September 19, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
Op-ed by Padraig Joseph McGrath – “The Irish Crimean”
When it comes to civic values, Crimea still needs a whole lot of de-Ukrainianization.
There’s a lot of half-hearted patriotism in Crimea. The vast majority of Crimeans identify as Russian, profess patriotism in relation to Russia, and the Crimean population overwhelmingly supported the 2014 re-unification with Russia.
But what are they actually doing about it? Admittedly, for the first 2 years after the unification, they were doing something about it – you could see people making a conscious effort to be better citizens. There was less loony driving, there were fewer nutjobs at street-level. There was less sleaze. There was less bribery going on – I know that for a fact.
But eventually, after all the civic euphoria of the re-unification wears off, people start to relax, and start behaving as if they’re still living under Ukrainian jurisdiction – kickbacks, idiot-culture, driving like dickheads, “protecting” their friends, etc, etc….
They behave like this while ardently professing their patriotism for Russia. Actions speak louder than words.
In continental Russia, the process of recovering and re-building the country’s civic values and sense of discipline after the catastrophe of the 1990’s began 20 years ago.
In Crimea, that process of recovery began 3 years ago. It’s going to take a generation. The Crimeans have got a lot of growing up to do. Having lived under Ukrainian jurisdiction for so long, far more than most Russians, large swathes of the Crimean population are still psychologically trapped in the 1990’s. It’ll take a generation.
And I know that it’s going to annoy some Crimeans to hear that, but there it is.
Padraig McGrath was born in the Republic of Ireland in 1973. He has lived in Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has published journalism and commentary on social and philosophical issues for a number of media for 15 years. He moved to Simferopol, Crimea in December 2013, 3 months before Crimea’s re-unification with Russia, and still lives there.