Bitcoin Forum
October 23, 2018, 11:41:42 PM *
News: Make sure you are not using versions of Bitcoin Core other than 0.17.0 [Torrent], 0.16.3, 0.15.2, or 0.14.3. More info.
 
   Home   Help Search Donate Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 [45] 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 »
  Print  
Author Topic: Crimea  (Read 156495 times)
Pagan
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 250



View Profile
October 08, 2014, 02:49:36 PM
 #881

Missing Crimean Tatar Edem Asanov found dead



5-year-old Crimean Tatar, Edem Asanov, has been found dead in an abandoned sanatorium in Yevpatoria, a week after he disappeared on Sept 29.  Edem Asanov was not politically active, and according to his sister was a peaceful person who was not inclined to conflict.

Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis or representative-executive body of the Crimean Tatar People says that Edem was hanged.  He believes that the authorities are trying to establish a mood of terror and fear  in Crimean society.  Edem Asanov’s funeral will take place on Tuesday.

There have been four abductions or disappearances since Sept 27, and at least three other Crimean Tatar families will almost certainly be going through hell, together with the Asanov family.

In the early evening of Sept 27, two young Crimean Tatars were abducted from Sary-Su near Belogorsk in the Crimea.  19-year-old Islam Dzhepparov and his 23-year-old cousin Dzhevdet Islamov were forced into a dark blue Volkswagen Transporter and taken away in the direction of Feodosiya.

The claims from the police and FSB [Russian security service] that they know nothing about the abduction have been met with scepticism, which is exacerbated by their failure to find the young men despite having all details, including the minivan’s registration number.

Hundreds of Crimean Tatars gathered the next day outside Islam Dzhepparov’s home.  Islam’s father had a meeting with the head of the occupation government Sergei Aksyonov on Oct. 1.   Abdureshit Dzhepaparov  says that everything was done to provoke Crimean Tatars to make measures in retaliations. “On the roofs around the building where the meeting took place there were a lot of snipers, people saw jeeps with men carrying machine guns, and around the city there were a lot of soldiers.”

Two days later, on Monday Sept 29, Edem Asanov set off for work at the Prymorye sanatorium in Yevpatoriya.  We now know why he did not arrive.

23-year-old Crimean Tatar Apselymov Eskender has not been seen since Oct 3 when he left his flat in Simferopol and headed for work.  He did not arrive, and there is no answer from his telephone.  Shevket Namatullayev, a Crimean journalist, has passed on details about how the young man was dressed and a request from his parents to phone if people have any information

It is increasingly difficult to believe in any chance with these abductions or disappearances.  They coincide with a major offensive against the Mejlis, or representative-executive body of the Crimean Tatar people and Muslims in the Crimea.  Veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemiliev has spoken of 18 disappearances of Crimean Tatars since Russian invaded and annexed the Crimea in March this year.

Refat Chubarov recalls chillingly relevant words written by Memorial about the Northern Caucuses.  “Abductions are carried out by staff both of the local, and the federal enforcement bodies. A number of the abductions take place according to the classic, “Chechen” scenario, when armed men in masks burst into a home and take the person they want away. However many abductions are carried out very ‘professionally’: a person leaves his home and doesn’t return, or later he’s found murdered.”

The almost certain murder of Edem Asanov, the abduction of two young Crimean Tatars and disappearance of a fourth young man of similar age, against the background of all other repressive measures, can only heighten the suspicion that the Crimean puppet regime and those pulling its strings in Moscow want to intimidate the Crimean Tatars and force them to leave their homeland.

http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1412597376

StopFake.org

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.
Advertised sites are not endorsed by the Bitcoin Forum. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction. Advertise here.
1540338102
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1540338102

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1540338102
Reply with quote  #2

1540338102
Report to moderator
1540338102
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1540338102

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1540338102
Reply with quote  #2

1540338102
Report to moderator
1540338102
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1540338102

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1540338102
Reply with quote  #2

1540338102
Report to moderator
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 09, 2014, 08:18:33 AM
 #882

http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/753425

Not "acting" anymore.

