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GURT
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Ukraine Sivil society

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Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
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 NEWS


It seems that the Kremlin does not know or, at least, does not understand the meaning of the Eastern proverb: “no matter how many times you will say the word “Cake”, your mouth will not become sweeter.”

November 15, 2020.

    This is about the situation to the question of the ownership of Crimea, and the answer to the standard question “whose is it”.
    
    Since the annexation of the peninsula, the Russians have tried a bunch of options to legalize the stolen lands: “former prime ministers” from Europe had visited stolen territory or spoke ambiguously, parties fed by the Russian special services made appeals in their parliaments, and they used loyal actors, athletes and singers for that. But nothing helps: Crimea is the territory of Ukraine in international law.
    
    But, the money in Russia is really running out, and it is still expensive to invite Berlusconi or Depardieu, and Moscow decided to go the other way. Since it is more or less clear that the next “cry” of a foreigner “Crimea is Russia” will not be heard anywhere, then why not to use for free some regimes in the world that love “Lenin” and are ready to render all possible assistance to his homeland. Yes, it is ineffective, but … And how does this scheme actually differ in effect from the same trip by Berlusconi? In general – nothing, only much cheaper, and this is a reason of the recognition of the Crimea as Russian by exotic Nicaragua appeared there. Indeed, this country at one time, thanks to the same efforts of the Kremlin, was thrown back in its development many years ago, which led to quite logical thoughts of the Russian special services about why not “make money” on all this.
    
    Crimea and Nicaragua: players
    
    The funny thing is that, unlike many other “paid tourists” whose main task is to say “Crimea is Russia” to the camera, the future “Nicaraguan partners” know firsthand about the peninsula and even have fond memories of it. Some of them are probably studied at the 165th training center for the training of foreign military personnel in the past. This training camp is famous as the center of the USSR Ministry of Defense in the village of Perevalnoye near Simferopol, where in 1965-1980 they “trained” participants of various national liberation movements, or rather, terrorists.
    
    As the result, the Kremlin “chained” these persons to another puppet, completely dependent on him, the so-called “head of the Crimean parliament” Konstantinov, whose senseless stay in his position must be at least somehow justified. And he indicated that he plans to increase pressure on Ukraine on the issue of the “status of Crimea” in the international arena, moreover, in 2020, and, apparently, cooperation with Nicaragua will become one of the cornerstones of all this. …
    
    
    
    As part of solving this problem, the occupation authorities plan to play something that painfully resembles Soviet reality: a visit of a Nicaraguan delegation is planned to the territory of Crimea, that is the violation of Ukrainian legislation. And another aim of this visit is the opening of an “honorary consulate” of Nicaragua in Crimea.
    
    
    The notorious Oleg Belaventsev, the experienced representative of GRU, who in 1985 was expelled from the UK for espionage, should become the “Consul”. Also he was awarded by “the star of the hero of the Russian Federation” in 2014 “for Ukraine” by a secret decree of Putin, as head of the North Caucasus Federal District of the Russian Federation. This time the Ukrainian justice “did not sleep” and Belaventsev was sentenced in our country to 13 years of prison in absentia.
    
    Here, we must pay tribute: he famous by his provocative statements, because he repeatedly boasted of his crimes against our country, in particular, during the annexation of the Crimea.
    
    
    
    In general, the person is extremely odious, but it is not only one reason to annoy Ukraine. He is from “inner circle” to Shoigu and participated in the “shadow schemes” of the Russian Minister of Defense, connected not only with the seizure of lands in Crimea and Sevastopol, but also with the supply of weapons to “friendly regimes”, including Nicaragua. So, the circle has closed and it is quite possible that Konstantinov, Belaventsev and “Nicaraguan friends” are just partners in the criminal business, albeit in different schemes, but they still have common ground.
    
    But that’s not all! The criminal groups that now rule in Russia simply use every opportunity for their personal enrichment. You can ask, how in this case? Believe it or not – it is possible, especially when it comes to personal enrichment, and the talents of the “Kremlin guys” are fully revealed here.
    
    Apparently, the “confidant” for the withdrawal of “dirty” Russian money to Nicaragua with their subsequent legalization and other illegal schemes is Lorean Ortega Murillo. He is the son of the President of this country Ortega and vice-president Murillo. The character is already known: he has personal sanctions from the US government, because the Department of Foreign Assets Control of this country has proven his participation in large-scale financial scams. By the way, he already visited Crimea in April 2019.
    
    The beginning of the special operation “Legalization of Crimea”, apparently, was given on January 29, 2020, when Beloventsev and the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the Russian Federation Alba Asusena Torres met with the so-called “Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea” Muradov and Malov, vice-president of the “RF-Nicaragua Friendship Association”, who is suspected in connections with the Russian special services. At this meeting they discussed the prospects for cooperation, and it is known that during it Beloventsev “pressed” on acquaintance with Ortega and, apparently, he made an offer that was “impossible to refuse.”
    
    
    
    With all this in mind, and speaking not quite seriously, it is clear that when Konstantinov unites with the Nicaraguans, the world will forget about the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems facing him and will only worry about recognizing the peninsula as Russian territory. It seems that this is all that needs to be understood about the Kremlin’s “multiple moves” and the level of its competence, but there are still real problems from such cooperation.
    
    What’s planned?
    
