Olga Skrypnyk, CEO of the Crimean human rights group, told how the occupiers replace the population in Crimea.
If we are talking about the policy of replacing the population in the occupied Crimea, it is the state policy guided by the Kremlin. It has at least two components.
The first component is the creation of such conditions that Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars leave Crimea. They do this via repressive practices, persecution, the establishment of such conditions under which people cannot run their own business and, therefore, have to leave Crimea.
The second component is the replacement of these people by Russian citizens who have no connection with Ukraine as a state.
If we are talking about the means that Russia uses to make Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars leave Crimea, it is, first of all, a repressive practice that began in 2014. These are the same politically motivated cases. Today, more than 100 people from the Crimea are behind bars. And such persecution was a signal for many other activists to leave Crimea.
The second practice is direct population replacement. Such actions violate international humanitarian law and are one of the war crimes, namely the replacement or deportation of the occupied territory’s population outside its borders. That is, Russia, using its migration legislation (for example, Article 18.8 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation) expels Ukrainian citizens outside the Crimea.
In 2019, we examined 1,080 decisions of local “courts” that considered cases under this article. According to these decisions, 171 citizens of Ukraine were deported outside the Crimea. Moreover, deportation takes place in appalling conditions, with human rights violations. It is forced deportation. So, people initially are sent to a specific detention centre for foreign nationals. For example, in the winter we recorded that people who were sent to this centre could not even bring warm clothes. Often Ukraine is not informed about such decisions, and these people remain defenceless regularly. And this is just one of this terrible Russian Federation’s colonial policy’s elements in the Crimea.
Another violation is the moving of Ukrainian citizens out of the occupied Crimea to Russia. The Geneva Convention prohibits this as a war crime. Among such groups of the population are all the prisoners whom Russia transports to its territory in the colony.
For example, there are no women’s colonies in Crimea. And we have to understand that most of the women who received imprisonment were deported to Russia. Most of our political prisoners are also moved to Russia, sometimes even during the investigation, long before sentencing. That is done to break the ties of these people with their families, to complicate the work of lawyers.
Illegal military conscription to Russia’s armed forces
Another crime is the illegal conscription of our citizens in Crimea to Russia’s armed forces. In 2017, Russia began sending conscripts from the Crimea to serve in Russia. Also in the Crimea, such economic conditions are created which encourage people to do military service by contract for the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces. In general, under current conditions in Crimea, doing military service in the security or armed forces of the Russian Federation gives people at least some financial guarantees. And often when people start servicing, they are offered contracts outside the Crimea.
Among the categories of people who moved from Russia to Crimea, the majority are military and law enforcement officers. It is noteworthy that all the leaders of the security forces are Russians. That is, no one from the Crimea controls the security forces now.
Besides, Russia has a definite policy concerning the civilian population. These are the so-called programs “Zemsky (territorial) doctor.” “Zemsky teacher” and so on. Also in the Russian Federation, there were many announcements concerning people working in the pension fund bodies, with offers to move to the Crimea. And these ads were placed in remote regions of the country. And for a person from Omsk, the opportunity to move to Yalta is a perfect opportunity. All these actions of the Russian authorities are a component of a war crime. That is a global and really strategic goal of the Russian Federation – to physically change the population composition in Crimea. Crimea is not Russian, and people inside are resisting the occupation, so Russia tries to amend the population even at this level.
Source: Crimean Human Rights Group