going to dodge that question, too?

    • I cannot be Ukrainian hater, because my father is Ukrainian. And I am also half Ukrainian. So I cannot hate myself. But! During the years, when Crimea was the part of “independent” Ukraine, this “people in charge” did not invest anything in hospitals, schools or tourism industry. What is already done by Russia is new equipment for the hospital, where I work and they increased my salary double. As for my bank account, I have got full compensation. So why I should be unhappy?

      • You are a walking contradiction. You say you are half Ukrainian, and cannot hate yourself, yet you say that Ukrainian Independence “fucked everything up.” This smells like more Russian propaganda being spewed out by you, to make it seem like all is well in Crimea, when it actually isn’t. By the way, where are the tourists?

  13. People died in Odessa. They did not accept what was going in in their country. That is why they were buned alive in the building. More then 40 people. This is mass murder approved by Kyiv “authorities”. Open your eyes, Andy. Thanks God and Putin, that they cannot do this in Crimea.

  14. Again, more Russian propaganda. Just blame it in Ukrainians. Typical Russian thinking: redirected blame and thinking a tyrant like Putin, is the answer to all your problems. My eyes were wide open, and have been open for many years. How much is the Kremlin paying you to spew their propaganda on here, anyway?

    • That’s true, Hanna. But the most important thing is that Ukrainian army is not bombing, not burning and not killing us here. Thanks God, we joined Russia and we are safe.

  15. what pisses me off the most is I CANT VISIT MY LOVED ONES!! ive watched them get married have kids watched the kids grow up been visiting every year for 21 years without fail and kept my promise now im stuck !! i phone the russian embassy and they couldnt give a flying monkeys butt about it!!

    i miss them they miss me, i phone them by skype until they cut that off or the internet off seems they cut everything else off.

    i cant stand the paranoia of all these bloody goverments everywhere.

    why oh why cant we have the truth the honesty and why cant these damn people in power just try to do something RIGHT!!


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