Georgiy Muradov was growing up on two shores of the Kerch Strait. He attended school in Krasnodar and spent his summer holidays with his relatives and grandmother, who lived in Kerch. From that time period of his childhood, he got the passion for Crimea and understanding that our peninsula is the part of the big united Motherland, which is Russia.
“I feel these two origins, Kuban and Crimean ones, very strong within my soul. My grandmother was born and raised in Pugachevskiye alleyways, right at the foot of Mount Mithridat in the end of the 19th century. I grew hearing the stories about Panticapaeum and ancient Bosporan Kingdom. My grandmother was a school teacher”, — Georgiy L’vovich tells.
You’ve got the medal “For the Return of Crimea” of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. What was your role in the events of the Crimean Spring?
I am professionally engaged in Crimea since 2000, which was the time when I became a member of the Government Committee on Compatriots Living Abroad. During that period, the committee was headed by the Chairwoman of the Federation Council of Russia Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko. First, I was the Head of the International Department of the Government of Moscow and then I became a deputy chief officer of the Federal body authority that is responsible for interaction with our abroad brothers, which is commonly known as Rossotrudnichestvo. Occupying these positions, I was engaged in supporting of Crimeans, who were unfairly deprived of their historical homeland after the collapse of the USSR.
During the years when Crimea was under the rule of Ukraine, the Government of Moscow paid much attention to the support of compatriots and keeping of the Russian spirit in the peninsula, patronized over the Black Sea Fleet, cooperated with the Russian Community of Crimea headed by Tsekov Sergei Pavlovich, who currently represents the republic in the Federation Council of Russia. In 2003, we had adopted the first plan in Russia on supporting of compatriots living abroad at the government level and even then Crimea was among the priorities of that programme. In 2011, I was invited to join Rossotrudnichestvo, where I started establishing connections with compatriots and there, we already had the activity heading the Crimean direction in the spotlight at the federal level. Perhaps, the results of that activity were evaluated by the Ministry of Defense of Russia. The Crimean Spring became the real outcome of the interaction with the compatriots, which was conducted by Russia during many years.
Today, you are the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Crimea to the President of the Russian Federation. Can we say that creation of new Russian Crimea is the “personal President’s project”?
Indeed, it’s the case. When Kiev went through the Nazi coup d’etat, it’s exactly the decision of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to integrate Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation allowed the peninsula to avoid the war and ethnic cleansing. Modern Russian Crimea is the creation of the President. He keeps a close eye on all the events happen here and does all his best to develop the region.
How do you estimate the work done in Crimea for the last seven years after the reunification of Crimea with Russia?
Crimea is undergoing the unprecedented scale of systemic transformations, showing the highest paces of growth. The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the Decree of the President on the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples adopted right after the reunification, which provides for allocation of funds on solving of their problems. The next point I want to mention is about the most important decision, which is absolutely unjustly unnoticed by the West, on recognizing of three official languages in the Republic of Crimea. Ukraine didn’t make the Crimean Tatar language a state language in Crimea, but Russia did it almost immediately. Among other things, nobody deprived the public status of the Ukrainian language. You can compare it with the attitude on the Russian language in Ukraine, which is used by not less than half the population of the country.
Establishing of the Free Economic Zone and adopting of the Federal Target Program of developing of the region became the material base for the restoration of Crimea. The energy bridge, power station, airport, motorway and railway bridges over the Kerch Strait, the “Tavrida” Highway, the Republican Clinical Hospital named after N.A.Semashko, dozens of kindergartens and schools were exactly built within the framework of the implementation of that program.
Western sanctions stimulate the development of Crimea
How do you estimate the efforts of establishing energy, transport and water blockades of Crimea initiated by Ukraine?
First of all, it’s quite necessary to define the blockade of Crimea as a crime, which has all signs of a humanitarian offense. In addition to that, ineffectiveness of these vain sanctioned efforts of Ukraine and collective West has proved once again that Russia is the robust world power, which can guarantee the security and livelihood of its citizens. After the accident when Ukrainian terrorists blasted of the Crimean electric power transmission lines, hundreds of diesel generators were delivered to the peninsula in a short time frame and then the energy bridge and electric power stations were built. Due to cutting off the traffic arteries, the ferry connection between Crimea and Kuban was established and after that the Crimean Bridge was built.
