The Crimean Peninsula’s annexation of Crimea has not become less beautiful. Black sea, blue as ever, the steppe smell of vermouth, and Muscat wine — the sun, and by night see more stars than you can ever see in Germany, even in the black Bavarian night.
In the Soviet Union the lovers asking each other: Who, besides you, stars be considered?! It’s a phrase from the brilliant cartoon “Hedgehog in the fog”: the Hedgehog and his friend Bear, a night in the woods drinking tea from a samovar with raspberry jam, counting the stars, and when the Hedgehog one night, got lost in the fog, Bear begins to worry.
After the annexation of Crimea is not so easy to count the stars in the Crimea. Many families separated. The grandparents from Kiev who come to visit their grandchildren in the Crimea, it is necessary to overcome difficulties. Flights from Ukraine to Simferopol, capital of Crimea, is no more. The last flight Kiev-Simferopol was carried out in March 2014, a few days before the referendum in the Crimea, the plane flew to Odessa and was forced to turn around in the sky. “Well, — said the pilot to the passengers. — Don’t expect us!”. Many wanted to go home.
Train tickets to Crimea are now chronically in deficit, they are not passing straight to the Crimea, you need to go with a transfer. Is the path by land. Want to go from Kiev to Yalta? Please 900 km. the Hours of waiting at the border. Transport companies are prospering, first of all, the old mini-buses without a licence for passenger transportation, they do not pay taxes.
If you want to go from Germany to the Crimea, there are two possibilities, both weakly correlated with the tourism industry. Need to get special permission to visit the annexed territory of the Ukrainian Republic. For this it is necessary to contact the Ukrainian Embassy in Berlin and two offices in Kiev. Then sit down in Kiev in the bus. It is better to book a seat in advance, otherwise you can be in the old minivan, whose drivers like to listen to techno. Tyts-tyts-tyts.
Or the second possibility. Need to get a Russian visa and fly via Moscow to the Crimea. Or via Saint Petersburg. For Russian airlines flights from Moscow to Simferopol. Ukraine, of course, does not recognize. Who flies this route violates the Ukrainian laws, and faces up to eight years of imprisonment. Currently Ukraine conducts investigative actions against the German group Scooter, which last Friday played in the Crimea. Tyts-tyts-tyts.
Elderly members of Scooter, of course, flew through Russia. But the head of the FDP, Christian Lindner, who is under 40 years are also likely to fly through Russia, if you will soon decide to visit the Crimea. Lindner says this summer is not about annexation, but the “workaround” question. The expression is very vague. But it is not so much reminiscent of Eastern policy Willy Brandt, says much about the current existence of the FDP.
In stuffy Kiev, people on the go gnaw seeds. St. Andrew’s Church in sky blue on the Bank of the Dnieper is hidden from the eyes of the scaffolding. Opposite the house of Bulgakov Andreevskom — those who don’t read Bulgakov, it is difficult to understand the relationship of Russian and Ukrainian soul — we sell wood and flax. Stylized Soviet poster warns: “Fuck Putin, Ukranian stay!”. Near depicts a narrow Slavic face with a mustache — “Putler kaput”. And more unambiguous information, “Putin’s invaders are not here to serve”.
On the facades of many buildings hanging plaques. The heroes of “Heavenly hundred” is not forgotten. The so-called victims of the Maidan.
A stroll along the Andriyivsky descent, or other places in Kyiv you need to plan if you select the first option of the route. Visits to different institutions can take time, it is recommended that at least one overnight stay in Kiev. If all the correct documents and photos already prepared, you need to go to the building on the left Bank of the Dnieper, to the migration office. The guard at the entrance buried in the phone, a hand propping up his chin. In the first office to handle application for entry to the Crimea. Employees talk to each other in Russian, as many in Kiev. The reporter of the Russian international passport, staff grinning.
— We need another translation of Your passport into Ukrainian language.
— You understand Russian?
Translator at the notary not sure how to transliterate the name of the applicant in Ukrainian. The applicant who does not know Ukrainian, offers its own version. Some. Print, ready, back to the office. You need to wait for another three hours. “Suitcase, you can leave here. Only if there is no voice recorder inside!” Employees in high spirits.
