The Illegal Visits of Foreign Citizens to the Occupied Crimea in September 2017 - the Monitoring Results.
By Tetyana GUCHAKOVA
BSNews, Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies, Maidan of Foreign Affairs
Translated by Tetyana PUCHKOVA
More than any other place in Russia, the occupied Crimea has a typical Soviet — now, typical Russian — conflicting attitude towards foreigners. On the one hand, the country is completely surrounded by enemies wanting death to
the young Soviet state the great Russia who is rising from its knees. On the other, every traveler from the hated West who Russia manages to lure to the annexed territory, becomes a cherished guest and ally whose visit invariably means a top-notch reception and show off, and of course, is used for the maximum propaganda effect.
The latter conveniently manages to utilize even the sanctions and investment bans in the occupied Crimea by claiming the need to «protect the guests from the sanctions» that allows to conceal the real number of foreign visitors. For example, at a press conference in September, the permanent representative of the "Republic of Crimea" with the President of the Russian Federation, Georgy Muradov, said that "over the past year and a half over a hundred foreign delegations, including prominent public and political figures and parliamentarians, visited Crimea.»
The Russian official stated the purpose of working with foreigners very openly, stating that visits to Crimea by foreign politicians, businessmen and public and state figures demonstrate "the collapse of plans for the international isolation of the peninsula»:"
«That influences the formation of the international, in particular, European public opinion that increasingly understands that Crimea has returned home and feels absolutely comfortable and that the rights of people in Crimea are respected. We need to remove this topic from the agenda and develop normal relations between the countries of Europe and the Russian Federation.»
The occupiers regularly organize events that can be called "international" and used for the statements about the «breaking the blockade». In September those included:
- Andalusia Days in Crimea
- "GIT Crimea 2017" International Tournament on mixed martial arts
- Live In Blue Bay IXth International Open Air Jazz Festival
- Eurasian Bridge IInd Yalta International Film Festival
- Crimea Military-Historical Festival
- International Crimean Traumatology Conference
- Opera and Cinema gala concert
- Transmission Festival
The Maidan of Foreign Affairs monitoring group has identified 37 foreign — non-Russian — violators of the occupied territory regime in September 2017. This is not an exhaustive list, as the identification process continues and the blacklist will be added to.
The record number of September violators — seven visitors — was set by was France. Two of them played foreign observers at the occupied Sevastopol «elections,» while two more participated in the Crimean military-historical festival on the Fedyukhin heights near Sevastopol, the French director Patrick Kazal sat on the jury of the Eurasian Bridge film festival in the occupied Yalta, professor Patrick Bruno of the French School of Protocol of International Relations visited the Crimean Federal University and the head of the Department of Traumatology of the University Hospital in Strasbourg, Gilbert Taglane, participated in the conference Crimean Traumatology Conference.
Four offenders came from Italy, Germany and Spain.
As always, the lion's share of visitors from Germany came from various "friendship societies" actively supported there by Russia. The occupation media reports a September visit to Yalta of a group of 12 organized by the public organization Baden-Baden-Yalta. To date, the monitoring group has identified two of the participants: the visit organizer, the Baden-Baden-Yalta’s chairman Gerhard El and his wife, Uta El. In addition, a German boxer and the head of the the University of Giessen’s Department of Trauma Surgery were also spotted among the perpetrators from Germany.
The Italian list of September violators includes a jazz vocalist, a wine expert, a medical faculty of the University of San Pablo-CEU in Boadilla del Monte, the director of the PFI company and a journalist who actually visited the occupied peninsula in August, but were mentioned in publications in September.
Spain has «presented» the occupied territory with the President of the National Assembly of Andalusia who participated in the "Andalusia Days in the Crimea", a professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology of the University of San Pablo-CEU Medical School, a composer of Russian origin and a jazz singer, also of Russian origin, Maria Niankina with the romantic stage name Masha Ocean (the visit was a great «professional success" for the singer who in Malaga mostly sings in bars).
Three more violators came from the UK, the Netherlands and China each, two from Sweden and Kyrgyzstan each and one from Austria, Finland, Estonia, Uzbekistan and South Korea each.
The so much needed for the invaders sense of constant presence of foreigners in Crimea is maintained in the Russian mass media not only by numerous publications about the visits, but also by the repetitive announcements of future visits long in advance.
For example, the November Forum of the Friends of Crimea was repeatedly reported by the occupation media in September, the also November Open Crimea forum — in August and the Yalta International Economic Forum held in the spring does not disappear from the media all year round.
Some visits, however, remain just that — announcements. For instance, every month starting with February 2015, the visit of the UEFA delegation to Crimea was announced for different dates. And this September the European football functionaries were still expected in Crimea, but no avail…
Many other western guests are also not in a hurry to visit. In September, Yalta officials complained that «due to the pressure of Ukraine" six tourists from Germany's Baden-Baden had decided not to come.
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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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