March 19, 2013

Crimea 94. Part 4 ”Sevastopol – Crimea - Russia”

Part 1. The Russian Federation’s Black Sea Fleet and National Security of Ukraine

Part 2. Black Sea Fleet on the Scales of Political Tender

Part 3. How the Black Sea Fleet Was Divided “Fraternally”


Part 4. ”Sevastopol - Crimea - Russia”

In summer 1993, economic problems of Ukraine affected its inner life. The Russian Government immediately took an advantage of it, forcing Ukraine to more serious concessions in the division of the Black Sea Fleet.

On the 17th of June, 1993, in Moscow was signed another contract on which the Fleet had to be divided in a proportion of 50 to 50, and its financing had to be done in equal parts till the end of the division.

However, the Russian chauvinists did not like the agreement, and using Ukraine's readiness to compromise, tried to “bite off the fattest piece” in the process of the division of the Fleet. And, not bothering with development of any new so-called means of division, “the Knights of the behind-the curtains- war” turned to their tried and tested method of political provocations.

St Andrew's flag on warships of the Black Sea Fleet
St Andrew's flag on warships of the Black Sea Fleet

Under pressure from the Fleet Commander E.Baltin, on the 29th of June, 1993, the officers' meeting of the BSF adopted a Resolution “On the Transition of the Black Sea Fleet under the Jurisdiction of Russia”. The same meeting decided on the 1st of July of 1993 to raise St Andrew’s flag on all warships of the Black Sea Fleet. Demands of the Navy sailors also included giving the Crimea a “special” status, which had to be the first step on the way of the Peninsula’s joining Russia.

Realizing the possibility of a sharp conflict with Ukraine and the inevitable worsening of the international image of Russia, Russian President Boris Yeltsin banned the openly provocative action. However, the political and economic pressure on Ukraine sharply intensified.

It should be noted that the problems of the Black Sea Fleet, Crimea and Sevastopol, remaining a means of realizing geopolitical goals of the Russian Federation, were turning into an important factor of the inner political struggle between different branches of the Russian Government. As an example of such a struggle can serve the Decision of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation dated July 9, 1993 “On the Status of Sevastopol”. It had to “work” for the image of Russian lawmakers as of “die-hard fighters for Russian interests”.

In this document the Supreme Soviet of Russia “decided on the fate of Sevastopol”, confirming its “…Russian federal status within the administrative boundaries of the city district as of December 1991”.

At the same time, the Government of the Russian Federation was instructed to prepare as soon as possible a state program of ensuring the “Russian status” of the city of Sevastopol, and to negotiate with the Government of Ukraine on Sevastopol as “the main base of the sole Black Sea Fleet”. Besides, the Central Bank of Russia was ordered to provide appropriate financing of the budget of the city of Sevastopol through its offices. In order to legally secure the “Russian status” of Sevastopol, the Supreme Soviet Committee of the Russian Federation, according to the Constitutional Law, had to prepare a draft of a special Law of the Russian Federation.

Moreover, the Supreme Soviet of Russia demanded that Ukraine should withdraw from Sevastopol its power structures, which, in fact, meant announcing a military ultimatum to Kiev.

At the same time the Russian Government increased economic pressure on Ukraine. This fact was not concealed even by B. Yeltsin himself, who called “the need for concessions of Ukraine to the Russian side in the division of the Fleet ... a forced and inevitable step”. He stated that Ukraine owed Russia 2 to 3 billion US dollars, so Moscow considered the Fleet’s problem virtually settled.

By the way, the mentioned debts were quite disputable. In 1992, when the then Prime Minister of Ukraine Fokin and the Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar signed an Agreement on Mutual Debts, Ukraine owed Russia about 408 billion roubles, while Russia owed Ukraine not less than 672 billion roubles. In the future, Fokin’s Government included debts of state enterprises into Ukraine’s national debt, while the Russian Government categorically refused to do so. Therefore, the proportion in favor of Ukraine had changed to the opposite.

