Ukraine War Day #389: Crimea Shows The Way

Dear Readers

Yesterday (March 18) was the 9th Anniversary of the Reunification of Crimea with Russia. To celebrate the occasion, President Putin made a surprise visit to the peninsula. As the RT piece describes it, Putin’s focus was on inspecting projects dedicated to making the lives of children happier and more productive. For example, a children’s art school that was scheduled to open that very day.

Nine years is enough time to figure out if the reunification was a success, or not. This piece by journalist Yury Zainashev offers some opinions and prognoses for the peninsula, and for the free city of Sebastopol. (Readers need to keep in mind that Sebastopol is somewhat of a separate entity, both historically and politically, and in terms of its legal status, from the rest of the Crimean peninsula.)

At a forum dedicated to this significant historic event (the forum took place before Putin’s surprise visit), Russian Vice President Marat Husnullin spoke about the achievements: Over the past 9 years Crimea eventually became capable of meeting all of its own needs regarding gas, water, and electricity. There are plans to build a highway ring by 2024, encircling the entire Azov Sea.

Marat The Builder

Speaking at the same forum, Crimea’s leader, Sergei Aksyonov noted that the Special Military Operation, by liberating the North-Crimea Canal, helped Crimea with its water problem. “Thanks to your decisions,” Aksyonov praised President Putin, “the [taking of the] North Crimea Canal removed the necessity of constructing de-salinization plants.” Aksyonov reported that, in the past 9 years, 1,600 kilometers of waterways have been built.

In his own remarks, Putin made special mention of the large transportation infrastructure projects, including the new airport in Simferopol, the “Tavrida” super-highway, and the Kerch Strait Bridge. Putin mentioned the Ukrainian terrorist attack that damaged the bridge, but assured that the repairs will be completed according to schedule.

Other metrics mentioned at the forum: In the Republic of Crimea, over 250 major investment projects to the tune of almost 450 billion rubles [around $6 billion U.S. dollars]. In the city of Sebastopol, around 100 projects to the tune of over 217 billion rubles [around $3 billion bucks].

Maxim Reshetnikov: Has a problem he needs to fix.

Not everything is perfect. There are unsolved issues, one of which Putin named: The persistent income discrepancy between Crimeans/Sebastopolitans and the residents of the Russian mainland, to the detriment of the former: “There is this discrepancy, and it is very painful for the people of Crimea and Sebastopol. We need to think about this a lot and try to overcome this income gap.” As he said this, he directly addressed Maxim Reshetnikov, who is the Minister of Economic Development for the entire Russian Federation.

yalensis: These are just my thoughts, but I am guessing that Crimea’s economic backwardness, in comparison to the rest of Russia, is due to its being stuck for 30 years as a subject of the economically backward and underdeveloped Ukrainian entity. I have said this many times: A series of Ukrainian governments accepted all of these magnificent blessings that were handed to them on a silver platter; and then did very little with them. Did not cultivate, did not invest, just let everything run down while all the riches flowed into private pockets. It’s like a parody of a Biblical parable…

Reporter Zainashev continues his piece with a rather good interview of Sergei Tsekov, who is a member of the Soviet of Federation in the Crimean Parliament. Tsekov shares his vision of a Crimea that shows the way for Russia’s other new regions, such as the Donbass, Zaporozhie and Kherson. These regions will probably face even greater challenges, and even more economic backwardness, than Crimea. They have many deficits, but can be helped over certain hurdles, by absorbing the Crimean experience.

Sergei Tsekov

Tsekov, by the way, has an interesting political biography. Born in Simferopol in 1953, just one year before Khrushchev’s fatal gifting of Crimea to Ukraine, Tsekov grew up pure Soviet, from head to toe. When the year 1990 rolled around, it found him as a member of the Parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. He was one of only four Deputies who voted against Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence in July 1990. Nonetheless, he continued serving in the Crimean Parliament, now of an independent Ukraine, representing the Party of Regions (of course). And now, by all indications, Tsekov is happy to be a Russian, and still doing what he does.

The interview:

VZGLIAD: Sergei Pavlovich, we were reminded at the forum that everything on the peninsula, having to do with transportation, has been renovated: The airport, the railroad, new highways have been constructed. What else has changed in this time?

Tsekov: The schools. When you are talking about the material basis of schooling, then the situation — Russian vs Ukrainian — it’s like heaven and earth. The schools are now being renovated every single year, every type of repair or renovation. Before 2014, around 30% of the schools in Crimea had leaking roofs. The same number had no food services. There were no indoor toilets, the children had to use the public toilets on the street. There were no gymnasiums for sports. And so on.

