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Survivors: How Crimea Is Withstanding Ukraine's Blockade

Apparently they no longer teach the real history of Crimea in Bandera-Ukraine's schools. Otherwise they'd know Crimeans don't surrender easily

Originally appeared at The Saker

Electric supply from the mainland is now a fact. The first power cable from the nuclear power plant in Krasnodar Krai was put in operation a little over a week ago. The amount of electricity provided by this cable is, depending on who you listen to, 200 to 225 megawatts. Last night, 11.12.15, the second cable from Krasnodar Krai was put in operation, this resulting in temporary power outages to several areas in Crimea including North Side Sevastopol. This cable is the same as the first cable, combined the two will provide 400 to 450 megawatts of power to the peninsula.

<figcaption>Perhaps a symbol of Crimea more apt than ever</figcaption>
Perhaps a symbol of Crimea more apt than ever

Electric generating capacity in Crimea and Sevastopol (I separate the two because they are two different entities, The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a member of Russian Federation, and The Federal City of Sevastopol, a city of Russia and traditionally considered the third capitol of Russia.) has increased to approaching 600 megawatts of power, this increase due to more gas turbine semi portable generators coming on line. Combined with the two power feeds from the mainland Crimea and Sevastopol combined have approaching 1000 megawatts of power available. This amount is suitable for summer conditions but is roughly 100 to 150 megawatts short of winter power demands. I do not know what plans, if any, are extant to address the shortage.

There is no shortage of either petrol or diesel fuel. Prices are stable and to a great extent controlled from Mockba.

The increase of home generators is significant. The first night of the power blockade from Ukraine, 22 November, we had the only generator that we could see in our valley and the surrounding hills. We did take a drive and observed from Radio Gorka to Gollandia Regions, west to east, and there were no lights visible anywhere on the north side besides our house. Not even Militsiya, Fire Department and the hospital had power. Southside observed from the heights of Radio Gorka was almost totally dark. Last evening during a one hour power outage on our side of harbor I counted 27 houses visible in our valley alone that had power including two close neighbors. We did not take a drive this time to count in the other regions on north side. Southside, much of which is clearly visible from our valley, was a veritable sea of small lights.

Food supplies are stable, there is no shortage of any commodity in regards to food. Prices are also stable and unofficial price controls have been instituted. Many of the large shops, small magazines and kiosks have a generator to keep them open and lighted. There are price controls on basic staples, basic breads, milks and other dairy products, buckwheat for porridge among others. Tobacco supplies are plentiful and those prices are State regulated. Beer, wine and spirits are also in good supply.

The citizens of this city are in general calm. Any angers at the current crisis are directed at Ukraine, not Russia. Still, no one bothers anyone with a Ukraine flag or sticker on their car or flying the Ukraine flat at their house or flat and even now, well over a year after Ukraine was sent packing from this peninsula, there are two houses in our district who fly the Ukraine flag. No one cares and no one touches them. However, it may well behoove The Powers That Be to fix the damned roads.

The Tatar Mejilis is a done deal, what little support they may have still had in the Tatar community evaporated somewhere around 22 November 2015. Dawn of 23 November the Tatari around Bachti Sarai woke to no power for their houses, shops, stores, magazines and their very extensive greenhouse facilities in which they grow the fresh vegetables and fruits that supply large areas of Crimea. The possibility spoken by the now exiled to Ukraine Mejilis, who by the by were extensively involved in the destruction of the power supply lines from Ukraine to Krimea and proudly photographed themselves doing the deed, of terrorists from Turkei storming across our border to help the Tatari in their struggle against the Russian occupiers and abusers is a forlorn dream of Mejilis.

Our harbor is empty. We all know sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines and Spetznaz who are now serving either off the coast of Syria or in Syria. The Cruiser Varyag will be arriving shortly off Syria to relieve our flagship, the Cruiser Mockba, so he can return to our harbor. I do not know if his escorts will accompany him home or stay to support Varyag, Varyag being the same class as Mockva.