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
DhaniBoy
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 280
Merit: 250


View Profile
October 09, 2014, 08:56:23 AM
 #883

I think in the future to the problem of communication is no longer expensive, because communication is very important in the future, it could be the price of satellite communications will be more expensive and sophisticated, especially in the future will be the discovery of communications technologies more sophisticated like mass teleportation , hopefully this is not just a dream, just like ancient people who dream to walk on moon ...  Roll Eyes

█████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
▓▓▓▓▓  BIT-X.comvvvvvvvvvvvvvvi
→ CREATE ACCOUNT 
▓▓▓▓▓
█████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 15, 2014, 08:15:29 AM
 #884

http://www.rada.crimea.ua/en/news/23_09_14_5

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 15, 2014, 08:48:04 AM
 #885

By the way... Three ministers were dismissed few days ago by Aksyonov's decrees.

Svetlata Verba - Minister of economy development, replaced by Nikolay Koryazhkin.
Nikolay Polushkin - Minister of agriculture, replaced by Vitaly Polishuk.

Deputy PM Sergey Donich was also fired, he took a position of Rector in the Crimean Federal University.

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Pagan
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 250



View Profile
October 15, 2014, 01:06:15 PM
 #886

In Crimea started the action "burn Ukrainian books"

Russian ultra-right organizations have initiated action in the Crimea "burn Ukrainian books." The first place of the event, Russian fascists chose one of the schools of the peninsula.



http://freejournal.biz/article5261/index.html

^ "Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned too." Heinrich Heine

StopFake.org

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 15, 2014, 03:37:47 PM
 #887

http://www.deviantart.com/art/Crimea-201030073 Smiley

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 16, 2014, 06:13:25 PM
 #888

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/navalny-wouldn-t-return-crimea-considers-immigration-bigger-issue-than-ukraine/509561.html

Lol. I have no idea who cares about his opinion but Navalny recognizes Crimea as a part of Russia. Populist liberal clown is so populist. Cheesy

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Pagan
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 250



View Profile
October 17, 2014, 04:24:29 PM
 #889

Russian media started demonizing Crimean Tatars. What is their goal?



Lately, the Russian media have more and more frequently started publicizing articles on the fact that Islamist radicals are ready to begin combat in Crimea. For example, on October 8, Nezavisemaya Gazeta published an article titled “Islamists are planning something in Crimea,” in which, based on the statements made on social networks, conclusions are drawn that there is a high possibility of the emergence of an armed camp in Crimea on part of the biggest group of local Muslims, the Crimean Tatars.

The website of the Russian Center for the Study of National Conflicts and the Federal Expert Network published a prognosis regarding the situation in inter-ethnic relations in Russian regions, Crimea in particular. According to the experts at the Center, the main problem on the peninsula is the “destructive” activity of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, and according to their prognosis, “a serious incident may provoke massive conflict.”

The Crimean Tatar public is currently suffering through the recent events surrounding the disappearance and mysterious deaths of Crimean Tatars. Meanwhile, the Crimean Tatar society has no aggression or calls for war. This was confirmed by Human Rights Watch expert Yulia Horbunova, who spent the last weeks doing research on the peninsula.

“The general mood of the people is quite crestfallen, however I did not hear any militaristic or hostile statements. On principle, Crimean Tatars do not want confrontation,” the international human rights organization representative noted.

One of the missing, Edem Asanov, was found hanged in an abandoned building on October 6. According to official reports, the 25-year-old man committed suicide. Earlier head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov warned that the investigation would insist on the non-violent nature of Asanov’s death.

Mejlis: events in Crimea are reminiscent of the ‘Chechen scenario’
Head of the international communications department at the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Ali Khamzin emphasizes the fact that events in Crimea are now unfolding according to the ‘Chechen scenario.’

Such activity on part of Russian media is very reminiscent of what happened during the armed conflicts in the Caucasus, Chechnya in particular. First kidnapping and disappearance of people, spreading information about radicalization and creation of groups of mercenaries and, as a consequence, heightened activity on part of the Russian army against a certain group of people.

Meanwhile famous Russian journalist Maxim Shevchenko, who is considered to be close to the Kremlin, during his visit to Yalta shared his thoughts on Crimean Tatars and noted their love for peace.

“They are a good, hard-working people who, if treated with respect, may be a friend, a brother, and build our common Crimea together. I speak a lot to Crimean Tatars and do not feel any hostility neither to the Russian nor the Ukrainian population of Crimea, non-Crimean Tatar, so to speak. This is the first nation within the Russian Federation, besides the Chechens, however, there was war there, which may boast that they had a special discussion with the President of the huge Russian Federation, which includes another 194 nations, about the problems of their people,” said the Russian journalist in a comment to Radio Liberty.

