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06KYIV4489, UKRAINE: THE RUSSIA FACTOR IN CRIMEA – UKRAINE’S

December 7, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KYIV4489 2006-12-07 15:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO9280
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #4489/01 3411549
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071549Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0639
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 KYIV 004489 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RU UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: THE RUSSIA FACTOR IN CRIMEA - UKRAINE'S 
"SOFT UNDERBELLY"? 
 
REF: A. KIEV 387 
     B. KYIV 4301 
     C. KYIV 4021 
     D. KYIV 4425 
 
Classified By: Charge a.i. Sheila Gwaltney, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Discussions with a wide range of contacts in 
Crimea November 20-22 and officials in Kyiv discounted recent 
speculation that a return of pro-Russian separatism in 
Crimea, which posed a real threat to Ukrainian territorial 
integrity in 1994-95, could be in the cards.  However, nearly 
all contended that pro-Russian forces in Crimea, acting with 
funding and direction from Moscow, have systematically 
attempted to increase communal tensions in Crimea in the two 
years since the Orange Revolution.  They have done so by 
cynically fanning ethnic Russian chauvinism towards Crimean 
Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians, through manipulation of issues 
like the status of the Russian language, NATO, and an alleged 
Tatar threat to "Slavs," in a deliberate effort to 
destabilize Crimea, weaken Ukraine, and prevent Ukraine's 
movement west into institutions like NATO and the EU.  While 
the total number of pro-Russian activists in Crimea is 
relatively low, the focus is on shaping public perceptions 
and controlling the information space, so far with success. 
 
2. (C) Ukrainian officials acknowledge expert complaints that 
the overall degradation of Kyiv's ability to assert central 
power and authority in the past two years has provided a 
conducive climate for destabilizing efforts, particularly in 
Crimea, which several Crimean journalists referred to as 
Ukraine's "soft underbelly."  The most publicized flashpoints 
in 2006 were the May-June Feodosia anti-NATO protests and 
July-August fights in Bakhchiserai over a market located on a 
Tatar cemetery, with pro-Russian groups figuring prominently 
in both.  Yushchenko and the National Security and Defense 
Council (NSDC) are quietly trying to lay the groundwork for a 
more effective assertion of central authority and countering 
of pro-Russian agitation in Crimea, with limited success to 
date. 
 
3. (SBU) The most active pro-Russian actors highlighted by 
our contacts were the Russian Society of Crimea and its 
affiliates, the Russian Bloc political party and the Crimean 
Cossack Union.  The latter's informal links to local Crimean 
law enforcement and security service personnel were clearly 
evident during the anti-NATO actions in May-June in Feodosia. 
 Recent radical youth groups like Proryv ("Breakthrough") and 
the Eurasian Youth Movement attract more media attention but 
are for now mainly small, public relations projects.  Natalya 
Vitrenko's Bloc, the Communists, and the 
Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia National Front also actively pushed 
Russian interests, with less impact.  Internecine squabbles 
and splits among pro-Russian groups in Crimea for Moscow's 
attention and money limit their effectiveness. 
 
4. (SBU) The primary mechanisms of Russian influence appear 
to be: the Russian Black Sea Fleet, with its extensive 
intelligence and press operations; regular visits of Russian 
officials/agitators, many of whom, such as Duma deputy 
Konstantin Zatulin, are now blacklisted by the GOU as a 
result (ref B); biased media/PR efforts such as Modest 
Kolerov's New Regions/Regnum projects and 
Russian-owned/influenced Ukrainian media; and the 
Moscow-Crimea Foundation and the Moscow-Sevastopol 
Foundation, allowing Mayor Luzhkov, also blacklisted, to buy 
influence.  End Summary 
 
What's Going On in Crimea? 
-------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Western pundits (Anne Applebaum, Jane's Intelligence 
Digest, Taras Kuzio) have written with alarm in 2006 of a 
worsening situation in Crimea due to alleged post Orange 
Revolution Russian meddling.  Some have raised the specter of 
a return to the active separatism which threatened Crimea and 
Ukraine's territorial integrity in 1994-95 before the threat 
was ended by decisive intervention by then President Kuchma 
and central Ukrainian authorities.  Discussions with two 
dozen government officials, journalists, and community 
leaders in Crimea November 20-22 and in Kyiv indicate that 
fears of revived separatism are misplaced.  However, all 
argued that interethnic tensions in Crimea had worsened 
considerably in the two years since the Orange Revolution, 
due to a deliberate Russian campaign aimed at destabilizing 
Crimea and, by extension, weakening Ukraine. 
 
