For the students it was a “obligated holiday.” Flyers promised 400 rubles “for three hours of work”, actually to participate in the “Anniversary celebrations.” Several representatives of political parties and nationalist movements have repeated the proposal to make March 18 an official holiday, and – to the glory of the Crimean referendum – a fixed day for the most important votes.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – Activists, students co-opted and paid spectators have formed the majority of the public that took part in Moscow in a big concert, called “Spring Festival” on Saturday, March 18. The aim of the event, celebrating the three years since the annexation of Crimea to Russia, with the 2014 referendum that was held between 16 and 18 March (in Russia spring conventionally begins March 1).
According to the police headquarters in Moscow, gathered over 150 thousand people on the hill of the University of Moscow. The TV channel “Dozhd”, one of the few critical voices in the world of Russian information also spreads the news that for the Festival the Moscow authorities have spent over 22 million rubles (about half a million Euros). Leaders of all parties except the Communist Zyuganov took part, and unlike the previous two years, President Putin did not intervene; the concert was attended by many of the most famous Russian singers.
The audience was formed by activists of the patriotic movements, university students and school pupils who were given a “obligated holiday” but also a large slice of paid spectators. Leaflets were distributed throughout the city which promised 400 rubles to those who turned up at 15 on March 18 at the adjacent metro station. The compensation was intended “for three hours of work”, and would be delivered by hand at the end of the event, which was necessary to go “in single file to the designated spot, stay a while and then go home.”
More than two thousand members of the security service of various groups and nationalist movements were at the appointed place at the subway station, which organized the march under huge banners with the slogans “For the Motherland! For independence from the USA! For Putin!”. Another column waiting for school students, obliged to attend the event, with signs on which the numbers of those schools were marked.
Several representatives of political parties and nationalist movements have repeated in their speeches the suggestion made recently by some deputies of the State Duma, to make March 18 an official holiday, and – to the glory of the Crimean referendum – a fixed day for important voting. A sort of Election-Day starting next year 2018, when it will host the presidential elections that will see the re-election of Putin to his second seven consecutive years. The current president of Russia was appointed prime minister by Yeltsin in 1999, the year he was elected president for a four-year term renewed in 2004. In 2008, he gave way to Medvedev (current Prime Minister) until 2012 (while he himself he held the office of prime minister), when he was elected under the new rules for seven years. In 2018, according to the announcements made by Putin, elections will be brought forward by one year, to pass along some reforms that would give more powers to the president, whose popularity is still at historic highs, thanks to the “reconquest” of Crimea three years ago and the “glorious” resistance to anti-Russian sanctions of the West and America, which has once more become the great enemy of all time.
In fact the new US administration of President Trump seems to favor being credited more openly this role play in a new Cold War. On 16 March, in fact, the US Department of State has issued words of its representative, Mark Toner, a declaration of support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and confirmed the condemnation of the USA Russian occupation of Crimea. The US administration promises to maintain sanctions against Russia until the adjoining peninsula will not be returned to Ukraine.
The statement points out that, during these three years of Russian “occupation”, there has been a systematic repression of the opposition and widespread human rights violation in Crimea, up to a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders, forced internment of representatives of the Crimean Tatar party in psychiatric hospitals, as well as some journalists. And denying foreign observers the right to visit the peninsula.
The Crimea in fact has once again become the symbol of the new era of international relations: the “partition of Yalta” of 1945, which ushered in the Cold War of the second half of the twentieth century, has moved on to the “annexation of Sevastopol” of 2014, as a watershed between the globalization of solidarity and new fragmentation of world powers, the “end of the end of history”, and perhaps the beginning of a new story.