An American in Crimea: People are pleased with joining Russia
By William Williams
I have been in Crimea for two weeks. It is a beautiful place with very nice weather. Spring is here, flowers and trees are blooming. The people are relaxed and friendly. I walk on the sea walk everyday often several times. Families, couples and everybody seem to enjoy this walk. Many mothers with baby strollers and children are seen everyday.
Since I have been here there has been a lot of activity. Painting and setting up booths. Many nice structures for children. Activity rooms to climb and jump around in, with slides. Children's rides, trains, cars and boats shaped like swans are now ready. The parks are wonderful. Walkways and benches are amongst trees and grass. People, old and young enjoy relaxing or playing here.
The cafes are opening, with great food and drink. The galleries are very nice. There are many shops with everything one could need. At night the night clubs pulse their beat. People are out, day and night enjoying everything. All is ready for tourist season.
The friend I am visiting has a job and a young child. On her free days she has taken me to nearby towns. Ajo, koktebel and some others. There are wonderful beaches, very nice trails and beautiful scenery. We spent a rainy day in simferopol shopping for her daughter and eating very good food.
This has been a very relaxing vacation in a beautiful area.
I don't speak Russian. The few people I have been able to talk to tell me they are very pleased with joining Russia. They did not want to be ruled by the fascist government in Kiev. The elected government was overthrown. The new, illegal, government was making changes that were not welcome in many parts of Ukraine. They feel safe now and hope for a better future with Russia.
In the past, I am told, much of the money earned through tourism was taken from Crimea. Either by the owners of the hotels or by taxes. I sounds like 50% of the money left the region.
The tourist areas are very nice and well maintained. Away from this area I can see that the infrastructure of the city has been neglected. Water pipes under ground leak , water flows in the street. Many of the buildings , walkways and streets need repair.
It sounds like jobs are scarce. I think some money invested in the community would provide jobs and repair infrastructure.
I see local people standing in very long lines at the banks. Most Ukraine banks have closed. Some left with out giving people their money. I talked to a woman with two children that lost her apartment because the bank left with her money.
I think some of the Russian banks have been slow to open branches here. Perhaps because of western sanctions. I'm not sure. I do feel bad for the people that stand in bank lines for the whole day. They chat and don't seem to concerned. Maybe its because of what they see going on in Ukraine, is much worse.
I talked to a young man that has family in east Ukraine. He is very upset and worried for his family. The violence increases everyday. The illegal government has sent troops into the area. They are fighting their own citizens. The scale of the violence is much worse than the violence seen in Kiev.
My view of the actions by western governments is evident in my letter to president Putin. I sent this same letter to a few news agencies in the west, Canada and USA. I don't expect a response from them. They have not responded to my inquires before. The news at home has been very biased. My countries are in full support of the illegitimate Ukraine government. The people at home are not being told the whole story. They are good people, we are not fascists. Canada welcomes immigrants from around the world. They are free to practice any religion or culture.
I just wish the western news agencies would show the whole story, both sides. The violence in Ukraine needs to stop.
Dmitry, thank you for your interest. I told you I'm not a writer. I'm a heavy equipment operator from the oil and gas industry in alberta canada. Feel free to edit what I wrote. I'm sure you understand what I'm trying to say. Maybe you could just pass my letter on to the president.