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In the Crimea, the locals share the Russian Kerch Strait



The newly-opened bridge linking Crimea and Russia leads traffic in both directions, but the political divide whose construction has become a symbol is most evident to those who call the territorially contested peninsula home.

on TV, first crossing of the controversial period on Tuesday – in the cabin of a bright orange (partially) Russian-made Kamaz dump truck to underline the commercial promise of the new route – senior members of the Mejlis, Die self-government Crimean Tatars, which Russia had forbidden when it annexed, saw a very different picture.

"The bridge is Putin's image project for his electorate in Russia," said Ulmi Umerov, deputy director of Mejlis, the Russian service of the VOA. "Whatever is said, the bridge is a gate somewhere, it's just a gate to a dead end, and economically it will not be justified."

  Russian President Vladimir Putin drives a Kamaz dump truck Strait Bridge, which connects the Russian mainland with the controversial Crimea, during a ceremony for the opening of Kerch, May 1<div class="e3lan e3lan-in-post1"><script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script>
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Russian President Vladimir Putin drives up during a ceremony Opening of Kerch Strait, which connects the Russian mainland with the controversial Crimea, a Kamaz dump truck 15, 2018.

For Umerov's deputy, Ahmet Chiygoz, financial prospects are beside the point. No amount of economic benefits could adequately compensate for what was lost, he told VOA.

"Close fraternal relations with Ukraine ended when Russia killed Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, including women and children," he said. "It has all connections disconnected."

While some Russians have baptized the road and railway bridge designed to wire the Crimea into the Russian transport network "Putin's Bridge", many in Russia see the move as a restoration of Moscow rule to a historically Russian region.

As a pack of leather-clad bikers roared toward the Black Sea peninsula on Wednesday – their tricolor Russian flags wafting in the wind, the leader of a well-known Kremlin motorcycle club in their midst – even a few native Crimeans were there to greet them.

"The Crimean bridge is a connection," said Andrey Merkulov, a resident of Sevastopol, the peninsula's largest city. "It's the size and power of my country, it's still proof of that power and greatness."

"We came to attend the opening [of the bridge] to continue for the first time," said Aleksandr Karavayev

His family, like other residents of the Crimea, said they had been driving through the night to attend a historic one Moment to Participate

Project finance questioned

Russia's annexation in 2014 US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko condemned the project on Tuesday together with leading EU officials as a violation of international law has damaged the environment and larger ships will not be able to reach ports on the Sea of ​​Azov.

  (FILE) The Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, September 7, 2017.

(FILE) The Ukrainian president Petro Poroshe Nko in parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, September 7, 2017.

Although the United States has sanctioned numerous individuals and organizations involved in the project, US officials once again vowed on Tuesday that Crimea sanctions will continue to exist in Russia German: www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…ew&id=6 # 1991 He hands over control of the peninsula to Ukraine, Russian lawyer Nikolay Polozov, who is a legal adviser to some Mejli MPs, said that the execution of the bridge only proves that sanctions are largely outdated ,

"It turned out that a number of European companies were involved in bridge construction despite the existing sanctions," he told VOA. "Because Russia did not have the technology that made it possible to build the bridge itself, they worked together with Dutch companies, which will lead to a serious political conversation between the US and Europe."

  Many components of the Russian truck President Vladimir Putin drives are made US and EU, Kerch Strait Bridge, east of Kerch, Crimea, May 15, 2018.

Many components of the truck Russian President Vladimir Putin drives are US and EU-made, Kerch Strait Bridge, east of Kerch, Crimea, May 15, 2018.

"And it was no coincidence that Arkady Rotenberg, Putin's friend, was present at the opening," added He added, referring to the builder Who is one of Russia's richest men and Putin's unique judo coach.

"His company was responsible for bridge construction, as well as for the Sochi Olympics and other double and triple-profit construction projects," he said. "The task is to work extra ct as much budget as possible and then divide it between them."

The bridge, Polozov argued, has no practical significance.

The main highway feeding the bridge, he said, "leads directly to the bus terminal of the city of Simferopol," which is about 130 miles from Kerch, parts of which lie on slower back roads.

"You can not go anywhere else."

Promotion of Tourism

Many Russians know that this is technically wrong. And it does not matter with beach destinations like Feodosia and Koktebel marking the way.

The Crimea is a popular destination for Russians in the summer, and Putin said in March that he would like to open the bridge to the season

The bridge will also reach the peninsula more easily from southern Russia, where there are long lines of vehicles waiting for ferries that can not always drive during winter storms.

  People basking on a beach in Koktebel, southern Crimea, July 23, 2016.

People basking on a beach in Koktebel, southern Crimea, July 23, 2016.

"In the last three years nothing prevented the Russians from coming to the Crimea, said Choygoz, Deputy Meyli, who, like his colleague Umerov, was allegedly excommunicated to Kiev. [196592002] Following the annexation of Russia in 2014, both Chiygoz and Umerov were quickly imprisoned, just to be taken to Istanbul, where they were given pardons, because they were denied access to the terms of the pardon, they now live indefinitely in Kiev, uncertain whether they may ever return to Crimea.

But Russians says Chygoz, "actively encourages visit [Crimea]. "

" In the 21st century, you can not steal territory from another state, you can not kill women and children, and then you make it seem as if nothing happened, "Chiygoz

said Failure condemned, "Umerov added, referring to the bridge.

" Because today this state is transmitting terror, "he said, claiming that this is the bridge in his mind." She brings death. "

The 19 km long Kerch Strait Bridge was opened to public transport on Wednesday.

This story originated in the Russian VOA service, some of which are from Reuters.


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