6. (C) Starting in January 2006, President Yushchenko 
dispatched his then Chief of Staff Oleh Rybachuk and Interior 
Minister Lutsenko to Crimea for repeated multi-day visits. 
He also appointed as his representative in Crimea respected 
 
KYIV 00004489  002 OF 006 
 
 
ex-deputy Interior Minister Hennadiy Moskal, who spent years 
in Crimea in the late 1990s helping attack organized criminal 
structures.  Yushchenko also convened NSDC sessions on Crimea 
in February and late September which led to published 
decrees, the first systematic att
empt to address the entire 
range of economic, political, interethnic, cultural, and 
central power challenges inherent in Crimea, according to 
Oleksandr Lytvynenko, NSDC Department Head for Law 
Enforcement and Internal Affairs, including Crimea, who also 
acknowledged implementation was less than 20%.  The 
ineffectiveness of central authority was clear during the 
height of the anti-NATO protests in Feodosia in May-June, 
when Rybachuk and DFM Khandohiy repeatedly made clear to us 
that they had limited control over Crimean authorities. 
 
Crimea: built-in fertile grounds for volatility 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
7. (SBU) Lytvynenko explained to us the historical, ethnic, 
and political reasons why Crimea represented fertile ground 
for troublemakers.  Up to 70 percent of Crimea's Slavic 
inhabitants arrived or were the descendants of those who came 
from Russia or Russian-influenced parts of eastern Ukraine 
from 1944, when Stalin ordered Crimea's Tatars and several 
other much smaller ethnic groups deported to central Asia, 
and 1954, when Krushchev transferred autonomous Crimea to 
Ukraine's administrative control.  Most of the new arrivals 
were urban poor or had criminal backgrounds and moved into 
homes vacated by deportees; there was no connection or 
affiliation to Ukraine proper through 1991, with the possible 
exceptQn of the Dynamo Kyiv soccer club.  Starting in 1990, 
however, this unfocused "Slavic" community of relative 
newcomers faced an influx of a dynamic, often well-educated, 
politically organized community of Crimean Tatar returnees, 
now numbering close to 300,000, or 15 percent of Crimea's 
populatioQ 
 
8. (SBU) After Crimea's separatist threat (1994-95) and 
organized criminal problem (1997-98) were successfully 
addressed, Crimea enjoyed a period of relative calm and tacit 
understanding between local ethnically-Russian elites, 
Tatars, and Kyiv.  Disenchantment in the later Kuchma years 
revived due to the overall economic slide in Crimea, even as 
some Tatars started achieving economic success.  The Russia 
factor in the 2004 election cycle in favor of Yanukovych was 
felt strongly in Crimea and accelerated in early 2005 after 
the Orange Revolution, according to Lytvynenko and nearly 
everyone we talked to in Crimea, exploiting such discontent 
and traditional Russian stereotypes ("An uninvited guest is 
worse than a Tatar" goes an old proverb), as well as the 
overall weakening of central authority in Ukraine after the 
Orange Revolution. 
 
The Black Sea Fleet: intel and press 
------------------------------------ 
 
9. (C) While there has always been overwhelmingly pro-Russian 
sentiment in Crimea's population, the beginning of 
systematic, organized efforts by pro-Russian groups backed by 
Russian money is a relatively new phenomenon, most Crimean 
observers claimed.   Lytvynenko stated that the Russian BSF's 
sizable intel unit, part of the GRU (Russian military 
intelligence), was active in deliberately fostering 
interethnic tensions in Crimea to ensure that a state of 
constant simmering tension was maintained.  This included 
money to local groups carrying out Moscow's wishes, 
information campaigns, and occasional logistic support, 
including for the May-June anti-NATO protests in Feodosia. 
Lytvynenko claimed that, in contrast to the GRU's active 
role, the FSB (external intel service) seemingly restricted 
its efforts in Crimea to counter-intelligence operations 
aimed at western actors/visitors.  (Note: Yushchenko's former 
chief of staff Oleh Rybachuk told us in January that the FSB 
was very active in using/controlling NGOs in Crimea to stir 
up trouble (ref A), but he may have mixed up his Russian 
intel services). 
 