What is striking in Kiev this summer — has a lot of world stars. Sting. Depeche Mode. Scorpions. Patricia Kaas. Posters on the streets with information about concerts follow one another. In the annexed Crimea stand Scooter (in Sevastopol) and Boney M. (in Yalta).
Scooter has criticised the German fans when it was announced that the trip to the Crimea. “You would have made and in Poland in 1939?” asked one fan in Facebook and handed over their tickets for the concert in Germany. “No, silly,” says the other, it is better to export the music, the weapons. Frontman Baxter urgently made a statement that his art has nothing to do with politics.
On the other hand, and such a dismal performer like Marilyn Manson, who last week played in Kiev, not particularly political people. It is unknown if he had heard about the performance of the Scooter in the Crimea and all about Scooter, but their song This Is The New Shit heard and shouted to the Ukrainian audience: “Kiev! I don’t want to get political, but you make Moscow look like a bitch”. “Kiev! Near you Moscow looks like the last prostitute”.
Words about Moscow was not accidental. A few days earlier apolitical, but very adventurous musician performed in the same Moscow. And after greetings in Russian — “Hello!” he shouted: “but seriously, you were the toughest audience of all time!”
In the case of Baxter, which surely has fans in Ukraine, it is necessary to establish a strategic mistake. After his speech in Crimea, in Kiev, a group cannot appear.
When you stand in front of the Dolphinarium in the South of Kiev and look at the people who crowd into buses and minivans, the statements of world stars of the Crimea was a prostitute and so on — are lost. Here people, many of whom are older people who drink on the street cheap brew and take in the way boiled eggs, people with missing teeth and downed his legs, which for a long time saving up for this trip (35 euros). People who in Soviet times were young and healthy, and count the stars in the Crimea.
“It’s humiliating,” says Tamara, a former physics teacher, now retired. She lives in Yalta. Due to problems with the respiratory system. “My daughter lives here. This border crossing point how long he will be?” More Tamara says. She sits by the window.
Nicholas, an engineer from Kiev, for decades, resting in the Crimea. He’s in a good mood. An avid smoker. Optimist. “Last time we waited at the border only two hours.” He sits in front next to the driver.
The guy in flip-flops collects the money. Can we get the check?
Uh, that’s not quite right about what we do.
But after a trip to Crimea is not illegal?
— Depends. The guy smiles and closes the door. Red Opel pulls.
The driver turns on techno. Maybe even a Scooter, impossible to understand, despite the greater volume. Everything shakes and rumbles. Passengers give up. “Leave it, — says one. — 1000 km, do not give us sleep.”
Field to the South of Kiev green, the soil fertile. On the side of the road someone has placed posters with quotes from the Bible. “Whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of man” (Luke). “Anyone who is alive has hope” (Ecclesiastes). “Missing comma”, says Tamara, a teacher of physics. Tyts-tyts-tyts. In the car draft.
Every three to four hours red Opel stops. Dressing. The driver goes to the toilet, smokes a cigarette, drinking incredibly a lot of coffee. Nicholas, engineer, smokes one after another. “The last time I got to the border took two packs of cigarettes. And a bottle of wine. Illegal importation of goods. In the penultimate time I was able to bring two bottles of wine. It all depends on the border.” He opens a pack of cigarettes, so that no one could regard them as goods for trade.
In the beginning of the fourth morning Opel brakes, tube before the border crossing Rate-Armyansk. In the tired eyes of the passengers noticeable appreciation against the driver. Have arrived safely. The driver smokes. On the other side waiting for another car with the Russian numbers.
The end of the day for this driver? No, he’s immediately sent back to Kiev. He is waiting for passengers on the other side.
The black steppe, stars, cicadas. Heat like in a greenhouse. Right in front of us the lights of the houses on the Ukrainian border. Passengers prepare their passports. The greater part of their two — Ukrainian and Russian. Ukrainian border guards, of course, show the Ukrainian passport. One it is not, he holds a special permit and passport. Only Ukrainian citizens can no additional documents to enter into the annexed Peninsula. Our country — that is the message.
Who has only a Ukrainian passport, as Nikolai, the Russian side must fill out an entry form. Thus Nikolay applying for entry to the Russian territory. Our country — that is the message Russians.
