Фото ГО "Кримська громада, м. Чернігів, 28.08.2021

Commemorative practices and the emergence of new public traditions in the Ukrainian community of Crimea during the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014-2021

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Commemorative practices[1] are one of the main mechanisms of formation, preservation and development of national and ethno-national identity. For the existence of a collective identity of this type, it is extremely important to create and maintain common ideas about the past through the development of rituals of honor, perpetuation of events and people, the construction of “places of memory”. This article attempts to consider how the mechanisms of commemoration work in the Ukrainian community of Crimea, which is the second largest in the region, in the extreme conditions of the occupation of southern Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the discriminatory policy of the occupation regime. Particular attention will be paid to the introduction of some new public traditions by community activists who were forced to leave Crimea or were deported by the occupiers from its territory to the mainland.

Russia’s temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol undermines the foundations of the international legal order, as it became the first attempt in post-Hitler’s Europe to annex part of the territory of a sovereign state. The actions of the aggressor state created a whole set of problems. One of the main negative consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was the transformation of Crimea into a “peninsula of fear”: in the occupied Ukrainian region, Russia systematically commits large-scale and systemic violations of human and civil rights and collective rights of Crimean ethnic communities. Among the latter, the Crimean Tatar people and the community of Ukrainians in Crimea are the most discriminated against, and the problems of the latter are often ignored by the authorities, civil society and the international community.

In 2014-2021, the occupying state persecuted, ousted from the temporarily occupied territory or illegally deprived of liberty activists and leaders of the Ukrainian community of Crimea (there were also tragic cases of their disappearance and murder), almost completely liquidated the Ukrainian / Ukrainian-language education system, most Ukrainian cultural institutions and the media in the Crimea, banned the activities of Ukrainian political and most public structures, persecuted those denominations, among the parishioners of which Ukrainians predominate, sought to sever ties with the educational, informational and cultural space of Ukraine. In addition, the Ukrainian community of Crimea is under great informational, psychological and ethno-demographic pressure (mass relocation of Russian citizens to the occupied south of Ukraine). The Ukrainian people or their representatives in Crimea, the Ukrainian language, and other manifestations of Ukrainian identity are often the objects of “hate speech” in the Crimean, Russian media, which are spread in the occupied territories of Ukraine, or by Russian politicians and authorities. From the top of the Russian power vertical, chauvinistic statements are heard that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people.” This statement actually contains a denial of Ukrainian subjectivity in state, socio-political and cultural life, and in certain contexts is interpreted as a rejection of Ukrainian identity in general. During the seven years of occupation, contrary to the requirements of international law and Ukrainian law, 500-800 thousand Russian colonists, according to expert estimates, moved from Russia to the Crimea.

Russia is not complying with the 2017 UN International Court of Justice ruling on the resumption of Ukrainian-language education in Crimea. At the same time, it tries to manipulate the “Ukrainian question”: in order to use in the information war against Ukraine and disguise its discriminatory policy, it forms fake organizations of “Crimean Ukrainians” or holds so-called “congresses of the Ukrainian diaspora” in Crimea.

Crimea is the most specific ethno-demographic region of Ukraine, as its territory is inhabited by indigenous ethnic groups – Crimean Tatars, Karaites, Crimean Tatars, as well as Ukrainians and other ethnic communities, the largest group of Crimeans are ethnic Russians. Only in two administrative-territorial units of the state – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol – ethnic Ukrainians do not constitute a majority. Before the occupation, according to the results of the All-Ukrainian census of 2001, in general Ukrainians (24.4%, 492.4 thousand people), Russians (58.5%, 1180.4 thousand people) and Crimean Tatars (12%, 243, 4 thousand people) accounted for 95% of the population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea[2]. To a large extent, the stability and development of this administrative-territorial unit depends on their interaction. The ethno-political situation in Sevastopol is somewhat different. According to the results of the All-Ukrainian census of 2001, among Sevastopol ethnic Ukrainians were the second community (22.4%, 84.4 thousand people), Russians were 71.6%, or 270 thousand people, and Crimean Tatars – 0.7% , or 2.5 thousand people[3]. Manipulations of ethnodemographic information by Russia can also be observed in the occupied Crimea. For example, in March 2015, the occupation authorities announced that, according to the preliminary results of the census, which they illegally conducted in the occupied regions of southern Ukraine, in 2014, 344.5 thousand Ukrainians lived in the Crimea, which is 40% less than 2001, recorded during the All-Ukrainian census[4]. That is, the share of ethnic Ukrainians in the Crimean population has allegedly decreased in 13 years from 24.4% to 15.7%. It is likely that similar figures will be announced in the Crimea in 2021.