10. (C) Lytvynenko proudly claimed authorship of paragraph 10 
in Presidential decree 822/2006, dated October 9, which came 
out of the September 20 NSDC meeting.  Paragraph 10 gave the 
SBU and Foreign Intel Service two months to analyze the 
"efficiency of intel, counter-intel, and operative measures 
to identify, prevent, and halt intelligence and other 
subversive activities in Crimea by foreign special services, 
state and NGO organizations" as well as improve the SBU 
personnel and technical capabilities in Crimea.  Lytvynenko 
claimed it was the first time such efforts to neutralize 
activities undermining Ukrainian sovereignty had been 
mandated in writing (the decree is on the NSDC's website, in 
Ukrainian only). 
 
 
KYIV 00004489  003 OF 006 
 
 
11. (C) The BSF intel unit maintains a special relationship 
with Sevastopol's BSF-affiliated high school Number 8, the 
main base of activists involved in Proryv activities (see 
below), Radio Liberty Crimea correspondent Volodymyr Prytula 
told us.  Sobytiya journalist Lenur Yunusov added that his 
sources link BSF intel personnel to the recent emergence of 
the Eurasian Youth Union (below) as well.  The BSF's 
extensive media operations had been maintained since Soviet 
times, Myroslav Mamchak of the Ukrainian Fleet's "BRIS" Radio 
service told us, adding that the BSF printing house "Flag 
Rodina" (The Motherland's Banner) and electronic media 
actively churn out "information, disinformation, and 
counterinformation" with a strongly pro-Russian, implicitly 
anti-Ukrainian and anti-Tatar perspective that heavily 
influenced the media/information environment, especially in 
Sevastopol but across Crimea as a whole.  Several 
Simferopol-based journalists reiterated Mamchak's assessment. 
 
"Cossacks," Russian Community of Crimea, Russian Bloc 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
12. (C) Both GOU and journalist contacts consistently 
identified the Crimean Cossack Union (Krymskiy Kozachiy Soyuz 
- KKS), led by Crimean Rada MP Yuri Cherkashyn, as the single 
most dangerous and active pro-Russian actor in Crimea, in 
conjunction with two affiliated organizations.  The overall 
umbrella group with the most overt contacts with Moscow was 
the Russian Community of Crimea (known by its Russian acronym 
ROK - Russkaya Obshchyna Kryma), led by Serhiy Tsekov.  ROK 
in turn is closely affiliated with the Russian Bloc political 
party led by Oleh Rodyvilov.  Prytula likened the intertwined 
relationship to that of Sinn Fein and the IRA.  Yunusov said 
that ROK leaders openly admitted to him that they received 
money from Moscow. 
 
13. (C) The paramilitary KKS, which wears the Russian flag on 
its uniforms, had a network of several thousand members 
located in every district in Ukraine, well-equipped with 
communications equipment and weapons thanks to related 
security provider businesses that it established in the 
1990s, when criminal gangs operated more openly, according to 
various journalists.  More significantly, many KKS members 
were local police and Security Service (SBU) officers, making 
it much more difficult for central authorities to rely on 
prompt or reliable action when the Cossacks wer
e involved, 
such as during the Feodosia and Bakhchiserai events, the 
November 4 "Russkiy March," or less publicized illegal 
business takeovers (so-called "raiderstvo").  Lytvynenko 
noted that the KKS also maintained relations with Kuban and 
Don Cossack groups in Russia.  At least the latter two drew 
on genuine Cossack traditions; Cossacks historically had no 
presence in Crimea, "except as prisoners of the Crimean Tatar 
khanate," one journalist joked.  As a result, the KKS was a 
completely artificial construct, primed to promote anti-Tatar 
sentiments in law enforcement structures and local Russian 
communities. 
 
