Illegal Visits of Foreign Citizens to the Territory of the Occupied Crimea in December 2017-January 2018 — the Monitoring Results

by Daniil KHMELNIK, BlackSeaNews

The monitoring group of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs, the Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies and BlackSeaNews has summarized the results of monitoring the illegal visits of foreign citizens to the occupied Crimean peninsula.

In winter months, the Russia-occupied Crimea proved to be unattractive for foreign guests. We have identified only 8 foreign (non-Russian) citizens.

Italian jazzmen gave concerts in Simferopol and a free performance in the Gvardeiskoye village, and also conducted jam sessions and the Modern Improvisation Music master class for the students of the Simferopol Tchaikovsky Musical College. The musicians had also visited the occupied peninsula before. On February 3, 2016, Andrea Manzoni, Luca Curcio and Andrea Beccari gave a concert in Simferopol. On February 9, The Main Department of the National Police of Ukraine in Crimea and Sevastopol started a pre-trial investigation into criminal proceedings based on a criminal offense under Part 2 of Art. 332-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Another Italian is Julietto Chiesa, a journalist and columnist with a pro-Kremlin stance. In December, he visited the Crimean "Federal" Vernadsky University (before the occupation — the Taurida National Vernadsky University) and met with the head of the occupation "authorities" of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov. In the future, it’s expected that ye will even be named a KFU honorary professor. Chiesa also said that he is authorized to represent in the Crimea a cultural heritage protection NGO ItaliaNostra that according to him, intends to help Crimea get its Genoese fortresses ruins on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Previously, Chiesa has repeatedly visited the occupied Crimea as part of various "delegations" and he also plans to come again as a "foreign observer" at the upcoming Russian presidential elections. In June 2017, as part of foreign journalist group at the international media forum The Open Crimea: With my Own Eyes, he visited the construction of the Kerch Strait bridge, made a film about it and later showed on his channel Pandora TV. Last year, as a delegation member, Chiesa visited Sevastopol.

Another peculiar character who has visited Crimea, is an American from Texas, a former US military engineer turned videobloger, who now fights on the side of the L/DNR militants, Russell «Texas» Bentley. In numerous interviews to the Russian media, he is portrayed as an ordinary well-to-do American who sold all his property and «in search of justice» came to Eastern Ukraine to «fight fascism.» In reality, however, he is a drug dealer, a smuggler and a member of an international drug trafficking band. In 1996, the District Court of Minneapolis sentenced him to five years and three months in prison. He has been fighting in Donbas since January 2015 in the Sut Vremeni unit of the Khan battalion and took part in storming the Donetsk airport.

December 2017

Herbert Schlair


Head of the Blue Danube Business School private business school. Conducted business planning master classes for the students of the Humanities and Education Science Academy of the Vernadsky Crimean Federal University in Yalta.

Gayane Eliazyan


Has of the Conservation and Restaurartion Department of the Matendaran Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts named after Mesrop Mashtots. Took part in the IIIrd International Forum of the Literature Museums in Yalta



Political scientist, historian and author of the book The White Rus Fleet Leaders (Флотоводцы Белой Руси), presented at the Russia-Belarus conference in Sevastopol with the same title

Andrea Manzon


Jazz musician, performed in Crimea, previously visited the peninsula in February 2016

Andrea Beccaro


Jazz musician, performed in Crimea, previously visited the peninsula in February 2016

Giulietto Chiesa


Writer, journalist and columnist, met with the Simferopol students, previously visited the peninsula

Russell Bonner «Texas» Bentley


A DNR militant, participated in the flower laying ceremony at the Defense Monument in Sevastopol. Earlier took part in the Russian Reactor film shot by the Night Wolves biker club (Russia)


January 2018

Lucian Kim


An NPR reporter who traveled across the occupied peninsula


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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.