In general, the discriminatory policy of the occupying state created the conditions for the gradual assimilation of ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea through their Russification. Part of the Crimean Ukrainian community is vulnerable to policies of discrimination. There is no reason to trust the results of surveys conducted in the occupied territories in conditions of detention, as they will contain significant errors due to untrue or inaccurate answers of a large number of respondents, as well as, presumably, deliberate manipulations.

The forecast regarding the state of the Ukrainian community in Crimea under the conditions of occupation is consistently negative, as the consistent policy of the occupying state has a destructive effect on the bearers of Ukrainian identity. This, of course, also applies to commemorative practices and traditional public events conducted by community representatives and aimed at maintaining and developing the Ukrainian identity.

In 2014, the occupation authorities destroyed several “places of memory” related to the history and culture of Ukraine. Thus, in Sevastopol, a monument to Hetman P. Sagaidachny, a memorial sign “10th anniversary of the Ukrainian Navy” was dismantled, a bust of L. Ukrainka was dismantled and damaged in one of the schools, and a bust of Taras Shevchenko was probably removed. In Simferopol, during the Russian occupation, attempts were made to rename the Ivan Franko Crimean Republican Library and the Taras Shevchenko Cinema, and calls were made to dismantle the Kobzar bust in the park named after him. So far, however, Russia’s occupation of Crimea has prevented the unveiling of a monument to Taras Shevchenko in Dzhanka, which was announced in the fall of 2013, and in the village of Novoozernoye in the Yevpatoria region, where the monument’s foundation stone was even dismantled. In Yalta and Feodosia, schools deprived the names of Ukrainian cultural figures S. Rudansky and O. Teliga. Private open-air museum – The Museum of Ukrainian Folk Architecture and Life “Ridne Selo” in Bakhchisaray district, which is based on Ukrainian architectural structures, after 2014 was renamed “Slavic Village”.

The traditional All-Crimean competition of pupils and students “Let’s fight for a new life!”, Dedicated to L. Ukrainka, and the All-Ukrainian literary competition “We are your children, Ukraine!” Ceased to function in Crimea during the occupation. named after Danylo Kononenko. The first of them in 2004-2014 was attended by thousands of children, the vast majority of whom were from the Crimea. Both competitions “with Crimean roots” after 2014 are forced to be held on the mainland of Ukraine, have an all-Ukrainian status. Crimean children also take part in them, but their share has drastically decreased.

March of astronomers in Simferopol (January 2013) Photo from the archive of IA “Voice of Crimea”.

In 1991-2014, Crimean Ukrainians developed certain traditions of holding public events of both socio-political and cultural nature. For example, a few years before the Russian aggression, activists of the Ukrainian community launched marches of embroidered shirts in the Crimea, in particular in Evpatoria, and a Christmas procession of celebrities in Simferopol. Both events supported and promoted Ukrainian traditions, gathering a significant number of participants. From the beginning 1990s – in 2000, activists of the Crimean Ukrainian community annually celebrated in Sevastopol, Simferopol and other cities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea such national socio-political holidays and memorable days as the Independence Day of Ukraine (August 24), the Day of Unity (January 22) , Taras Shevchenko’s birthday (March 9), Cossack and UPA Day (October 14), Holodomor Remembrance Day, which for some time was called Remembrance Day for Victims of Political Repression and the Holodomor (late November).

