Crimean MP: “Crimea Under Ukraine Was Robbed”

In Simferopol, Crimea, in August, I met with Yuri Gempel, a Member of Parliament, and the Chairman of the Standard Commission on Inter-Ethnic Relations of the Parliament of Crimea.

Excerpt from our conversation:

“Crimea, under Ukraine, was robbed,” Gempel says. “Everything was taken by the government and representatives of the ruling elite of Ukraine. For the 23 years Crimea was a part of Ukraine, they robbed Crimea. Not a single kindergarten was built in Crimea during those years. Kindergartens built during Soviet times stopped functioning.

But the main issue is that during that time, the people still felt themselves to be in Russian territory, not Ukrainian, in language, culture and in spirit. Under Ukrainian rule, Crimeans were made to speak Ukrainian, although Crimeans’ native language is Russian. People were deprived of the right to be in state service if they did not speak Ukrainian.”

4 thoughts on “Crimean MP: “Crimea Under Ukraine Was Robbed”

  1. Crimea is not part of the historical Ukraine, having never had a majority Ukrainian population. Until the 1780s, when it was conquered by Russian forces, it was nominally part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.At that time it had a mixed population with a significant Greek element, and with a majority of Crimean Tatars, who spoke a Tukic language. In the course of the nineteenth century Crimea acquired a Russian majority, and the lingua franca became Russian. The Ukrainians present were mostly Russian speakers, and were closely integrated with the general Russian Orthodox community.
    In post-revolutionary times Crimea was part of the Russian Soviet Republic until 1954, when it was “gifted” to the Ukrainian republic by Nikita Khrushchev, in a move he apparently intended would ensure him of Ukrainian support in Kremlin power manoeuvres. While this shift undoubtedly made little difference to Crimeans within the structures of the USSR, the local population weren’t consulted, and the change was arguably illegal under the Soviet constitution.
    After the dissolution of the USSR, Crimeans found themselves accidental Ukrainians. They were never particularly happy with this status, and there was considerable political restiveness. When an outspokenly pro-Western, right-wing nationalist government came to power in Kyiv following the “Euromaidan” in February 2014, the Russian leadership were clearly alarmed by the strategic implications. Russia stood to lose its lease over the naval port at Sevastopol in Crimea. Sevastopol is the base of the Russian Black Sea fleet, and the only seriously conceivable place on the Black Sea for such an installation. In my view, this was the critical consideration that led Putin to order the Russian military garrison in Sevastopol to move out of the territory of the base and take over key installations in Crimea.
    This was an arbitrary action, and in clear violation of international law, but there’s no doubting that it was highly popular among Crimeans. The province’s elected assembly overwhelmingly endorsed it, and the population were happy to approve it in a referendum. It’s fairly clear that in the referendum, ethnic Ukrainians voted to secede from Ukraine in much the same numbers as their Russian neighbours. Of Ukrainian service personnel stationed in Ukraine, a majority, reportedly 70 per cent, voted with their feet and took up an offer to join the Russian military.
    Consequently, the Western press truism that Russia “invaded” and “annexed” Crimea is at best a thoroughly misleading half-truth. The Crimeans, through their elected assembly and the referendum, voted to secede from Ukraine, a right that has precedents in international law (Kosovo, for one). Then the assembly voted to have Crimea, as an independent state, seek reincorporation into Russia.
    Crimea is Russian, and Ukrainians need to get used to it. The evidence from opinion surveys is that, nationalist zealots aside, people in Ukraine mostly have. Indeed, Ukrainians as citizens of the poorest state in Europe, with GDP per capita stuck between Guatemala and Paraguay, have more pressing matters to think about.

    Renfrey Clarke / Gravata

  2. Once one figures out that the US State Dept is in cahoots with Wall St then things become more clear…who’s assets are to be protected and who’s are not.
    We can only hope that the Ukrainian gubmint as we know it now, will rot away, with the help of Israhell, US of A, Canaduh, and other existential nobodies.
    The Donbass needs to be heard too ~ I read somewhere a long ways back that the Don-Bass after WWII was supposed to be its own entity ~ i struggle to find that info today.
    I think that if i had another place to go adventure in after adventuring in SBP and Moscou, having nothing to do with either, is Crimea.
    Thank you very much Eva for your labors and Investigative Journalism.

  3. Potemkin, Catherine the Great’s right hand Statesman, and a super Statesman he was. He is entirely responsible for Crimea being Russian to the core. Having defeated the Turks, he spent most of his life nurturing the Crimea. Google Potemkin and the Crimea or read a fascinating non -fiction novel “Catherine the Great and Potemkin” by Simon Sebag Montefore ~ a truly good book on the life and times in Russia during the mid 1700’s till 1796. Viva the Crimea, a place i would love to spend a few weeks.

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