Illegal Visits of Foreign Citizens to the occupied Crimea in August 2017 – Monitoring Results


Tetyana GUCHAKOVA
BSNews, Maidan of Foreign Affairs, Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies

Translated by Tetyana PUCHKOVA

By encouraging and facilitating the visits to the occupied peninsula, especially for foreigners, Russia tries to demonstrate that more and more citizens of the Western countries, violating the order of entry into the temporarily occupied territory, consider the Crimea Russian and that “the sanctions do not work” and therefore, it’s time to officially recognize Crimea part of the Russian Federation.

German municipal level politician Andreas Maurer during an illegal visit to Crimea in August 2017. Photo from his Facebook's page

The last month of the summer that has traditionally been the peak of the holiday season in Crimea, this year, was marked by several events that could be called "international" and used to argue that "the blockade has been broken" and the sanctions are futile.

Specifically:

  • A separate route to Crimea within the traditional Berlin – Moscow auto rally, as well as the Russia-Germany Friendship Bike Rally in Crimea itself. According to the invaders’ media, the former included about 10 cars, one bus and one motorcycle
  • The #ZBFest musical festival in Balaklava (Sevastopol) that was marked by a big scandal around the participation of the German band Scooter
  • The Koktebel Jazz Party festival
  • The Opera in Chersonesus festival
  • The First International Eurasian High Classics Festival with concerts held in several Crimean         cities
  • The international Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup in Simeiz (Great Yalta)
  • The International Glubina diving competition within the Army-2017 competition
  • The memorial ceremonies on the 76th anniversary of the deportation of Germans from Crimea
  • As has already become customary, the Artek Children's Center was used for international PR and the popularization of the “Russian world.” In August, a delegation of ex-patriot students-winners of the international "What do I know about Crimea?" competition, visited the Center. Also, the center hosted a Russian language camp session "for foreign students and teachers." And as before, foreign journalists and politicians continued to be brought to Artek to observe what happy childhood in the occupied Crimea looked like.

As of today, the Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies and Maidan of Foreign Affairs monitoring group has identified 53 foreign (non-Russian) violators of the occupied territory regime in August 2017. But the identification process continues and the blacklist will be further expanded.

The largest number of illegal visitors -15 - in August 2017 came from Germany. Somewhat fewer visitors – 11 - came from the United States. Three came from Brazil and the same number - from Italy. Two/each from the UK, South Korea, Syria and Switzerland. Austria, Bulgaria, Georgia, Colombia, China, Cuba, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the Czech Republic and Sweden accounted for one offender/each.

The fact that the overwhelming number of perpetrators come from states that are considered the "locomotives" of the introduction and maintenance of sanctions does not signify a change in these states’ policies. Instead it testifies to the enormous (and expensive) efforts of the Kremlin to demonstrate that the citizens of these states approve the Russian annexation of Crimea and reject the sanctions policy. For example, from the very first days of occupation in Crimea, the German ethnic and cultural society has become extremely active there and its leader representing the ruling Edinaya Rossiya (United Russia) party, has even become a "deputy" of the “State” Council of the "Republic of Crimea" and Deputy Chairman of the Committee on International Relations.

Not surprisingly, the number of Russian surnames among the recorded foreign perpetrators is quite high, as these are former, and sometimes even current, Russian citizens, who at the very least, are employed abroad, and at the most – have moved there. They are the vivid representatives and defenders of the "Russian world’s” net abroad.

Філіп Шпайзер / Filip Shpayzer / Filip SHpajzer

Austria

Member of the Scooter band that took part in the #ZBFest

Тодор Спасов / Todor Kostadinov Spasov / Todor Spasov

Bulgaria

Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup participant

Едсон да Сілва / Edson da Silva

Brazil

Member of the Brazil All Stars band that took part in the Koktebel Jazz Party

Ерівелтон Сілва / Erivelton Silva

Brazil

Member of the Brazil All Stars band that took part in the Koktebel Jazz Party

Серджіо Брандао / Sergio Brandao

Brazil

Member of the Brazil All Stars band that took part in the Koktebel Jazz Party

Гері Хант / Gary Hunt / Geri Hant

UK

Member/winner of the Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup

Блейк Олдрідж / Blake Aldridge/ Blejk Oldridzh

UK

Member/winner of the Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup

 

Ханс Йохан Паль

Germany

Head of the Russian community of Hamburg, an organizer of the Russia-Germany Friendship Bike Rally

