Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the Security Council Arria-Formula meeting on Crimea

Distinguished Mr. President,

At the outset let me express condolences to the friendly people of New Zealand regarding the disastrous events in Christchurch. We condemn this heinous crime. It should be investigated and any possible recurrences should be prevented. We hope that all the wounded will feel better and recover soon.

There was a good storyteller Lewis Carrol. His most famous tale “Alice in Wonderland” tells us about a little girl who dreamt and thought it was real. I am having an impression that todays event is held by such “Alices” who tell us about their dreams. Their dreams are mainly scary and appalling.

Over the five years since the so called “revolution of dignity”, which was actually a coup d’état in Kiev, Ukraine has produced many “storytellers” of this kind.

Mm.Bakkali who takes part in such events for the second time, if I am not mistaken, is worth a literature prize. You have a clear talent and a fertile imagination. But beware: Mr. Chiygoz is stepping on your toes, because he is also talented as actor.

We have nothing against tales, even scary tales – it is a genre of literature after all.

The problem is that our impressible partners, whether conscientiously or not, take those “tales” at their face value, draw conclusions on their basis and take measures.

May I offer a small experiment. Please, raise your hands, those of you who has visited the Crimea after its reunification with Russia. I see. Then let me ask a question: what is the basis for your judgement about the life in a place you have not been to, of which you basically know nothing and do not want to learn a thing? Why not come to the Crimea? Despite all the nonsense that he have again come to hear, the Crimea is an absolutely open region of Russia. We invite everyone to come, because there is nothing about the Crimea that we want to conceal. If you hold a Russian visa, you will not have any problem getting there. Ukraine does not let foreigners cross their border with the Crimea starting from summer 2015, but there are other options.

Dear Mark, we invite everybody to the Crimea, but they will not come. Apparently, they fear to see something that they will not be able to speak of negativcely.

Besides, this resort is delighted to welcome guests – in the previous year alone the number of visitors increased by 28% and stood at 6.8 mln people, 1 mln thereof were Ukrainians (their total number grows by 200.000 people yearly). Many of them visit the region every year, and its return to Russia did not influence their habits. Neither are they afraid of many hours of waiting at the border between Ukraine and the Crimea. We always welcome them. Just scroll their social media accounts and you will see if they like it in the Crimea. If you bother to do so, you will perceive an image, which will be completely different from the scary tale that the organizers of today’s show “thrust” upon us. We understand, that the Kiev authorities would not like it, because it would not let them lie about the alleged disastrous situation in this region. In particular, at the end of 2018 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine started considering a draft bill that would prohibit Ukrainian officials to visit the Crimea. Let me cite one of Ukrainian Media regarding this issue: “They should not publicly talk about a favorable situation on the peninsula.”

Foreign delegations that visit the Crimea also do not become fewer. For example, now there is a visit by a French delegation led by the President of the association “French-Russian dialogue” and France’s ex-Minister for transportation Thierry Mariani. Here are some of the assessments he shared with the Media: “Before 2014 the Crimea was a territory that was immersed in everlasting sleep … now the Crimea has leapt forward … I find the changes [since the first visit of the delegation in 2015] to be fantastic.” You see, François, your assessments are quire different from the assessments of your high ranking compatriot. It happens because you, unlike him, have never been to the Russian Crimea. Come and see for yourself.    

In fact, what should Crimeans complain about? The region develops actively and flourishes. The real wages of Crimeans have increased more than threefold, the purchasing power has doubled. Pensions have grown by almost 150%, which increased the purchasing power of the elderly by 50%. The mortality of the population has gone down by 7.5%, child mortality – by 40%. New medical facilities, schools, kindergartens come into operation.

Despite all the hypocritical care of Ukraine that is so “anxious” about the Crimeans in words, and that organizes transportation, water and energy blockade in deeds, despite this the region is almost self-sufficient and closely tied to the rest of the Russian territory. Three quarters of localities are provided with gas. A new power plant has been launched that eliminated energy blackouts. New energy projects are planned. Water supply has been restored, the beautiful Crimean bridge has been built, that soon will be opened not only for vehicles, but for trains as well. The international airport of Simferopol has been reconstructed (or rather rebuilt). What was Ukraine’s care about the Crimea before 2014? It used to be a depressive underdeveloped region. It was a pariah within Ukraine, fit only to come in summer and bask in its tender sea.

In 2015 the peninsula became subject to a federal program of social and economic development worth $12 bn that will last until 2022. The implementation of this program made it possible to increase the state support for agriculture tenfold.

