Do Crimeans await liberation from Russian occupation?

Crimea is Ukraine. The liberation of Crimea 

Article by: Olena Mukhina

Edited by: Matt Wickham

Recent partisan movements in Crimea suggest that the “Ukrainian Path” has more support than Russia Propaganda would have us believe. With anti-war graffiti appearing on public buildings, public rewards for those who bring back the head of a Russian commander, and grandmas pouring blood on Russian soldier’s graves, could an uprise be nearing? Do Crimeans await liberation?

“It is hard to speak for all Crimeans to determine the exact number of those supporting the Ukrainian path. However, the latest cases of pro-Ukrainian activism can paint the bigger picture of what is going on in the Crimean society,” Anna Lukasevich, the chief consultant of the support service in the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, explains.

Despite propaganda narratives from Russian authorities regarding the high level of satisfaction with Crimea’s so-called accession to Russia, international isolation, covert but forced mobilization for the war in Ukraine, and soaring prices have caused Crimea residents to protest against occupation authorities and gather in a partisans’ movement.

People take to the streets with anti-war placards and Ukrainian songs, despite threats and detentions.

Simferopol residents began to stage one-person protests in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They held anti-war placards in front of the city council, World War II, and monuments of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.

These actions may seem insignificant when condemning military actions, but even minor acts of insubordination to a military machine immediately fall into the eye of law enforcement officers. Most protesters face administrative penalties, and some are subjected to criminal charges for referring to Russia’s invasion as a war. By law, it has to be referred to as a special operation. The elderly are no exception. Lydia Pronina, for example, was fined after publicly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On the other hand, people continue to write anti-war graffiti on buildings, benches, billboards, and automobiles. On 11th April, someone in Sevastopol wrote the names of the Ukrainian cities most affected by Russia’s missile attacks and occupation: Bucha, Mariupol, and Kharkiv.

All of these acts do not prove Crimea’s hopes for liberation. Still, they do demonstrate that pro-Ukrainian activists and ordinary citizens do not want to leave the occupied peninsula and want Russia’s policy to change. Cultural determination is a better indicator of this. On 30th June, during the celebration of Youth Day in Russia, performers sang several Ukrainian hits, one of which is about hoping that the war in Ukraine will end soon – Obiymi by Okean Elzy (Hug me), which has been banned in Russia, according to NikVesti.

Destruction of Russian propaganda signs

City lights promoting propaganda on the war with Ukraine receiving improvements from activists. Funeral wreaths and a handwritten poster that reads “Rest in Pieces” are examples. Some, such as a 55-year-old Sevastopol resident, attempted to remove war banners, while others cut the wheels of cars with the propaganda sign Z. In addition, Kerch, the owner of a company, stated that if he saw another Z sign on the front window of his tractor and he will have it removed and the employee, immediately. Krym Kray Partisanskoy Slavi – Crimea is a land of partisan glory, one of the most active resistance units reported. Partisans in this over 5,000-member community constantly repeat that Crimea is a part of Ukraine and that everyone there is waiting for liberation.

Ukrainian partisans in Crimea equate Putin’s regime to Nazis. Photo: By Krym Kray Partisanskoy Slavi

Its activists mark Russian flags with the swastika, equating Putin’s regime to a Nazi one, reveal names of collaborators, inform the Ukrainian Army of the latest military operations in Crimea, paint over Z marks on cars, and leave pro-Ukrainian leaflets on buildings and infrastructure. Here are some that say, “Attention! Ruscists, eight years and three months, we have been waiting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to conduct a counteroffensive and liberate Crimea from Ruscists. We’ve been waiting for eight years and three months. We have weapons and information on your whereabouts, how many of you there are, and what we need to burn you. For Bucha, Hostomel, Irpen, and Mariupol, we are ready to wipe you from the face of the world. Wait, you beasts!”

Announcements from Ukrainian partisans in Crimea.
Announcements from Ukrainian partisans in Crimea. Photo: Krym Kray Partisanskoy Slav
A car with Z painted over by Crimean partisans. Photo: Krym Kray Partisanskoy Slavi

Internet and social media protesting

At first, protesting on social media may have seemed to be the safest way to express opinions. But Russia’s special services check messengers and issue threats of state treason sentences for anyone who donates to the Ukrainian Army. A disturbing case was documented by the Crimean Process initiative while monitoring occupational courts. An individual was prosecuted for talking about the war on a messenger app, which was deemed as “discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.” And on 4th July, Russia’s news agency, Ria Novosti, shared a video of the FSB breaking into an apartment of a man who had sent money for Ukrainian soldiers through the Come Back Alive charity foundation. Several people in Crimea were also fined administratively for posts on social media accounts in March 2022. In an interview, Crimean Tatar activist Abdureshyt Dzhepparov was detained for 15 days just for saying that Russian authorities withheld the true number of soldiers killed from the public and used civilian infrastructure objects for military purposes in his interview.

When analyzing the latest activity on social media accounts reveals that posts in local pro-Russian groups received 27-500 likes and up to 200 comments under each post of 20,000 – 88,000 subscriber communities. Partisan groups receive more attention, with around 380 comments. In those groups, members of the resistance movement declared a manhunt for Anatoly Varochkin, Russia’s Navy Captain 1st Class, who launched a missile attack on Vynnytsia, killing 23 Ukrainian civilians, including three children. Partisans offered a $15,000 reward for his head and put down his address in Sevastopol.