Mejlis asks Crimean Tatars not to leave Crimea
Meanwhile the Mejlis is asking not to leave Crimea and not give in to provocations, despite the psychological pressure.

“We have to remain in Crimea in the name of the Motherland and the principles we preached, to return at any cost. We have a powerful form of countering in the shape of the global community, and we have to take advantage of this. The Kremlin should finally understand that we have no logical reasons to take up arms and fight,” emphasized Ali Khamzin.

Earlier national leader of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev also addressed his compatriots with the petition not to leave the peninsula.

According to the UN, the number of forced migrants from Crimea to continental Ukraine has increased to almost 18 thousand people.

copyright and source:
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
translation by EuromaidanPress - Mariya Shcherbinina
http://www.radiosvoboda.org/content/article/26629624.html
http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/10/13/russian-media-started-demonizing-crimean-tatar-what-is-their-goal/

StopFake.org

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.
Pagan
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 250



View Profile
October 17, 2014, 04:28:25 PM
 #890

Crimeans given three months to voluntarily hand in banned literature

Crimeans have to hand in the books which are on the federal list of banned extremist materials within the next three months, reported head of the Republic of Crimea Sergey Aksionov on Tuesday.

Earlier Muslim families from several districts of the peninsula turned to Aksionov with the complaint that their homes had been searched with the goal of confiscating religious literature. The collision arose out of the fact that an entire list of literature which was allowed in Ukraine, is considered banned in Russia. The list of banned religious and extremist books never reached the Crimeans. On Monday Aksionov stated that the measures to search and confiscated banned literature in Crimea have been suspended temporarily.

“We are conducting explanatory work, we need to give them a period to adapt: three months. During this period we will calmly carry out educational measures via television, a list of literature which is banned for use today on the territory of the Russian Federation will be published in media,” said Sergey Aksionov.

He also emphasized that starting January 1 all the procedures for confiscation of banned literature will be carried out in accordance with Russian legislation.

[sic] Crimea became a Russian region after the referendum held in March, at which the majority of the population expressed their will to join Russia. The interim period for Crimea’s integration to Russia will end by January 1, 2015.

copyright and source:
RIA Novosti
translation by EuromaidanPress - Mariya Shcherbinina
http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/10/17/crimeans-given-three-months-to-voluntarily-hand-in-banned-literature/
http://ria.ru/society/20141014/1028313133.html

StopFake.org

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.
Pagan
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 250



View Profile
October 17, 2014, 04:30:13 PM
 #891

Russia puts Crimean political prisoners on terrorist list

Rosfinmonitoring (Russian Federal Service for Financial Monitoring) has put several Crimean political prisoners on its list of terrorists and extremists – Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, activist Oleksandr Kolchenko and historian Oleksiy Chirniy. Russia has accused them of preparing terrorist attacks in annexed Crimea.

This list was posted on the Rosfinmonitoring website.

It includes another Crimean, 30-year-old Dmytro Storozhenko, who was born in Simferopol. It is not known whether he is linked in any way to the criminal case brought against Sentsov and the other Crimean political prisoners.

Russian media report that any person placed on Rosfinmonitoring’s list cannot conduct banking operations in Russia. There are more than three thousand people on this list.

In May, Russian police officers arrested Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and several other citizens of Ukraine in Simferopol. They were accused of preparing terrorist attacks.

The defense lawyers believe that there are no grounds for detaining their clients. They think that the investigation will be completed in January and the case of the ‘Crimean terrorists’ will then go to court.

copyright and source:
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
translation by EuromaidanPress - Christine Chraibi
http://ru.krymr.org/content/article/26634218.html
http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/10/13/russia-puts-crimean-political-prisoners-on-terrorist-list/

StopFake.org

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.
247crypto
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 350
Merit: 250


View Profile
October 19, 2014, 10:43:29 PM
 #892


Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 21, 2014, 08:29:44 AM
 #893

Fresh pics from Simferopol.



"Obama is a scum!"



"Obama, you're stupid scum!"