The occupation regime made it impossible or extremely difficult to hold them in public places in the Crimea. For example, on August 24, 2014, on the Independence Day of Ukraine, reinforced patrols of Russian security forces did not allow people to enter Shevchenko Park in Simferopol, as they allegedly received a call about its mining. This was apparently due to the fact that in the first half of March 2014, peaceful mass actions of resistance against the Crimean occupation took place in this place. On August 24, 2014, the occupation authorities installed a water cannon near the Kobzar monument. At the same time, Russian police detained several Ukrainian activists and a camera crew of the Inter TV channel there. In 2015, the occupation authorities banned members of the public from holding a traditional public event to commemorate Kobzar on his birthday in Shevchenko Park in Simferopol. Instead, pro-Ukrainian activists were invited to hold celebrations in honor of Taras Shevchenko’s birthday in Gagarin Park near the monument to the three graces. On March 9, 2015 in Simferopol, Russian security forces detained the organizer of the event L. Kuzmin and its participants V. Shukurdzhiev and O. Kravchenko “for demonstrating Ukrainian symbols, which was not specified in the application for the event”[5]. On March 12, 2015, the so-called Simferopol Railway District Court sentenced the detained activists to 40 hours of community service for using blue and yellow flags and ribbons, and later found another participant, K. Abdullayev, guilty of violating the rules of the public event because he unfurled the flag of Ukraine with the inscription: “Crimea is Ukraine”[6]. Soon L. Kuzmin lost his job as a teacher and was beaten by unknown people. In the same year, O. Kravchenko and V. Shukurdzhiev were forced to leave the Crimea due to pressure from the occupiers. These and similar facts indicate systemic violations of citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly. In recent years, public mass events near the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Simferopol have allowed only organizations completely controlled by the occupying power, however, some public activists and other members of the Ukrainian community continue to lay flowers on memorials or holidays individually or in small groups.

In general, Russia’s policy toward ethnic Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea is discriminatory. Attempts to self-organize Ukrainians and pro-Ukrainian forces in the temporarily occupied Crimea face enormous problems and difficulties, and sometimes lead to tragic consequences. For example, in the spring of 2014, a leader and activist of the Ukrainian People’s House was abducted in Simferopol[7],  which seems to have paralyzed the organization. In 2015, the Ukrainian Cultural Center was established in Simferopol, which set purely cultural tasks, but within a few years most of its members were forced to leave for the free territory of Ukraine due to administrative and judicial persecution.

Activists of the Ukrainian community in Crimea, who were forced to leave or were deported by the occupiers to the mainland, continued to celebrate national holidays with Crimean specifics. For example, in Kyiv, in recent years, actions of solidarity with the Ukrainian Crimea have been held on March 9 on the initiative of the Crimean Human Rights Group and with the support of other public organizations and activists. “Taras Shevchenko’s birthday in 2014 became one of the main days of the struggle against the Russian occupation for the people of Crimea. On March 9, 2014, many Crimean people in various cities on the peninsula went to the monuments to Shevchenko in opposition to the occupation. On this day, the organizers of the Euromaidan-Crimea movement, Andriy Shchekun and Anatoliy Kovalsky, were abducted, and a year later, on March 9, 2015, activists Veldar Shukurdzhiev, Oleksandr Kravchenko and others who came out with Ukrainian flags were detained, ”the organizers reminded in 2021. shares. They noted that for seven years of occupation in the face of systemic and mass human rights violations, politically motivated persecution, Russia’s policy to destroy the Ukrainian identity of Crimean people who support independent Ukraine, the peninsula’s residents preserve Ukrainian language and culture and peacefully resist the occupation. The West has an all-Crimean format, aimed not only at supporting Ukrainian civic and cultural identity, but also at the policy of deoccupation and reintegration of southern Ukraine in general. Representatives of various public organizations and ethnic communities of Crimea, in particular – the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and the National Council of Ukrainians of Crimea, authorities and self-government act during it.