Ульріх Хайден / Ulrich Heyden

Germany

A Der Freitag correspondent who visited Artek

Райнер Ротфусс / Rainer  Rothfuß / Rajner Rotfuss

Germany

A 2017 Berlin-Moscow auto rally organizer, head of the non-for-profit organization Druschba Global

Едмунд Штанзенбах

Germany

A 2017 Berlin-Moscow auto rally organizer, head of the non-for-profit organization Druschba Global

 

Ремітіус Рутковськи

Germany

A 2017 Berlin-Moscow auto rally participant

 

Регіна Штаут

Germany

A 2017 Berlin-Moscow auto rally participant

 

Володимир Сафонов

Germany

A 2017 Berlin-Moscow auto rally participant. Lives in Germany since 2003.

Ханс Петер Гердес / Hans Peter Geerdes / Hans Peter Gerdes  (Ейч Пі Бакстер)

Germany

The Scooter band frontman, took part in the #ZBFest

 

Йенс Теле / Jens Thele / Jens Tele

Germany

The Scooter band manager, took part in the #ZBFest

Mihael Simon (слева)

Михаель Сімон / Mihael Simon / Mihael Simon

Germany

The Scooter band musician, took part in the #ZBFest

Андреас Маурер / Andreas Mauer

Germany

Head of the German delegation, Head of the left faction in the Quakenbrück city council

 

Максим Ілліон / Maxim Illion

Germany

Member of the Club des Belugas band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Кітті-зе-Білл / Kitty the Bill

Germany

Member of the Jesse Davis Quartet that performed Koktebel Jazz Party

Мартін Зенкер / Martin Zenker

Germany

Member of the Jesse Davis Quartet that performed Koktebel Jazz Party

Михайло Ашкіназі

Germany

Pianist, arrived to Crimea on a concert tour

 

Тамара Чалахешашвілі

Georgia

Teacher, took part in the Russian language camp session for foreign students and teachers

Валеріо Згарджі / Valerio Sgargi / Valerio Zgrardzhi

Italy

A participant of the Chersonesus Opera Festival

Ван Вейци

China

Singer, participant of the First International Eurasian High Classics Festival

Мигель Гарсіа / Miguel Garcia / Migel Garsia

Colombia

Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup participant

Хансел Оро (Ансел Павел Оро)

Cuba

Journalist, correspondent of the Venesuela’s Telesur TV channel and Prensa Latina news agency

Алан Кол / Alain Kohl / Alen Kol

Luxembourg

Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup participant

Хіске Остервік / Hiske Oosterwijk

Netherlands

Member of the Double Bass Project band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Эдді Пальміері / Eddie Palmieri

Puerto Rico

Member of the Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band that performed Koktebel Jazz Party

Артемій Нагій

Russia, Italy

Singer, participant of the First International Eurasian High Classics Festival

 

Яніна Яцевська

Russia, Italy

Singer, participant of the First International Eurasian High Classics Festival, Toscana Opera and Ballet Theater soloist

Валерій Пономарьов

Russia, USA

Musician, performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Василь Ладюк

Russia

A participant of the Chersonesus Opera Festival

As a guest soloist participates in the prominent opera performances around the world​.

Володимир Маторін

Russia

A participant of the Chersonesus Opera Festival

A Metropolitan Opera soloist​

 

Камнеш Фахед

Syria

A representative of the Sana Agency, who attended Artek

Хасса Якуб Майя / Hassa Yakub Majya

Syria

Head of the daily operations of the Syrian Navy who came to Sevastopol with the diving team to compete in the International “Army 2017” Military Games

Алекс Карлін / Alex Carlin / Aleks Karlin

USA

Musician, head of the Alex Carlin Band who came to Crimea for a concert tour

Джессі Девіс / Jesse Davis

USA

Head of the Jesse Davis Quartet that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Пол Кірбі / Paul Kirby

USA

Member of the Jesse Davis Quartet that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Джо Ласті / Joe Lastie / Joseph Lastie

USA

Head of the Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sound band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Мервін Кемпбелл / Mervin Campbell

USA

Member of the Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sound band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Мітчелл Плейр / Mitchell Player

USA

Member of the Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sound band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Едвард Рубіо / Edward Rubio

USA

Member of the Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sound band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Грегорі Хатчінсон / Gregory Hutchinson

USA

Member of the Double Bass Project band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Енді Джонс / Andy Jones / Endi Dzhons (у російських ЗМІ - Еймет Джонс)

USA

Member/winner of the Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup

 

