SitRep Sevastopol and Krimea 30.11.2015

While citizens in Sevastopol are getting used to the deprivations from the power cut off, the lack of power is still extant.

1. Russia Army is sending a complete field hospital to Krimea. The hospital is complete including a surgical ward and diagnostic center with the most modern diagnostic machines. It is my understanding that this hospital will be used in the more rural areas to service patients who have difficulty traveling to the larger cities.

2. Weather. It’s going to deteriorate over the next week, highs for our city will be 8 to 10 cent., lows of 2 to 6. Our local climate is very soft and unique for the peninsula and a bit warmer than even 20 kilometers north and east of this charming city. This weather change will bring more hardship to both this city and the peninsula. If we are down to 2 at night in most the rest of Krimea it will be zero or well below. The real problems are about to start. Our harbor and coast has not frozen in living memory. This can not be said of 50 kilometers north of us or the south coast. Kerch is subject to some very strong winter storms and a few years ago it’s harbor froze over. These storms will affect both ferry service to the mainland and construction of the bridge and electric supply system.

3. One of the two feeds from Ukraine is supposedly repaired but has not been put in service. There are total power outages in some areas of Kherson Oblast because of the power line destruction. Kiev is doing nothing to alleviate this problem.

4. Solar power is, or was, under development in Krimea. There is a large system constructed near Yevpatoria on the northwest coast that is not in service. There is a smaller system not two kilometers from our house on north side that is not in service. Both I think belong to President Yanukovich’s son but I may be wrong on the Yevpatoria system.

5. The nuclear plants in Ukraine do have power including the one that is near the power outage area. Regardless of Kiev’s protestations of lack of power for the feed water pumps at the plant it is patently ludicrous to state that a functioning nuclear power plant does not have or generate power to run its own pumps.

6. More shops and restaurants are obtaining generators as can be seen. Most smaller stores and restaurants have their own heat pump like heating and cooling systems. These systems do not draw much power and are sufficient to keep the businesses warm in winter.

7. Some bright light in city administration has finally shut down most of the street lights. In past nights as power came on is various districts the street lamps in other districts, including ours, were lit up like Christmas trees while everything else was dark. Go figure.

8. Tatari. There is no problem with the Tatari regardless of reports in west media. They are just as inconvenienced with the power outage as everyone else and those we have talked to had an intense dislike of the mejilis before this event. This dislike has noticeably increased as the level of discomfort and inconvenience has increased. The mejilis received less than 5% of the votes in the last uke elections but retained all power in Bachti Sarai and surrounding areas. The leader of mejilis obtained giant money and lands from Kiev to help the Tatari returning to Krimea. The land was given to favorites and comrades of mejilis, the money disappeared. The streets in Bachti Sarai make our sorry roads and streets look like heaven, compliments of mejilis.

9. Petrol supplies are very much better. Rumor has it that someone will be counting trees very soon over the sudden lack of petrol supply last week.

10. Food supplies are as in the previous SitRep. No one will be hungry and prices are staying normal. Wine and spirits are also in normal supply although the monks in Inkerman have apparently been remiss in bottling the next batch of our favorite wine, said batch being available in three weeks or so. When finding the shelf empty my wife growled something to the effect of the monks and administration forgetting 1917. She does like her evening glass as we sit and talk of the events of the day. Perhaps today I’ll tell her I have two bottles set aside for emergencies.

11. All the normal treats and specialties are available including Baklava, a Tatar specialty. The only shortage if you want to call it that is ice cream but then it’s not quite the season for that.

12. One of the problems of no electric is laundry. The older flats buildings have the proverbial One Big Heating System that feeds sometimes large numbers of flats buildings. This heating plant provides both heat in the radiator system and hot water for the flat occupants. When heating season is over often the plants shut down for ‘renovations’ for the entire summer, in other words the flats occupants have no hot water for washing and bathing. Some plants will provide hot water a couple hours an evening. With the current shortage of electricity the plants are providing only radiator heat for the most part. Women are back to doing laundry the old way, in cold water and by hand. It is estimated that 15% of flats and houses have a washing machine of some size, generally quite small but again, several of the women my wife talked to say every time they start a load of laundry the electric goes off.

13. Personal hygiene. One can heat water for bathing on the stove and this is now being done by the majority of residents of this berg.

14. Guests. It is estimated that in this city there are over 60,000 guests in residence from both the fighting in Novorossiya and the problems in Ukraine. In peninsula it is estimated the numbers approach 100,000. Most have been here since early summer 2014 and an unusually large number are military age men. I and most others understand that not all men have the stones to stand in the lines and trade musketry with the enemy but men, and women, can all do something for the war effort. Most seem to be relatively well heeled and require nothing from the government. However, the locals are beginning to question why all these people, in particular numbers of young men, are down here enjoying our climate and peaceful way of life while not small numbers of our local boys are up north fighting.

15. Sunday morning my bride and I did a recon, we drove out to quite a few villages, near and far. We stopped in many and spoke to the locals about their situations, choosing shop and kiosk areas in the villages. I heard not a single generator in any of the villages although all the food and supply stores and kiosks were open, candles being the general light provider. All the shops had custom. We spoke to a good number of shop and kiosk workers. All said supply of goods and foods was no problem with but a couple exceptions, those being candles and flashlights. Candles were to be had nowhere and only one kiosk we inspected had a very few flashlights. Rechargeable batteries are technically useless without electric to run the chargers but the locals in each village had a car battery set up and were charging flashlight batteries and cell phones from that device for those who do not have a car.

In most of the villages the locals said they had had little if any electric since the onset of the problems, at best an hour a day and many had none for a week. These are villages well away from Sevastopol, Bachti Sarai and Simferopol and off the beaten track. You will not find a single petrol station once away from more populated areas or heavily traveled roads, they just ain’t there.

The locals are making do, almost all have wells and the villages all have at least one hand draw well. About half have natural gas supply and telephone service. Those that don’t, life hasn’t changed a bit, they are using bottle gas for most cooking as always, cell phones for communication and wifi for internet. Heat for many is provided by the original built in stoves and often the stoves are used for cooking the old way. Supplies of coal and wood for the old style stoves are adequate While there was discontent with the electric stoppages they are getting on with life.

16. All in all the situation is manageable although quite inconvenient for almost everyone. City Admin is doing what they can as is Krimea Admin. It seems now almost every day someone in both administrations is fired for being remiss in their duties. I don’t know if part of this is ‘shoot a few for the encouragement of the others’ but on the other hand I can think of a few who need to be gone but are still in place.

by Auslander Sevastopol, Crimea RF

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