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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukraine Live Day 642

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Power Out in Some Crimean Cities After Explosion of Electrical Lines; 'Citizens' Blockade' Allows Repairs after Scuffle with Police
Power is out tonight in some cities of Russian-occupied Crimea although demonstrators in a Ukrainian "citizens' blockade" had allowed repairmen finally to access damaged power lines where an explosion took place in Kherson Region yesterday -- only to have another one occur, local Ukrainian media and social media report.

Demonstrators and police had some confrontations and reported beatings today in Kherson Region where a "citizens' blockade" of traffic into Russian-occupied Crimea led by Crimean Tatars and Right Sector activists  has been underway for weeks as we have reported.

Demonstrators reported that they were kicked and beaten, a journalist was beaten, and one policeman was injured, according to

A video uploaded by Crimean TV station ATR is labelled "Storm of the Citizens' Blockade of Crimea." 

At the outset, the demonstrators said they would allow through pedestrians and passenger vehicles.  The demonstrators had a number of demands including the abolition of the "free economic zone" in Crimea and Kherson Region, forcing the occupiers to "rethink what they were doing" and end persecution of Crimean Tatars and other activists.

Today police surrounded the demonstrators who initially blocked repair of power lines, and scuffles broke out after Ilya Kiva, head of the Interior Ministry Narcotics Department and former deputy head of the Kherson police arrived at the scene.

The demonstrators eventually allowed repairmen to get through to damaged electric cables and in exchange police removed the cordon, reported.

But the Kiva reported on his Facebook page that another explosion took place as repairs on the lines were being made.

Translation: The pylons just blew up!

Yesterday, November 20, an explosion destroyed two concrete pylons and two high-voltage power lines out of four providing electricity to the Crimea. There was no indictation of how the explosion took place or who was responsible. The blockade demonstrators said they would block repairs to the line.

Officials at Ukrenergo said that the damage was critical and might lead to loss of electricity to some areas, then late tonight 23:20 Kiev time TASS reported that Feodosiya, Yevpatoriya, Simferopol and Sevastopol in the occupied peninsula were without power. 

Demonstrators have already put up tents at the site and say they do not intend to disperse. Crimean Tatars plan to picket the presidential administration building in Kiev, Aider Muzhdabayev, deputy director of the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR said on his Facebook page. The channel was shut down by Russian occupation authorities and moved to mainland Ukraine.

One of the blockade activists, Varvara Chernoivankenko wrote on her Facebook page (translation by The Interpreter):

Friends, I inform you. After Yanyk [deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych], nothing changed. If you haven't heard yet. So we're are Chaplynka. In a cordon. The district is completely surrounded -- cops, National Guards, who are also cops, and a bunch of border guards. Nothing is getting in or out. I think they'll pack us up. 

I saw how the National Guards cops today kicked the activists, including women and elderly, and cracked them with their rifle butts.

What's nice: you can't scare our people after Maidan and the war in the East and you can't take them with bare hands.

Also, the Mejlis activists which from the very beginning of the Blockade spuported us, refugees from the Crimea, came her on foot to support us. they say that buses with cops and borders guards have been brought in here -- uh-oh.

Conclusions: "living the new way" didn't happen. It doesn't work for some reason.

We know perfectly well that the Poroshenkos and the [Interior Minister Aven] Avakovs know how to sic the military o volunteers, jail the real defenders of Ukraine and organize an ATO against 10 Right Sector activists and not just an ATO, but with armored vehicles and helicopters (yes, the government has armored vehicles against 10 Right Sector activists).

You know what has changed even so and these dicks have not taken into account: We are no longer afraid. We are not even being surrounded. And yes. No one intends to surrender. The blockade continues.

Refat Refat Chubaroc, leader of the Crimean Tatar Medjlis, wrote on his Facebook page:

I understand and share the pain and outrage of participants of the Citizens' Blockade of Crimea with the actions of law-enforcers who have received an order to "ensure the conduct of emergency work on restoring electrical power lines" which supply the electrical energy territory of occupied Crimea...
Someone in Kiev is seriously worried that the military garrisons of the Russian occupiers in occupied Crimea and the anti-aircraft missile systems aimed at Ukraine and her neighbours will remain without electrical power...

But they don't care about how the occupiers are conducting a targeted persecution of thousands and thousands of Crimean Tatars, Ukrainaisn, and residents of Crimea of other nationalities...

Their heart doesn't ache over the fact that political prisoners, residents of Crimea and citizens of Ukraine are languishing in the dungeons of the punishers: Akhtem Chiygoz, Ali Asanov, Gennady Afansyev, Rustem Vaitov, Mustafa Degermendzhi, Ruslan Zeytullayev, Yury Ilchenko, Aleksandr Kolchenko, Aleksandr Kostenko, Nuri Pirmov, Ferat Sayfullayev, Oleg Sentsov and Aleksei Chirniy...
I am constantly in touch with Ilya Kiva [police chief] and Lenur Islyamov [blockade leader]. The main thing is not to allow what is not irreversible on either side.

I see that practically everyone who is speaking on Ukrainian channels and leaving commentary on social media sincerely sympathizes with the Crimean Tatars.

But the provocateurs from occupied Crimea have grown more lively in the hope that a clash will take place...A horde of Russian trolls have awakened under cover of "Crimean Tatar" nick-names and accounts...They all thirst for pictures which will serve as the basis for the latest anti-Ukrainian wave on Russian channels.

Crimean Tatars, just as in February-March 2014, as throughout the whole period of the occupation of the Crimea, will not provide even the smallest chance that their actions could be used against independent Ukraine.

We are grateful to all patriots of Ukraine who are now at Chongar, Kalanchak and Chaplynka. Crimea is Ukraine! There is no Ukraine without Crimea!

Ukrainian police will likely be wary of creating a situation that looks like another poor police response to a Maidan type of demonstration, and will also want to avoid Russian retaliation that might come in response to continued failure of power lines into Crimea.

The demonstrators have already been present for two months and will not likely go home readily but today's events show they made some concessions to police.

2015-11-21 23:49:08

Crimean Tatar demonstrators holding up a banner with the symbol of the Crimean Tatar people. Photo by Martin-Oleksandr Kisly.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick