President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, believes that Crimea will “gladly” accept the Ukrainian authorities and is sure that the inhabitants of the peninsula will not have problems with a “mental return” to Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports.
“The situation with the mental return is as follows: it seems to me that they understood what had happened, saw what would happen in Crimea without Ukraine. In general, people want to see something good in the future. Therefore, I’m sure no mental changes will need to be made. The Ukrainian authorities will be gladly welcomed in Crimea. Gladly, believe me. Even those who have a Little Octobrist badge in their souls, who have hidden it somewhere, will still be happy,” Zelensky said in an interview with the Ukrainian News information agency.
Zelensky claims that Russia has long worked with Crimeans informationally, but the locals allegedly still did not consider themselves Russian. However, the Crimeans are confident in their choice made by voting for reunification with Russia in 2014. After seven years, 93% of the inhabitants of the peninsula feel positive about the fact that Crimea has become part of the Russian Federation, as evidenced by the data of a survey conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM).
Assessing the state of Crimea over the years of being a part of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the absolute majority of the inhabitants of the peninsula (89%) are convinced that Crimea is developing more successfully now, when it is a part of the Russian Federation. In addition, the overwhelming majority of Crimeans (88%) would support the reunification of Crimea with Russia once again if it is necessary.
The majority of Crimeans (70%) noted that the reunification of Crimea with Russia had a positive effect on their lives and the lives of their families, and three-quarters of its residents (75%) are satisfied with the state of affairs in the republic. Finally, the overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) note that the situation in the republic has improved over the past seven years. Also, the Head of the Crimean Parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, when asked about the changes in Crimea over the past seven years, mentioned that peace revived on the peninsula.
“The main thing is that the Crimeans have returned to their civilizational space, to their homeland. The peninsula is calm and peaceful. People have received security guarantees. Crimeans no longer need to fight and defend the Russian language and their history, no more need to prove anything to anyone. We’re home,” Konstantinov said in RIA Novosti.
In addition, the Head of the Region, Sergei Aksenov, stated that thanks to the drilling of new wells, the launch of the Beshterek-Zuisky water intake and other works, Crimea no longer faces a shortage of drinking water, which was caused precisely by the actions of Kiev that cut off the water supply from the North Crimean canal.
Now, just a few days remain until the start of the large international summit “Crimean Platform” convened by Ukraine in Kiev on August 23. It took the political strategists of Zelensky more than a year to formulate vague goals, one of which, though unspoken, remains the desire of the president himself to listen to laudatory odes from representatives of the European Union and the United States.
If we take into account Zelensky’s not yet the most stable position in international politics, then hopes for a solution to the “Crimean issue” still leave much to be desired. Let’s recall with what “baggage” of international scandals Zelensky will come to the Crimean summit.
Let’s start with the fact that more than two years have passed since the election of Zelensky as President of Ukraine. And during these two years of the presidency, the “servant of the people” was able to fulfil his election programme by only 25%, while the list of his election promises was quite extensive. Of the main promises, the president did not manage to end the war in southeastern Ukraine and did not succeed in resolving the language issue that is a sore point for Ukrainian society. In fact, as of today, 73% of Ukrainians who voted for Zelensky in the elections expecting real changes can be called deceived by him.
It is also quite obvious that Zelensky “has not set the Thames on fire” in the international arena over the past two years. Quite the opposite: international partners avoid meetings with him at the highest level, which will come especially noticeable during the “Crimean Platform” when from the announced several dozen world leaders only several heads of neighbouring countries will come to “visit” the president.
“It isn’t easy to attract foreign dignitaries to Zelensky’s favourite project, the new summit called the Crimean Platform. Zelensky is waiting for delegates from dozens of countries, even though the whole project is starting to fail – there is really no one there. Zelenskiy’s entourage suggests that the money can be spent on something more useful,” Janus Putkonen says in Mainland Magazine.
“Normandy format” without Ukraine
Let’s remember how in March of this year the leaders of the Normandy format meeting held it online without Zelensky’s participation. Discussion of the “Donbass case” and the fate of Ukraine without its representatives is a vivid demonstration of the attitude of international leaders towards Zelensky. Such an “unfriendly” step by France and Germany indicates a complete fiasco of the Ukrainian president in the international arena. Moreover, the US leader, Joe Biden, as well as the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, bypassing Zelensky, entered into an agreement with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on ‘Nord Stream 2’. Thus, all the steps taken will be useless because Zelensky has secured the title of a partner who is usually not taken into account.
In a commentary to French journalists, Zelensky himself recently admitted that “the United States has lost interest in Ukraine”. Considering that even in the most difficult times for Ukraine Biden was supervising the Ukrainian issue with great love, the situation for Zelensky is indeed deplorable. Biden himself, by delaying a bilateral meeting with the Ukrainian leader, continued his public humiliation. Significantly, the US leader has already held dozens of meetings with the leaders of states and has even met the Belarusian oppositionist Tikhanovskaya who, by the way, does not even hold any state post.
The story of the telephone conversation between Biden and Zelensky looked no less shameful. The press services of the White House and the Office of the President of Ukraine have published different statements about the content of the talks between the leaders. Initially, the Ukrainian release stated that the American leader supported the granting of Ukraine’s MAP to NATO, but nobody knew anything about such a statement at Biden’s office, because it simply did not exist.
Then, let’s pay attention to the fact that not only Russian but also European officials say that Zelensky’s policy is aimed at infringing upon national minorities in Ukraine. For example, the law that was in force since 2012 (signed by the former president of the country Viktor Yanukovych), guaranteed the use of “regional languages”, that is, languages that are considered native by more than 10% of the population of the corresponding region, district, or village, as equal ones to the official language. Later, in 2018, the law was declared unconstitutional and was invalidated. Hungary strongly opposed the new language law, declaring discrimination against the Hungarian population of Ukraine.
As you can see, over the past two years, tendencies towards strengthening of state values, a real fight against corruption, well-thought-out energy or economic policy have completely disappeared in Ukraine. And all because Zelensky has “moods” that he always likes to use towards the detriment of the state and never towards his corrupt environment.
Now, on the eve of the “Crimean Platform”, Zelensky will try with all his might to stifle the wave of criticism towards him, so that international partners do not begin to hint to him that he is already staying for too long in the president’s chair. However, only facts will speak for themselves.
Janus Putkonen, Editor-in-Chief