14. (SBU) Mustafa Jemilev, the long-time Crimean Tatar 
community leader (head of the Mejlis informal national 
assembly, as well as a Rada MP as part of the Our Ukraine 
bloc), highlighted the double standards maintained by the 
police and SBU, combined with the role Russian Bloc leader 
Rodyvilov had played in sparking the Bakhchiserai incidents 
August 12.  The anti-Tatar attacks came a day after newly 
named PM Yanukovych had visited Crimea and endorsed court 
decisions moving an open air market illegally located on an 
old Tatar cemetery.  Jemilev complained that although Tatars 
took extensive video of the incident clearly showing nearly 
500 outsiders connected with the Russian Bloc, ROK, and the 
Cossacks, many from Sevastopol, initiating the altercation, 
the SBU and the police took no action, claiming they could 
not identify those involved.  Jemilev characterized the 
Russian Bloc as the main anti-Tatar force in Crimea currently. 
 
15. (SBU) The Russian Bloc's political influence grew 
considerably in early 2006 thanks to Party of Regions' 
decision to contest Crimean elections jointly with it under 
the "For Yanukovych" banner; no observers gave the Russian 
Bloc any chance of making it over the threshold alone.  ROK 
leader Tsekov now serves as the Crimean Rada's First Deputy 
Speaker, and 10-15 of the 44 MPs in the "For Yanukovych" 
faction (out of 100 total in the Crimean Rada) come from the 
Russian Bloc.  Thanks to the alliance, Russian Bloc's 
Aleksandr Chernomorov also made it in the national Rada in 
Regions' faction. 
 
Zatulin - chief political meddler 
--------------------------------- 
 
16. (SBU) The Russian politician universally deemed the 
biggest meddler in Crimean affairs is Duma MP and head of the 
 
KYIV 00004489  004 OF 006 
 
 
CIS Institute Konstantin Zatulin.  Sobytiya's Yunusov claimed 
that, in addition to political and business interests in 
Sevastopol, Zatulin had personally brokered the electoral 
alliance between Russian Bloc and Regions' Crimean branch, 
even negotiating party list placement for favored Russian 
Bloc members.  Zatulin and his Institute deputy Kirill Frolov 
were also seen as the primary Moscow links to the radical 
youth group Proryv.  Zatulin encouraged the Feodosia protests 
in person and was blacklisted as a result (ref B), though the 
SBU allowed him to visit Kyiv Dec 4-6 as part of an 
interparliamentary exchange. 
 
The PR projects: Modest Kolerov, Proryv, EYU 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
17. (C) Kremlin spinmeister Modest Kolerov, brought in by the 
Kremlin in March 2005 after the Orange Revolution to manage a 
counter-campaign aimed at Russians in the "near abroad," has 
focused on Crimea as part of his "CIS-II" project also 
involving Transnistria, Abhazia, and South Ossetia, stated 
Lytvynenko.  He claimed there had also been unsuccessful 
efforts to involve Crimean Rada Speaker Anatoliy Grytsenko 
(Regions) in the meetings with the "presidents" of the 
separatist regions.  Kolerov uses his Regnum and Novy Regioni 
news agencies to promote biased and misleading "news," 
influencing Crimea's information space (note: the Novy 
Regioni website lists its Crimean affiliate along with those 
in Russian provinces and separatist "republics," apart from 
the Ukraine affiliates).  Ukrainian outlets often re-ran Novy 
Regioni "manufactured" material without fact checking, 
perpetuating a circle of myths according to Maidan-Krym's 
Aleksandr Pylypenko. 
 
18. (SBU) Kolerov's Regnum helped launch Moscow's "Evropa" 
publishing house in May 2005 with the stated intent of 
influencing opinion makers in Russia and the CIS, according 
to website mission statements.  One of Evropa's 2006 
publications, available in Moscow and Kyiv bookstores and, 
for a time, at the Ukrainian Rada (where we bought it), is: 
"Operation Anti-NATO: the Feodosia Model."  The book trumpets 
the success of the Feodosia protests as a model for 
pro-Russian communities to emulate.  It highlights the role 
of the Russian Bloc and the Crimean Cossacks in launching the 
protests, along with the later participation of Proryv, 
Vitrenko's Bloc, and Party of Regions, with glossy pictures 
of the latter three groups and quotes from all five, plus 
Kirill Frolov 
 
19. (SBU) Proryv, a radical pro-Russian youth group first 
registered in Tiraspol (Transnistria), came to Ukraine's 
attention January 19 when its Crimea branch dug a trench 
along the Yalta-Moscow highway at the neck of the Crimean 
peninsula and symbolically created a mock border post between 
Crimea and the rest of Ukraine, inviting Russian but not 
Ukrainian TV stations to cover the action.  Proryv's former 
Crimean director Dobychin was expelled in June and 
blacklisted by the SBU after active participation in the 
Feodosia protests (ref B). 
 