During the Russian-Ukrainian war, a memorable date appeared in the official calendar of Ukraine, associated with the beginning of Russian aggression in Crimea. The special operation to seize the Crimean peninsula, which started on February 20, 2014[8], was carried out by the Kremlin at an early stage in secret. In Sevastopol, on February 23, 2014, Russia managed to overthrow the legitimate Ukrainian government in the city and start handing it over to a Russian citizen, businessman V. Chalom, who was declared a “people’s mayor” at a rally that day with disguised Black Sea Fleet sailors and their families.

A similar scenario seems to have been prepared for Crimea. On February 25, 2014, a rally of pro-Russian forces took place near the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, where separatist statements were made. The protesters were joined by the chairman of the Crimean parliament, V. Konstantinov, who was already de facto under Kremlin control, and announced the convening of an extraordinary session. In order to thwart the Kremlin’s scenario of state disintegration, the Crimean Tatar People’s Majlis initiated a rally on February 26, 2014 in support of Ukraine’s unity. Euromaidan-Crimea movement, fans of Tavriya football club and other pro-Ukrainian forces joined it. At its peak, Russian collaborators gathered a much smaller rally, although its participants were even taken from Sevastopol. Clashes broke out between participants in pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian events, in which several dozen people were injured and two were killed[9]. As a result, on February 26, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea did not make any decision. Russia’s attempt to covertly implement the scenario of Crimea’s rejection of Ukraine allegedly through the actions of Crimean civil society, in fact, failed, and then on the night of February 27, 2014, Russian special forces seized the buildings of the autonomous authorities – the Verkhovna Rada and the Council of Ministers. to submit a special operation of the Kremlin to seize Crimea in February-March 2014 as an act of expression of the will of the Crimean people, to hide the real mechanisms of occupation behind propaganda ideological constructions. Its influence was felt even among some Ukrainian citizens. In order to form realistic ideas about the course of processes in Crimea, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2016 included in the list of memorable dates and anniversaries a paragraph: “2 years since the rally of Crimean Tatars in Simferopol in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity (26.02.2014) »[10]. This wording reflects that the initiator and main organizer of the pro-Ukrainian rally was the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and that most of the participants were Crimean Tatars. Hence one of the informal names of this date – “Day of the Crimean Tatar resistance to the Russian occupation of Crimea”, which is sometimes still used by some media in Ukraine. However, the so-called “Day of Crimean Resistance to Russian Occupation of Crimea” has become more widespread, reflecting the realities of February 26, 2014 (it appeals to both the significant Crimean Tatar contribution to the resistance and the participation of Euromaidan activists, ultras and other Crimeans). inclusive, and therefore more mobilizing for society. In 2017-2019, before this date, which had no official status, both representatives of civil society and the authorities organized public events on the deoccupation of Crimea at various levels, including international ones. Representatives of the Ukrainian community of Crimea also took an active part in their holding. The logical conclusion of these efforts was the consolidation of the official status of February 26 as the Day of Resistance to the Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Decree of the President of Ukraine № 58/2020 of February 26, 2020. The document signed by V. Zelensky contains the following justification for the introduction of a memorable date: “In order to honor the courage and heroism of Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territory – in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, from holding a rally in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine in the city of Simferopol on February 26, 2014 with the participation of Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and representatives of other nationalities “[11].