"Launch missiles to New York"

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 21, 2014, 12:30:01 PM
 #894

Some old news:

http://www.dialog.ua/news/12659_1407762683

Aksenov stated that Crimea won't provide any gas supplies for Ukraine. Ukrainian "minister of energy" originally declared that Kherson region of Ukraine will get gas supplies from the Republic of Crimea.

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 21, 2014, 08:49:51 PM
 #895

http://reason.com/archives/2014/03/12/the-irrelevance-of-ukraines-constitution

Crimean Secession and the Irrelevance of Ukraine's Constitution

Quite interesting article about fundamental issues in the legitimacy of some modern constitutions including constitution of the United States. Comments are interesting too.

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 21, 2014, 09:27:28 PM
 #896

And another one:

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-20/crimea-s-democracy-trampled-its-constitution

Crimea's Democracy Trampled Its Constitution

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 23, 2014, 03:04:56 PM
 #897

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-bV_78mixc

Poklonskaya and the piano Cheesy

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
October 27, 2014, 12:03:24 PM
 #898

http://crimea-board.net/index.php?showtopic=129117

Center of crimean capital is now covered by free Wi-Fi network.

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Balthazar
Legendary
*
Online Online

Activity: 2422
Merit: 1012


Terran Emperor


View Profile WWW
November 04, 2014, 12:54:00 AM
 #899



"Regular trash bin in the Crimea"

novaco.in | ETC.HVPPS.NET (100 GH/s, PoT 1.5%) | EtherDig.Net (Deterministic Solo, 0.5%)
ETH: 0x8d35067233605bef6069191ae0922d134ff80d48
Pagan
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 250



View Profile
November 05, 2014, 10:02:59 AM
 #900

Crime And Crimea: Criminals As Allies And Agents


Members of a local "self-defense" unit man a checkpoint on the highway between Simferopol and Sevastopol in Crimea in March.

By Mark Galeotti

November 03, 2014

Mikhail Volkov is a cop in Moscow (up to a point) and Viktor Skvortsov is a criminal (of sorts), but even back in May they were both using the same words to describe Crimea: a business opportunity.

Viktor no longer really runs with the Muscovite underworld, but he still trades on his old associations with the now-global Solntsevo network from the freebooter 1990s, which are good enough to get him invited to the occasional mobster-"biznisman" birthday party or funeral. From time to time, his old contacts either need a favor or ask one of him, and his ill-defined "import-export business" appears to find itself the conduit for dubious commodities that may or may not be what is on the customs manifest.

Mikhail -- and for obvious reasons neither of these are their real names -- is not so much on the other side of the fence so much as another on-and-off entrepreneur of legality. He's a police detective whose case load often involves organized crime and who has managed to find ways of balancing securing enough convictions to rise slowly but steadily up the chain of command, while at the same time turning a blind eye with sufficient frequency to acquire the kind of money that buys a top-of-the-range BMW, a luxurious dacha outside Moscow, and -- until they were banned for police officers -- regular trips abroad. Either way, he navigates the underworld with at least as much aplomb at Viktor and with seemingly as many friends there, too.

They were united in separately enthusing about the boundless illicit economic opportunities to be found in annexed Crimea. As up to $4.5 billion of federal funds flow in, thanks to the Kremlin's determination to make a Potemkin peninsula into a symbol of the value of becoming part of the Russian Federation, there was ample scope for kickbacks, sweetheart deals, and simple "attrition" of construction materials.

Meanwhile, Simferopol could begin to challenge the Ukrainian port of Odesa as a smuggling hub. Until this year, Odesa handled the lion's share of not just Ukrainian but also Russian smuggling over (and very occasionally under) the Black Sea. With around a third of all Afghan heroin now being trafficked along the "Northern Route" through Russia, this was an increasingly lucrative place to do business, and the criminal elites of Odesa were getting rich on their cut. Whether or not Simferopol could ever emerge as a credible rival, especially in light of Western sanctions, is in a way irrelevant: the very possibility that it might has forced Odesa's godfathers to lower the "tax" they levy on criminal traffic through the port, an example of black-market economics at its most basic.

Embezzlement, corruption, and smuggling in and through Crimea will be a big business. Already, preliminary Interior Ministry figures for the first three months of Russian control show that smuggling, economic crime, and violent offenses rose by between 5 and 9 percent.