20. (SBU) High media "brand" profile aside, Proryv was 
described by most contacts as currently consisting of no more 
than several dozen mostly school-age activists tied to the 
Russian BSF.  Prytula noted that Proryv had been much more 
active prior to the March elections; Russia Duma MP Zatulin 
and his associate Frolov had been Dobychin/Crimea's main 
interlocutors during frequent visits to Sevastopol, with 
Frolov the seeming main ideologue.  Since then, however, all 
three had been blacklisted; the SBU had taken active steps 
against Proryv, and it appeared Proryv's money and activities 
had dried up, leaving the "brand" and public relations 
potential to be tapped in the future.  (note: Echoing 
Kolerov's efforts to tie Crimea to Russian- affiliated 
separatist zones, the current Proryv Crimea coordinator 
Natalya Polyakova held a press conference October 9 to 
announce the formation of an "International Front Proryv" 
uniting the efforts of branches in Crimea, Transnistria, 
South Ossetia, and Abhazia). 
 
21. (SBU) As Proryv's profile dipped in late 2006, that of 
the Eurasian Youth Union (EYU) project affiliated with 
Alexander Dugin has risen, Yunusov told us.  He noted that 
EYU was particularly active in Bakhchiserai, led by 
Konstantin Knyryk and his son (note: when we visited 
Bakhchiserai November 22, we saw EYU graffiti on walls near 
large apartment blocks on the outskirts of town).  EYU also 
turned out for the Pokrova mar
ches October 14 in Kyiv and in 
Crimea (ref C), as well as the Russkiy March" November 4. 
 
Moscow and Mayor Luzhkov - buying influence/real estate 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
 
KYIV 00004489  005 OF 006 
 
 
22. (SBU) The Moscow-Crimea Foundation and Moscow-Sevastopol 
Foundation, the latter run out of a self-styled "Embassy of 
Moscow" in Sevastopol, gave Mayor Luzhkov vehicles to buy 
influence and real estate, even though he personally is on 
Ukraine's black list, noted several Crimean journalists.  The 
Foundations provide money to the ROK for allegedly cultural 
projects and purchase large amounts of Russian textbooks, 
donating them to Crimean schools as a way of influencing what 
the next generation of Crimeans learn.  They also purchase 
land to build apartment blocks, particularly in Sevastopol, 
and sanatoria throughout Crimea.  Luzhkov recently appointed 
an energetic, young former assistant in September to head the 
Moscow-Crimean Foundation with the aim of increasing activity 
and cooperation, noted Yunusov.  Sevastopol city council 
members travel monthly to Moscow, Tymofiy Nikitiuk, head of 
Sevastopol's Committee of Voters of Ukraine, told us, 
ensuring positive decisions on land allocation for the Moscow 
Foundation. 
 
Miscellaneous pro-Russian actors 
-------------------------------- 
 
23. (C) Presidential representative in Crimea Hennadiy Moskal 
suggested to us that "Mother Russia" had been behind the 
active participation of the Russian Bloc and Natalya 
Vitrenko's Progressive Socialists in the Feodosia protests. 
He predicted that the Russian Bloc's support would fall over 
time, but that Vitrenko, Crimea's Communists, led by 
ex-Crimean premier Leonid Hrach, who had organized a 
non-binding anti-NATO referendum in Crimea for December 16, 
and the smaller "Soyuz" (Union) party, "all bought" by 
Moscow, were ready to continue to agitate active pro-Russian 
lines.  Yunusov claimed that Hrach and Zatulin had previously 
worked closely together but experienced a falling out over 
money, with Zatulin redirecting his support to ROK and the 
Russian Bloc, and Hrach organizing the anti-NATO referendum 
as a way of showing he could deliver as a friend of Moscow 
and was still deserving of financial support. 
 