This forced Ukraine to go to even greater concessions to Russia, which resulted in signing in September 1993 so-called “Massandra” Agreements on division of the Black Sea Fleet. In accordance with these Agreements, Ukraine was giving away to Russian jurisdiction the whole Black Sea Fleet, with its entire infrastructure in the Crimea, on the condition that Russia compensates Ukraine’s share, accepting it as paying back Ukraine’s debt for energy carriers.




All this created an appearance of a “more than obvious victory of Russia” in the implementation of its plans to regain control over the Black Sea Fleet, the Crimean Peninsula and, in general, over Ukraine.

There was a demand to cancel compulsory study of the Ukrainian language in the Crimea
There was a demand to cancel compulsory study of the Ukrainian language in the Crimea

Chauvinists of all suits were quick to celebrate their victory in the form of public theatrical funeral of Ukraine’s statehood under the “triumphal” slogans: “Having defended the Russian Fleet, we will defend Sevastopol!” The city that never went out from Ukraine, was completely information cut from it. In every newsagent’s kiosk there had always been plenty of copies of “Pravda”(Truth), “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” (Russian Gazette), “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, “Izvestiya”(News), “Slava Sevastopolya” (Glory of Sevastopol), “Flag Rodiny”(The flag of Motherland) as well as other Russian newspapers and magazines. In addition to these publications, there were distributed the Black-Hundred’s newspaper “Day”, as well as anti-Ukrainian proclamations. They were read, re-read and discussed in Sevastopol, in other Crimean cities. Ideas of restoring the former Russian Empire increasingly absorbed the minds of the general public, flavored with poison of hatred towards Ukraine. And this hatred was seen even in everyday life: a woman with a Ukrainian flag in hand was hit on her head, a man was pushed out of the trolley because he spoke Ukrainian, and in the presence of a crowd of a thousand of people death threats to the Commander of the Ukrainian Navy were sounded through a megaphone.

Events in the Crimea were constantly in sight of the leaders of the Russian Federation.

Moreover, Deputies of the Supreme Council, leaders of political organizations of Russia visited the Peninsula, trying to accelerate the already active anti-Ukrainian separatist processes.

Most odious were visits to the Crimea of the then Vice-President of Russia A.Rutskoy, Secretary of the Constitutional Commission A Rumyantsev, the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of Russia Baburin, Barsukov and others. A peculiar top provocation and political incorrectness was a speech at a meeting in Simferopol of a Moscow writer E.Limonov, who openly called for the use of force to return the Crimea to Russia. According to E.Limonov, he had discussed the issue with leaders of Russian national-patriotic (and, in fact, fascist) organizations S.Ampilov and M.Barkashov, and they expressed a willingness “to help residents of the Crimea in case of their conflict with Ukraine”.

Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia picketed the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy

Little wonder, these statements had inspired local followers of Russian national-imperialists for “heroic deeds”, and they were trying to ignite such a conflict. Instructed by his ideological teachers, the leader of a puppet “National Salvation Front” A.Kruglov, at one of the meetings in Sevastopol urged his supporters to “...not be afraid of blood and be ready to shed it for Russia's interests”. And, as if having completely lost sanity, he called for “... shedding as much blood as needed in order to wash away the Crimean isthmus”.

So went the spiritual conquest of the bridgehead, and in the consciousness of people was hammered that “… Sevastopol has never been, is not and will never be Ukrainian”. In fact, the base for more decisive and aggressive actions was being prepared. And they were not far away; if not for a Parliamentary crisis in Russia ...




Sharp aggravation of the situation in the Russian Federation in October 1993 temporarily distracted Moscow from the Crimean theme.

Then the main role of the support of the Crimean separatists again went to the Commandment of the Black Sea Fleet, who continued to escalate anti-Ukrainian hysteria in the Peninsula.