However, when it comes to Russia, the biggest illegal business tends to be government, and this is no exception. After all, what the Crimean annexation has demonstrated in especially stark form is the connection between crime and the Russian state that is not essentially parasitic and competitive (as it is when criminals embezzle the federal budget) but instead complementary and symbiotic. Indeed, Crimea is a case study both of the way that the Kremlin uses criminals as instruments of state policy and also how the underworld and upperworld have become inextricably entwined as a consequence.

Crime And Commerce

From the first, Moscow's campaign to wrest Crimea from Kyiv depended on an alliance with local underworld interests. Sergei Aksyonov, the de facto prime minister of the new Crimean region, has a gangster past, having gone by the nickname of "Goblin" back when he was one of the "Salem" organized crime group in the 1990s. Aksyonov rejects this charge, of course. He recently told the Russian newspaper "Kommersant" that "It's all lies. If I had skeletons in the closet, I would not have gone into politics." However, the one time he tried to sue someone who made these allegations, the Appeals Court dismissed his defamation case as groundless.


Sergei Aksyonov, aka "Goblin"

Nonetheless, the respective trajectories of both Aksyonov and Salem tell us something about Crimea's own development, and the role the criminals could play in Russia's near-bloodless seizure of the peninsula. Even before the collapse of the U.S.S.R. at the end of 1991, Crimea in general and Simferopol in particular had become free-wheeling havens for smuggling, black marketeering, and a lucrative array of embezzlement schemes centering on the region's health spas and holiday resorts.

As independent Ukraine struggled in the early 1990s both with economic crisis and the near collapse of its law enforcement structures, organized crime assumed an increasingly visible and violent form. Simferopol was fought over by two rival gangs, the "Bashmaki" ("Shoes") and Salem (named after the Salem Cafe, in turn named after Simferopol's sister city). They were at once entrepreneurs and predators, forcing local businesses to pay tribute and sell their goods on pain of arson, beatings, and worse.

Viktor recalled one ferry trip to Kerch, at the eastern tip of the peninsula, in which he was accompanied by a courier carrying a suitcase stuffed with cans of whitefish roe, which Salem would force restaurateurs to buy as "beluga caviar," a gaggle of prostitutes recruited for brothels in Yalta, and a pair of hung-over and heavily tattooed "bulls," mob enforcers, returning from a party in Novorossiisk. As he put it, "all Crimean crime was on that boat."

This was an inherently unstable situation; not only was there pressure from political and business elites for the police to reassert their authority, but the gang war was beginning to prevent either side from actually turning a profit. The conflict escalated until a paroxysm of murder and violence in 1996 that appeared to leave both gangs all but destroyed. It also opened a window of opportunity for Gennady Moskal, the Crimean police chief between 1997 and 2000, to launch a crackdown on overt gangsterism.

Crimea became a more peaceful place, but claims that the gangs were broken was a convenient fiction. Through Viktor, I got to meet Alfrid Ibragimov, a grizzled Tatar veteran of the 1990s gang wars, and he put it that "the punks just grew up, they realized wars were bad for business and there was a lot more money to be made in business. Moskal just helped them make the jump."

To be sure, both the Bashmaki and Salem had suffered major blows, especially the former, and likewise the police were beginning to get their act together. However, in practice, the main damage had been done to the foot soldiers on each side. The more senior and less overtly thuggish leaders -- including one brigadier, or mid-ranking overseer, known as "Goblin" -- instead took their money and their connections and went (semi)legitimate, in business and politics. Indeed, usually they were involved in both, leveraging their continued, although less overt, criminal alliances to further their political and economic ends.

By the 2000s, these gangsters-turned-businessmen were increasingly dominant within Crimea. Kyiv appeared to have little interest in bringing good governance and economic prosperity to this peninsula of ethnic Russians, and this gave the local elites both free reign and also a perverse legitimacy. As one Crimean told me during Vladimir Putin's second inauguration as president, in 2004: "we want our own Putin. He may be a tsar, but he is a tsar who at least governs, and who knows what his people want."

Ukraine was at the time embroiled in the acrimonious campaign that led to the election of reformist Viktor Yushchenko against Party of Regions candidate (and subsequent president) Viktor Yanukovych. It was telling that Yushchenko had very little support in Crimea -- but Yanukovych, the ostensible candidate of the east and the Russian-speakers, received lackluster support there, too. Crimea regarded itself as neglected by and separate from the political mainstream.


