Jamala’s “Ukrainian” Parents Prosper in Russian Crimea

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

16th May, 2016


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Why doesn’t the current winner of “Eurovision” – Susana Jamaladinova (Jamala) – like to talk about her family, and why they flatly refused to move to Kiev?

She insists her father doesn’t want to leave their house in the expensive resort village of Malorechenskoye near Alushta: “We were one of the first Crimean Tatars who bought a house in Crimea. My mom taught piano, while my dad is a conductor by profession. But he realized that he would not be able to provide for his family making music, and began to grow vegetables and fruits. We have a large garden there  – figs, persimmons, and pomegranates…”

“I tried to persuade my parents to leave for a long time. But they said no,” says Jamal. “They built a house and cultivate a garden with their own hands, and now I asked to give that up in a second…. They, of course, are still in Crimea. All my attempts and talks have been unsuccessful. Mom can’t leave dad, dad can’t leave grandfather… It is very painful and hard. I understand that they can’t go. Pomegranate trees grows in our yard, persimmons, figs… This house cannot be so easily quit. They are not afraid even, say, to die, no matter how scary it sounds, but they refuse to leave the house.

To put it mildly, Jamal is a hypocrite. None of her family is going to die. On the contrary, the family really thrives. All the relatives of the “Ukrainian patriot” received Russian citizenship and are quite happy with life. Moreover, they were collectively issued so-called “Putin’s help” on rehabilitation and now get crazy benefits for utilities – a 50% discount on water, electricity and gas, and free trips to resorts.

The only problem for Jamala’s parents are the Tatar neighbors who ask the father: “Why did your daughter decide to sing such a song?”

“It’s all on the level of market conversations. I say all the time that they shouldn’t pay attention,” assures Susana.

Although the crazy daughter would not sing, no one throws grenades and “Molotov cocktails” at her parents in the yard. Here live normal, adequate people. It’s not Maidan Ukraine, Crimeans do not suffer from “brain damage.”

Until a few months ago, the Bandera blockade hurt the family of the singer. According to Jamala, her father was ready to heat the house with wood, but would not leave his native Crimea. Today, however,  all Ukrainian villagers are invited to heat with manure. Having remained under “Russian occupation”, senior Jamaladinov isn’t doomed to this kind of perspective.

“In Alushta and Simferopol, light was given for at least for a couple hours, but dad said that the lights could be out for two months. Father said that he has firewood and coal… the only problem is communication. That’s difficult. Mom really missed me. And when we met her, mom was crying…” said the “eurostar”.

“Luckily, mom comes to visit me often. She helps her sister to look after the children, caring for a large house. So I try to let her rest, to amuse her. We are like two friends: we walk a lot, go to the movies and shopping.”

No one in Crimea prevents such contact. The singer reported that after the energy blockade of the Peninsula it was time to meet her relatives. However, for some reason, she refused to comment on the current situation on the south coast. Otherwise, she’d have to tell you about a crazy influx of Russian holidaymakers, and it would be necessary to compare the well-being of the elderly in Crimea with the nightmare of the Ukrainian reality.

Here’s another characteristic revelation by Jamala:

“My dad every fall and winter sends me fruit from our garden to Kiev. Persimmons, figs, and pomegranates. Now on the so-called border with Crimea, he must offer a bribe so that these fruits are overlooked, so he leaves the guards a box of persimmons or figs. He always has tears in his eyes when he tells me about it, because these boxes he so lovingly assembled for me! I answered him: “Baba, it is so small! Most importantly — it was allowed to be transported through”. We rejoice in little things, which should be the norm for all.

It should be added that the Ukrainian border guards rob the old Tatar man. One box for themselves and a container forwarded to Kiev, spat on by the “Poroshenko-Islamist” blockade.

Today, however, Jamala’s family has a very specific reason to hate the Russian administration. The Jamaladinova clan suddenly lost their illegal tavern on the coast! Like many Mejlis institutions, the resort’s tavern did not meet any sanitary standards, was operating without paying taxes, and thus it was closed. As they say, a quote without any comment needed:

“Now the new government’s inhuman methods “ennobles” the coast. They take down all the cafes and restaurants on the coastal strip. A tractor comes and levels what people have invested in for many years to the ground. All tourists living the dream of summer are left without a piece of bread.

And I, for example, received higher education precisely thanks to this establishment. We had a family dining table for four: mom used to make, for example, manti, father — rice, I washed the dishes, and my sister served and was counting people in the room. If it was not for that, neither I nor my sister would not have had the opportunity to study at the Conservatory.

Jamala’s Sister Evelyn is married to a Turkish citizen and moved to live in Istanbul.

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