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Blockade of Crimea, its bases and perspectives

Blockade of Crimea, its bases and perspectives

Blockade of Crimea passes smoothly and according to the plan of activists.

Currently trucks with good have returned to the mainland territory of Ukraine, there are no queues at the three checkpoints: Chaplynka, Kalanchak and Chongar.

Unian reports this with reference to interview of head of Crimean Tatar Mejilis Refat Chubarov which he gave on air of Channel 112.

People’s Deputy Chubarov had a discussion with blockade partners from the ‘Right Sector’, ‘Maidan Self-Defense’, Automaidan, ‘Sich’ organization and other deputies at their headquarters.

They discussed what means they should take in case of provocations.

‘There are no reasons to say that they will happen, but we want that everything happens without complications,’ – Chubarov said.


Chubarov on duration of the blockade

Chubarov on duration of the blockade

Refat Chubarov in Ukraine Crisis Media Center

According to him, the duration of blockade depends on many factors.

‘I said that we are ready for different time frames – week, month, six months. There are many factors on which we will decide.’

He also commented on prohibition of Crimean Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya to mention the word ‘Majilis’ in mass media because that organization had not been officially registered in Crimea and Sevastopol.

‘I can tell my attitude, I’m history scientist, and I will once again say what the older people know. The older generation has been through such times when the ruling regime believes it can avoid appearance of some problem by prohibiting it.’

‘During Soviet times it was prohibited to use the words ‘Crimean Tatar’, there was not census in our ethnicity, we were called Tatars. There was Crimean Tatar language, but there were no Crimean Tatar Schools, there were no textbooks.’

‘Thus Russia is steadily slipping into abyss and the problem of de-occupation of Crimea actualizes this probability. We need to have time to pull out Crimean land that let those jump in that abyss,’ – Chubarov said.


Food blockade of Crimea began on September 29 on the initiative of Crimean Tatars, that fighters of the ‘Right Sector’ joined in.

Only trucks are prohibited to enter the territory of the occupied peninsula, cars and pedestrians pass without obstacles. Checking of the trucks in the queue by mobile groups of law enforcement officers resulted that many driver turned around and headed back to the mainland.


Reasons for food blockade of Crimea

Reason for food blockade of Crimea

While the activists prevent trucks with food from entering the occupied Crimea, hot discussions arise among people. And before you start telling that it is wrong to deprive our people in Crimea of food, let us remember why the blockade was initiated.

We’ve already written about Crimean leaders press briefing in Ukraine Crisis Media Center in early September where they spoke of plans to block the peninsula.

You can read about this here.

Blockade of Crimea, its bases and perspectives

Here are brief points why about 500 activists at 3 checkpoints do it:

  • de-occupation of Crimea and restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine;
  • liberation political prisoners arrested in Crimea and in Russia: Akhtema Chygoiza, Mustafa Degrmendzhy, Ali Asanov, Tair Smedlyaev, Alexander Kostenko, Nadia Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko, Gennadiy Afanasiev and many others;
  • demand from Russia to lift the ban on entering Crimea to the leaders of Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov as well as activists of the national movement Ismet Yuksel and Sinaver Kadyrov;
  • and finally, the blockade of Crimea is supposed to call on Ukrainian government to abolish regime of Free Economic Zone in the peninsula.


Mustafa Dzhemilev mentioned that the civic blockade is a step to make government think about developing laws to abolish the so-called ‘free economic zone’ in Crimea and create it on the territory of Kherson oblast which borders the peninsula.

Refat Chubarov also didn’t exclude possibility that Crimean Tatars would seek to cease supply of electricity to the peninsula. According to him, that decision had been made as protest against:

  • systematic repressions against inhabitants of Crimea held by occupation authorities;
  • unsuccessful actions of Ukrainian government which result in problems with movement.


In order not to leave the Crimean people alone against the occupants, Chubarov suggested that Ukraine should create grocery retail markets on its territory where inhabitants of peninsula would buy products at affordable prices.