A man holds a Soviet flag as he attends a pro-Russian rally at the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol in March.

In this political, economic, and social vacuum, the new mafia-business-political empires could thrive. As one U.S. Embassy cable in 2006 put it, these "Crimean criminals were fundamentally different than in the 1990s: then, they were tracksuit-wearing, pistol-wielding 'bandits' who gave Crimea a reputation as the 'Ukrainian Sicily' and ended up in jail, shot, or going to ground; now they had moved into mainly above-board businesses, as well as local government." It added that "dozens of figures with known criminal backgrounds were elected to local office in the March 26 elections." Viktor Shemchuk, former chief prosecutor of the region, recalled that "every government level of Crimea was criminalized. It was far from unusual that a parliamentary session in Crimea would start with a minute of silence honoring one of their murdered 'brothers.'"

The key commodities were control of businesses and, increasingly, land. Some of the former leaders of Bashmaki, for example, were accused of trying to take over SC Tavria Simferopol, Crimea's main soccer club, largely for the properties it owned. More generally, as prices rose -- especially as Tatars, displaced from their Crimean homelands under the Soviets, began to return home -- the gangster-businessmen and their allies within the corrupt local bureaucracy sought to snap up land and construction projects to take advantage of this market.

Crime And Conquest

One of the dangerously unremarked aspects of this creeping criminalization was its Russian connection, something also symbolized by Viktor's ferry ride. Although Crimea was part of Ukraine, many of the most lucrative criminal businesses, such as trafficking narcotics and counterfeit or untaxed cigarettes, depended on relationships with the Russian criminal networks. According to Alfrid, likewise the peninsula's dirty money was typically laundered through Russian banks and in the process became all but untraceable for the Ukrainian police.

This meant that when the Ukrainian state began to totter as President Yanukovych struggled with the Maidan protesters, already Moscow was able to begin to reach out to potential clients in Crimea through underworld channels. According to Mikhail of the Moscow police, representatives from Solntsevo had visited Crimea for talks with locals even before February 4, when Crimea's Presidium, or governing council, considered a referendum on its status and asking Russia to guarantee the vote, something the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) decided was potentially an act of subversion. The Muscovites came not just to feel out the scope for further criminal business, but also to gauge the mood of the local underworld.

Aksyonov, head of the Russian Unity party, seemed an ideal choice as a Kremlin figurehead. Even though he had been elected to the regional parliament in 2010 with just 4 percent of the vote, he was ambitious, ruthless, and closely connected with Crimean parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, perhaps the pivotal powerbroker on the peninsula then and now. Konstantinov has also been persistently linked with organized-crime connections and allegations of construction and real-estate fraud, although these have not been tested in court. (Then again, not only does he enjoy immunity from prosecution as a parliament deputy, the question is whether anyone would dare go that far anyway; Sergei Mokrushin, an investigative journalist with independent local Chernomorskaya TV, describes him as "untouchable.")

When Moscow moved to seize Crimea, three different kinds of forces were used. There were the "little green men," Russian "Spetsnaz" commandoes and naval infantry marines, stripped of their insignia, but retaining their discipline and professionalism. There were local police, especially the Berkut riot police, who solidly supported the local coup, not least knowing that the protesters in Kyiv wanted their whole force dissolved or purged. And then there were unidentified thugs in mismatched fatigues and red armbands, but nonetheless often clutching assault rifles. These "self-defense forces" spent as much time occupying businesses -- including a car dealership owned by Ukraine's next president, Petro Poroshenko -- and throwing their weight around on the streets as they did actually securing strategic locations.

According to an official of the local prosecutor -- who again asked not to be named -- while some were veterans and volunteers, many were the foot soldiers of the peninsula's crime gangs, including Bashmaki and the descendants of Salem, who had temporarily put their rivalries aside to pull Crimea out of Ukraine. "They knew it would be good for them both," she adds, "and there were powerful people in Moscow who asked them to do it."

Who were these powerful people? With Crimea now part of the Russian Federation and Aksyonov ensconced as Moscow's local proconsul, the Kremlin seems generally happy to leave power in the hands of the very elites who presided over the corruption and misrule of previous years. The governing State Council is dominated by such holdovers. Even the notional agencies of control are dominated by locals closely associated with the people they are meant to be supervising.