Representatives of the Crimean Ukrainian community are in solidarity with other Crimeans who fight for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the rule of law in Crimea, participate in joint actions, hold events dedicated to ethnically non-Ukrainian communities or persecuted in southern Ukraine. At the same time, representatives of the Ukrainian community have repeatedly stated a lack of understanding and attention to their specific problems by both the Ukrainian authorities and civil society, as well as the international community. For example, the Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea PCU Kliment highly emotionally assessed the situation this year: “There is a lot of talk about Crimean Tatars, but no one talks about Ukrainians in Crimea. … And it doesn’t just surprise me, it offends me. It feels like we were simply erased from the map of Crimea. “[12]

Such a dramatic situation has demanded and still requires action to draw the attention of society, the state and the international community to the problems of ethnic Ukrainians in the occupied Crimea. One of the mechanisms for this was the annual celebration of a special day, when the problems of the community are discussed, its achievements are mentioned and plans for the future are worked out. The events of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921 played a special role in the history of the Ukrainian community of Crimea, as it was at that time that the first structure of self-organization of Crimean Ukrainians on a regional scale emerged. The centenaries of significant revolutionary events have brought this issue to the fore. As it was impossible to fully celebrate them in the occupied Crimean peninsula, and the need to recall the past of the Ukrainian community increased due to pressure from the occupiers, Ukrainian IDPs from the Crimea celebrated them in the free part of the state.

For the first time, a public proposal to celebrate the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community was made on behalf of the public organizations “Tavria Humanitarian Platform” and “Union of Internally Displaced Persons” on January[13] 20, 2017. in Kyiv at the presentation of the book “Our Crimea: Non-Russian Stories of the Ukrainian Peninsula”. The proposed date – August 28 – is based on important historical precedents for the Crimean Ukrainians, because on August 27-29, 1917 in Simferopol held a previous congress of Ukrainians of the Tavria province (Northern Tavria and the Crimean peninsula), and August 28-29, 1918 – the first congress of Ukrainian organizations of Crimea, at which the National Ukrainian Council in Crimea was established[14]. Interestingly, the second congress of Ukrainian organizations in Crimea took place in August 1919[15].  The initiators of the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea at the presentation of the book in January 2017 stressed that given the threat to the identity and existence of this community as a result of the occupation regime, the anniversary should not be a holiday but a time of hard work on Crimean Ukrainians.

On August 29, 2017, as part of the celebration of the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea, a public dialogue on the history of the Ukrainian Revolution in the South: the first experience of self-organization of Ukrainians in Crimea in 1917 took place in a landmark for Ukrainians. The event was timed to the centenary of the first congress of Ukrainians of Crimea and Northern Tavria in Simferopol, which became the first experience of self-organization of Ukrainians of Crimea and the mainland of the province on a regional scale. The congress was one of the milestones of the completion of the initial stage of self-organization of Ukrainians on a national scale, as the Tavriya province became the last among the 9 Ukrainian provinces where such a forum took place. The public dialogue was organized by the Tavriya Humanitarian Platform, the Sophia of Kyiv National Reserve, the Union of Internally Displaced Persons, a public figure, and the ex-Deputy Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea B. Dubas. During the event, Crimean scholars spoke about the Ukrainian national movement in 1917-1918 in Crimea and Sevastopol, Iryna Sedova, the media coordinator of the Crimean Human Rights Group, reported on discrimination against Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied Crimea. The event was attended by scientists, journalists and members of the public. Among the latter were Crimean immigrants – the head of the Crimean branch of the Scientific Society. T. Shevchenko, academician of UEAN P. Volvach, chairman of the organization “Ukrainian community of Crimea” V. Khmelovsky, one of the leaders of the Sevastopol organization of PSA I. Kiryushchenko, longtime host and director of Ukrainian-language programs at DTRK “Crimea” O. Polchenko.

After the speeches, there was an active dialogue between experts and those present on the events of centuries ago and the current state of Ukrainians in Crimea. Some speakers noted that in the Crimea and before its occupation there was a lack of information about the development of the Ukrainian national movement on the peninsula in 1917-1920. List of anniversaries and memorable dates 100th anniversary of the first Congress of Ukrainians of Crimea and 130th anniversary of the birth of the chairman of the National Ukrainian Council in Crimea in 1919-1920 P. Goryansky (1878-1935), to solve some other problems of the Crimean communities of Ukrainians in the humanitarian sphere. The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance supported some of these proposals, but the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine did not include them in the list of dates that are officially celebrated. On August 29, 2017, the participants of the dialogue also decided to prepare an appeal to the authorities of Ukraine, other states and international organizations to impose sanctions on persons involved in illegal imprisonment and torture of a farmer from Rozdolne district of Crimea V. Balukh for his pro-Ukrainian position.