On the one hand this is supposed to stop the flow of funds for occupants who use them to conduct searches in the homes of Crimean Tatars. On the other hand this is supposed to force businessmen who trade with Crimea to work in transparent system and the money would remain in Ukraine.


Expert opinions

Blockade of Crimea, its bases and perspectives

An activist stops a lorry near the village of Chongar, in the Kherson region adjacent to Crimea, Ukraine, September 20, 2015.

Here are opinions of political scientists and experts collected by Unian.

Political scientist, head of ‘The third sector’ center Andrey Zolotarev says that situation with Crimea has transformed in the same hybrid state as hostilities in the East of the country, as politics of the Ukrainian government.

‘When we say ‘annexation’, we still continue intensive trade. Therefore we should divide: either we go for economic losses by conducting a consistent state policy or we why do we make a fuss that the flow of goods goes to Crimea and store shelves and full of Ukrainian goods.’

According to Zolotarev, the action of Crimean Tatars is like volunteer movement meanwhile the state only declares some actions.


In his turn, co-director of programs of foreign policy and international security of Razumkov Center Aleksey Melnik believes that what happens at the border with Crimea is not a blockade in traditional understanding of this word.

The expert points out that organizers of the blockade do not set the task to prevent ordinary people from crossing the border. They have repeatedly stated that the issue of the blockade is to stop organized supply of good to Crimea which is a total absurd when there is an occupied territory, there is de facto the state of war and Ukrainian state, which goes around the world with outstretched hand asking for sanctions, increases volume of trade.

The expert mentions polar points of view concerning timeliness of the action and its effectiveness. However, he says that he doesn’t quite understand the positions of opponents of the blockade.

‘I believe that what Ukrainian activists have done, first of all Mejilis heads, is the strong step that sends signal not only to Russian occupants, but to Ukrainian government, Ukrainian people on how we should counteract the aggressor.’

Head of the Center of Applied Political Studies Volodymyr Fesenko says that rigid blockade of Crimea increases number of risks including military actions by Russia and break with Crimean residents in social and humanitarian spheres.

‘Actually, why the blockade is carried out as it is? First of all it is the response of Crimean Tatars to repressions against their activists in Crimea. Secondly, the certain immoral situation has emerged, despite annexation of Crimea by Russia, active trade relations between Ukrainian business and Crimea develop.’ – Volodymyr Fesenko says.

In fact, business earns in Crimea even more that it did the previous year. This happens due to surreal status of the peninsula as free economic zone of Ukraine.


So fighting or trading?

Blockade of Crimea, its bases and perspectives

All the mentioned experts come to conclusion that law on free economic zone in Crimea should be abolished.

Alexei Melnik says that the first line of the preamble to the law already hints that people who wrote it were in some unknown place and had no idea of what happened in February and March 2014.

What concerns other demands of the activists, like energetic blockade of the peninsula, the experts say that this can be achieved only if Ukrainian government takes this step consciously and deliberately.

‘Mejilis representatives can go to pedestrian crossings and block car movement, however, energetic blockade is impossible without political will of the state,’ – Zolotarev says.

Volodymyr Fesenko believes that activists can achieve more reliable, accurate and transparent control of the trade flows with the Crimea. However, according to the expert, complete cessation of economic relations with Crimea is impossible because it would have ambiguous political and social-economic outcomes for Ukraine itself.

In his turn, Alexey Melnik believes that it is too early to speak about reintegration of Crimea into Ukrainian legal, humanitarian and social space.

Today it is important to decide whether we trade or fight. ‘Therefore the task is to reanimate issue of returning Crimea.’ – Melnik says.

Experts come to decision that today the activists need to make every effort to make life of the aggressor complicated, make the high price for annexation of Crimea and Russia does to Ukraine today.

However, it should be kept in mind that blockade of Crimea can result in new round of conflict between Ukraine and Russia in other aspects. For example, in gas talks and blockade of Minsk process.


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