Simferopol – In the end of February 2014, the former Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, already having held a session at gunpoint of the “green men,” appointed Sergey Aksionov, the leader of the now banned and disbanded (in Ukraine) party “Russian Unity,” head of the Council of Ministers of Crimea. Since that day, 100 days have passed, but this fact is being modestly kept quiet in Crimea – no commentary or mention. Only ITAR-TASS “celebrated” the historical date with a verbose interview with the “birthday boy.”
His main thesis is as follows: “This (the annex of the Crimea – authors), of course, causes some discomfort, however, nonetheless, we are ahead of schedule…” The “Prime Minister” admitted: “Somewhere our actions do cause discomfort to the Crimean citizens…,” and further listed the “discomforts.” The list is endless, but the Prime Minister cannot always answer how to solve them, he does not know when improvements will come, however he is full of optimism and hope.
The reason for the Crimean silence is clear – there is nothing to boast, in order not to antagonise the Crimeans, they are already irritated with various things – the lines, the galloping price growth, money problems.
Before, Sergey Aksionov was not a notable figure in Crimean politics. He was born in Beltsy of the Moldovan SSR. In 1993 he graduated the Simferopol higher military-political construction academy, and immediately went in for business – he became deputy head of the cooperative “Ellada,” worked in LLC “Askerix,” LLC “Firma ‘Eskada’.” Starting 2008 he was a member of the Russian community of Crimea, starting 2009 – he was the leader of the Crimean Socio-Political movement, and then the party “Russian Unity.” He has been a member of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea since 2010.
The parliamentary session in the building occupied at night by Russian special forces took place in a closed regime, according to many sources, without the quorum. One of Aksionov’s first initiatives was to call for President of Russia Vladimir Putin to deploy the army in Crimea. Aksionov conducted technical commandment of the so-called “referendum” on March 16th, 2014, the results of which are considered to have been falsified. Later in Moscow Aksionov, together with the rest of the self-proclaimed “heads” of Crimea and Sevastopol signed the agreement regarding the “accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation as federation subjects.” Some time later Vladimir Putin appointed Aksonov “acting Head of Crimea.” Neither the Ukrainian government nor the international organisations and governments of other states besides Russia acknowledged the appointment, the Council of Ministers of Crimea remains an illegitimate government of the annexed Ukrainian autonomy.
Only two issues have been solved “ahead of schedule” since then – the suspension of the circulation of the Ukrainian Hryvnia, which created a multitude of financial problems in Crimea, as well as the reinforcement of the fight against Ukrainian and Crimean-Tatar schools. Regardless of the fact that the approved “Constitution of Crimea” three languages have been deemed official, de facto, conditions are being created only for the usage of the Russian language exclusively, and the fights against the functioning of two other languages is underway.
The “cardinal changes” initiated by Aksionov have complicated life in Crimea significantly and create the problems that the Crimean government cannot solve: the resort season of 2014 has been interrupted, Crimea has been excluded from the world cruising tourism, the central Russian TV channels, in order to show the so-called “full beaches,” are falsifying informational reports with footage from 2011.
“Aksionov’s Council of Ministers” could not deal with the supply of water through the Northern Crimean channel, the agrarian sector refused to grow a number of traditional Crimean cultures because of the destruction of irrigation, and is suffering significant losses.
Crimea receives electricity on international commercial prices, the peninsula has been thrown into transportation collapse, supplies of produce have been interrupted and the deficit of many goods has been created, trade and service are disorganised, the peninsula is overflowing with the Russian armed forces and isolated from the rest of the world because of the air communication prohibition.
Because of the activities of the formed “self-defence” Crimea has become one of the most dangerous territories in the world, nevertheless the “volunteers” are being mobilised to conduct terrorist war in Donbas. According to unofficial data, several dozens Crimean mercenaries have already died and were buried in Crimea without announcement.
Human rights are being violated on the peninsula, unemployment is growing, special service censure has been implemented in the mass media sphere, preventing journalists from doing their professional duties has become the norm. Under the guise of providing security to Crimeans the special services and police of Russia have implemented a total control of mass events in Crimea, in particular, during holidays in Simferopol, a “sterile zone” is created, when the locations of mass events within several blocks are surrounded by a metal fence, and the visitors and citizens can only get through several checkpoints, at which metal detectors have been put up, where searches and questionings are conducted.
Crimea ended up “living off” Russia. And though Moscow has developed a program for the development of Crimea, the Russian government refused to finance it, having determined that the financial means would be mobilised unofficially from Russian regions.
Crimea is signing agreements regarding mutual help with oblasts and krays of Russia which are searching for opportunities to gather funds for the financing of Crimea. Because of this the federal Russian government has suspended the financing of several federal programs, the governments of the regions are closing analogous programs and sending finances to support Crimea.
The promises to create a special economical zone, realise other innovational and investment projects in Crimea have practically failed. Crimea is transforming into a military base for Russia, at which the Black Sea Fleet and many aviation, missile, airborne and other military units have been stationed, the facilities of the military-industrial complex are being resurrected.
The First Vice Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers of Crimea Rustam Temirgaliyev stated live on “Trans-M-Radio” that, according to him, the further ‘forced small rise in prices is expected,’ even though in reality the prices have grown several times, and the growth of salaries and pensions is lagging behind, meanwhile the government cannot break this tendency.
Crimean analysts claim that before this no Crimean government has been able to create as many problems for Crimeans as the “government council” and “Aksionov’s government” have.
Oles Cheremshina (Crimean observer)
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina