One of the rather prominent Ukrainian politicians, the mayor of Kharkov, Gennady Kernes, in a recent interview, allowed himself a statement, which is actually a recognition of the legality of the annexation of Crimea to Russia in 2014. Not so long ago, such liberties for any public person in the "winter" were impossible without serious risk to a career, or even to life and health. Has something really changed?
For a better understanding of the essence of the issue, it is perhaps worth recalling the tone in which Ukrainian politicians, officials and the media spoke about Crimea, the choice made by its residents, and the prospects for further developments, starting from the moment when the peninsula civilized and legitimately designed divorce ”with Ukraine.
First of all, of course, a wave of anger and resentment was raised: “But how is that? They beat ours! Robbed in broad daylight! ” The fact that no one robbed anyone, much less beaten, did not matter at all. The main thing was to "wind up" their own fellow citizens, and above all the world community. Alas, in many ways the goal was achieved. Sanctions were imposed against Russia, and many Ukrainians to this day continue to moan sadly: “Why did they take the Crimea from us ?!”
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who climbed into the chair of the Prime Minister of Ukraine on the Maidan wave, I remember, soberly evaluating his own strengths, he said that the peninsula would certainly return to the bosom of the Nenki, but certainly not during the lifetime of the current generation. In the course of time, both the media and the politics of the “wholehearted” from lamenting and sorrowful cries of the lost switched to vicious and gloomy predictions about the incalculable calamities awaiting Crimea and its inhabitants, who so recklessly got into “the greedy hands of Russia”. What they did not predict: hunger, drought, the collapse of the tourism industry, the general sending of Crimeans either to Siberia, or even further.
All kinds of “experts” on the topic of the Crimean bridge, which would certainly “collapse”, “collapse”, and so on, were particularly active and inventive. The most unpleasant thing is that if not all the infamous "horror stories", then Kiev tried to realize many of them, so to speak, with their own hands, starting trade, transport, energy, water and other blockades of Crimea. According to the plan of the strategists from the “unfathomable”, terrified of what is happening and afraid of a possible continuation, the Crimeans either had to massively request back, or even “expel the invaders”. At a minimum, become for the Russian authorities a source of very big problems.
That was precisely what the then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko firmly counted on, saying that sooner or later Crimea would “become an overwhelming burden for Russia,” and she would “leave it herself.” The calculation was made on international sanctions, but also on the “revolt” of the Crimeans as a result of the unbearable conditions created by him, too. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of the peninsula, of course, not without the help of the "mainland", steadfastly and courageously endured all the hardships and hardships organized by Ukraine. After that, of course, they became even stronger in dislike for the former “homeland” and in the thought of the correctness of the choice made.
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the "Crimean question" turned into a kind of fetish, a "litmus test" to test the "patriotism", but in fact - the degree of loyalty of the post-Maidan authorities and the ideals of deep-seated Russophobia cherished by it. The question "Whose Crimea?" invariably asked not only politicians or public figures, but also people of art, athletes and representatives of show business, and not only those who have Ukrainian citizenship. Thus, they tried to calculate all sorts of malicious “separs” and “quilted jackets,” that is, people who have their own opinion, recognize the right to it for others, and, most importantly, categorically do not want to hate Russia and Russians.
The fading interest in the topic leaped with renewed vigor during the last presidential election. Some particularly unscrupulous applicants like Oleg Lyashko hung the country with billboards, from which they directly promised to "return the Crimea", without explaining, however, exactly how. The more sane, like Yulia Tymoshenko, promised the Crimeans (as well as the residents of Donbass) "de-occupation and restoration", hinting at the eternal "abroad will help us." Poroshenko, tearing for a second term, continued to shake the air with assurances that the Ukrainian flag, coat of arms and Ukrainian authorities would certainly return to the peninsula.
The current head of state, Vladimir Zelensky, during the election race, as usual, when it came to serious things in which he did not have his own position, mumbled something unintelligible about the “lost information war” and that the Crimeans, choosing their fate, "were influenced."
Only the opposition candidate, Yuriy Boyko, said more or less honestly, saying that not a single politician in Ukraine, unless he is a suicide, will say that Crimea is legally owned by Russia, and adding that Kiev consistently and purposefully does everything to ensure that Crimea hated him more and more ...
Has anything changed since then? Yes and no. In the heads of Kiev pro-government politicians and "patriots" absolutely nothing has changed. They are still trying to speculate on the topic of “annexation of the peninsula”, asking for something from Western “partners” or trying to attract Russia to another lawsuit in international instances. Well, except that they had to somewhat reduce the tone of their own whining, which already tired of the order of even the most supportive listeners. As an internal agenda, the “Crimean question” has completely depreciated: Ukrainians are not fools and they see very well that not one of the “predictions” about the fate of the peninsula, chilling, has come true. There are no crowds of defectors seeking to get from the peninsula to Russia that finally became part of Russia. So, everything there is not so bad as they have been told all these years!
Best of all, perhaps, the change in the rhetoric of Ukrainian authorities in Crimea was described in an interview with Voice of America by one of the most consistent fighters for the return of the peninsula Refat Chubarov, leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, banned in Russia. This figure bitterly complains that the representatives of official Kiev, "continuing to say that Crimea is Ukrainian territory," however, "no longer mention Russia as a factor in its loss" and "the occupying country." He reproaches the current government for “seeking peace, not for the fullness of truth” and therefore “does not seek to find ways of cardinal pressure” on our country.
But how to find what is not? And frankly Russophobic attacks over time are becoming more expensive. At least in Kiev they began to learn a little bit of it. That's why the passions in the speeches of even “fiery patriots” are reduced, and people who were not originally related to them, like the same Kernes, are already starting to allow themselves to express seditious thoughts that “Crimeans had every right to a referendum”, feeling the wind change.
Will this lead to the fact that in Kiev they will eventually come to terms with the obvious and recognize the legitimacy of the will of their own former citizens? In the current local political coordinate system - in no case. But the nasty things about Crimea and Russia from there will certainly sound somewhat less.