Nevertheless, providing the peninsula with water remains a pressure point.
You are definitely right. But at the time, I have to notice that there were enough water resources for the sustenance of Crimea until the last year. The dry year became a wake-up call, which motivated to take measures on solving that task too. At the present time, a large scale comprehensive plan has been developed and it’s being implemented, this plan includes geological prospecting works and bore-hole drilling, renovation and construction of new water conduits and water reservoirs. The scheduled construction of modern sewage treatment plants will let put millions of cubic meters of water into use for agriculture and engineering needs, as well as improve ecological situation in the sea. If it is necessary, desalination plants will be built. In total, beyond all doubt it will allow to provide a sustainable water support of the peninsula.
Have the sanctions of the West caused significant harm to Crimea?
I would be a hypocrite if I said that these sanctions hadn’t harmed the region at all. However, at the same time all these blockades and sanctions served as a catalyst for the modernization of Crimea. Trying to harm us, the West eventually stimulates the intensive development of the peninsula and shows the senselessness of the anti-Russian sanctions.
How do the individual sanctions of the European Union “for the actions aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine” imposed against you in 2014 affect you personally?
From time to time, we can hear words coming from the mouths of people, who faced with the sanctions of the West and its satellites, that they are proud of it. I won’t talk like that because of the certain reason. I run international affairs. It’s important for me to hold negotiations abroad, deliver the truth to the foreign public opinion about the robust and peaceful development of Crimea and agree on investments into the economy of Crimea. Thus, these sanctions definitely prevent me from doing my job without impediment. But at the moment, there are many other states, where habitants of Crimea are gladly met and listened to, as well as these countries accept our point of view more and more.
The West fell into the anti-Russian schizophrenia. I wish to draw your attention to that fact that I don’t call it Russophobia, as it is translated like a fear of Russia. They don’t fear of us, but they provoke us. It can be called the Antirussism, which is the new form of racism I suppose. We are being surrounded by the belt of the countries with non-traditional civilizational orientation. Ukraine and Georgia are good examples of those actions — these Orthodox countries are being ripped out of the Eastern Christian civilization, whose backbone is Russia and transform them into shapeshifters, who act against their own civilization and against their family, sometimes they are involved in military provocations. The external forces want to do the same with Armenia and Belarus. But! The degenerescense is coming to the countries with non-traditional civilizational orientation. When they lose their culture, traditions and identity, they will be wiped off the face of the earth unless they return to their traditional civilizational family.
How to deliver the truth about Crimea to the world
Does Crimea have any progress in breaking the information blockade and communicating to the foreign public opinion about the situation in the peninsula?
Notwithstanding all the efforts of the West, the truth about Crimea reaches the foreign civil society. As for politicians, they know it perfectly well. Even those countries where the strong anti-Russian and anti-Crimean propaganda is being conducted in, local citizens understand that the reunification of Crimea with Russia was the result of the free choice of habitants of the peninsula, which was made in the democratic referendum. It’s highly likely that this case is the political framework aimed at the confrontation with Russia. They don’t like the strengthening of our country, they see our state as competition and they try to erode and ruin it. This is quite obvious, as Russia possesses 40 percent of the world’s natural resources and that’s why we are always tried to be undermined to control and exploit these environmental assets for free. They will carry on information, cyber, economical, diplomatic and other wars against us, impose sanctions against our country and strangle us, but all of it is roughly speaking a monkey business. However, we must realize that our enemies and opponents will be able to eliminate weak Russia. Thus, we can exist only in the form of the powerful state.
The significant interaction with the civil society of foreign countries must be done to deliver the truth about Crimea to the world. For this reason, we established the Black Sea Association for International Cooperation. It consists of non-government organizations and national communities, which run international links. Herewith, our association is the part of the Russian Association for International Cooperation, which is the legal successor of the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies.
What were the largest delegations, which visited Crimea after the integration of the peninsula into Russia?
First of all, I will remember of the delegation, whose visits were widely reported not only in Russia, but also abroad. Our region was visited by very famous foreign politicians and for instance, the former Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi. Deputies of parliaments of different countries, including the European ones, arrived in Crimea. It has led to the fact that a wide range of foreign parliaments adopted the decision on condemnation of pernicious for everybody sanctioned policy.
