Friday, May 12, 2006

It's always a possibility, of course, that there's no crisis, that it's made up by Crimea's Russian competitors in order to get more Russian tourists go to Sochi instead of Yalta. You never know.

But those photos of the traffic jam, you gotta be a Hollywood director to stage something like this.

And why would Ukrainian channels scream to the whole world about it when the tourist season is about to begin? We've all got something to lose there.

Or maybe they are making some sounds, but it's me who's not listening...

Or maybe there is a crisis, only no one gives a shit - Crimean Tatars aren't blowing themselves up like Chechens, so why waste time on them?


It's difficult to form a more or less unbiased opinion when the news is so scarce.

On the one hand, there're papers and forums with Russian Russians and Crimean Russians getting hysterical about Crimean Tatars: reading them, you'd think we've got Taliban over there.

On the other hand, there are people like Mustafa Jemilev (with all that Soviet dissident history behind him) and Refat Chubarov (born in Uzbekistan in 1957, lived in Crimea since 1968, studied in Moscow to be an historian/archivist, worked in Latvia - but when you hear him speak Ukrainian, you'd never guess he's not Ukrainian). It's hard not to respect these people. And then there're the wonderful Crimean Tatars I met in 2000 - journalists, lawyers, charity workers. And one trait they all seem to share is they're not full of hatred.

So when I write about Crimea, I'm biased in favor of the Crimean Tatars.

As with any bias, I may be wrong. But sitting here in Kyiv and hearing what I hear (very little, actually) from all sides, this appears to be the only choice.

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