We publish a monologue of the Crimean, who handed the QHA editorial offices photos of 4 years ago and told about what he felt when he made them. At the author's request, we do not disclose his name.
From the end of February, the atmosphere in the Crimea became worse every day. Cossacks, self-defense, people who support everything that happens - it was impossible to hide from them. Feeling of anxiety and insecurity did not leave you anywhere, because even a simple conversation with someone on the street or in a bus could turn into accusations of betraying the interests of the "Russian Crimea".
In that Crimea many things caused resentment those days, but I was most indignant with "self-defence squads"
I did not understand how people who were considered marginal yesterday became the "defenders" of public order today."
"I calmed myself down and repeated that everything would be fine. Two weeks later, I stopped paying attention to weapons of the passing people and realized that I had problems, because I began to subconsciously get used to the new "order".
I think that every Crimean, who left the peninsula voluntarily, has the day when he decided it was time to quit. I had this day on March 8, 2014.
On this day in Simferopol, "Crimean self-defense" took the oath of allegiance to the "people of the Crimea". Like any other Crimean event in those days, it attracted a lot of attention of foreign journalists, who urgently arrived on the peninsula after coverage of the Olympics in Sochi.
People began to gather near the Eternal Flame in Gagarin Park an hour before the event, and "self-defense" started gathering as well."
"In a row every second carried clubs, had bandages "self-defence militia" on their sleeves and a silly expression on their faces which sometimes children have, thinking that they are busy with something super-important."
Having arrived to the site, they talked among themselves and willingly gave interviews to reporters.
"We are waiting for the weapons to be officially provided and then start cutting," one of the "defenders" told enthusiastically. After describing the atrocities that he is going to do with the "traitors of the Crimea", the man began to tell something about Afghanistan, cut off the extremities of opponents and his home collection of body parts. A little later, this "self-defence militia" was joined by others - some people dressed in uniform, who had weapons and presentable appearance. Only later I will see that it were they who were presented in the media materials."
"Already then I was frustrated by the fact that no one saw the real faces of the "Crimean spring", so I decided to publish these photos
After I saw and listened to the "defenders", I realized that I cannot stay in the Crimea any more, and left. I did not know then that in less than a year it would no longer be easy to come to the Crimea as before. I did not know that soon they would come up with a short name for me – an IDP, and in four years alarmingly little would be spoken about Crimea in Ukraine.
But I knew for sure that just one look at people's faces from the photos would not let me forget what happened then."