$15,000 reward to kill Russian captain who ordered a missile attack on Vynnytsia. Photo: Krym Kray Partisanskoy Slavi

Direct resistance cases: burning buildings, Yellow Ribbon movement, and incendiary weapons into Russian military offices

While local’s protests show their indignation towards the Russian occupation by refusing to provide services to invaders, as the Vidnoye vehicle station did by ignoring Russian soldiers’ requests to change tires, partisans continue to set fire to administration buildings. In Pushkino, the resistance threw a bottle with flammable substances (Molotov) at the village council to remind Russia’s authorities that whilst on Ukrainian soil, they will always feel unwelcome.

Simultaneously, a man fired a homemade weapon at Simferopol’s military office, but it missed the target, and the unit remained intact. As a result of the attack, a criminal case was opened in Russia.

According to Anna Lukasevich, there were 76 cases of resistance to Russian leadership from 24th February to 31st May, including the infamous case of the elderly woman who poured blood on the grave of a Russian soldier killed in Ukraine’s civil war. The court sentenced her to two years in a colony. Another well-known activist and artist, Bohdan Ziza, is accused of terrorism for splattering the Ukrainian flag colors yellow and blue on the Yevpatoria City Council.

The Yellow Ribbon, a resistance movement gaining traction in occupied territories, encourages residents to wear yellow ribbons and participate in anti-Russian rallies. Partisans from Simferopol, Alushta, and Kerch have already distributed organization leaflets with the date of Ukraine’s Independence Day. “Crimea is ready,”. “Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Ukraine is returning,” announcements read.

Announcement for Crimean Partisan Protests
Announcement for Crimean Partisan Protests – ‘Ukraine is returning’

Russian soldiers stormed Ukrainian bases in 2014, seizing critical infrastructure and instructing collaborators on how to stage an illegal referendum. With no international observers, independent journalists, or the option to vote to remain a part of Ukraine, occupation authorities could quickly declare that the Crimean people were devoted to Russia and had indeed chosen to be a part of it.

Oleh Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, born in Simferopol who was sentenced by Russia for his strong pro-Ukrainian stance and was released due to international pressure, said all of his friends in Crimea await liberation.

Major General Dmitry Marchenko recently described the destruction of the Crimean Bridge – the symbol of Russia’s occupation and the main link between Russia and southern Ukraine – as a critical tactical step in the de-occupation plan, along with the destruction of Russia’s Navy. The Russian Army uses the bridge to replenish its supplies. Ukraine is currently stockpiling weapons and building upon its personnel resources for the liberation of the south, including Crimea. Partisans, don’t forget to remind invaders that their time in Ukraine is running out.

7 comments

  1. “Recent partisan movements in Crimea suggest that the “Ukrainian Path” has more support than Russia Propaganda would have us believe.”

    This is the truth! The Crimea is a kettle full of boiling water, ready to blow the lid off.

    “Oleh Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, born in Simferopol … said all of his friends in Crimea await liberation.”

    Sounds familiar to me!

    Crimea will be liberated! The mafiosi’s time there is about to end … either in flight or in blood.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It seems to me Crimeans are in 3 different mindsets. First, Ukrainians that have kept quiet for 8 years. Second, Crimeans that don’t care but want to return to a normal life as it was pre-2014. Then the recent Russian arrivals subsidized by the Kremlin.
      That last group will have to be filtered but little threat because they are lazy Moskali moochers. The second group just need some time to remember how well things were prior to 2014.
      The Wild Card will be the Crimeans that will return the first chance they get. They are likely to be quite pissed.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I think it will be like France after liberation from the Germans. Traitors will find the remainder of lives are very short, and Russians will either leave, or find themselves in the same boat. Those that have had their property stolen, will also be in no mood for mercy with the Russians that are stupid enough to remain. The colonist that said “they will kills us,” is probably quite right.

        Cross the Kerch bridge while you still can. The Ukrainians are coming.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Unfortunately, there is a fourth group, Red; native Crimeans who are pro-ruskie. The ruskies will flee when the time comes, but for the fourth group, it will be really tough, for they must either stay and “face the music” or also flee into an unknown future, away from their homes. Everyone knows who is who, and so there will be no third option for them.

        Liked by 3 people

        • There are, or were, 250,000 Tatars in Krym, before 2014. Many joined the volunteer battalions that then were incorporated into the Ukrainian armed forces. Some disappeared, some were murdered, some were tortured with electricity, many are still in putler’s gulags. Many fled to Lviv. The wealthy ones had their homes thieved by Russian scum.
          Tatars have lived in Crimea since the 10th century, so they are the true Crimeans. I expect them all to return and reclaim their property. They were the majority inhabitants of Krym right up until 1920, when Lenin started murdering them, deporting them and replacing them with Russians.
          I would kick out all Russians who were artificially inserted there since that time and do the same in Donbas.
          In fact, after the war, all putlerites must be deported.

          Liked by 3 people

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