In May, for example, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev visited Simferopol for a meeting with local police, and introduced them to their new bosses: Sergei Abisov, appointed as Crimean interior minister, and his deputy, police chief Colonel Dmitry Nekludov. Both are locals, who previously had served in Crimea during Kyiv's ascendancy, and who as a result can hardly be considered fresh blood. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Kolokoltsev actually wanted to appoint an outsider instead of Nekludov -- as his position is more directly involved in operational matters -- but that this was overruled by the Kremlin, at least in part at the urging of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

The FSB's role is even more interesting, though. Whereas most of the police transferred their loyalties to the new regime, the local security apparatus of the SBU largely left the peninsula when the Russians moved in. The FSB occupied their headquarters on Simferopol's Franko Boulevard, and have made a point of claiming that their command structure is made of outsiders. The regional FSB director is indeed an import: Viktor Palagin, who had previously headed the FSB directorate in Bashkortostan. However, most of the rest of the directorate's senior ranks appear to be drawn from FSB officers who had previously been embedded within the Russian Black Sea Fleet. While long-standing Russian citizens instead of Crimean Ukrainian-turned-Russians, they are in effect already locals, having lived and worked alongside their counterparts for months or years.

Local sources claim that it was the FSB that brokered conversations between the Crimean political elite and many of the Slavic criminal gangs in the immediate run-up to the annexation crisis and at the time. They also liaised between them and the GRU (Russian military intelligence), which controlled the "little green men." Part of the deal appears to have been a promise for not only continued opportunities for enrichment but also support against the non-Slavic gangs who had begun to encroach onto their turfs, especially Tatars and North Caucasians.

In a signal of this pledge, in June FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov warned, in connection with the claim that a bomb attack in Crimea had been foiled, that "crime bosses and the heads of various extremist groups, with the support of their foreign sponsors, are continuing to carry out plans to commit terrorist acts in the Russian Federation." Immediately thereafter, the police and FSB began cracking down on Tatar organizations, as well as legal and illegal businesses controlled by non-Slavic gangs. Deals made were being honored.

Crime And Consolidation

As a result, Crimea's criminal and political elites are enjoying a range of new opportunities for enrichment. The first is through simple expropriation. Having already taken his Tavria leisure complex in Yalta, for example, the Crimean State Council has ordered the seizure of all properties owned by Ihor Kolomoyskyy, Ukraine's fourth-richest man and a supporter of Kyiv. According to Aksyonov, the properties are to be sold at auction, with the proceeds used to support the regional budget and also refund locals who had deposits in Kolomoyskyy's Privatbank, which then reneged on its commitments in Crimea.

However, if past experiences are anything to go by, the auctions will be carefully arranged to transfer assets into the hands of cronies and agents for the least price, or simply raise funds for subsequent embezzlement. More generally, Kyiv claims that the Crimean government has illegally seized some 80,000 hectares of land and properties worth 1.5 billion hryvnyas ($110 million), much of which already appears to have made its way into private hands.


The political campaign to marginalize and intimidate the Crimean Tatars extends to the underworld as well.

Alfrid Ibragimov, for example, makes no bones about the fact that he is taking many of his liquid assets, largely profits from sweetheart land deals in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as a cigarette smuggling ring, and using the cash to snap up properties. "This is like privatization in the 1990s," he says, "one of those chances in life when you can make a fortune if you move fast and know what you're doing." Disarmingly, the 60-something-year-old mobster-businessman calls this his "pension plan."

Furthermore, Moscow has committed itself to a slew of development projects that will represent honeypots for the gangsters, ranging from repairing roads to building a road bridge across the Kerch Strait to link Crimea to the Russian mainland. In August, Putin pledged 658 billion rubles ($18 billion) to this end, to which another 5 billion rubles ($139 million) will be spent to construct a new federal university there.

Perhaps most striking is Putin's decision to add Crimea to the list of areas allowed to run gambling ventures. Organized gambling was outlawed across the country in 2009, with the assertion that it was "a dangerous addiction and a magnet for organized crime." Nonetheless, a few locations were permitted to build and run casino complexes, especially with an eye to the overseas markets. Now Crimea (and Sochi) will be added to the list, with the resort city of Yalta the likely site for a new development. The government has suggested that this might bring in up to $750 million a year for the overstretched regional budget -- expected to run up a 55 billion-ruble ($1.5 billion) deficit this year -- but again it is unlikely that anything of the sort will actually end up in the public purse.

