Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Months After Russian Annexation, Hopes Start to Dim in Crimea

By IVAN NECHEPURENKO, NYT DEC. 1, 2015

SHCHYOLKINO, Crimea — When residents in this typical Soviet factory town voted enthusiastically to secede from Ukraine and to become Russians, they thought the chaos and corruption that made daily life a struggle were a thing of the past.

Now that many of them are being forced to cook and boil drinking water on open fires, however, they are beginning to reconsider.

There has been no steady electricity supply in this hard-hit town since Nov. 22, when protesters in Ukraine blew up the lines still feeding Crimea with most of its electric power. The bigger towns and cities are only marginally better off.

Yet, people here are not sure whom to blame more for their predicament: the Crimean Tatar activists and Ukrainian nationalists who cut off Crimea’s link to the Ukrainian power grid or the local government officials who claimed to have enough power generators stored away to handle such an emergency.

“The circus is gone, but the clowns stayed,” said Leonid Zakharov, 45, leaning on a wooden cane. Moscow may have purged Ukrainian authority, he said, but many of the same corrupt and incompetent officials remained in office and life was only slightly less chaotic than before.

(More here.)

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