Monday, July 20, 2015

Anti-Russian Attitudes on the Rise in Crimea, Pro-Moscow Official Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 20 – Anti-Russian attitudes are growing in Crimea, according to Leonid Grach, the former head of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea and first secretary of the Crimean section of the Communist Party of Russia, and there is a risk that could provoke an outburst like the one seen in Mukachevo.

            In a comment for Krym.Realii, Grach blamed this development on the inaction of the Russian authorities and the “corrupt actions” of the organs of power in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula. As a result, he says, “the Right Sector could appear as a form of ‘self-defense” unless the authorities act (

            “If there will not be a strengthening of constitutional control and demands for observing the laws both by the authorities of Crimea and by the FSB and Investigation Committee, then we could go along a path far from favorable both for Crimeans and for Russians. For that not to happen, the constitutional order must be introduced in Crimea.”

            Grach, who very much wants the Russian annexation to succeed, added that he welcomes the proposal of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to include federal deputy ministers in the government of Crimea so that they could serve as “Russian controllers to establish order in Crimea.”
            An example of the ways in which poor planning and supervision may be exacerbating anti-Russian feelings concerns the draft.  Today, “Novyye izvestiya” reported that the Russian uniformed services will draft 2500 people from Crimea in the fall cycle, up from the 458 taken in the spring one (
            Although some commentators say that the draft went well in the first cycle and that all those called were allowed to serve on the peninsula rather than in the Russian Federation, “many parents of Crimean youths have expressed definite concerns.” And some activists have pointed to the kind of mistakes that could lead more to feel negatively about Moscow.
            Ella Polyakova, head of the Soldiers Mothers Committee in St. Petersburg, says that “in Crimea [despite official promises] officials have not been able to prepare for the draft to the extent necessary, and many  young men have been sent orders on Ukrainian forms which were used before the unification of Crimea to Russia.”
            That suggests, she continues, that the draft there should be postponed “until there has been complete preparation for this process.”

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