Crimea today: “Artek” without children, armoured cars for sale and the Ukrainian flag over Simferopol 

Bohdan Lu, for “Fakty” 

The out-of-office correspondent of “FAKTY” shared his impressions about the trip from Kyiv to the occupied peninsula.

I hitchhiked from Kyiv to Crimea by car. Along the road, at traffic police posts there are reinforcements made out of sandbags. Frequently, people in army camouflage can be seen next to the traffic police.

Our old “Ford” was not stopped by anyone. It seems that luxury cars evoke more interest. The close to the south, the more frequently we see roadblocks with sandbags. Night falls. After Kirovohrad the armament at the roadblocks is more serious: we see armoured personnel carriers and missile systems. In Kherson oblast, there is a lonely roadblock on one of the empty parts of the road. The lights of our car spot two soldiers in the darkness. They are sleeping without a care in the world next to the bags.  Continue reading

Misinformation of the day: “Ukraine was the one who annexed Crimea” 

Speaker of the Russian State Duma states that it is not his country, but Ukraine, who annexed Crimea in 1991. The leading Russian official is citing the results of the referendum of doubtful legitimacy, which took place on the peninsula back then. So when and who really did annex the peninsula? 

Speaker of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, Sergey Naryshkin was completely serious when he stated the following from the Parliament booth on Wednesday: “Essentially, 23 years ago the annex of Crimea was conducted.” It was conducted, according to him, by Ukraine – “thanks to the irresponsibility of a number of Russian politicians.”  Continue reading

The suspension of the hryvnia is landing blows to the nerves and pockets of Crimeans

Kerch – In annexed Kerch, shopkeepers and customers are having difficulties with the suspension of the hryvnia. They cannot give Ukrainian coins as change in shops and supermarkets any longer, and there is still no supply of Russian change on the peninsula.

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Many people ask me what life is like in Crimea now. I answer as well as I can, in a conversational manner. 

Crowds of pensioners siege the post office every day, they are given their pensions in roubles, but in the Ukrainian amount (if I did not overlook anything). Prices on everything are growing by the minute. The utility bill that came was 4 times bigger than the previous ones, all the utilities have become several times more expensive. The kindergarden – twice as expensive. Sources of revenues are closing down. Money transfer and payment of bills is ridiculously difficult, everywhere there are lines with lists starting at 6 a.m. There is very little rouble mass, the Russian SberBank makes us buy Hryvnia (to give out the rouble transfer) at a ridiculously high rate. Establishments demand payment in roubles, the exchange points steal more at reverse conversion. There are no more happy shouts of “we are finally in Russia!” to be heard. They have gone quiet.

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Why Putin is in a hurry to cleanse Crimea of the Hryvnia

What awaits the citizens and businesses on the peninsula, and why does the Russian Central Bank need the Ukrainian national currency? 

Starting the beginning of the summer, the Hryvnia will become a foreign currency in Crimea. Earlier the occupational government had planned its circulation in parallel with the Russian rouble until January 1st, 2016; yet according to the amendments to the law regarding Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation this term has been shortened by 1,5 years.

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