This activity on delivering the truth about Crimea to the world must be continued, as our foes invent more and more anti-Crimean disruptive campaigns. For example, among such campaigns is the so-called “International platform on de-occupation of Crimea”, which was launched by Kiev basing on the prompts of Washington. Firstly, this is the effort to keep the Crimean topic on the international agenda and secondly, they try to involve such big players as USA, EU, UK, and Turkey into the anti-Crimean campaign deep as possible. Notably, it happens not only at the level of rhetoric, but also at the level of actions.
Turn your attention: not a week goes by that warships of NATO don’t enter the waters adjoining Crimea. It is nothing but the escalation of the tension in the region. In these conditions, my most important task is to implement the activity on establishing peaceful life for Crimeans, countering disruptive campaigns within the Black Sea region. Of course, it’s a difficult task and it can’t be solved at the regional level, that’s why I have taken a responsible decision to run for the State Duma.
The State Duma needs professional diplomats
You’ve got wide experience of the diplomatic service. In your professional opinion, when will Russia get an opportunity to obtain recognition of the Russian status of Crimea by USA and its allies?
As a rule, so fundamental issues are solved at the major international forums — for example, it is the Yalta Conference of 1945. Unfortunately, the world history shows that the cooperation and adequate dialogue between conflicting sides are recovered after serious crises or even wars. Needless to say, they are afraid of fighting against us, as they know our military potential. That’s why they have focused on gradual stifling of our state and depriving us of our economic forces, on creating of hard and unstable social situation inside of our country. In this regard, I have got worrying perceptions: I am afraid that we can come to a constructive dialogue only after we will go through the crisis. I will take the Caribbean Crisis as an example, which ended with the conclusion of various agreements on disarmament and stabilization of the international situation. It led to the fact that the world reached the verge of collapse and it was quite clear: we would annihilate each other or we would come to the negotiating table. It seems to me this verge is already close to us again. You know, we diplomats are like trained dogs and we feel when the world smells of gunpowder and understand what we should do to prevent the worst.
As it happens, we have a conversation in the Day of St. George the Victorious, who is a patron saint of you. I have also recalled it because you’ve got a number of awards given by the Russian Orthodox Church. How do you evaluate its role in the Russian World?
Thank you for the congratulations. By the way, Saint George is also a patron saint of Moscow, where I worked in the local government for more than 10 years, trying to carry this tradition of Saint George to the Crimean land. Furthermore, when I served as a diplomat, I worked in such Orthodox Christian countries as Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus.
Replying to your question, I want to go back to the topic of the Eastern Christian civilization, whose core is Russia. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is one of the main pillars of this civilization. Trying to destroy it, the enemies aspire to demolish the foundations. The good examples of these actions are the efforts to schism the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and establish the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
As for the church awards, I got them for the assistance in solving of certain issues of the Russian Orthodox Church. For instance, I helped to organize temple building operations and support parishes abroad.
Why did you decide to run for the State Duma?
As I have already mentioned, my task is to establish peaceful life for Crimeans and other people. Now, in the cruel, confrontational international conditions, it’s quite necessary that our body of legislative power has professional diplomats, who will be able to implement these difficult tasks in the interaction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia at the legislative level. Of course, I am not going to turn my attention to any global subject. Primarily, the case is about ensuring stability around our country and in the post-Soviet space — I mean the South-East of Ukraine, Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic and Caucasus. It’s quite obvious, as we will not be able to ignore the situation, sitting in the shelter and seeing how wars rage on. However, the most important task is to improve people’s living conditions. Development of international connections is exactly aimed at reaching these goals. It implies attracting of investments into the economy of the region, developing of tourism and transport system, implementing of best practices and technologies, as well as setting up production units. I will continue assisting in attraction of investments into the economy of Crimea. I have significant experience in that area — I got this experience when I was a diplomatic official in Cyprus and when I worked in the Government of Moscow. During the time when I was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Cyprus, this country became the main channel for attraction investments into the economy of Russia. Talking about Moscow, creation of the business center of Moscow-City and other large objects emerged in the capital of the country from the period of 2000-2011 was accomplished with some part of my assistance. I want this part of my assistance in the development of Crimea to be also significant, noticeable and felt by people. I always worked toward a particular result. I am not going to abandon this principle either if Crimeans accredit me to represent them and their interests in the State Duma. I will collect and summarize their orders and follow them in my activity.