Gun class: Crimean kids learn to clean and load a Kalashnikov.

If somebody brought them a single basketball as a gift, there was unbounded joy. And now all of the schools are equipped with every type of sporting inventory. Remarkable changes! Almost every school now has indoor toilets, the roofs have been fixed, the windows, which used to whistle when the wind blew, have been replaced. All the schools have food or catering services. Computers have appeared in the schools, along with interactive whiteboards, and all the other modern types of equipment. During Ukrainian times, hot lunches were a rarity. Today over 90% of the schools serve hot lunches.

Salaries for the educational workers, to my knowledge, are now 2 or 3 times higher than in Ukraine. I travel a lot around the peninsula, like I always did; after all I was a Peoples Deputy already back in the early 1990’s. And nowadays I don’t hear any complaints about the salaries of schoolteachers, like I always used to hear, before 2014. The schoolteachers regard their current salary level as normal and adequate. I mean, of course they would like to get more.

[to be continued]

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28 Responses to Ukraine War Day #389: Crimea Shows The Way

  1. Liborio Guaso says:

    However, the West believes that the people of Crimea will be freer living in bad conditions as they are used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Jesus once said, “Man does not live by bread alone.”

      Crimeans should be willing to live shitty lives in poverty and crumbling infrastructure, if that is the price they have to pay to live under a regime that follows the sacred teachings of Stepan Bandera!


  2. MrDomingo says:

    The way I see the history of Ukraine and Russia in the last 3 decades is as follows:
    The 1990’s they were both about the same but Ukraine somewhat better off. They both were playthings of the Western Imperialists. US applied it’s policy of leaving all development and progress to the private sector. No room for government involvement, and that was firmly discouraged. They pushed same thing throughout the world starting with Reagan’s presidency. Many will remember Reagan (?) stating that these African countries need to pull themselves by their own bootstraps. Response was, we don’t have any boots. Many African governments had no choice as they were dependent on IMF and World Bank for financing. US imposed its brand on many countries, with the result that funding for Schools and Hospitals dried-up. This was where the Saudi trained imams stepped in to offer free education for millions of young people. Result is we now have widespread extremists waging Jihad.
    Back to Eastern Europe, where by stroke of luck a new incorruptible prime-minister was appointed by Yeltsin. This event was to eventually save Russia, but Ukraine continued on its US managed development. What was deemed worth buying was snapped up by Oligarchs and Western investors but most of industry was allowed to run-down under weight of debts. So, on one hand, Oligarchs domestic and foreign were left in control of Ukraine whereas Russian Oligarchs had their wings clipped or were outright dispossessed.
    So there you are, Russia now is a state with a future and Ukraine, manipulated all these years by US neocons is facing destruction and ruin. It did not have to be that way but when one has a weak government, one gets far right extremists that may have less than 10% of the votes dictating government policy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, MrDomingo, that is one of the best analyses I have ever read, of what basically happened, and why. And laid out very succintly as well. Bravo!

      At the deepest level it is a story of Two Brothers. One of whom went one way, and the other the other way. Also speaks to the importance of leadership of a group of people, and even down to a single person.

      I remember I once had a bit of a polemic with Professor Paul Robinson (on his blog), the topic (if I remember correctly) was the key importance of the figure of Lenin to the Russian Revolution, and especially in regard to the April Theses. I recall that the Professor sort of mocked me (gently), asking if this did not contradict Marxist ideology. (Namely, stressing the importance of an individual.)
      I recall that I replied, that the concept of personal leadership and its importance to the historical fabric, is not incompatible with Marxism, quite the contrary. Robinson may have been mistaking the opinions of Marx and Engels (and especially of Lenin and Trotsky) with those of Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy did in fact believe that individual leaders are just shells and decide nothing in the scheme of things; but I certainly don’t believe that. I mean, imagine if Yeltsin had been succeeded by Nemtsov? Then today’s Russia would look very similar to today’s Ukraine. If it still existed at all..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gareth says:

    Putin also visited Mariupol. The Anglo-American press reports that the trip was made to show defiance to the International Criminal Court and that Putin is isolated and faces arrest in over 120 countries. Ha Ha! No doubt he visited the kidnapped children in their reeducation camps, where the tearful kids were forced to chant “Slava Russia” to the grinning monster.

