The destructive impact of the occupation on Crimea has different dimensions. Total militarization, the destruction of cultural heritage, the decline of tourism and the economy – this is not a complete list of the problems that the “Russian world” brought.
After the start of a full-scale invasion, new challenges were added to all this, which had already had a negative impact on the Ukrainian peninsula. First of all, we are talking about illegal “mobilization”, new wave of repressions, persecution for political opinions, and so on.
However, one should also mention a problem of a different nature, namely, the transformation of the occupied Crimea into a criminal “memorial” of the dead military aggressors. We are talking about mass graves of soldiers of the aggressor and further illegal “memorialization” of war criminals.
This process has been going on for more than a year, and in this article, experts from the Association of Reintegration of Crimea will try to systematize and study its impact on the population of the temporarily occupied peninsula.
To begin with, we note that the problem has two key aspects. The first is related to the mass graves of the military aggressor, including the Crimean residents, who criminally signed a “contract” or illegally “mobilized”. The second aspect is related to the criminal “heroization” by the Crimean collaborators of the Russian military, who are killing Ukrainians and destroying our cities and villages.
In the first case, we are talking about a possible humanitarian catastrophe on the occupied peninsula, since the mass character and nature of the burials threaten the sanitary and epidemiological situation. In the second case, we are talking about the ideological component, which implies a destructive influence on the consciousness of the population of the peninsula. Both aspects exist thanks to the criminal actions of the occupiers, who form the “agenda” through local traitors.
However, we will try to consider the context of the problem, based on the chronology of events.
Since the beginning of March last year, the bodies of the military aggressor who died in Ukraine have been massively brought to the temporarily occupied Crimea. Then the deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Ahmet Chiygoz, reported that the Crimean morgues were simply filled with the corpses of the aggressor’s soldiers, and doctors were forced to first of all provide assistance to the wounded occupiers. There was information that the crematoriums of the peninsula are fully working for the occupying army and civilians cannot use the cremation service . It is obvious that the Kremlin criminally decided to turn the Crimea not only into a military base, but also into a fraternal cemetery.
It should be noted that this process continues further, in particular, in early February of this year, the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine recorded the illegal cremation of dead Russian soldiers near the village of Krasnaya Zorka, Simferopol disctirct. Locals even observed a line of military trucks that brought corpses for disposal .
According to reports, by the beginning of 2023, at least 300 Crimean residents had died in the ranks of the aggressor. It is difficult to calculate the exact data, because the information is not publicly systematized by the Crimean collaborators. Also, the situation is much more complicated by the lack of comprehensive information on the number of so-called “volunteers” such as members of the “Wagner” terrorist structure. A significant part of the dead are Ukrainians, who in 2014 changed their oath and went over to the side of the aggressor state . It is characteristic that, despite the desire to hide the scale of losses, characteristic facts become known. For example, in March last year, a “farewell ceremony” was held simultaneously with a hundred Crimean inhabitants. The event was held at the location of the “126th Separate coast guard brigade” of the aggressor. Also, similar measures were recorded in Sevastopol, when “the dead marines were buried” .
In parallel with the cremation, the process of burying the dead military aggressors in the cemeteries of the temporarily occupied Crimea is underway. It was reported that Crimean collaborators are turning the occupied Sevastopol into a cemetery for those who are not taken home to their native village or city. According to the local population, they also bury the military, who died in city hospitals from wounds . Also, the command of the aggressor does not deal with the issues of identifying the dead soldiers and “saves money on logistics”, which is associated with the transportation of the bodies of the dead to their places of previous residence.
It was reported that the aggressor’s ministry of defense gave instructions to take away any documents from the dead and assign numbers to them; secretly bury them in mass graves; in the absence of conditions, destroy the bodies of the dead military. The document published by the Ukrainian special services also states that all these instructions are necessary for the aggressor, as they allow limiting information about the number of his military who are in Ukraine .
In turn, the Crimean collaborators are trying to play along with these tactics of the Kremlin. They constantly note that everyone who was sent to the front allegedly “made this decision voluntarily”. Obviously, they want to absolve themselves of responsibility for the illegal “mobilization” of Crimean residents, who subsequently return in coffins . Part of this strategy was the concealment by the criminal “head” of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, of the exact number of dead Crimean residents. In his statements, he stubbornly avoids answering, realizing that the numbers are horrendous, and can activate the protest moods of the population .
However, the available information indicates the scale of the burials of the Crimean inhabitants who died in the war against Ukraine ; ; ; .