Девід Хейні

USA

Representative of the Cadence magazine who attended the Koktebel Jazz Party

Міхал Навратіл / Michal Navrátil / Mihal Navratil

Czech Republic

Member/winner of the Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup

 

Вероніка Сталдер / Veronika Stalder

Switzerland

Member of the Authentic Light Orchestra band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Валерій Толстов

Switzerland

Head of the Authentic Light Orchestra band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

Андерс Бергкрантц / Anders Bergevantz

Sweden

Member of the  Brazil All Stars band that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party

 

Хі Юн Ріо

South Korea

Musician, participant of the First International Eurasian High Classics Festival

Мін Чан Кім / Min Chan Kim

South Korea

Member of the Jesse Davis Quartet that performed at the Koktebel Jazz Party


For many of the reported perpetrators it was not their first visit to the occupied peninsula. Gradually, there has formed a circle of regular visitors who are no longer even trying to conceal their visit goals and at press conferences openly say exactly what Russia expects from them.

The organizers speak for the rest:

"The participants of the auto rally unanimously approved and continue to approve the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation... Our guests were certainly shocked by how fake the Western and, in particular, the German media turned out to be. They said: Ladies and Gentlemen, come and see how the Crimean people live today, as this is probably the best part of the globe now" – precisely such media reports are the ultimate goal of the giant efforts to organize events with the foreign participation.

Overall, all messages of the "Crimean foreigners" contain three ubiquitous components:

  1. Crimea is Russian
     
  2. Everything and everyone is doing great in Crimea
     
  3. Sanctions aren’t a big deal

Sometimes it sounds plain ridiculous. For instance, Gregory Hutchinson (US), a member of the Double Bass Project band, at a press conference in Koktebel said that he would not be upset if he was stripped of the American citizenship for his performance at the Koktebel Jazz Party jazz festival: "Let them take away my US passport - I do not care, I live in Italy."

To be fair, we should note that many of those who have gotten an invitation to visit Crimea, have also received a warning from their government agencies. And in many cases it works.

For example, the organizers of the Opera in Chersonesus festival complained that American performers who had wanted to come there, were advised by the US Department of State not to go to Crimea and Sevastopol and as a result, turned down the invitation. Two foreign athletes - Orlando Dooke from Colombia and Jonathan Paredes from Mexico - did not arrive in Crimea, in the words of the organizers, "due to threats from Ukraine," meaning that they refused to participate in the Freerate Cliff Diving World Cup to avoid sanctions on the part of Ukraine.

The president of the Jazz Party Koktebel festival, Russian propagandist Dmitry Kyselyov, also talked about the problems with inviting American and European performers to Crimea.  According to him, the organizing committee refused to announce the participants list after the renowned American performer Arturo Sandoval refused to come to Crimea.  Kiselyov also stated that the German band De Phazz "has also succumbed to pressure from their national authorities" and did not arrive to the peninsula.

In August it was announced that Germany initiated an investigation into the former Bundestag deputy from the Social Democratic Party, Jörg Tauss’s organizing a group trip to Crimea. The investigation was initiated by the Prosecutor's Office of the city of Karlsruhe at the February request of the German Ministry of Economics.  According to the Handelsblatt’s sources, the investigation concerns several responsible individuals.

Tauss is the head of the West-Ost-Gesellschaft (WOG) organization in Baden-Württemberg that in violation of the EU Crimea sanctions, earlier, organized a group trip to the annexed peninsula. Tauss denies responsibility and claims that since the trip did not have any financial incentive, he should not be punished. His house has already been searched in the course of the investigation.

In conclusion of this small August survey, we would like to cite the July 25, 2016 statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on trips to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine:

"With regard to the cases of violations by foreigners of the procedure for entry to the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine once again emphasizes that foreigners and stateless persons may enter the occupied Crimea strictly in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine, norms of international law and the UN General Assembly resolution 68/262 of 27 March, 2014 «On Territorial Integrity of Ukraine».

Foreigners and stateless persons are allowed to enter the temporarily occupied territory and exit from it by presenting a special permission of the competent authorities of Ukraine at the control points of entry and exit.

The legal regime of entering and exiting the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine provided for by the legislation of Ukraine will be in force until the sovereignty of Ukraine over the temporarily occupied territory is fully restored."

*   *   *

The monitoring of the violations of international sanctions against Russia and the legal regime of the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea is supported by the European program initiative of the "Renaissance" International Fund. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the position of the position of the "Renaissance" International Fund.



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