    The videos and photos accompanying the stories show Mariupol in it’s bombed out state and not the present massive reconstruction project. Western journalism is nothing but a sickening trip through fantasy land. And the journalists wonder why the public hates them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Gareth. I saw these reports in the Russian press; and the video that shows Putin driving through Mariupol, with Husnullin as his wingman, pointing out various sites and construction projects.
      It is clear that Putin is really paying attention and making sure that the local politicians, people like Husnullin and Tsekov, are doing what they are supposed to do.
      It’s like an episode of “Undercover Boss” !

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Samson says:

    There is this discrepancy, and it is very painful for the people of Crimea and Sebastopol. We need to think about this a lot and try to overcome this income gap.

    If that’s his problem, than the great question is how to fix it while using methods that result (not only) in that discrepancy.

    The official doctrine of the Russian government is not to question private property and “market mechanisms”. This means, however, that when someone spends a pile of money to produce something, the producer (entrepreneur) wants to “earn” something from it, i.e. he calculates his costs, which he has to deduct from the pile of money. Under “market mechanisms”, however, the “income” is the part of these costs that is “negotiable” and can thus be reduced to a minimum.


    • yalensis says:

      Great points, Samson. This is exactly why, in my opinion, Russia will find herself, willy-nilly, becoming more and more socialist; and hopefully returning to more Soviet methods. What other choice is there? The only way to level income gaps is with more government spending and subsidies. To recreate the USSR in some fashion. Including shuffling resources around and subsidizing some regions at the expense of others. Fortunately, public opinion will be solidly behind, people will be more willing to tighten their belts to help out their new compadres. Especially since the most Capitalist elements of the Fifth Column have already fled the country – yay! and good riddance to them… And those remaining will be guided by feelings of patriotism and altruism.

      And just you wait until Russia suddenly bloats up with these new territories! All of them poor and neglected like red-headed stepchildren, and underfunded and desperately needing …. EVERYTHING!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. S Brennan says:

    Great article Y, I enjoyed reading an upbeat story on what should be one of the wealthiest regions of the world. And government investment [and the invisible hand of limiting private profit to reasonable levels] have improved the lives of the people. People talk shit about Putin but, he governs like FDR/IKE/JFK. Perfect? No but, with a rough approximation of justice and decency. Putin only took the country to war when he was forced to, as a consequence, he will have the majority of Russians behind him, just like FDR.

    To: “US applied it’s policy of leaving all development and progress to the private sector. No room for government involvement, and that was firmly discouraged.They pushed same thing throughout the world starting with Reagan’s presidency”.

    Again, this is a fairy tail that enables the current situation to fester in the US. It was Jimmy Carter that bought into the Ayn Rand/Friedman et al “freshwater-economics” in from the cold. It’s St. Jimmy that opened the door for a a return to the gilded-age [sans mercantilism].

    Who hired, the darling of Wall Street, Paul Volcker? Carter or Reagan?
    Who deregulated/privatized airlines-decimating small towns? Carter or Reagan?
    Who deregulated Natural Gas? Carter or Reagan?
    Who deregulated the trucking industry? Carter or Reagan?
    Pol Pot, East-Timor, Shah, Marcos,


    The list goes on and on. Until D-enablers BEGIN to understand the regression of the D-party from FDRism back to Woodrow K.K.K. Wilson [sans mercantilism] no progress is possible in the US.

    No one can proscribe medication when they can’t recognize the symptoms…much less, the disease. It’s the coordinated actions of today’s ruling parties, which are PLAINLY VISIBLE, that has created this tangled web…not one pol or political party. Riddle me this, both IKE and FDR governed in EXACTLY the same manner and the country out-shined-fascism..then communism [apologies to our host but, FDRism works better than communism]. Bush jr & Obama/Biden governed in EXACTLY the same manner and have plunged the country into debt, war & disgrace…if party affiliation is so important, what explains these contrarian examples? Slap a major-brand-party-lipstick on a pig and you still have…a pig.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Excellent points, S. Well, to be sure, I personally believe that the more socialism the better. It’s like paprika in the goulash, there is no such thing as too much paprika!
      But sheer raw capitalism without any socialism (like the U.S. presidents you mention) simply doesn’t work. Randism not only doesn’t work, but harms people irreparably.

      Russian policies of subsidizing Crimean farmers, etc., that’s a dose of socialism within the Russian capitalist system. I guess you could call it “state capitalism”, which is capitalism with some elements of socialism. China is evolving in the same direction, I reckon.

      Add more paprika!

