Every minute, two or three readers' comments pop up on our website, including openly anti-Russian comments. We are hopeful that these comments are made by thinking, but frightened or angry people. All these fears are understandable and close to the Russian people. The chief editor of Pravda.Ru Inna Novikova reflected on this situation.
"Does anyone has an idea how we can collectively ask our armed Russian guests to leave the peninsula, and come back in the summer in shorts and flip flops?" wrote on his Facebook page assistant professor of psychology of Tauride National University (Simferopol) Valery Dorozhkin.
My friend with a degree from a Moscow University wrote from Simferopol: "90 percent of Crimea residents are in favor of Crimea being part of Ukraine with extended powers. People are shocked. There is too much masquerade behind Russian flags. Everything is piled up in one big mess, Kuban Cossack Choir at the square, security forces... this is completely surreal ( (
Young people are horrified. This generation considers themselves hundred percent Ukrainian. They were hit the hardest.
There are huge conflicts in families where grandmothers are pro and grandchildren are against. Everything we have used to be connected with Russia, but it has been 20 years ... All these years no one cared about us. We were unemployed, without citizenship. We became numb. Why didn't Russia fight for us then, why the Russian language was not given the status of the second state language? In my worst nightmares I have not seen what I see now.
Helicopters are circling above our heads; there is panic that soon there will be a war. My students are begging to become nurses. It is very scary."
Nadezhda Zaviriukha, Simferopol: "Military units in Crimea are abandoned. Officers with green soldiers who were drafted in the fall have been on duty since last week, guarding the weapons. They are exhausted and hungry, they are outside 24 hours a day, with little to no food, some were locked in bunkers all week. Food is brought by military wives, and not everyone has one. At the same time the invaders are placed in hotels and fed as if they are at a resort. Our guys cannot afford to use force to send the intruders to their homeland, to their mothers who are waiting for their return, because for the Russian authorities it will be an official excuse to unleash a full-scale war."
We now realize that there will be no war in the classic and terrible sense of this word. Saber-rattling seems to be a phenomenon of political nature. Now there are economic and trade issues, and refugees. This is bad. But it is better than armed conflicts. No one wants a war, especially on their own territory, neither Russians, nor Ukrainians, nor Germans. Even Americans do not want a war on their territory, albeit this question is a theoretical one because the last war on their territory happened 200 years ago. But their sensible majority had enough losses in foreign territories in the last couple of decades.
As for the residents of Sevastopol, the joy from the emergence of defenders or irritation from pro-Maidan actions of Kiev cannot last long. Joy amid uncertainty is replaced with uncertainty, fear and panic. We, the people of sound mind and memory, want to live in peace and do not want to see helicopters hovering over our heads. Especially given that our generation and the generation of our children are unaccustomed to military helicopters "hovering peacefully" over our cities. This is scary. So now, at such a difficult, panicky time, the anti-Russian sentiment in Crimea cannot be ignored, cannot be disregarded. We cannot choose not to explain anything to the people. It is not a good idea to keep people in fear and ignorance, and to think that they will understand everything on their own because they are "one of us."
In the silence the screams that Russian troops are awful, that they came to kill, are better heard. (Who came? Who are they going to kill? Where are they going to kill? Why are they going to kill?). Laymen hope that if unidentified soldiers leave, everything will be as nice and sunny as it was last summer or 20 years ago. July will come again, and tourists will flock to Crimea wearing flip flops to enjoy a lazy resort life, and the beautiful Crimean sun will warm their hearts.
It does not matter that the man in power in Kiev, according to media reports, was a member of Satanic sects and the "White Brotherhood," and that he is subject to a variety of terrible vices. I am not affirming anything, only repeating what I've read in the media. It does not matter that in Kiev only representatives of the "Right Sector" are accepted into Rada, and that the first law adopted was on banning the Russian language. And even conversations that another leader of the "Right Sector" stated a claim on Kursk, Belgorod and Voronezh regions are not important. All this is far away, in the distant future. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. It may blow over.
I am absolutely sure that if we were silent, it would not blow over. Furthermore, it is appropriate to think about the NATO military operation against Yugoslavia that began exactly 15 years ago, in March of 1999. If then, in a shameful Yeltsin era, we supported the Serbs, and we had every opportunity to do it and even had some military successes that our military had to ignominiously back off of later, we would not have Maidan today (or Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.) and we would not have to make a decision to enter Russian troops in Crimea.
We have enough screamers here. Our creative class representatives are everywhere where one can spit in the direction of Russia, and even where there seems to be no reason to spit.