Thus, in connection with the events in Moscow, the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet E.Baltin demanded from Kruglov to change the tactics of the “National Salvation Front” on tearing the Crimea away from Ukraine. In particular, A.Kruglov was told to unite pro-Russian forces to ensure the victory in the Peninsula of a single candidate in the upcoming elections of the “President” of the Crimea. The Black Sea Fleet Commandment promised a full support and assistance to the pre-election campaign of the NSF.


After a thorough discussion of possible candidates, it was decided to stop on Yu.Meshkov - then the leader of the “Republican Movement of the Crimea”. In November 1993, based on the RDC and the “People's Party of the Crimea”, an election bloc “Russia” was created with Yu. Meshkov at head and began to push him forward into “presidents”.

What about Yu. Meshkov was so up to liking of his Moscow curators? Of course, his willingness to fulfill all the tasks assigned to him, even though they were often unlawful.

For example, being a Deputy of the Regional (and later of the Supreme) Council of the Crimea, Yu.Meshkov at the times of the Soviet Union took an active part in the creation of the Crimean Autonomy, being one of organizers of a provocative Referendum on the 20th of January, 1991, about the “Re-creation of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as a Subject of the Soviet Union and a Member of the Union Treaty”. Such an “action” itself, by Yu. Meshkov’s definition was undertaken with the sole purpose – to tear away the Crimea from Ukraine. Although the Regional Council did not succumb to the provocation, having declared about the autonomy of the Peninsula exactly as part of Ukraine, Yu.Meshkov did not stop there and together with his followers he created the “Republican Movement of the Crimea”- the first in the Peninsula openly anti-Ukrainian organization. It was under Yu.Meshkov’s leadership, that the RDK from the beginning took a strong chauvinistic position, becoming the initiator of the infamous actions, which have already been mentioned above.

By the way, Russian special services got interested in Yu.Meshkov because of his rather dark past, when he had close connections with the former KGB. It is possible that the first meeting of the future “president” of the Crimea with the KGB occurred during his studying in Simferopol Secondary School Number 14, from which he at some point was nearly dismissed for his “political unreliability”: as a young man he became interested in the writings of the dissidents of 1960s. What was discussed at the meetings of Yu.Meshkov with agents of KGB is not known, but the results were immediate. Despite his “political unreliability”, Yu.Meshkov entered Moscow State University’s one of the most prestigious faculties - Law.

After his graduation from the University, Yu.Meshkov again arrived in the Crimea, having received a job of a senior investigator of the Crimean Prosecutor's Office, which at that time could not have happened without a sufficiently powerful patronage. But after a while, caught on misuses of his position, he had to leave the state service.

Must give credit to Meshkov’s patrons that did not leave their protégé with no means for life. Despite his stained reputation, Yu.Meshkov got a permission to go abroad, now as a merchant seaman, and he served for several years.

When his “actions” in the Prosecutor's Office were forgotten, the “retired lawyer” again returned to his legal activities, as head of a law firm. At this, Yu.Meshkov’s connections with the KGB had never stopped, sometimes taking quite exotic forms, such as his sports title of “Champion of the KGB Troops in Firing from Automatic Weapons”. Thus, Yu.Meshkov was “baited” securely and was under the full control of Russian special services.

A great interest in Yu. Meshkov was shown also by another very influential force of the Crimean peninsula - organized crime, which had spread its tentacles in the region. It was here, in the Crimea, that more than anywhere else in the former Soviet Union, there appeared conditions for criminal business.

12 million people, annually coming here to rest, created favorable conditions not only for the development of recreation and treatment, but also for the accompanying prostitution, trading in prostitution, racketeering, drug trafficking (to which, by the way, contributed the weak local government).

Huge amounts of money that was pumped out of the shadow economy and criminal business by “Godfathers” of several Crimean clans had to be invested in real estate: sanatoria, beach areas, buildings, businesses. Mafia knew laws of the market economy not worse than economists of the Crimean Republican Committee of the CPSU did, and so it was well aware that in order to “launder” its money, it needed to be at power, and at executive power at that. Therefore, the leaders of the criminal world were desperately eager to get leading positions, using the pro-Russian organizations of the peninsula.