      Liked by 1 person

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. another point I wanted to make:
        There are several different reasons why Ukraine (especially post-Maidan) balks at adding any socialist ingredients to the recipe. It isn’t only that they are part of the Globalist ideology (which is basically Randite), there is a darker reason as well, and is one of the reasons why true socialism was never possible in the United States: Racism.

        I mean, socialism implies that you want to raise the living standard of ALL citizens dwelling within your boundaries. And sometimes that means giving stuff away, or just helping people out, whether they deserve it or not.
        But if a government secretly hates certain people and secretly wishes they would just die….

        Liked by 1 person

      • S Brennan says:

        Well, we may disagree on the finer points of economic practice but…

        …thank God we agree on Paprika!

        Without knowing your reply; I was at Trader Joe’s today and had chance to pass by the spice rack and, even though I prefer paprika stored in glass, I bought a tin…not having paprika in the cupboard is an invitation to culinary disaster…just saying, the stuff is AMAZING!


        • yalensis says:

          So true. And, by the way, although paprika is associated with Hungarian goulash and other delicious recipes, it was actually invented a long time ago by Native Americans living in the Mexican area.
          Those ancient Native American civilizations were famous for their experiments and inventions in the arena of food chemistry. They figured out chocolate, for crying out loud! A series of complicated food-processing steps that nobody would ever figure out without extensive experimentation. Those people were so inventive, they even experimented with adding lye to food, and the result was hominy. A way of preserving corn that also adds a unique taste to it.


          • S Brennan says:

            Great Point Y,

            What we think of as Thai food is largely the post-Coloumbian Americas transfer of Inca/Mayan/Aztec food technologies, a thing changed the world in a flash of time…as a match does to gasoline.

            Peppers, potatoes…the list goes on and on, the material wealth created by the transfer of food technologies is an unrecognized revolution that in all likelihood provide the fertile ground for the industrialization revolution some 150 years later.


            • yalensis says:

              Also great points. Just think how much wealth and value were added to the world by the invention of coffee/chocolate alone. The processing of the beans is so complicated that it could not have happened by accident. I have a personal theory that I have been ruminating about: I believe that the Indians didn’t realize at first that these particular beans created something edible. In fact, quite the contrary: They are not edible without all of this complicate and multi-step processing.

              So, my theory is that it was a gift given by the gods they were initially experimenting with dyes, and trying to create a black dye, or something. And a certain point in the process, somebody took a nibble of the product, and realized they were onto something important!


              • S Brennan says:


                Not to be contrarian with disrespect but…

                I believe the West-Coast-N-American Natives came up with a way to process oak acorns into food and not for dye. I’m thinking, desperate times calls for desperate measures and humans in the past, though ignorant of today’s accumulated knowledge were/are smarter than the humans of today. In the past, where there was will, there was a way or…there was death.

                And that makes sense, each generation after agrarian development had to carry the burden of a parasitic class who offered nothing in terms of food/material production. These wastrels have bred through the human population and now form the denizens of DC, the 3LAs, [and their minions] who, like their cousins, the locusts, plague us to this day.


              • yalensis says:

                That’s interesting, S. American natives definitely possessed a lot of food-processing technology. I have always been fascinated by the connections between different technologies, and how clever humans noticed these connections. For example, pottery firing and leftover by-products leading to the invention of glass. And, in this case, the interconnections between dyes and processed food. Not to mention herbal medicines. It was all about experimentation. In the pre-science age, humans had to rely on pure empiricism and experimentation.


        • yalensis says:

          P.S. – as to the coincidence of your buying Paprika at Trader Joe’s, unbeknownst to me, as I was writing a comment and paprika suddenly popped into my mind as an example of a good thing… that’s kind of spooky!
          Maybe the Jungian subsconscious, or some kind of synchronicity at work…


          • S Brennan says:

            Or…we both value paprika subtle but complex smokey/sweet flavor?

            The Ottoman empire likes to claim credit for paprika but, history says not…sorta like the the Phoenician alphabet and “Arabic Numerals” which are a result of Phoenician/Indian-proto-Tamil contact in the BC’s.

            We owe so much to the Phoenicians and yet, thanks to Latin propaganda, ordinary people are taught nothing of this great culture.


            • yalensis says:

              From wiki:
              The Phoenicians were also known as Canaanites, after their oldest city of Canaan. The Bible mentions Phoenicians several times in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The Bible describes them as being skilled workers in metal and wood, who produced many luxury goods such as ivory carvings, purple cloth, and brass items (1 Kings 10:22).