At the end of August 2018, on the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community, a public dialogue was held at the Museum of the Ukrainian Revolution 1917-1921 (in the House of the Central Rada) in Kyiv by the Tavriya Humanitarian Platform with the support of B. Dubas. 100 years of the first congress of Ukrainian organizations of Crimea. The experience of self-organization of Crimean Ukrainians in the XX-XXI centuries. ” There was an active discussion of the state of the Ukrainian community of Crimea in 2014-2018, which, in particular, was attended by the coordinator of the movement “Euromaidan-Crimea” in 2013-2014, director of the National Newspaper and Magazine Publishing House A. Shchekun, administrator of the Facebook page ” Crimean Ukrainians “S. Vikarchuk, chairman of the public committee” Crimea with Ukraine – Unity “, participant in the fighting in the Donbass M. Porovsky. The participants of the dialogue were shown a film about a Crimean defender of the independent Ukrainian People’s Republic, the first woman to be awarded the Ukrainian state award in the 20th century, H. Pekarchuk.

That year, activists of the Crimean community of Ukrainians discovered the grave of the chairman of the National Ukrainian Council in Crimea in 1919-1920, the consul of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in Yalta P. Goryansky, at the Lukyanivka State Historical and Memorial Reserve. Therefore, after the dialogue, community activists went to this place with all comers to honor the memory of the leader of the Crimean Ukrainians of the early twentieth century.

In 2019, on the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea, a public ceremony was held in Kyiv on the initiative of the Tavriya Humanitarian Platform to commemorate P. Goryansky in the Lukyanovsky Reserve with the participation of the Crimean and Kyiv public, clergy and journalists. The administration of the reserve supports the efforts of the Crimean people to restore the memory of one of the leaders of the Ukrainian community of Crimea in the early twentieth century.

Honoring the memory of the chairman of the National Ukrainian Council in Crimea in 1919-1920 Pavlo Horyansky in Kyiv on the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community in Crimea, August 28, 2021. Photo by IA “Voice of Crimea”

On August 28, 2020, the tradition of celebrating a memorable day for the Crimean community of Ukrainians was continued. At that time, events organized by the Tavriya Humanitarian Platform and the Union of Internally Displaced Persons with the support of the Petro Doroshenko Hetman Foundation began with a press conference entitled The Community of Crimean Ukrainians: Six Years of Struggle to Preserve Identity in Ukraine. representatives of the Crimean Ukrainian community, among whom were Metropolitan of Simferopol and the Crimean PCU Kliment, Kremlin ex-hostage V. Balukh and Kremlin ex-hostage, Honored Journalist of Ukraine M. Semyon[16]. Later, a ceremony honoring the memory of P. Goryansky and fallen Crimean defenders of Ukraine took place at the Lukyanov State Historical and Memorial Reserve. The memorial service was celebrated by Metropolitan Clement. The event was attended by the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea A. Korynevych.

On the same day after the official part, the participants discussed the possibility of resuming the activities of the National Ukrainian Council in Crimea, which operated in 1918-1920. In September 2020, representatives of about 20 organizations of IDPs from the occupied south of Ukraine decided to resume the activities of a structure that seeks to represent and protect the interests of Crimean Ukrainians – the National Council of Ukrainians of Crimea (hereinafter KRUK – AI).

August 28, 2021 in Kyiv at the action “Ukrainians of Crimea: a circle of solidarity.” Photo by IA “Voice of Crimea”.

