NB: As readers of
Windows on Eurasia know, I highly value and admire the work of Kseniya
Kirillova. I have translated more than 50 of her articles into Windows over the
past year alone. In posting her latest article, which is “translated” below,
Kirillova says that because of health problems, she is not sure when she will
be able to prepare more and in fact is uncertain whether there is any sense in
continuing such work.I am sure I join
all those who have relied on her writings in saying that we hope she will
recover her health quickly and that she will again produce her valuable pieces
without which our understanding of Ukraine and Russia would be diminished.
July 30 – In an article entitled “In Crimea Only the Tanks are Comfortable,”
Kseniya Kirillova features a report by a Ukrainian woman who recently visited
occupied Crimea and who was shocked by the display of Russian tanks and other
military equipment in the streets of cities and towns there (ru.krymr.com/content/article/27158773.html).
(and for obvious reasons, Kirillova does not supply her last name) says that “to
see such a quantity of tanks is really awful. In the city itself also is a
display of military equipment.
Everywhere Russian flags are flying, and people are walking about with ribbons”
identifying themselves as supporters of the occupation.
observe such aggression and militarism is morally difficult,” Natalya
The Ukrainian woman went to Crimea in order to work as a volunteer
at one of the children’s camps. Her impressions from there were “stupefying:
the atmosphere in the camp very much recalled Soviet times,” down to the
wearing of red bandannas, marching about, and the singing of Soviet hymns.”
was divided into units,” Natalya reports. One, consisting of children from
Luhansk was called “the Patriots,” and its members carried Russian symbols. “In
the mess hall, the pictures of the children were hung,” pictures that showed
tanks and other outward symbols of the occupation.
noted that in her own group, there were children even from Western Ukraine “who
almost did not speak Russia. Nevertheless,” she says, “both the children and
the leaders were prohibited from speaking among themselves in Ukrainian.” When
she and some of her group sang Ukrainian songs, others “practically called us
terrorists and threatened to call the FSB.”
people, Natalya says, are being encouraged to snitch on others, and they are
doing so. “One ‘vigilant citizen’ almost called the police when she saw that
several Baptist girls were playing in the yard with children.” She added that
she had been warned by local people to be “careful” when talking with people
lest she be turned in.
she adds, she had direct experience with this.Some “’well-wisher’ wrote a letter to the procuracy” and reported that
because she had been at the Maidan, she did not deserve to receive Chernobyl
accident benefits.Moreover, the writer
said, her son supposedly “works for the Americans.”
Natalya reports, the police behaved more or less well and did not launch a
criminal case this time, but the attitudes of many in Crimea now are, in the words
of one Crimean resident, that they as Russian citizens “do not like to live
alongside chameleons” like her.
concludes that in such an atmosphere, ordinary people cannot possibly feel
comfortable. Only tanks can do that.