“It is absolutely essential to speak at all platforms about the illegality of the elections of the Russian President in Russian-annexed Crimea,” said Yulia Tyshchenko, an expert at the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR). “For Putin, it was very important to show the high turnout of voters in Crimea, because this, in the Kremlin’s opinion, would supposedly legitimize the annexation of the peninsula,” she concluded.
A couple of days before, on 15 March 2018, the publication “The Policy towards Crimea. Recommendations” has been presented for journalists at the Ukrinform news agency by Yulia Tyshchenko and UCIPR experts, Andriy Duda and Julia Kazdobina. The study comprehensively analyzes problems of violation of the civil, human, and property rights in the temporarily occupied territory, the sanctions policy of Ukraine and Western countries, main directions of the government education, information, and social policies, as well as international documents adopted in connection with the illegal annexation of Crimea.
The publication has been prepared as part of the project “Enhancing Government Capacity for Working with Crimea Residents and IDPs from Crimea” implemented by the UCIPR with the assistance and funding of the British Embassy in Ukraine. Its main objectives are to familiarize Ukrainian authorities responsible for policy towards Crimea and internally displaced Crimeans with the situation on the peninsula and key measures of the de-occupation policy, as well as to identify gaps in activities of central authorities in this area and help remove them. That is why the publication “The Policy towards Crimea. Recommendations” has been also presented at the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons (MinTOT). Officials of the MinTOT, other ministries and departments have visited the presentation on 14 March 2018.
The authors of the study assert that today, Ukrainian authorities have limited opportunities to influence the situation, and protect the human rights on the peninsula. The Russian Federation systematically violates the human rights, the rights of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea, restricts the freedom of speech and assembly, recruits Crimean youths to the army by force, and the like. The publication analyzes possible ways of cooperation between the government of Ukraine and non-governmental organizations with the aim of launching systematic monitoring of the said violations.
At the presentation, Yulia Tyshchenko emphasized: “The problem of the timely, prompt, and convenient provision of administrative services to IDPs from Crimea and Ukrainians residing in the temporarily occupied territory remains urgent. There is a dire need to set up a sufficient number of administrative services centers in the region, bordering the Russian-occupied peninsula.”
Communication of the government of Ukraine with the population of the occupied peninsula is complicated, because many Ukrainian social and political networking websites are not available to Crimeans without the use of technologies for bypassing the blocking. The development of other channels of reporting information is one of the priority tasks of the information reintegration of Crimea. Yet, Ukraine’s government policy towards Crimea is in the development stage, whereas some of its components contradict each other. The opportunities to receive a feedback are significantly limited, according to Julia Kazdobina.
The study also provides an overview of sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, other countries, and Ukraine on Russia in connection with the annexation of Crimea. In the opinion of the authors of the publication, Ukraine lacks a continuous and systematic monitoring of compliance with the sanctions policy, whereas a mechanism of punishment of the perpetrator’s country is absent in Ukrainian sanctions legislation. All the afore-mentioned problems need to be tackled trough systematic, coordinated activities of authorities, cooperation with non-governmental organizations, and communication with Crimean residents.
Speaking at the presentation, Yusuf Kurkchi, the First Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, has agreed that central authorities lack systematic activities, and expressed hope that the publication would be useful for officials of various ministries and departments who work for the advancement of Crimea’s de-occupation.