              The Sumerians were also underrated, in my opinion. They built a great civilization based on friendship/mutual respect between two peoples, the Shumers and the Akkadians. They also invented one of the earliest true alphabets. Although, to be fair, it wasn’t a very good alphabet. 900 or so letters is way too many letters. No true alphabet ever needs to have more than 30 or 40 letters (any language). But heck, it was at least a start.


              • S Brennan says:

                Excellent…history is, sadly, not taught well. Rote memorization, while not understanding the overarching contribution, seems to be the order of the day.

                Example; Circle all that are true:

                In what year did Columbus land in the Americas?
                a] 1493
                b] 1495
                c] 1489
                d] 1492
                e] All these dates are close enough not to matter.
                f] Both d] and e] are correct.


              • yalensis says:

                Before the internet, people had to rely on their memory more, so it is understandable that children had to learn certain things by rote, e.g., important dates, names of historical figures, etc.
                But nowadays all of that is completely unnecessary and a waste of time. Basic facts can be looked up instantaneously on a computer or tablet. Leaving time to be spent on more valuable things like analysis, discussion, debate. I foresee the day when children will just toss away the textbooks and focus on monographs or archival materials. Work on important projects, learn how to use the tools of research, etc.


    • MrDomingo says:

      Thank you for correcting me. I have a vague knowledge of history of this US shift. People like Reagan and Thatcher made me take note of what was happening and I did not like it. I did suspect that the foundations were laid beforehand. Like they say, “get them while they are young”. Process was put into place to shift political and economic discourse from bottom up. Its a long term project. In Western Europe, it has nurtured a class of like minded leaders that came to positions of power much younger than one would expect but all they have shown themselves to be are a bunch of ignoramuses.


  6. Daniel Rich says:

    When leaders don’t lead, I fend for myself. However, it’s our duty as adults, to make sure kids get everything they need, as they are our future. Likewise, we should treat the elderly with great care, for they built everything we rely on.

    It looks like 404 treated Crimea like a despised orphan, and it clearly shows. Of course, you won7t read anything about positive developments when Russia’s involved, but this eerie western silence [or badmouthing when you think about it] doesn’t mean that I, as a westerner, don’t know what really transpires on the ground in Russia.

    So, thank you Yalensis, for being one of the very few men that keeps us foreigners informed and up to speed. Very much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Samson says:

    there is a darker reason as well, and is one of the reasons why true socialism was never possible in the United States: Racism..

    Strictly speaking, racism is also just a specific form of domination, like any other way of sorting people. Moreover, rulers have invented all kinds of justifications for killing people, whether ritual (“execution”) or in war against “mortal enemies”. In this respect, racism is no more dangerous than religion that becomes a ruling ideology.

    Socialism is based on the idea that the capitalistically exploited would not put up with these impositions and would rebel against these (domineeringly constituted) conditions.

    In the first and last instance, however, this has something to do with “economy” and implies that the state would be “superfluous” as a quasi “autonomous” authority if this “economy” were organised on the basis of free agreement.

    But this is no longer possible when workers demand “higher wages” or work “overtime” to pay off loans for cars, houses or their children’s tuition fees. (This is, by the way, what Lenin meant when he said that organised workers cannot go beyond trade union demands and therefore need “professional revolutionaries” to fight against bourgeois rule).

    In terms of “standard of living”, I am convinced that there are millions of homeless (US) Americans and (Western) Europeans who, through a government like Cuba’s or Venezuela’s, actually care that everyone has a roof over their heads and enough to eat.


    • yalensis says:

      Lenin was right about trade unionism. Trade-union activism helps to develop class consciousness, but can never actually break through that ceiling of class domination. That takes a political party to do that.

      And, by the way, not all trade unions are benign, and not all strikes are to be supported. (Despite some lefty workerism types who say it is heresy to ever cross a picket lines; well, some picket lines are to be crossed; and some strikes are to be broken.)

      The Polish Solidarity movement was a classic example where legitimate worker-based trade unions were used by international imperialists for the purpose of restoring capitalism in Poland. So, ordinary Polish proletarians acting more or less for their own short-term interests, but against their longer-term interests as a “conscious” class in Lenin’s words.

      In some previous post (I don’t remember when), I also wrote about the Belorussian trade union movement, and how the imperialists were trying to use it to overthrow Lukashenko and install their own girl, Tikhanovskaya. Who, by the way, is a Nazi [for real].


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