Today, 23 February, is the anniversary of the City of Sevastopol cementing it’s course of leaving Ukraine. I personally think that soon this will be a holiday in this City but time will tell.
I have written enough over the last almost four years on Saker’s blog that I don’t think I need to fill most of you in on the events leading up to the 23 February Meeting in Naxhimova Square in City Center that saw the refusal of the local government to accept the coup installed government in Kiev and the appointment of a new interim government for Sevastopol plus the rather pointed subjugation of the local police with SBU being relegated to virtual prisoners in their HQ at the top of Ulitsya Lenina.
However, a number of events led up to that fateful meeting. First, what is now known as the Korsun Massacre wherein 9 bus loads of Krimea and Sevastopol citizens who had been in Kiev protesting against the riots in the central square were tracked during their journey from Kiev to Krimu and stopped in Korsun on 20 February 2014. There they were beaten, many severely, 11 were killed and hastily buried at the roadside. They managed to return to Krim and Sevastopol over the next two days. That massacre, performed right in front of local and not so local police and SBU operatives by Right Sector, galvanized many of the citizens of Sevastopol and Krimea who knew that instant what was in store for this peaceful island and city. I will not post a link to the massacre, it’s pretty gruesome for most of you, but the videos are readily accessible on Youtube.
Second, our Berkut and Militsiya units who had been in Kiev for the duration of the riots and coup, only to be betrayed by the president as he fled and left to their fate with no orders of any kind, arrived in Sevastopol on 22 February, still bearing the grime and smell of Kiev and bringing their wounded with them after fighting their way back home. They were greeted with a hero’s welcome by their families and quite some thousands of Sevastopol citizens. It was patently obvious what they had been through and the fate that awaited Sevastopol if she did nothing. Three days later Berkut went to the barricades at Sevastopol and Krimea borders, armed.
After these two events plus ever increasing vitriol from the new Kiev regime laced with absolutely clear threats to all the citizens of both Sevastopol and Krimu, the citizens of Sevastopol reacted with an in excess of 50,000 citizen spontaneous open air meeting on Naxhimova Square in City Center, directly across the street from City Administration HQ, on 23 February 2014.
The three resolutions passed by the crowd in Russian and English.
1. Currently there has been a coup in Ukraine. The power was seized by Ukrainian nationalists, who immediately began repressing the militia and political opponents.
2. The activities of the Verkhovna Rada are illegitimate – the Sevastopolis do not recognize it. In order to return the situation to the legislative field, we demand that the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of the Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine act accordingly and leave Verkhovna Rada.
3. To direct the elected city head immediately to proceed to the formation of the city executive committee, detachments supporting the protection of law and order and the creation of the municipal police in order to ensure the normal life of the city.
The above is the short version, here is the long version which covers the main parts of the meeting plus a few events after the meeting.
After this meeting, the fate of Sevastopol and Krimea was sealed. There was a very great number of additional happenings between this meeting and the referendum of 16 March 2014 wherein both entities voted to leave Ukraine, some violent and some deadly leading to our 11 dead from the entire event.
The end result, 18 March 2014, Moskau, Russia.
Now, four years later, peace reigns in our little village of Sevastopol and on the Island of Krimea. We will be away for most of the day, the annual, on this day, celebrations of 23 February 2014 will take place at both Naxhimova Square in City Center and 35th Battery Museum in Kozachka Region. We will be at Battery.