24. (SBU) Ukrainian media controlled by Russians or those 
sympathetic to Russia reinforce the biases via their 
coverage.  Inter, Ukraine's top rated TV channel, has been 
controlled by the Russian Yevraz Holding group since the 
summer of 2005.  Inter's long-time Crimea lead correspondent 
Yuri Pershykov has long pushed a strongly anti-Tatar 
perspective in his reporting and took active part attacking 
Tatars in the Bakhchiserai August riots, according to Crimean 
Tatar community activist Nodir Bekir and Yunusov.  Bekir, who 
tracks hate speech, notes that in September the Crimean state 
TV channel broadcast racial hatred comments by Andriy Kuryaev 
of the Moscow Russian Orthodox Academy, in which Kuryaev 
urged Slavs in Crimea to "knock out Tatars' teeth" to teach 
them a lesson.  Media Krym's Shchekun concurred that Crimean 
TV regularly purveyed pro-Russian propaganda on various 
regional issues, including misleading "documentaries" on 
Chechnya whose anti-Islamic slant could affect perceptions of 
Crimean Tatars locally.   Yunusov added that the "Krymskaya 
Pravda" newspaper, circulation 50,000, promotes a strongly 
anti-Ukrainian, anti-Tatar, pro-Russian line targeted 
primarily at Crimea's large pensioner community, which 
remains "Soviet" in outlook. 
 
25. (SBU) Some pro-Russian groups in Crimea act 
independently.  On the one side, there are activists like 
Serhiy Shuvainikov of the Congress of Russian Communities in 
Crimea, who told us that he focused on improving the rights 
of ethnic Russians (russki) in Crimea, rather than promoting 
a pro-Russian (rossiski) political agenda or supporting 
Putin's recent call for ethnic Russians to relocate to 
Russia.  Prytula passed us an unsigned copy of an analysis, 
which Shuvainikov apparently provided to the SBU, of various 
Russian groups in Crimea; the report split them into those 
controlled by Moscow and those interested in an independent 
local agenda.  As word of the analysis leaked, the ROK and 
the Russian Bloc denounced Shuvainikov, who did not disavow 
authorship to us.  On the other side, the small National 
Front Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia, which advocates reunification 
with Russia, believes that the Kremlin has not been 
aggressive enough in Crimea. 
 
26. (SBU) There is frequent quarreling and splintering among 
the pro-Russian groups, which often compete with each other 
for Moscow's attention and money, according to all Crimean 
observers, including pro-Russian group leaders.  Most are 
unable to generate more than a few hundred attendees for any 
particular event (even the Feodosia protesters usually 
numbered no more than 100-300 at any time).  However, 
sympathetic media carefully chooses camera angles and boosts 
reported numbers by a factor of ten, with the intent of 
influencing perceptions and controlling the information space 
in Crimea and beyond, meeting with seeming success. 
 
KYIV 00004489  006 OF 006 
 
 
 
What is to be done? 
------------------- 
 
27. (C) Lytvynenko suggested the three main steps Kyiv needed 
to take to address the Crimean situation effectively: 
establish an effective land registry; use the SBU to more 
aggressively counter intel activities (and rotate out SBU 
personnel too closely affiliated with the Cossacks and 
Russia); and improve presidential outreach to the Crimean 
Tatar community.  Then Interior Minister Lutsenko, in a 
November 17 discussion with Ambassador, reaffirmed the SBU's 
lead role, stressed the limited utility of law enforcement 
action against Proryv-style mischief, and focused on a wider 
cultural challenge.  Ukraine had done nearly nothing to 
create a positive Ukrainian alternative to the Russian 
propaganda machine of the Black Sea Fleet and pro-Russian 
media.  Nearly all the journalists we talked to in Crimea 
heartily agreed, adding the education system as another tool, 
with the need to expand Ukrainian language opportunities 
(there is still only one magnet Ukrainian language high 
school, and only three overall, in Crimea).  Lytvynenko noted 
that the internet-based Maidan-Krym and Media-Krym projects 
were a modest start in the right direction, particularly with 
the younger generation of Crimeans, in the information space 
battle, but the challenge remained enormous. 
 
28. (U) Note: Septel will address the purely local issues 
which dominate the Crimean scene: land allocation, and a 
decline in governance amidst the weakening of central power 
and the return of many former "bandits" into local government 
after the March elections. 
 
29. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.st
ate.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Gwaltney

Wikileaks

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