Sevastopol, tempat kejadian kegemilangan Federation, sabar-sabar untuk 'pulang ke rumah’

Sevastopol, scene of Russian glories, eager to ‘go home’

Yang bendera Ukraine tidak pernah benar-benar telah memeluk dalam Sevastopol dan pelabuhan terkenal yang, ke rumah Rusia armada Laut Hitam sejak zaman tsars.

Dan seperti Moscow mengukuhkan kawalan ke atas Crimea, penduduk mengatakan mereka tidak sabar-sabar untuk hari apabila bendera Rusia, telah menambah kehadiran, akan terbang sebagai standard rasmi.

Di bandar ini 350,000 — di mana jalan-jalan yang membawa nama-nama wira Perang Crimean atau Kesatuan Soviet — kemerdekaan Ukraine dalam 1991 adalah trauma.

Oleh itu, apabila rejim pro-Kremlin Viktor Yanukovych telah digulingkan bulan lalu, puluhan ribu bergegas ke jalan-jalan, rali di dataran pusat dan memberitakan pro-Moscow ahli perniagaan, Alexei Chaly, sebagai Datuk Bandar baru di bandar ini.

“Warga Sevastopol mengambil keputusan untuk memutuskan hubungan dengan samseng, penjenayah dan Nazi yang merampas kuasa di Kiev,” Ivan Komelov, penasihat kepada Chaly, kepada AFP.

“Tiada siapa yang meragui keputusan” daripada Mac 16 referendum di Crimea untuk menjadi sebahagian daripada Rusia, dia berkata.

“semasa 23 tahun merdeka, Ukraine telah melakukan apa-apa untuk kita. Kiev mengambil wang kita dan itu sahaja. Apabila umat Sevastopol mempunyai menyuarakan pendapat mereka kami berharap Ibu Rusia akan menjawab panggilan kita dan membawa kita ke pangkuan beliau.”

Chaly, yang membuat kekayaannya dalam industri elektronik, dikenali di Sevastopol kerana telah membiayai pembinaan semula monumen kepada ingatan wira Federation.

Antaranya ialah Vladimir Kornilov, laksamana Federation terkenal yang mengetuai pertahanan Sevastopol terhadap kuasa Franco-British-Uthmaniyyah semasa pengepungan 349 hari bandar dalam 1854-55.

kata-kata terakhir terkenal Kornilov semasa pengepungan — “mempertahankan Sevastopol!” — were emblazoned on a stage this weekend as city residents gathered for a pro-Russia meeting.

Chanting “Rusia! Rusia!” the crowd watched as performer Nadezhda Babkina sang and danced in a multi-coloured dress, embroidered shawl and traditional headdress.

Among the crowd was 47-year-old Pavel Filipov, wearing a red anorak markedRussian National Teamin English.

‘Like a rejected transplant’ –

I have been waiting for this moment for decades,” dia berkata. “We are going home, the vote here will be 100 percent for Russia.

His wife Olga, 46, recalls the Soviet era when the city and its surroundings were secret military areas closed to foreigners.

We had peace and security, we left our keys under the mat, children played outside. It was good,” dia berkata.

Touring the city, there can be little doubt of the pivotal role Sevastopol has played in Russian history.

A “Hero Cityof the Soviet Union, Sevastopol saw 250,000 Red Army soldiers killed when German forces took control in 1942 after a devastating siege.

It was rebuilt by Stalin after the war, its majestic buildings and statues to heroes lined up along a ledge overlooking the port.

Along the waterfront, shops sell striped sailor shirts to tourists, magnets in the shape of submarines and Red Army souvenirs.

The yellow-and-blue of the Ukrainian flag is nowhere to be seen.

Sitting on a park bench, Anna and Larissa, two women in their 60s with gold teeth, shelter from the drizzle under their umbrellas.

They willhappilyvote for Crimea to join Russia on March 16, said Anna, who would not give her last name.

This city has always been Russian, and despite what was said, we were never part of Ukraine. It was like a transplant that was rejectedwe were Ukrainians in name only. Now we are going home,” Anna said.

Ukraine is a very poor country. Everything will be much better for us when our currency is the ruble,” said Komelov of city hall.

Russia is a rich and powerful country, which Ukraine will never be. Of course the Ukrainians who don’t agree with us will be allowed to stay. Like foreigners living in Russia.

Source: afp.com

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