15 December 2017

Crimean residents, Russians increasingly hostile

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Even those Crimean residents who initially welcomed the Russian Anschluss are now disappointed with the occupation and angry at Russians for their behavior, and the Russians there, long-time residents, new arrivals and tourists, are reciprocating with anger at the local population, according to Yevgeniya Goryunova, a Crimean political scientist. reports citing UNIAN.

She points at five socio-economic conditions behind this deterioration between Crimean residents and Russians and devotes particular attention to the way in which Russian tourists, the only ones who now come to the Russia-annexed Ukrainian peninsula, have escalated tensions with their behavior.

First of all, Goryunova points to the increasing difficulty indigenous Crimeans have in making ends meet. On the one hand, they find it difficult to get well-paying jobs unless they have connections and typically lose out to Russians. And on the other, the Russians, who are paid more, have driven up rental prices beyond what most Crimeans can afford. Second, she continues, Russian bosses prefer to hire people other than Crimeans because the latter are more aware of their rights than are Central Asian "Gastarbeiters" and complain when those rights are violated. Third, the occupation authorities have done almost everything in their power to destroy indigenous businesses and farming, preferring to import agricultural and other types of products from Russia.

Indeed, Goryunova says, “the Russian authorities are conducting an intentional policy of destroying Crimean business, including small business, by removing not only competitors but also the first flowering of a middle class which in Russia for centuries has been viewed as consisting of ‘superfluous people.’” Fourth, Crimeans face discrimination when they try to register their children for kindergartens or schools. Russians, who have arrived with the occupation, enjoy preferential treatment, while Crimeans feel left out. And fifth, when Crimeans turn to the courts or magistrates after their rights have been violated, they typically lose their cases, that's because the courts work on the whim of the powers that be rather than according to the law. A particular irritant in the relations, Goryunova says, concerns generally cheap behavior of Russian tourists who now dominate the scene.

When any local Crimean resident tries to confront tourists over their indecent behavior like littering or a failure to find a public restroom instead of relieving themselves in parks, they are faced with a lecture by these Russian tourists claiming Crimeans should be grateful forever to them for “‘liberating’ Crimea from ‘the Ukrainian yoke'.” In short, “Russians act like masters, and Crimeans are reduced to the status of guests on their own land,” with a feeling they may be forced to leave at any moment. “No one needs us in Russia,” one of Goryunova’s neighbors says. “Why did they take us then? Was that in order to drive us out of our own home.” Although the sad realization of what Moscow has been doing in Crimea may have come upon Crimeas a lot later than one would like, the but at least it is dawning on them today, political scientist adds.

2017.07.22 / 14:59
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