The financing of education has gone up by 200%, of culture – by 250%, of sports – by 300%. The volume of gross regional product has grown by 50%. For comparison: from 2009 to 2013 the industrial output dropped by 5%. To sum it up: if at least one region of Ukraine had received half of what the Crimea received, probably the population of Ukraine would be more supportive of the incumbent president, who does nothing but accusing Russia of his failure policy.

By the way, I would like to address those who shed hypocritical tears about the allegedly wretched life of the Crimean Tatars. Before the reunification the Tatars had no autonomy on the peninsula. Basically, Kiev did not bother about them at all. If the Tatars who are present here speak honestly, they will remember it. After 2014, all of a sudden, the Crimean Tatars became the most precious citizens for Kiev. Kiev finally remembered about them, because such remote witnesses as you, Mr. Chiygoz, are very convenient for Kiev.

The community of Crimean Tatars faced discrimination, the land issue remained unsolved, though it was very urgent because of “squatting” that the Ukrainian authorities encouraged. As of today, the community is represented at all levels of authorities; and its representation is proportionate to its share of the population. Over 30 NGOs comprising about 30.000 members protect the interests of the Tatars, and do it in the three languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar.

All the cross-ethnical problems exist only in the imagination, in the first place of those who fled from the peninsula and now narrate tales about the life of the Crimean ethnicities in order to exonerate themselves.

The Tatars who live in the Crimea and who would like to describe the real state of affairs are not welcome at the events like this. You might have noticed that the concept note pointed out that statement here can be delivered only upon an invitation. Of course, the Crimea received none of them.

Instead, here we have people who can only learn about the Crimea from those who moved out of there. Therefore, we cannot reckon that they have a real understanding of what is happening on the peninsula.

Mr. President,

The population of the Crimea have only one reason for discontent. The major part of international community that “instigates” the Maidan authorities pretends that the Crimeans do not exist and that this thriving peninsula is alleged premises of a “Russian prison of nations” where the Ukrainians and Tatars languish and long for Kiev. For that reason the Crimeans suffer an unacceptable “visa discrimination” that is somewhat kin to ethnical discrimination. It is not quite clear how it fits into the European values.

This is pitiful, but everything is relative. The Crimeans see the example of Donbass, where fewer Russian-speaking people live. Those people in Donbass only wanted to keep their identity and honor the heroes who liberated their territory from Nazis instead of cooperating with them. In response to that, the Ukrainian authorities have dropped bombs on them and shelled them.

The Crimeans saw the tragedy in Odessa, where several dozens of people were burnt alive in the Trade Union House under the eyes of the maddened crowd of nationalists. They saw the humiliation  of “Berkut” riot police who only performed their duties and were accused of all the deadly sins, including murders, only because of that; and they had no opportunity to protect themselves. The Crimeans see the lawlessness that reigns in Ukraine – the country that used to be dear to their hearts, where today no crimes are investigated, any dissidence is suppressed and everything is explained by some mythical Russian aggression.

Five years ago, after the “Maidan junta” had come to power, the Crimeans and all the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine encountered a surge of threats and curses. Remember the words of one of Maidan leaders Dmytro Yarosh, who is still an MP in the Verkhovna Rada: “Russians should be ousted out of the Crimea, because they will never praise Bandera”. Those were not idle threats and the citizens of the peninsula made sure of that after on February 20, 2014, a bus convoy that was attacked by Ukrainian nationalist radicals on the way to the Crimea from Kiev. On February 27, the so called “train of friendship” departed from Kiev to the Crimea. It was organized by a “Right Sector” neo-Nazi leader Igor Mosiychuk; and the people who wanted to “become friends” with the Crimeans turned out to be nationalists who were armed to the teeth. Thanks God they decided to abandon their bloody plans when encountered the decisiveness of the population of the peninsula.

When looking at it today and when recalling what has passed, the Crimeans only reinforce their conviction that five years ago they made the right choice when they voted to reunify with Russia. As recent as yesterday the results of the poll held among the citizens of the peninsula were published. According to them, 89% of the Crimeans would again vote for reunification with Russia if needed. Do you think they again do it at gunpoint? You simply do not want to learn the truth. International delegations that visit the Crimea do not think so.

The Crimeans chose peace and prosperity; they chose life, after all. It is enough to realize it, and then all the inconvenience caused by telltales about them that travel the world, takes a second place.