Taking into consideration the difficulty of manipulating hundreds of Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomy, each of which claimed to have his own opinion, the Mafia made a bid for the presidency, which could guarantee unilateral authority. Of course, such a role could be performed only by a man, seated on a throne with the help of criminal clans. Here mafia’s interests coincided with those of Russian special services which were planning to use the “president” of the Peninsula as a “ram” for breaking the Ukrainian power in the Crimea.

After secret consultations of local “authorities” about the candidacy of their man in the Government of the Crimea, the choice was made in favor of Yu.Meshkov, who already had his own ambitions, but as a man he was narrow-minded, and thus very safe for the mafia. Soon Meshkov got his own “Mercedes” in which he “drove” into the process of the election campaign of the President of the Crimean Peninsula.

Unlike the local mafia that took Yu.Meshkov under its wing, the Party of the Crimean Communists was still trying to compete with the “Republican Movement of the Crimea” and independently get unlimited power in the Peninsula. Especially, because they did have money for this.

The Crimean Communist Party Committee had always been in a privileged position in the Communist Party through close links with the Moscow Communist Party elite, who had been visiting the Crimea for rest at their numerous villas and resorts. Serving Party grandees during their holidays was one of the most important functions of the Crimean Republican Committee. And Party bosses, of course, during the “perestroika”, when the Communist Party’s funds were being pumped into numerous bogus companies and joint stock companies, did not forget about their Crimean friends. In the accounts of many firms established by the Crimean Republican and District Committees there appeared huge sums of money. The leader of the Crimean Communists L.Grach alone was the founder of four commercial firms, not to mention businesses of ordinary party members. With this money, the Crimean nomenclature hoped to buy the state property, to win the elections and to finally deprive local democracy of any influence. This would have allowed the Communists to take over not only the legislative, but also the executive power in the figure of the “President” of the Autonomy and to create their own, “Mafia-Communist Republic”.

And all this company was headed by N.Bagrov, ex-First Secretary of the Republican Committee of the CPSU. To the credit of the Communist leader, he was leading a very delicate and far-sighted policy to try to maintain the confidence of the President of Ukraine L.Kravchuk, who, in his turn, wanted to keep the Crimea, compromising with N.Bagrov. On the other hand, it was Bagrov who initiated the escalation of separatism, trying to become a sole ruler of the Crimea.

Mykola Bagrov is the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea (1991-1994) Leonid Grach is the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Crimean Republican Committee (1991-2011)
Mykola Bagrov is the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea (1991-1994)
Leonid Grach is the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Crimean Republican Committee (1991-2011)

So at the elections of the “President” of the Autonomy there clashed interests of two mafias: of Communist Party nomenclature on the one hand, and of clan-criminal mafia - on the other hand.

But even unlimited funds of Communists could not overcome those spiced with Great-Russian chauvinism demagogic promises, which Yu.Meshkov together with his team from “Russian Movement of the Crimea” and “Russia” block was giving to his electorate. Even despite the fact that his reputation had been stained by his long term unsuccessful staying at power.

And although no one believed Yu.Meshkov’s promises to solve problems by introducing Russian rouble in the Crimean Peninsula, many hoped for better, “… Yes, I know that Meshkov lies. But what if…?” In fact, these false hopes determined his victory at the elections.

As to the central Government of Ukraine, for some unknown reason it did not react to the illegal elections of the “President” of the Crimea, though according to the Constitution of Ukraine, it had to ban them. Instead of the official Kiev, the “Ukrainian Civil Congress of the Crimea” estimated the situation, qualified the plans of elections of the “President” of the Autonomy as illegal ones, and demanded that the Supreme Soviet and President of Ukraine should forbid the elections. But the official power was silent, possibly still hoping for N.Bagrov’s victory.

