Now that the annexation of Crimea has de facto happened, a lot is said about “green men” and Putin’s policies. This rhetoric often loses the root causes and key individuals and organizations which for years served as Kremlin’s Fifth Column in Crimea. Pro-Russian organizations that were highly active in Crimea and Sevastopol were represented by political parties, non-governmental organizations (NGO), their coalitions (thematic association), as well as various “cultural and educational institutions” and “research societies”.
Pro-Russian political parties that actively prepared the ground for the annexation of Crimea are:
- “Russkiy Blok” (Russian Block); lead by G.Basov, also represented by Crimean republican branch lead by K.Belov;
- “Russkoe Edinstvo” (Russian Unity); lead by S.Aksenov (the current self-proclaimed prime minister of Crimea), also represented by Sevastopol department lead by A.Titsky;
- “Soyuz” (Union) lead by L.Mirimsky;
- “Rus’ Edinaya” (Russia United); represented by Sevastopol center lead by V.Tyunin;
- Communist Party of Ukraine represented by the Crimean Republican Committee lead by O.Solomakhin and City Committee of Sevastopol lead by V.Parkhomenko;
- Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine represented by the City Committee of Sevastopol lead by E.Dubovik;
- Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ukraine lead by L.Grach
Pro-Russian non-governmental organizations that are active in Crimea and Sevastopol are:
- “Russkaya Obschina Kryma” (Russian Community of Crimea); currently in the state of split: one part is headed by S.Tsekov, the other is headed by O.Melnikov;
- “Russkaya Obschina Sevastopolya” (Russ Community of Sevastopol) lead by T.Ermakova;
- “Rossiyskaya Obschina Sevastopolya” (Russian Community of Sevastopol) lead by R.Telyatnikova;
- “Ukrainskiy Vybor” (Ukrainian Choice) represented by Crimean center (headed by E.Suprunyuk) and Sevastopol center (headed by I.Komelov);
- “Koordinatsionnyy Sovet Russkih Organizatsiy Tavridy i Sevastopolya” (Coordinating Council of Russian Organizations of Sevastopol and Taurida) lead by V.Tyunin;
- Narodny Front “Sevastopol’-Krym-Rossiya” (Popular Front “Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia”) lead by V.Poddyachy;
- “Russkoye Molodezhnoye Dvizhenie” (Russian Youth Movement) headed by A.Titsky;
- “Tavricheskiy Soyuz” (Taurida Union) lead by A.Filatov;
- “Kongress Russkih Obschin Kryma” (Congress of Russian Communities of Crimea) lead by S.Shuvaynikov;
- “Pravozaschitnaya Gruppa ‘Ravelin'” (Human Rights Group “Ravelin”) lead by O.Timofeeva;
- “Krymskaya Pravozaschitnaya Organizatsiya ‘Vera'” (Crimean human rights organization “Faith”) lead by S.Kompaniets;
- “Soyuz Rabochih Sevastopolya” (Union of Workers of Sevastopol) headed by V.Bolshakov;
- “Dety Voyny Sevastopolya (Sevastopol Children of War) lead by A.Tsisar;
- “Soyuz Sovetskih Ofitserov” (Union of Soviet Officers) lead by L.Lopatsky;
- “Suschnost’ Vremeny” (The Essence of Time) — a network of regional organizations without a leader.
We should also mention active Cossack organization:
- Ob’edineniye Kozakov Kryma (Crimea Cossack Union);
- Sovet Atamanov Kryma (Crimea Ataman Council) headed by S.Yurchenko;
- Chernomorskaya Kazachya Sotnya (Black Sea Cossack Sotnia) headed by A.Mareta;
- Cossack Community “Patrioty Sevastopolya” (Patriots of Sevastopol) lead by I.Rudenko-Minich;
- Krymskiy Kazachiy Soyuz (Crimean Cossack Union) lead by V.Cherkashin;
Coalitions of pro-Russian organizations:
- Crimean Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots (known as “Krimsky KSORS”) lead by S.Tsekov;
- Sevastopol Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots (known as “Sevastopol KSORS”) lead by D.Belik;
- Sevastopol “Front protiv NATO” (Front against NATO) lead by E.Dubovik;
- All-Crimean association “9 Maya” (May 9) lead by O.Solomakhin.
These organizations generally act from pro-Russian view points but they belong to different ideological trends and consis of various political coalitions. Some of those organizations are in the conflict and/or split state due to sharing out of financial flows from Russia. In general, we can conditionally distinguish three types of pro-Russian organizations:
- Moderate (parties: “Russian block”, “Russian Unity”, “Union”; public organizations: KSORS, “Ukrainian choice”, “Russian Community of Crimea” (S.Tsekov), “Taurida Union”, “Congress of Russian Communities of Crimea”, “Ravelin”);
- Radical (Cossack organizations, political party “Russia United”, non-governmental organization “Russian Community of Crimea” (O.Melnikov), “Russ Community of Sevastopol”, “Russian Community of Sevastopol”, “Coordinating Council of Russian Organizations of Sevastopol and Taurida”, Popular Front “Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia”, “Crimean human rights organization ‘Faith’);
- Left (political parties: the Communist Party, the Progressive Socialist Party, the Communist Marxist-Leninist Party of Ukraine; non-governmental organizations: “The Union of Workers of Sevastopol”, “Sevastopol Children of War”, “Union of Soviet Officers”, “Essence of Time”).
