Crimea - a place where the Ukrainian summer lives! Lidiia Kozhevnikova
Black Sea View

This is a very difficult time for Ukraine and Crimea. It's hard to imagine what is going on in that piece of land that just yesterday belonged to one country, while today military troops are forcing citizens to change their national symbols into the symbols of another nation. 

What do people feel and what are they thinking, when their motherland is living such a crucial time? 

Currently, mass media, Internet and social networks are spreading different information concerning the fact whether Crimean citizens are happy to become a part of Russia, whether they want to remain a Ukrainian territory or whether they just want to keep their autonomy. But so far, as each second post or article could appear to be a fake one, we decided to make our own investigation.

My friend Khatidge, elementary school teacher who lives in Simferopol (the capital of Crimean Peninsula), made her own investigation about people’s opinion regarding the situation in Crimea and Ukraine. Everyone was asked the same question: "What is your attitude about the current situation in Crimea and Ukraine?" She received different answers: someone is pretty sad that Crimea will be separated from Ukraine, others are happy to become a part of Russia, some people don’t care at all… But we took each opinion into consideration to make the situation clear to everyone, including the opinions of people with Crimean nationality, Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and Russians.

Look at the collection of thoughts by Crimean citizens and you will find a list of answers for the main question, whether people want to join Russia or not:

Sabina - 17 years old, Crimean Tatar: “Putin's goal was to split Ukraine and to blackmail our Government with territorial integrity in exchange for its conditions of Ukrainian politics. Crimeans are hostages of the situation, which will be resolved anyway. We believe in it. The future of Ukraine is in Europe. Ukraine will be integral and indivisible, despite Russia's attempts to make influence. Crimea is Ukraine. It was always like this and it will continue to be! Glory to Ukraine!”

Julia - 20 years old, Ukrainian: “As for me, I am kind of neutral concerning this situation, it’s up to the Government; it will be better if they take their own decision, because I can’t know for sure how it will be better for us…” 

Evelina - 13 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I just don’t want war. If we become a part of Russia, I wish they respect our nation…”

Ann - 21 years old, Russian: "I don't feel excitement about Russia at all... It's like a welcome back to the Soviet Union. I want to vote for the autonomy."

Fazile - 18 years old: “Our votes are not the solution for them, but I do not accept Russia. I am so proud of our nation that stays till the end, and while youth and older generation are fighting for our future, I am praying for Peace!”

Anzhelika - 21 years old, Russian: “What is my attitude? Quite negative! The country that allows itself to invade foreign territory and dare to tell that it is for commonwealth… What else can I add?”

Elzara - 23 years old, Crimean Tatar: “Crimea is occupied! I can’t find any other words to describe it. No one cares about people’s opinion and that referendum is just for performance, otherwise the presence of journalists, independent experts would be allowed… Besides referendum, contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine.”

Vilora - 19 years old, Ukrainian: “I can't think of nothing else but the situation in Ukraine and particularly in Crimea, and I can tell that some of my friends are now in the same stance. We don't know what to think, everything changes so quickly that we are not even capable of reacting adequately. We are anxious, men don’t sleep at nights - they walk around our local district and watch what is happening so that if something appears, they will warn everyone. Important people are playing their games, but it is always ordinary citizens who get to bear the majority of consequences of those games. In my opinion, the referendum is not legal, legitimate and fair: all the results were ready even before it was held. Moreover, I think Crimea is not the aim, it is something much bigger the world is fighting for. Thus everything has been decided for us so, we are now to find possible solutions to the problem of living in Russian Federation or leaving for Ukraine while both options are quite troublemakers.”

Iryna - 14 years old, Russian: “In my opinion, it would be better for Crimea to become a part of Russia”.

Server - 23 years old, Crimean Tatar: “While there is commotion in Ukraine, Russia decided to grab Crimea and it seems that Ukrainian Government doesn’t care at all.”

Aishe - 18 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I think if Ukraine loses Crimea, it will become a poor and non-valuable country, but I don’t wish such a thing happen to Ukraine, I want to stay with this country! I speak Russian, but I like Ukrainian and I can speak Ukrainian language, too.”

Rahima - 20 years old, Ufa Tatar: “I want to take neutral position. For me the most important is to keep peace in Crimea, so our kids won’t be able to know what a war is. Crimea is not only a resort, but also the most friendly and cohesive piece of the Globe. I believe the most important thing should be the protection of people from the bad life.”

