Pearl of Crimea. The Fist Fight.
as promised earlier, my report on yesterday rally in Yalta
March 13, 2014
by Ekaterina Sergatskova. Ukrainska pravda. Life.
Originally posted in Russian: http://life.pravda.com.ua/society/2014/03/14/157460/
“Please come to Yalta, and ask everybody else to come. It seems like things gonna get heated here” – Anton, Eiromaidan activist, told me this morning. And this evening, he called me to tell how he was chased by bikers. Tomorrow he takes his family and leaves Crimea. For better times.
Yalta, the key Ukrainian resort looks as usual: palm trees, mountains, sun.
But something in this picture is not right.
A handful of people wearing gray are loitering under the palm trees, Russian flag flies proudly in front of the mountains, and the sun shimmers on a polished to a shine bikes of the “Night Wolves. ”
There is a stage, built right in front of the Lenin monument, all decorated with slogans “for the people’s unity.” Women in traditional Russian costumes sing: “It’s better with Russia.” It was supposed to be a pro-Ukrainian rally today, but something went wrong. At the place where pro-Ukrainian activists were supposed to be instead appeared tough guys in sportswear and severe Russian bikers.
An old lady is telling me about how she was buying a ribbon in Ukrainian colors, and the seller asked her not to, because it was too risky. She bought that ribbon anyway. Old lady wearing gray hat and an old cloak. Smiling.
“I was born in the Russian Far East, my dad was a Belorussian, and my husband is Ukrainian”- she says. “I love Ukraine, God is with Ukraine, and God does not want war.” Still smiling with all of her teeth, as many of them, as she has left, she adds, as if speaking to herself: “Do not kill, do not lie! Ukraine is melodic, musical, talented …»
Half an hour later this lady would be knocked down by big guys with a Russian accent. She would repeat, smiling “Glory to Ukraine” and twirling her ribbon, and they would push her down to the ground.
The same guys, chanting “Fascism will not pass!”, will tramp down Ukrainian flag, butt pro-Ukrainian activists down from the fountain.
The same slogan is chanted by those, who came here to stand up “for peace.”
What fascism are they talking about?
“Yes, you! All of you, Bandera, get out of here back to your Ukraine!” – Standard reply of the women, who are joining this mess later. Men are less talkative: just close my camera with their hands and promise to “whack” me. One of them with no unnecessary warnings just punched me in the nose and tried to snatch my tablet. He failed: iPad was not mine; I borrowed it, and couldn’t so easily give away someone else’s property.
After that, my camera captured the same big men beating up some old man, and later, in some grotesquely polite way trying to seat him down, all beaten up and with a head injury, on a wicker chair of one of the summer cafes around.
Now, the rally is over. Some are still looking for their cameras taken away by whether “self-defense “, or bikers, some are still screaming discussing the geopolitical situation.
“We don’t want you here, understand?”- squealing a woman in fur coat and a wig. – “They stuffed you there on Maidan with drugs, and now you got here. How much do they pay you? ”
People with black-and-orange pro-Russian ribbons are walking along the waterfront. I automatically change my path to more secluded trail, franticly looking around, speaking quietly. At this time, Anton tries to escape from violent bikers. How does he feel, the indigenous Yalta resident, trying to get away from the foreigners who believe that the land belongs to them now?
Two days are left to the referendum.
I look at the Black sea just across the boardwalk. It doesn’t look gentle. Doesn’t look like Yalta’s Black sea.
Would it welcome any tourists this summer? Would it make anybody happy anymore? ..