The ideas shared by all these institutions are:
- save the Russian ethno-political nature of the Crimea and Sevastopol,
- strengthen political, economic and cultural ties with Russia,
- opposition to cooperation with NATO and European integration of Ukraine.
Moderate and radical organizations share Russian nationalist, imperialist and pan-Slavic ideas. Radical organizations use more aggressive anti-Ukrainian rhetoric and partial (or sometimes even complete) denial of the constitutional order in Ukraine. In extreme cases radical organizations advocate separatism for Crimea and Sevastopol. Left-wing organizations are can be characterized by cultivation of nostalgia for the Soviet Union and demands for social justice and implementation of socialist relations in the economic sphere.
Russian structures close to the Russian leadership mainly support moderate pro-Russian organizations, although at Zatulin’s (CIS Countries Institute headmaster) suggestion (especially after the appointment of V.Svitlichny, the new Consul General of the Russian Federation in Simferopol) they discuss the need to consolidate all types of pro-Russian organizations of Crimea and Sevastopol with the purpose of taking concerted actions on the implementation of Russian national interests in those areas. This stage can be regarded as a signal to activate the plans for the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Nevertheless, conflicts and intrigue prevail in the internal relations of pro-Russian organizations. The main conflict lines (bones of contention) lay between moderate and radical organizations as well as between different groups of leftist organizations.
In the leftist camp the two conflicting poles are the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) and Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU). At that CPU tends to cooperate with moderate organizations and PSPU does with radical ones. CPU traditionally cooperates with such parties as “Russian Block” and “Union”. Human rights group “Ravelin”, “Ukrainian choice”, “Essence of Time”, “Union of Soviet Officers”, “Crimea Cossack Union”. All these institutions are consolidated under the auspices of the Communist Party in the formats of “All-Crimean Association ‘May 9′”, initiative committee to organize All-Ukrainian referendum on accession into the Customs Union.
PSPU, Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ukraine, “Coordinating Council of Russian Organizations of Sevastopol and Taurida”, “Union of Workers of Sevastopol”, “Sevastopol Children of War” have their own position and are combined into Sevastopol “Front against NATO”. Non-governmental organizations “Russian Community of Sevastopol” and “Russ Community of Sevastopol” are in very complicated relationships between themselves and with the two above-mentioned unions. The numerous Cossack organizations take different positions. The most moderate part of the pro-Russian organizations are those that relate to Crimean and Sevastopol KSORSes. They officially receive support from the Russian Foreign Ministry and this is why they try to avoid radical actions and statements — in order not to spoil the reputation of the Russian Federation.
On the other hand, the other pro-Russian organizations sharply criticize KSORS for political passivity and corruption. One of the examples of a “betrayal of Russian interests” refers to D.Belik’s (the chairman of Sevastopol KSORS) designation as the deputy chairman of City State Administration of Sevastopol. Before that D.Belik publicly distanced himself form “Russian Block” from which he nominated for and became a deputy of the city council of Sevastopol. S.Tsekov (vice-chairman of “Russian Unity”, chairman of NGO “Russian Community of Crimea”, chairman of Crimean KSORS) is another aim for this type of criticism. Due to a conflict between Tsekov and chairmen of territorial cells of NGO “Russian Community of Crimea” this organization split up into two separate organizations.
Furthermore, S.Tsekov is accused of intention to liquidate “Russian Block” with the aim to remove the competitor of “Russian Unity” in Sevastopol. Formerly “Russian Block” and “Russian Unity” had a tacit agreement regarding the delimitation of areas of activity: “Russian Block” was supposed to act in Sevastopol and “Russian Unity” was to act in Crimea. However, after the elections to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2012 a conflict escalated between these two parties. This conflict later emerged in mutual unfriendly actions. In particular, a member of the political council of “Russian Block”, chairman of NGO “Russian Youth Movement” A.Titsky initiated the procedure of legal liquidation of “Russian Block”, secretely from its chairman, G.Basov. Although this action went up in smoke, it damaged the reputation od Basov and “Russian Block”. Later A.Titsky headed Sevastopol branch of “Russian Unity” which actes as a rival to “Russian Block” in Sevastopol. For its part, Crimean republican branch of “Russian Block” (headed by K.Belov) expanded its activities and acted as a rival to “Russian Unity” in Crimea. In particular, a part of split up NGO “Russian Community of Crimea” headed by O.Melnikov announced about their commitment to the Crimean republican branch of “Russian Block” and criticized “Russian Unity” (the vice-chairman of “Russian Unity” is the leader of another part of “Russian Community of Crimea” — S.Tsekov)
Popular Front “Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia” and “Crimean human rights organization ‘Faith’ have the most radical positions. These (and other close to them) organizations come out for renewal of separatist governmental formation “Republic of Crimea” (existed in 1992-1998) and return of the former president of “Republic of Crimea” Yu.Meshkov.
Over the years these organizations carried out subversive activities in Crimea and developed sharply anti-Ukrainian propaganda. It is a rhetorical question what the Security Service of Ukraine did when they had so many moles, information saboteurs and provocateurs right under their noses. All Crimean branches of SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) in the very beginning of the occupation sided with the enemy and this means that the operation of annexation have been prepared for at least 5-7 years: they needed to hire the necessary staff, recruit the key figures etc.
Russian special services have rooted so deeply and not only in Crimea but on the mainland as well that it will take years to eradicate them; the real professional and patriots with in-depth understanding of the root causes and effect relationships are required for that…
Russian version: informnapalm.org