Today I was surprised by the article of Andrei Zubov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of MGIMO, who compared Putin to Hitler (although he is not the one who pioneered this thought). He said that in 1939, Hitler annexed Memel region to Germany, and in 1945 Germany was defeated, and two-fifths of its territory were alienated, and the remainder was divided into zones occupied by the victorious powers. The Germans were ashamed. "Has the Russian government calculated the risks of this incredible (Crimean - Ed.) campaign? I am convinced it has not. Just like Adolf Hitler in his time did not calculate his risks. If he did, he would not be running around his bunker in April of 1945 under the Russian bombs, and would not have eaten a poison pill."
Was Hitler running around the bunker with a poison pill in his mouth because six years before he annexed the Memel region to Germany? And this man teaches students of international history!
Why am I mentioning this? Where does patriotism begin? Between February 7 and February 23 of this year we told the world how cool and classy we were; what a great culture we had, and what a glorious history we had. Do we need to wait for competition, victories and championships to feel it, to support our country and the rightness of its actions?
Patriotism is instilled from early childhood, from pictures in an ABC book and friends at a playground. Why are we not paying attention to these small and important pictures? Why do we immediately look at the big picture?
Helicopters are circling over Simferopol, let them circle. Those who are scared are fools. Nobody explains anything to anybody. You have to explain things to your own people, work with them. You have to calm your people down and talk to them about what is going on. You have to explain them that these measures are necessary and important, that the government will do everything to minimize the negative and keep intact the population's nervous system. You have to feel compassion and love for your people.
Explaining something to the international community is a waste of time. Nobody is going to listen to us, as nobody is going to listen to even their own, sometimes even respected people who dare to say anything against the general trend.
MEP Ewald Stadler sharply criticized the European Parliament's report on human rights violations in the world for its bias and double standards. The report had a separate long chapter on two executions in Belarus (on charges of committing a terrorist act in the Minsk metro). Meanwhile, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, in 2013, 39 people were executed in the United States. There was not a word in the report about Saudi Arabia where people are executed only for the fact that they are Christians. However, tolerant and peace-loving Europeans almost unanimously approved this report, ignoring their own colleague.
We must first explain things to our own doubters. We have to talk to them, address them on TV, maybe distribute leaflets. It wouldn't hurt to feed Ukrainian soldiers (they are not strangers to us).
It is clear that feeding the residents of Sevastopol as a sign of friendship could seem exotic. All the romance will end quickly here, and only a simple and clear idea that people want peace would remain. People will quickly forget that the appearance in Sevastopol of unidentified people in the uniform has already cooled the ultranationalist mood in Kiev. If we were silent, the Bandera monument would be erected not in Lviv or Ivano-Frankivsk, but in the center of the Ukrainian capital that also used to be the capital of Kievan Rus.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovoi, in perfect Russian language, spoke of tolerance and multi-ethnicity in a specially taped address to the residents of south and east of Ukraine. He spoke eloquently, and the message was wonderful. He promised peace and friendship. Only he forgot that it was in Lviv where on May 9, 2011, World War Two veterans who came with flowers to the monument to Soviet soldiers we beaten with the connivance of the police. No one was punished. Just recently this monument was demolished, or, as the authorities explained, dismantled to save it from destruction by vandals. Aren't SS representatives marching around Lviv? Aren't there billboards in honor of Memory of "Galicia" division hanging in Lviv? Is someone confused as to why Mr. Sadovoi changed his tone?
Of course, not everyone in Lviv supports the idea of Stepan Bandera and his modern followers, and in other cities of the south and west of Ukraine there are very few supporters of nationalism. Would the mayor talk about tolerance and multiculturalism if it hadn't been for the decision of the Council of the Federation to help Crimea that has been "noted" and, God willing, will not have to be enforced?
I am hopeful that the Russian army has fulfilled its mission in Crimea without firing a shot. Now it is time for politicians, economists, poets, builders, political strategists and beauticians.
My longtime friend, a political consultant, back in 1994 held a massive advertising campaign in Russia to educate the Russians and develop a positive perception of the new 100 dollar bills. The budget was significant. The client was the U.S. Treasury, and the executor was international full-service agency Young & Rubicam. They hired my friend as a contractor.
The project was divided into three stages and the execution was to take one year. The stages included announcement, informational, and consolidation. The campaign made a lot of noise all over Russia. There was a huge amount of printed and promotional products, brochures, explanations, ads. Banks, exchange offices and retail outlets were filled with materials. Treasury checked the mood of the Russian population nearly on a monthly basis. Six months later, the overseas customer came to the conclusion that the Russian audience was ready for the new bill. The campaign was over, it was a success. New dollar bills started flowing into Russia.
This is how one should work with the population. It is more difficult and more important than hosting the Olympics.