But the interference of the leadership of Ukraine into what was happening in the Crimean Peninsula was necessary. Especially because the election campaign itself had already turned into outright clashes of several mafia clans.

In particular, during the pre-election period were killed the leader of the “National Movement of the Crimean Tatars” Yu. Osmanov, the Head of the “Union in Support of the Republic of the Crimea” Ya.Aper, a senior officer of the Black Sea Fleet V.Avakov, the Head of the Press Centre of the BSF , Captain of the 1st Rank A. Labeznikov, and the Adviser on Economy of the Speaker of the Crimean Parliament Ye. Mametov. The Head of the Communist Party of the Crimea L.Grach was shot at, the leader of the “Russian Community” A. Los was nearly killed by iron rods, and there were attempts to kill Deputies V.Mezhak, S. Shuvainik and A.Kruglov. Meshkov himself was badly hit on his head on the eve of the elections, and later there were two more attacks on him.




Celebrating the Day of the Navy of Russia in Sevastopol
Celebrating the Day of the Navy of Russia in Sevastopol

The Black Sea Fleet, which was actively assisting separatists, had been keeping the promise of its Commander in Chief Admiral E. Baltin. In this regard, the main task was assigned to the 810th Separate Marine Brigade, as the main strike force, capable in a difficult political situation to neutralize the dislocated in the Crimea Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In order to get prepared for such a scenario of the development of the events, at the end of 1993, the 810th Separate Marine Brigade’s Units restarted active combat trainings, including practical firing from all types of weapons, forced marches of personnel with full armor, marches of combat vehicles and automotive equipment, tactical exercises and command post exercises.

From October 1993 to January 1994, the 810th Separate Marine Brigade received 430 recruits from different regions of the Russian Federation. Due to this, the Brigade was staffed 95 % of the war time staff (twice as many servicemen as it had in 1991, and exclusively citizens of the RF). Besides, the combat capabilities of the 810th Brigade had been significantly strengthened by the additional deployment in the region of its dislocation of 11 tanks T-64 and 10 BMP-2 with regular crews from the 126th Division of the Coastal Defense of the BSF.

Much attention was paid to the morale and fighting qualities of the Commanders of the Brigade. In particular, in late 1993 and early 1994 the 810th Brigade’s officers were subject to significant personnel changes. At command posts there were experienced, strong-willed officers, capable to fulfill any order. Some of them got early military ranks.

In January 1994, on the eve of the election of the “President” of the Autonomy, the Black Sea Fleet started working out plans for the immediate military tearing away the Crimea from Ukraine. They were supposed to begin with the city of Sevastopol, which Russia considered its main stronghold in the Peninsula.

Combat training of the 810th Separate  Marine Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet

As part of these actions, on the 21st of January, 1994, Chief of Staff of the Operations Branch of the Coastal Forces of the BSF Colonel Bolevantsev, together with the Chief of Staff of the 810th Separate Marine Brigade conducted reconnaissance of the Southern and Northern sides of the Sevastopol Bay under the cover of preparations for “repelling of Ukraine’s possible aggression against the main Naval base of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol”.

At the same time, the units of the 126th Division of the Coastal Defense of the BSF were on high combat readiness and had to control the rest of the territory of the Crimea.

And on January 24 the Black Sea Fleet marines began to occupy key positions in the city of Sevastopol. In particular, by the Assault Combat Battalion of the 810 Separate Marine Brigade took under its control the area of the dislocation of Headquarters of the BSF - the main commanding center of planned by Russia force actions in the Crimea.

But the culmination of all these events was trainings on the whole Fleet scale, which began on January 25. They were to be the main factor in Russia's pressure on Ukraine, namely, to demonstrate the power of the Black Sea Fleet, ready to defend Russian interests. To sea went the ships constituting the main striking force of the Fleet: the large anti-submarine ship “Azov”, large landing ships “C.Kunikov” and “K.Olshansky”, a guard ship “Sderzhannyi” (Reserved), a small missile ship “Mirage”, missile boats № 109, 239, a small anti-submarine ship 043 trawlers “Zenitchik” and “Radist”, a command ship “Dauria” as well as auxiliary vessels of the BSF.