In 2021, KRUK took care of the organization of the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea. This time, in addition to the traditional ceremony honoring the memory of P. Goryansky in Kyiv, the action “Ukrainians of Crimea: a circle of solidarity” was launched. The initiators recommended holding public events in support of the Crimean Ukrainian community discriminated against by the occupiers near the Kobzar monuments, which are in many settlements and have become symbols of the struggle of Ukrainians in Crimea and the country in general for freedom. On August 28, 2021, rallies were held in Chernihiv (organized by the Crimean Family NGO) and in Kyiv as part of the action, attended by both public activists and individual government officials. During the public events, the problems of the community and the deoccupation of Crimea in general were discussed, Crimean Ukrainian political hostages of the Kremlin were mentioned, and the memory of Crimean fighters for the freedom of Ukraine was honored. Kyiv has also traditionally adopted an appeal to the authorities and the international community, which contained specific proposals to protect the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian community in Crimea. In Kharkiv, Lviv, as well as in the temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, flowers were laid on this day by citizens to the monuments to Taras Shevchenko.

The Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea is informal and has been held for 5 years by civil society. On August 31, 2021, KRUK addressed the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea A. Korynevych with a proposal to officially celebrate him in Ukraine on August 28 “to provide informational and moral support to the community of Ukrainians of the temporarily occupied Crimea.” defended and are defending the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. ” In early September 2021, the Office of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea invited the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, regional state administrations, and self-government bodies of regional centers to consider supporting this initiative. Some of the recipients have shown readiness to join it at this stage. For example, Cherkasy Mayor A. Bondarenko told the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in October that the event “to mark the First Congress of Ukrainian Organizations of Crimea” would be included in the Unified Calendar Plan of Cultural and Artistic Events of the Department of Culture. Education and Humanitarian Policy of Cherkasy City Council for 2022[17]. Some addressees stated that in principle they support the idea of ​​holding the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea, but consider it appropriate to hold related events “only after determining the relevant date in the relevant Decree of the President of Ukraine or the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” [19]. . The Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine announced on September 29, 2021 that it had “no objections” to the initiative to introduce the Day for the Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea.

Conclusions. The discriminatory and assimilative policy of the occupying state of Russia towards the community of Ukrainians in Crimea forces activists and community leaders to look for ways to protect the rights and interests of Crimean Ukrainians. One of the directions of such activity was the maintenance and development of commemorative practices that contribute to the preservation of Ukrainian identity in the temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The occupying power made it impossible or drastically narrowed the possibility of publicly celebrating Ukrainian national socio-political holidays and anniversaries in Crimea. Russia achieves this by illegally applying in the temporarily occupied territories of southern Ukraine its restrictive legislation on freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, administrative, criminal and extrajudicial prosecution of organizers and participants of such events, destruction or persecution of Ukrainian civil society structures independent of the occupation administration. Ukrainian commemorative practices, illegal liquidation of part of the places of memory related to the history and culture of Ukraine.

The response to the assimilation threat, restriction or destruction of the commemorative practices of the Ukrainian community in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea was, in particular, the beginning of its activists’ traditions of celebrating new anniversaries, as well as filling some traditional ones with new content. Thus, Taras Shevchenko’s birthday is now celebrated by Crimean IDPs, in particular ethnic Ukrainians, in the free territory of the country as well as the Day of Solidarity with the Ukrainian Crimea. In 2020, the Day of Crimean Resistance to the Russian Occupation of Crimea, which Crimean Ukrainians have been taking part in for several years, gained official status in Ukraine. Of particular importance for preserving the identity of Crimean Ukrainians, fighting for their rights and freedoms, informing the Ukrainian and world community about their violations is the celebration of the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea, which is celebrated annually on August 28. If in 2017-2020 events on this occasion were held by the public, primarily in Kyiv, then in 2021, thanks to the efforts of the National Council of Ukrainians of Crimea, which resumed its activities in 2020, events on this date also took place in Chernihiv , Kharkiv, Lviv, in the temporarily occupied Crimea. This allowed KRUK to raise the issue of official recognition of the Day of Protection of the Rights of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea before the authorities. Obviously, this will not happen immediately, but already at this stage there are authorities and self-government bodies that are ready to support the initiative to celebrate it.

