November 11, 2015
Translated from French by Tom Winter, November 12, 2015
The Crimea is Russian, and “that’s not from the point of view of history. Today, the facts show plainly that the people of Crimea are a people attached to Russia, and who are, to put it simply, Russian,” says Ronald Zonca, editorialist for Boulevard Voltaire in an interview with Sputnik.
“I very well knew the epoch when the Crimea was Ukrainian. Now I can see the difference between Urainian Crimea and Russian Crimea,” says Mr Zonca.
Living there in one’s day-to-day life, one realizes that the people are, in sum total, already very happy and very proud, he emphasizes, quoting his Crimean friends that say they are living in a country they love. It is, all the same, very revelatory, figures the editorialist.
“This land is Russia. And this is not from the point of view of history. Today, the facts show plainly that the people of Crimea are a people attached to Russia, and who are, to put it simply, Russian,” he continues.
According to Mr. Zonca, his Crimean friends don’t understand the Ukrainian language. He gives the example of a jurist that he knows having trouble trying to get the gist of laws with text in Ukrainian come down from Kiev — because they were in Ukrainian, and he was Russian.
Mr. Zonca recounts that all the Tatars he met in Crimea were a bit concerned, at the start, about becoming Russia. But today, they are saying they live better than before. There is a very good coexisting. There are no martyrized Tatars, no signs of discrimination. On the contrary, they are quite happy to have a language which has official recognition, states Mr Zonca.
The editorialist believes Thierry Mariani’s exit from office of the European People’s Party in the PACE,** because of his visit to Crimea, “was a little shocking, coming from people who advocate cooperation on the European level, and yet they threw him out. For me it is also a sign that they are people who are not very interesting to associate with,” he says. A delegation of ten French deputies traveled to the Crimea this summer.
The head of the French delegation to Crimea, Thierry Mariani, opined that he saw no reason for keeping the sanctions against Russia. The deputy recalled that the goal of the mission was “to see with our own eyes” what was going on in Crimea.
**Mariani was vice president of the European People’s Party (EPP), in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The EPP evicted him from that post on a charge of (I summarize in two words) political heresy. — Tr.