I would like to respond to Mm. Oprysko. I was listening to your emotional speech with interest. You can be sure that your father is safe. He was in danger in November, when he and his colleagues were illegally offered to violate Russia’s national border. By the way, not in the area of the Crimea, but at a point where it had been even before 2014.

The goal of this provocation was to sacrifice the seamen, including Your father. Thanks God they had enough sense not to fully obey this illegal offer and to give up.

We had to detain them, and not as prisoners of war, but as perpetrators of the state border, because Russia is not at war with Ukraine. Probably, Ukraine is at war with Russia, because it is more convenient for the power authorities, but again, it is not us. Now we need an investigation to find out who pronounced this illicit order that imperiled the life of Your father. If he is innocent, then after the trial he will go back home. Unfortunately, this will be the moment his safety will no longer be guaranteed.

Just recall Nadezhda Savchenko, whom we set free, i.a. upon demands of the international community. She was arrested and is still in prison, and she has no access to the presidential elections. Nobody recalls this, nobody is interested in her for some reason.

I suggest You should keep contacts with the lawyers You mentioned because You might need them once You father is back to Ukraine.

I am not going to dwell on why we all, including the Crimeans, believe the referendum that was held 5 years ago to have been legitimate and why we respect its results. Anyway, you are not going to change your opinion about this, because in such an event you would have to implicitly admit that the entire “Maidan project” was a failure that had disastrous implications for the life of the Ukrainians. In such an event, you would also have to admit that you use double standards when addressing the right to “self-determination” in other parts of Europe and the globe. We have repeatedly presented our legal arguments. I will remind of them soon when speaking to the journalists.

Mr. President,

Those, who studied the modern history of the Crimea, know that the peninsula has always been autonomous and has long and persistently tried to reunify with Russia. That is why what happened five years ago is a big and long-awaited event. In the next three days, the entire peninsula will hold celebrations and public festivities.

What is the most important for us is the unwavering support and enthusiasm of the people of the Crimea. Everyone who comes there with an open heart rather than with a “stone in the hand” feels this. What is crucial is that we managed to save lives and serenity of over 2 mln Crimeans, therefore we have nothing to regret, but we have something to be proud of. This is the greatest prevention that you harp on relentlessly.

We see that many in Ukraine are still having “phantom pains” about the Crimea. They turn to international bodies and governments, and even receive some feedback. However, this is going to change nothing. Ukraine has lost the Crimea once and for all, because of its actions. There is no one else to blame but Kiev. We call upon the capitals of the States who organized today’s event to stop encouraging the attempts of Kiev authorities to challenge the results of the people’s vote that took place five years ago. The sooner it happens, the better for Ukraine, that should long ago have stopped undermining its nationhood and the little that is left from the inter-ethnical relations.

Mr. President,

We see that the international community is pretty tired of “phantom battles” around the Crimea. When hot-on-the-trail over 100 States supported Kiev, but when the Ukrainians were pushing forward a provocative resolution in January this year, the majority of the UN Member States (127 countries) in one form or another refused to support it.

We do not call upon our UN partners to prioritize the right of nations to self-determination by prejudicing the respect for territorial integrity. Each situation is unique that requires a specific approach.

 As I have said, the fate of the Crimea was predetermined by the political course of the Maidan authorities that came to power after a coup d’état. This course was about squeezing the Russian identity out of Ukraine, which is by some force majeure. We rescued people from a sinking ship and gave them a new old home, if you like. However, the ship is still sinking. Gentlemen, better save the ship before it ultimately goes down.

We hope that our Ukrainian neighbors will be wise enough and committed to put an end to the lawlessness that is still reigning in Ukraine. We believe that eventually we will become good neighbors – there is no other way for the peoples of Ukraine and Russia. We believe the thriving Russian Crimea that holds doors open for Ukrainians and other guests, will symbolize this good neighborliness.

I thank you for the attention.

In response to the statement by the Representative of the European Union:

Let me introduce some reference information. I was not going to tackle it, but since you talked about this, I will respond. After the collapse of the USSR the leadership of Ukraine ignored two important referendums held in the Crimea: the 1991 referendum, where the majority of voters supported the establishment of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Social Republic as a part of the USSR; and the 1994 referendum, where the majority voted for reinstallment of the 1992 Constitution that had been cancelled. As a result, the Crimea was deprived of any opportunity to use their right to self-determination and became part of Ukraine contrary to the desire of the major part of the population. This problem could have been solved by ensuring a broad political and cultural autonomy for the Crimea. However, the leadership of Ukraine represented by L.Kuchma preferred to do the opposite – they cut the autonomy. So, study the material carefully.

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