Long before the annexation of the Crimea, Russia took an active part in the internal political processes on the peninsula, cooperating with the local political elite. The former leader of the Communist Party of Crimea and the Head of the Supreme Council of Crimea from 1998 to 2002 Leonid Grach shared the information in an interview with Meduza edition.
A former member of the Supreme Council of the Crimea noted that, as a Ukrainian politician, he never concealed his pro-Russian sentiments and took certain actions aimed at bringing the Crimea closer to Russia.
“My position when I was a People's Deputy of Ukraine, was widely known, I did not leave TV screens. I openly professed the pro-Russian sentiments. Moreover, I implemented them.”
In particular, Grach described the seizure of the NATO equipment in Donuzlav which arrived for a joint training with the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2008. He claims that at that time he was assisted by the Director of the FSB, and currently the secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.
“Without Moscow, we would not have won Donuzlav. Then we, as a matter of fact, arrested the landing of the American-Ukrainian airlifted troops and set the condition for him to leave. It was the year 2008. Of course, we would not be so powerful alone ... Nikolai Platonovich [Patrushev - Ed.] was the only one who really not only saw the course of events that led to the current situation, but actually made his personal contribution to our rise here.”
The ex-Head of the Crimean parliament informed that immediately before the pseudo-referendum and annexation of the Crimea, he had a conversation with the Head of the Russian Defense Ministry Sergei Shoigu, who offered him to head the Council of Ministers of Crimea after Russia entered the peninsula. However, later, Grach's candidacy was successfully "forgotten" by the Moscow authorities in favor of the "Prime Minister" Sergei Aksyonov, who was appointed by them.
“And then I got information on my channels that they voted for Aksyonov, which surprised me a lot. A man has neither a hand nor a head, he can not do anything.”
Now the former Crimean politician complains about the Russian bureaucracy and corruption, which came to the peninsula along with annexation. Currently, he is engaged in regular filing of complaints to the highest officials of the Russian Federation on corruption cases in the Crimea.
“Very high patriotic sentiments confronted with the most tattered Russian bureaucracy, which is the basis of corruption in the country. Today I am writing letters to everyone, to Putin, Chaika, and Bastrykin evidencing the corruption in Crimea in all spheres.”
Reference: Russian Federation occupied the Crimea in February-March 2014, calling the rigged referendum on March 16 "the will of Crimeans to join Russia." Most of the world's countries did not recognize Crimea as Russian territory and imposed a series of economic sanctions against Russia. For Ukraine, the Crimea remains a temporarily occupied territory.