The weather has turned, winter has arrived. In the first week of the electric crisis the weather was still soft and relatively warm, at least in our little city and surrounding area. Not so now, highs are 6 to 8 and we have had the first hard frosts. That means to the north and east of us you can subtract 3 to 5 degrees from our local temperatures for most of the rest of Crimea. The skies are dark and menacing most days, clouds low and mist often touching the ground. We have now just barely enough power to supply the flats houses and individual houses with power. Many factories and such are still shut down to conserve electric for the citizens. Manufacturies with their own power supply are of course allowed to continue to work as are defense related facilities.

We took a drive couple days ago, again out in to the country but this time due north past Lubimovka and Kacha on the west coast, then a little east to the truly outlying villages. We had planned beforehand to not hide the fact of me being foreign or us being from Sevastopol. We stopped in just about every little village we came across, in the center where any shops they may have were located. We deliberately conversed in English the moment we exited the vehicle. No one noticed or raised an eyebrow. A few of the villages had not had any electric since the Ukes blew down the towers but most were at least getting something now. All were making do. In almost every village there seemed to be a community generator that ran the few shops and kiosks and were also used to charge cell phones and lap tops. This is a change compared to two weeks ago when the villagers were using auto batteries for that purpose. In the villages there are no shortages of food and drink. We looked in a shop or two in each village and verified these statements. They are correct. Prices are a little higher than in Sevastopol. Everyone was bundled against the cold, it was around +4 at midday. In one village it seemed half the women were in advanced pregnancy. I told my wife to not drink the water there, the last thing we need is a surprise at our ages.

An interesting little item turned up at a meeting about two weeks ago. Among discussions of the power grids and the amount of electric just coming on line for allocation someone from Electric mentioned that some areas seemed to be using more electric than they should considering the number of residential and commercial meters registered in the districts. Communications were made with Crimea Electric and we were informed they had noticed the same problem a few days before and found a large number of unregistered meters and electric services in every area they checked. Most of these unregistered electric consumers were from Ukraine times but more than a few were more recent, from the current administrative time frame. In preliminary inspections the same phenomenon was found in this city and region, in particular newer restaurants, houses and flats buildings but also older flats where the meter was simply bypassed in the jumble of old wiring in the electrical panels for each floor. The situation is being addressed vigorously.

All and all, things are returning to normal in this city and region and the villages and towns we visited on our foray north. While there is an undercurrent of anger in some people we talked to it was generally directed to local administrations about the obvious favoritism shown to more well heeled residential areas who seemed to have electric when no one else did.

Factories and businesses are due to start working again Monday, 14 December, in our city and city region. It is adjudged that the power supply is now adequate for almost normal services and commercial activities.

The general mood of the citizens concerning Ukraine has changed. Whereas before there was certainly a bit of anger and frustration concerning Ukraine in general and the war in Novorossiya in particular, except for the war it was generally ‘well, what do you expect from ‘the borderlands’’. Not so now. What started with an almost total blockade of the Crimea/Ukraine border on the Ukraine side, both commercial and citizenry, degenerated to a total cut off of electric power to the entire peninsula, this power supply legally contracted and paid for very handsomely and to the minute on the day payment was due. Those two actions by Ukraine were the straw that broke the camel’s back. The locals who still fly the Ukraine flag no one will touch, the long term visitors from Ukraine, in essence sitting out the war and the turmoil in Ukraine and almost all fully intending to return when things become normal, I have a feeling they will be in the not too distant future required to register formally and obtain residency permits with the appropriate residency documents and propeeska.

The shops, magazines, parks and churches are full. Schools are back in session. People are going about their daily lives, living as they want. Children laugh and play, young couples walk of an evening in City Center Park, the teenaged guards at Guard Post #1 at the Eternal Fame in City Center change every hour on the hour, the streets and roads are again clogged with cars and trucks. Life is almost normal, and life goes on regardless of who does what to us.


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