Among the dead Crimean residents, there are a lot of representatives of the Black Sea Fleet, some of them fought in Syria, and after the start of a full-scale invasion, they went to war against Ukraine ; . We should also recall the burial last year in Sevastopol of the deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet, aggressor Andriy Paliy, who in 2014 criminally persuaded the Ukrainian military to violate the oath and support the invaders . Obviously, these data are not complete, because the Armed Forces of Ukraine once destroyed the entire command post of the Black Sea Fleet .
Crimean collaborators are criminally trying to form an ideology of hatred towards Ukraine on the basis of the deaths of these military men. They bear full responsibility for the death of citizens of Ukraine, who were simply thrown into the crucible of war against their own people.
However, the question arises: why are the traitors not afraid to publicly document individual losses among the Crimean residents? On this occasion, the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the AR of Crimea published quite interesting information about the facts of burials of Crimean residents who died in the war. One interesting detail catches the eye: Russian soldiers, as a rule, are secretly hidden and they try not to spread this information in the local pro-Russian media, while the dead Crimean inhabitants are, on the contrary, buried publicly, with so-called “military honors” .
It seems that this is not an accident, because the Crimean collaborators are used to receiving “bonuses” even from the war. Thus, they want to once again show the Kremlin that the criminal “mobilization” in the occupied Crimea was allegedly carried out “effectively”. Also, Crimean collaborators provide further fake “heroization” of the dead Crimean residents, who allegedly “should become an example for others”.
A specific source of information about the dead is the number of “commemorative plaques” that constantly appear in all corners of the temporarily occupied peninsula, including the buildings of schools where the dead Crimean residents studied. Crimean collaborators also open “cypress alleys” and “commemorative steles” ; . In most cases, we are talking about young people aged 21 to 30 years.
The collaborators are trying to somehow “link” the process of fake “heroization” with the Second World War. So, “on the eve of May 9th”, Crimean collaborators opened a “monument” to the military aggressor who died in the war against Ukraine in the village of Gvardeyske, Simferopol District.
The self-proclaimed “chairman of the district” Denis Kratyuk criminally boasted that this was the “first monument” on the occupied peninsula . Subsequent events testify that at that time there was a clear criminal instruction from the Kremlin regarding the “heroization” of the “Crimean cargo 200” on the peninsula. In particular, a week later, a “monument to the dead pilots” of the “39th Helicopter Regiment” was installed in Dzhankoy, and subsequently a similar “monument” was installed in Bakhchisarai, and “decorated with a St. George ribbon” .
Another trend of criminal “memorialization” is the unlawful “renaming” of streets and squares “in honor” of the dead military aggressors at the direction of the Crimean collaborators . Currently, it is known about dozens of streets in different settlements, which have already been “renamed in honor” of the military aggressors who died in the war against Ukraine. Also, the Crimean collaborators have already announced that children will be taught “mandatory lessons” about criminal “heroes” in schools.
The network even posted the corresponding “document” of the fake “authority”, which clearly details the “algorithm” for conducting such “lessons”. In particular, “elementary school pupils” will be told about “fallen soldiers”; “pupils in grades 5-7” will be told about the states of the world that are “unfriendly” to the aggressor, and “high class pupils” will be told about the fake “advantages of serving in the Russian army under a contract” . This is very reminiscent of a consistent complex for zombifying the Crimean residents, who in the end “should” die for the abstract ideas of the Kremlin leaders.
We are talking about the “memorialization” of the dead military aggressors, who, according to the criminal plan of the invaders, should be perceived as a kind of “martyrs” who gave their lives for a “bright future”.
It should be noted that the criminal “memorialization” of the dead military aggressors in the occupied Crimea has the illegal goal of distorting historical truth, based on narratives of hatred for Ukraine. Thus, the occupiers seek to mask their own war crimes.
That is why, at the stage of the transition period after the de-occupation, considerable attention should be paid to debunking these fake narratives and searching for the truth that will be the basis of peacebuilding. This is the key to successful reintegration of the Ukrainian peninsula and its sustainable development in the near future.
Thus, the criminal process of “memorialization” of the dead military aggressors in Crimea is part of the strategy of the aggressor state, which consists in the criminal imposition of an anti-Ukrainian position on the Crimean inhabitants. Such unlawful “memorialization” has a dual function. On the one hand, it is a component of the criminal aggressor’s propaganda, the purpose of which is to “popularize” the war, and on the other hand, it acts as a separate criminal ideological concept of distorting historical truth.
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