After all, casinos and their associated leisure complexes have long, rightly, been associated with organized crime. They are prime locations for loan sharking, money laundering, vice of every kind, and protection racketeering. Although the local media has talked up the prospect of clashes between Chechen gangs that in the past were heavily involved in illegal and legal gambling alike, as well as a new generation of Tatar gangster, the experience of other sites suggests that it is Russian groups, with political connections, that dominate.

Indeed, with official support, these gangs already seem to be moving to consolidate their position and not so much eliminate as constrain and tame their non-Russian rivals. The infamous Chechens, for example, have been forced to relax their previous tight grip on the local drug trade and instead hand a share over to the Slavic gangs.

Meanwhile, the Tatar gangs appear to be facing a coordinated bid to cut them down to size. The police have launched a number of raids in and around Tatar settlements. In the village of Zhuravki, for example, they were ostensibly looking for marijuana-growing sites and processing facilities. At Kolchugino, masked officers said they were after illegal migrants and evidence of banned literature. When they searched the Fontany mosque, they failed to give any reason beyond an "operational investigation."

In part, this reflects a political campaign to marginalize and intimidate the Crimean Tatars, in parallel with the decision to evict the Mejlis, their governing body, from its offices in Simferopol. However, this has also served notice on the emerging Tatar gangs that they operate under sufferance. Alfrid, for example, has already lined up Slavic partners for his property deals, including figures from the underworld and also local government. He refers to them as his "roof," the criminal term for protection.

Crime And Consequences

The common denominator in all these cases is that the gangs with political connections gain protection and privileged access to upperworld and underworld resources. In return, they kick back payments but also provide political support to their allies, in a self-sustaining loop. This is, after all, the essence of the Russian political system in a nutshell. The Kremlin rewards those who demonstrate utility and loyalty, and at the same time expects and demands that they continue to demonstrate those qualities. In the short term, this is a brutally effective means of creating an elite base and maintaining control over it: when everyone is compromised, everyone is vulnerable, and everyone needs regularly to demonstrate their commitment to the boss.

However, it can get out of control. First of all, the temptation in Crimea may be to turn the peninsula into a thoroughly criminalized enclave that goes beyond even the Kremlin's permissive bounds and begins to pose a challenge to Russian security and Moscow's credibility. The problem is that there is a potentially massive criminal opportunity for the Crimeans if they are able to supplant Odesa as the Black Sea smuggling entrepot of choice, especially if they can enhance that with the additional opportunities of easier links with Russian organized crime. According to Viktor the Solntsevo hanger-on, that particular network has continued to send representatives to Crimea, above all to develop local alliances, and by all accounts others of Russia's larger, inter-regional or international networks are doing the same.

Crimea is a relatively poor region, dependent on inefficient agriculture and often-dated industry, and while today Moscow may be willing to subsidize it and pay off the elites, some new crisis or priority may emerge tomorrow. The temptation to build autonomous funding streams and to take full advantage of the region's unofficial status (as the outside world is almost united in not recognizing its position as a part of the Russian Federation) will be great for a self-interested, under-controlled, and over-acquisitive elite.

Thus, while the Crimean experience -- and that of eastern Ukraine, too -- suggests that Moscow regards criminals as acceptable local representatives and useful agents of control and integration, there are also potential dangers for the center, too. The comparable illicit opportunities of the Sochi Games, the last Kremlin megaproject, led to small-scale gang wars and very nearly a major one, as well. Especially given the slowdown of the wider Russian economy, and thus the shrinkage of profit margins for gangs depending on embezzlement, protection racketeering, and the like, then the struggle for the criminal profits in Crimea could also spark wider gang conflicts. When both Mikhail and Viktor spoke of the opportunities in Crimea, in true Russian style they were also acknowledging that no such opportunity comes without serious risk.

Mark Galeotti is professor of global affairs at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, an expert on Russia's security services, and author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows"

http://www.rferl.org/content/crimea-crime-criminals-as-agents-allies/26671923.html


StopFake.org

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 [45] 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 »
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Sponsored by , a Bitcoin-accepting VPN.
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!