At the end of the trainings, on the 28th of January 1994, two Su-27 from the 43th Separate Marine Striking Aviation Regiment of the Air Force of the BSF, when developing combat training in the areas of dislocation of the Ukrainian Navy, violated the lower limit of height, deliberately mimicking going down on the combat course for using onboard weapons.




 «Хотите газ – верните Крым России!»: в Севастополе "крымчане боролись за свое освобождение"
"If you want gas - return Crimea to Russia"

On the 30th of January, 1994 the elections of the “President” of the Crimea finally took place and resulted in the complete victory of Yuri Meshkov.

Immediately after the elections, he returned to Kyiv to meet the leaders of Ukraine. In general, during the negotiations some agreements were reached on economic issues. In particular, this concerned separation of the budgets, forming the tax and credit-banking systems of the Crimea as well as tax reduction. At the same time, in response to Yu.Meshkov’s attempts to change the status of the Crimea through establishing con-federal or federal relations with Ukraine, he was clearly informed about the position of Kiev that the Crimea was and is the territory of Ukraine and at the most it may be autonomy within Ukraine. Of course, with all the ensuing consequences, including rule of Law of Ukraine in the Peninsula.

Such a position of Kiev was not in Yu.Meshkov’s plans, who already saw himself a kind of a local prince in the territory under his control. And it did not coincide with the goals of his Moscow masters, who were planning to use “the Crimean independence” as the first step to regaining their control over Ukraine.

Therefore, immediately after returning from Kiev, Yu.Meshkov hurried to complain about L.Kravchuk to the BSF Commander E. Baltin, not without reason hoping for his help in case of a possible conflict with Ukraine.

The meeting was marked by mutual understanding and ended quite well. The parties took a decision on basing of the Black Sea Fleet as a Russian Navy in the Crimea. In its turn, the Black Sea Fleet commandment promised to provide all possible support to Meshkov’s actions aiming at tearing the Peninsula away from Ukraine, both politically and with the use of armed force, if the situation demands.

On the 8th of February, 1994, inspired by the results of his meeting with E.Baltin, Yu.Meshkov left for Moscow, where he had to get instructions concerning his future actions now as of the “President” of the Crimea. At this, Yu.Meshkov did not even think of coordinating his visit with the President of Ukraine, calling his trip a “work trip”, about which he was not obliged to report to anybody.

At this, the visit of the “President” of the Crimea to the capital of Russia was very secret. According to Yu.Meshkov, some meetings in Moscow were “strictly confidential” and he considered it premature to announce their results. Though it was already clear without saying that it was a question of Moscow's support of separatist moods in the Peninsula. At the highest level included, as Meshkov himself proudly confirmed, being somewhat stunned by a very warm welcome in Moscow. Summarizing the results of the talks, Yu.Meshkov did it in one sentence, “Russia is with us”.

Yu. Meshkov’s euphoria was easy to understand. Promises that were given by Moscow to the elected “President” in the hope to secure its interests in the Crimea, really exceeded all possible expectations, but also went beyond the common sense. In particular, according to the data given by Yu.Meshkov to the press, along with the direct economic assistance, in the Crimea were supposed to be opened trade and economic missions of the Russian Federation and its regions - Krasnodar, Stavropol and Rostov-on-Don. In its turn, Crimean representations were to be established in Russia.

Besides, to ensure Russian expansion in the Crimea, a program of gradual introduction of the Russian rouble as a parallel currency in the Peninsula, was developed. Within the framework of the program, Moscow economists intended to press out Ukrainian coupons from circulation in the Crimea, and in such a way to tie up the Peninsula to Russia, both, in financial and economic spheres. The rouble was planned to go into circulation as quickly as possible as a full means of payment. This process was supposed to be regulated by the Republican Central Bank of the Crimea.