For the Ukrainian border point at first, nothing. Only stars, cicadas and a narrow walkway in the caverns which at first is not visible. Tamara, the teacher, with two heavy bags at the ready, coming through the darkness. Right behind her is a mother with a baby in her arms. One kilometer? One and a half? Come and go, notice the faint light of the Russian border. Someone stumbles, stops, a woman swears. A car passes at 200 km/h and brake before the border crossing. Cars that want to go very carefully checked. Some lose patience.
Not picking on Russians today. The line moves — the Passport! Remove the glasses! Open the bag! And the backpack too! Next! In the enclosed corridor. A couple of hundred meters in the column, and then — welcome to the Crimea! It is immediately noticeable, because the German SIM card then stop working. There is no roaming. Sanctions. Group from Kiev gather again together. Where is our car? Must be a white VW.
White VW arrives in two hours. It’s light, the steppe stretches to the horizon. Six o’clock in the morning. The new driver fingerless gloves, he listens to Russian pop music, but still. Tamara again sneaks to the window, the red spots on her face, she coughs, sneezes. Over the moon someone has installed billboards along the road. They depict Vladimir Putin — Russian President. Soft, dreamy smile, hand on his chin. Quotes Putin, some of them very long, that, passing by, they do not have time to read.
“In 2017, we will put into operation the first units of the new power plants that no doubt will provide a growing economy and needs in other areas.”
“Crimea is tourism and recreation, but not only. Crimea has a large industrial and agricultural potential, and we will develop it”.
“The Crimea. Russia. Forever.”
“The authorities haven’t even built the bridge,” says Nicholas. Putin’s friend here is building a bridge to the Crimea. “But it will wash away. On the seabed nothing is impossible to build.” Engineer of the Soviet school of skeptical, no one in the car he doesn’t mind.
The road goes along the coast, come to Yalta to ten in the morning. People with each other are not forgiven such people. Yalta swallows them.
The city where Chekhov in 1903 he wrote “the Cherry orchard”, which Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met in 1944 to discuss the end of the Second world war, could be a great resort. Three years after the annexation here in high season welcomes every tourist. The majority of tourists come from Russia. ATM “spit” a foreign credit card. Sanctions. “Services will not be” — it is written on the screen. A temporary solution.
He who brings with him the Ukrainian money of Kiev, never could do that. Only at the train station trolleybuses for the kiosk with beer and tobacco is a speculator in a t-shirt in mesh. He deals with the currency exchange according to the rules.
An important source of income for local youth on Lenin embankment — the photos of children in costumes giraffe or Panda. Some children refuse to be photographed, they laugh and play with the tail of a giraffe. Then the giraffe tells parents how much fun it is. 20 euros. 25 euros. Profit in the air. After lunch in Crimea turned off the electricity, and nobody, it seems, is not surprising.
The actual topic in Yalta — the future of the city theater. In the 90s it broke, homeless camped out on the stage. Then, the Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev has invested in the rebuilding of the theater, they brought Kevin spacey and John Malkovich in Yalta to “build bridges between cultures.”
All in the past. Tycoon abandoned the project. The Russian Ministry of culture does not allocate money, Kiev, needless to say, also. The theatre’s artistic Director, died in June of a heart attack.
When people in Yalta tired, they look at the sea. One of the girls at the pebble beach originally from Simferopol. It in 2014 was against the Crimean spring. The so-called annexation of most of the inhabitants of the Crimea, because the majority of people wanted to joining the Peninsula to Russia. In order to prevent the decline of euphoria, post more and more posters with Putin’s remarks. This woman in the course of the Crimean spring defiantly wore clothes in the national Ukrainian colors and supplied Ukrainian soldiers canned food. Today one no longer sees the point in resistance.
“I was allowed to study. Was Moscow — to leave women alone. Most young people prematurely left. Those who remained lost their jobs.” But no one blocked for a long time. “Now we are splashing in the sea, — says the woman. — Though a wolf howl”.
A typical day in the Crimea. Upstairs the boy sells candy floss on the beach in Yalta. Below women in Sebastopol waiting for the ferry, right on the screen is visible, Vladimir Putin, who in his speech urged all citizens of the country, it is to the people of the annexed Peninsula too.