Elena - 22 years old, Russian: “I am confused. I have relatives in Ukraine and in Russia, so for me it’s like a dead end.”

Lenara - 22 years old, Crimean Tatar: “Who could imagine such a situation in Crimea? Ukraine is the country where I was born and have been living for already 21 years, so I count Ukraine as my motherland. And suddenly here appeared Russia who wants to grab Crimea to itself. This is almost like the same, as if someone came to your house and said: “Now I will be a host here!”

Nigina - 21 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I want to talk about the people in the squares... The fact that activists are not well informed has led to the fact that people did not know what they really want. Most of them do not know for what they are standing for! There are many controversial issues in this situation, but any decision must eliminate the conflict and should be resolved exclusively in a peaceful way.

Zenur - 18 years old, Crimean Tatar: “We are Crimean Tatars and we support Ukraine, we are against annexation of Crimea to Russia. We are against illegal referendum. We are ready to protect our motherland. My opinion is: if someone wants to become a part of Russia, just move to that country. We have only one motherland!”

Alie - 21 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I just don't want to discuss things about this chaos, it is a limit of everything… No comments, it has become more terrible.”

Emine - 21 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I love my dear Ukraine, it is my home country, because I was born here, my boyfriend was born here, my relatives live here… I like Ukrainian language, Ukrainian songs, actors, singers, and even if I am a Crimean Tatar I like to speak Ukrainian language and especially to sing Ukrainian songs. I don’t want Crimea to be apart from Ukraine, I don’t want to lose all I have at one moment. I do not want my parents stop receiving a pension and I don’t want all my Ukrainian relatives to become foreigners. I don’t want to sit without water, gas, light and food… All right, our country is not the perfect one, but I am pretty pleased with it, and we cannot choose our motherland so far we can’t choose our parents! ”

Emine - 24 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I confirm that Ukrainians are friendly, hospitable, with strong spirit and will for freedom and independence. I have a lot of friends in Lviv, and I am afraid that due to the current situation I won’t be able to meet them frequently, like I did before, because now they appeared to be “foreigners”. What about Russia? Everyone can make promises and our pearl, our peninsula appeared just as another unit in the list of invaded places of Putin. So my conclusion is: Crimea+Ukraine FOREVER!

Riana - 21 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I hate talks about politics, but I can’t remain speechless, I need to express my civil attitude. Of course, I am for Crimea, from the borders of Ukraine! Crimea and Ukraine are like husband and wife, and we must live in peace and harmony! Third one is odd man out. But in any case, for me peace is the most important thing!” 

Alie - 22 years old, Crimean Tatar: “I can’t find any positive things in this situation. What do Crimean people want? We want peace, we want things to calm down… that’s all! They violated our peace… Now we are scared and worried all the time! But anyway, I believe that everything will be fine and this situation will be resolved soon! I don’t know for sure what Russia wants, but I still believe that it doesn’t want war. It is supposed to be something else.”

Lenur - 23 years old, Crimean Tatar: “To my mind, when Russia realized that loses control out of Ukraine after the Government has changed, Putin decided to manipulate by the help of Crimea. Their main goal is not to allow Ukraine to become a rat of EU and a place where NATO will troop.”

Ruslan - 22 years old, Ukrainian: “My opinion concerning the events in Kiev and Crimea is quite negative. I don’t think that someone will really care about our people in EU or in Russia.” 

These are just opinions of a few people. Undoubtedly, we can highlight that even though people have different attitudes here, all of them have one whish in common: peace in their land. 

As for me, I don't want Crimea to be apart from Ukraine. I am so proud that we have this piece of “Ukrainian Paradise”. If we lose Crimea, I can say that we will lose the Black Sea. I really hope the situation will be resolved soon and we begin to develop a new country, and no one will say that Ukraine is very poor and the most corrupted country!

Why do I love Crimea? This peninsula has beautiful views, its own culture, it is rich in traditions, and Crimea has a lot of sides. I got used to visit Crimea almost every year. I was in the wonderful places like Yalta, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Alushta, Alupka, Gurzuf, Zaozernoe, Peshanoe, Evpatoria. I fell in love with its sunrises and sunsets, with mountains and waterfalls, I found a lot of friends in these places.

I have millions of memories about this amazing, wonderful, charming place, that we just lost a couple of days ago... For me it will always remain as a great part of Ukraine! I hope that under whatever country, it will be taken care of. All the best for its lovely people!  

Edited by: Lilit Mkrtchyan
Photo credits: Lidiia Kozhevnikova