Andriy IVANETS,

candidate of historical sciences

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[1] Commemoration is a set of events to perpetuate and honor the memory of important events and people for society.

[2] On the number and composition of the population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea following the results of the 2001 All-Ukrainian Census. URL: http://2001.ukrcensus.gov.ua/results/general/nationality/crimea/ (access date: 29.11.20).

[3] About the number and composition of the population of the Sevastopol City Council following the results of the All-Ukrainian census of the population of 2001. URL: http://2001.ukrcensus.gov.ua/results/general/nationality/sevastopol/ (access date: 29.11.20).

[4] Population Census in the Crimean Federal District (2014). URL: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B (access date: 29.10.20).

[5] The Crimean court called the flag of Ukraine a forbidden symbol. “Correspondent”, 12.05.2015. URL: https://ua.korrespondent.net/ukraine/3489952-sud-krymu-nazvav-prapor-ukrainy-zaboronenoui-symvolikoui

[6] A pro-Ukrainian activist was attacked in Crimea. ZIK, 04/18/15 URL: https://zik.ua/news/2015/04/18/u_krymu_napaly_na_proukrainskogo_aktyvista_582345

[7] Special project “Graney.ru” and “Media Initiative for Human Rights”. “Those who disappeared for the Crimea”: Case № 1. Investigation of the disappearance of Timur Shaimardanov. 12/10/2017 URL: https://censor.net/en/resonance/3038545/t_scho_znikli_za_krim_sprava_1_rozslduvannya_zniknennya_timura_shayimardanova

[8] February 20 is the official date of the beginning of the temporary occupation of Crimea. 02/20/2020 URL: https://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/en/all-news/pr/20-lyutogo-of%D1%96cz%D1%96jna-data-pochatku-timchasovo%D1%97-okupacz%D1% 96% D1% 97-crime /

[9] Volyanyuk O., Dobrovolska H., Mayorov M. Crimea behind the curtain. Guide to the occupation zone. B.m., b.d. S. 83.

[10] Annex to the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of February 2, 2016 № 971-VIII. Memorable dates and anniversaries of 2016. URL: https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/971-19#Text

[11] Decree of the President of Ukraine № 58/2020 “On the Day of Resistance to the Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol” dated 26.02.2020. URL: https://www.president.gov.ua/documents/582020-32537

[12] Satpayev M. Metropolitan Kliment: Nobody talks about Ukrainians in Crimea. 08/17/2021 URL: https://uain.press/interview/mytropolyt-klyment-pro-ukrayintsiv-krymu-ne-govoryt-nihto-1318863

[13] MIP: The collection “Our Crimea: Non-Russian Stories of the Ukrainian Peninsula” was presented. 01/23/2017 URL: https://mkip.gov.ua/news/1632.html

[14] Minutes of the Congress of Ukrainians of the Crimea on August 28-29, 1918. V. Sergiychuk. Ethnic borders and state border of Ukraine. View. 3rd, ext. Kyiv: PE Sergiychuk MI, 2008. S. 291-292.

[15]Minutes of the Congress of Ukrainians of the Crimea on August 28-29, 1918. V. Sergiychuk. Ethnic borders and state border of Ukraine. View. 3rd, ext. Kyiv: PE Sergiychuk MI, 2008. S. 291-292.

[16] Beskyd O. Memory restored by Ukrainians. Government courier. 09/04/2020

[17] Letter of the Mayor of Cherkasy A. Bondarenko dated 29.10.2021 № 20078-01-3 To the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea A. Korynevych (the scan is at the disposal of the author of the article). Letter of the First Deputy of the Kherson Regional State Administration A. Shibayev dated 23.09.2021 to the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea A. Korynevych (scan is available to the author of the article).

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Implemented within the project “Information Platform” Voice of Crimea. Culture “- about Crimea honestly, qualitatively, actually” with the support of the Media Development Fund of the US Embassy in Ukraine. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the US government.

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