There was also developed a program of the Crimea’s cooperation with Russia in reviving recreational facilities, strengthening business structures, development of culture and medicine. The former 4th Medical Department opened its branch in the Crimea.

The Ministry of Fuel and Energy of Russia was settling a question of additional supplies of gas and oil to the Crimea, which had to sharply weaken its dependence on Ukraine. Along with this, Russia promised to provide necessary agricultural products and corn for spring sowing, and was ready to build in the Crimea systems for fruit and vegetable processing.

Russians promised Yu.Meshkov even to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait, to lay pipelines and power lines, which should connect the Crimea with Russia bypassing Ukraine, as well as to upgrade sea and ocean ports.

In the situation of the economic crisis in Russia, all the plans were clearly unfeasible, but Meshkov did not care. According to the “President” of the Crimea, there was not a single sector of the economy, in which there was no agreement on cooperation with Russia.

At that time had already raised a question: what will the Crimea pay back with for all those blessings?

Yu.Meshkov’s answer was neither complicated, nor particularly original. In his view, the Crimea enjoyed preferential regime in Russia. So Russian specialists, who know the uniqueness of the Crimea’s unclaimed potential, were not afraid of dependency trends and expected profit from their investments. The “President” was ready to pay back to Russia, fulfilling its orders at defense plants, supplying fruit and vegetables and maintaining health centers.

Although already then, most of these “means of payment to Russia” had lost much of their practical value. Activity of the previous Crimean leadership that was mainly engaged in political confronting Kiev led to a complete collapse of the economy of the Peninsula. Most businesses had stopped, and the products that were still produced by some plants and ruined agriculture, could not stand any competition with foreign goods and products flooding the market of the Russian Federation. Besides, Russia’s provoking political instability in the Crimea, had once again plucked the holiday season, making it impossible to stabilize the local economy.

It is hard to suppose that Yu.Meshkov did not know all this. Therefore, his statements on paying Russia with economic means were blatant misinformation aimed at calming the public opinion. The main thing that Moscow expected for its help to the “President” was final separation of the Crimea from Ukraine.

Taking into consideration these circumstances, the Kremlin had taken care of the creation of a certain “President’s “environment, which was to prevent any “disputes” of the local mafia structures with Yu.Meshkov after the expected failure of his economic policy.

Thus, the Head of the Administration of the “President” of the Crimea was appointed a former Chief of the Special Department of the KGB of the USSR for the 32nd Army Corps (stationed in the Crimea) V.Grishankov, the Deputy Head of the Administration was Lieutenant Colonel of Military Intelligence V.Kozhevnikov, Chief of the Office of the “President” was a former Chief of the Special Department of the KGB in a Division of the Western Group of Forces E.Mikhaylov; Yu.Meshkov’s Advisor was a former Chief of the Special Department of the KGB in Kiev Military District O.Boychenko. Out of 20 people of Meshkov’s environment, almost all were “experts” from the same department.

No less tendentiously had been selected the new Government of the Autonomy, which, instead of the sacked Samsonov, was headed by the Director of the “Center of Information and Social Technologies of the Russian Government” E.Saburov, ex- Head of the Ministry of Economy of Russia. Yu.Meshkov himself explained this choice not by professional qualities of E.Saburov (the level of which can be judged on the basis of the indexes of the Russian economy), but by absolutely different reasons. According to the “President” of the Crimea, the whole Russia stood behind Saburov, and his appointment Prime Minister had been approved by all Russian officials.

Based on this environment and supported from Moscow, Yu.Meshkov moved to practical actions for tearing away the Crimea from Ukraine in political sphere too. On the 11th of February, 1994, he issued a Decree “On the Interviewing Citizens of the Crimea on Their Attitude to Ukraine”. In fact, this survey had to become a disguised version of the canceled referendum on independence of the Crimea.

To be continued