    An obvious part of this agreement is the desire of the Russian special services to achieve several goals at once.
    
    First, there is a need to “pull closer” to its orbit the friendly, but “somewhat disoriented” Ortega regime with its full restoration in the zone of the Kremlin’s strategic interests within the framework of Putin’s desire to “restore” the geopolitical confrontation with the United States.
    
    The most interesting thing is that the solution to this problem is quite possible, because the Nicaraguan regime is not just an “old friend” of Russia, but Putin and Ortega are similar in many ways, being “classical totalitarian dictators” inclined to rely on the special services, strangling the opposition, magnificent military parades and other “gentleman’s set” typical for leaders of this type. So, they will certainly find a common language. Few people know, that the “two dictators” even had a joint parade, in 2019, during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the “Sandinista Army of Nicaragua”, where the Russian military personnel took part in it.
    
    This is also supported by the fact that the Russian Federation has not only restored the supply of weapons to Nicaragua in recent years, but has become its main seller. During 2014-2019 years, a total sale of weapons and military equipment is around $ 121 million, which is a lot for a small Latin American country. Of course, the basis of sales was obsolete T-72B1 and BMP-1 armored vehicles from warehouses or previously withdrawn from the Russian Armed Forces, as well as planes An-26. Yes, the weapons are “so-so”, but quite workable and, taking into account its virtually zero cost for Russia (from “warehouses”), this is how Lorean Ortega Murillo appeared on the scene. It is not a secret that the children of dictators are the best “know” how to trade weapons.
    
    
    
    In such conditions it is somehow unethical for Nicaragua to react badly to the “small request” to support Russia in the legalization of Crimea, because the “flow of weapons” may dry up.
    
    Secondly, the visits to the Crimea, the consulate and other “standard sets” are used by the Russian special services so that the pro-Kremlin TV could show stories like “an increasing number of countries have recognized Crimea as Russian.” This has already happened more than once and we know the zero efficiency of all this, but in this case, it seems more and more serious. It is possible that we will talk about expanding military-technical cooperation.
    
    For example, the information is leaked about the possibility of loading the Feodosia JSC Shipyard “More” with orders from Nicaragua. It is planned during the visit of a delegation from this country to the occupied Crimea. This is something new, because the plant is able to produce hulls for small missile boats of project 22800 “Karakurt”, border boats on an air cushion A25PS and offshore diving boats of project A160-YR. It seems, that ships may become part of the Nicaraguan Navy. Of course, this is the violation of international law, but it never has stopped the Russian Federation. Against this background, it is not surprising that there are rumors about the resumption of the training program for military personnel for the needs of the Armed Forces and special services of Nicaragua by Russian advisers, including in Crimea. Indeed, this can be expected from Russia.
    
    Most likely, that there are also secret agreements besides the explicit ones. This is just a version, but it has a right to exist, especially taking into account all the well-known events involving Russia in the “situation” with drug scandals in Argentina and Venezuela. Moreover, in this case, the interest of the parties is more than obvious: Ortega needs a “roof” so as not to repeat the fate of the Panamanian general Noriega. For Russia the Argentines are unreliable, their law enforcement agencies are working successfully, and with Venezuela it is still worse, it is necessary to gradually wind up there, because it is not clear how long Maduro will still in power. And another reason is that such “streams” should not be interrupted.
    
    Moreover, the version is absolutely “working”, because why the planes An-26s were donated. Also border boats, which in the plans to be built, could be used as ideal means for transporting and protecting “illegal cargo”, including drugs. Moreover, this “product” can be delivered to the occupied Crimea without any problems under the guise of Crimean-Nicaraguan friendship, where further “logistics” controlled by the Russian special services are also available.
    
    Russia has more than once tested the schemes of illegal arms deliveries to Europe with the help of its “proxies” among European parties and extremist organizations. In this case, everything is simple: weapons are exchanged for drugs and the “channel” is ready, because there are still enough “friends of the Kremlin” in the EU. Moreover, Nicaragua itself is already in scheme, since the South American mafia traditionally uses the territory of this country as a transit point on the drug supply route to the United States. And it is not a secret that the Russian special services have already carried out a hidden “inspection” of local “production drug facilities and transit points.”
    
    So, the joint Russian-Nicaraguan attempt to “legalize Crimea” may have one more direction of activity: the supply of drugs through the peninsula to Europe and the arms trade by this money.
    
    Conclusions
    
    Already proceeding from the company of “participants”, it becomes clear that the issue of “legalizing Crimea” cannot be resolved in this way, and the main thing is the desire to “make money” on illegal operations. And for this reason, Ukraine cannot simply sit “with folded hands” and do nothing, because only the fact of using the occupied Crimea for the Kremlin’s “dirty deeds” can damage the image of our country.
    
    Moreover, the crimes themselves on the peninsula are reaching a new level, which in its consequences is clearly more significant than the military occupation and its transformation into an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”. These are new threats, the main of which is an attempt to integrate Crimea into the activities of international criminal and terrorist organizations that pose an immediate threat to the entire civilized world.
    
    Taking all this into account, Ukraine should tackle this issue at a serious level, as well as “ring all the bells” in order to solve this problem in the beginning with the help of the West, which is always much easier, especially since the criminal intention is “present” and special services of EU will gladly take this issue into account.
    
    IR


Supported by Eurasia Foundation Supported by Eurasia Foundation

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