Usually, the most creative projects are born spontaneously, via new contacts, accidental encounters and interesting conversations, during which the original ideas emerge. Well, not even like that — we should write Ideas with a capital I. So, the story of the English version of the “Crimean Magazine” started unexpectedly even for us — thanks to the encounter with the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova at the Yalta International Economic Forum in 2017. We became acquainted with her, had a conversation, presented our magazine to her, found points of convergence and invited the spokeswoman of the Russian MFA to Crimea within the framework of the educational project initiated by the “CM”… From that moment, we struck up a friendship with the Russian foreign policy service and one of the most interesting, difficult and important projects of our media outlet was launched.
Since 2014, it was told within the peninsula about the importance to issue the media in English and tell the truth about Crimea to the world — as long as international players juggle facts diligently and forge false reports by political orders, thus we have no choice but to take matters into our own hands and tell about the realities of Crimea in the language the foreign communities will understand. However, to tell about project is one thing, but it’s quite another to implement such a large-scale project and break a blockade insistently. Owing to the cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, which offered the assistance in the creation of the English-language version of the “Crimean Magazine”, we were able to move from words to deeds only in 2017.
We presented the first issue of our magazine in January 2018 and our work was highly valued not only by professional diplomats, but also by the Crimean politicians, who meet regularly with foreign delegations. The “CM” was immediately included in the presentation set for foreigners entering our region, as we published the most important, interesting and useful information about the peninsula in that first issue: materials on resort and economical potential of the republic, multinational culture and history, exclusive interviews of politicians and celebrity guests of Crimea. “Delegations from different countries repeatedly requested us to create the English version of the magazine. Germans, Frenchmen and Italians want to read issues of the “Crimean Magazine” and get truthful information about the republic”, — Head Editor of the “CM” Maria Volkonskaya noticed at the presentation then.
At that time in January, Maria Zakharova presented the issue of our media outlet at the traditional briefing on aspects of foreign policy held in Moscow and since then the “Crimean Magazine” became a topic of discussions. As part of official delegations of the Russian MFA, we visited Munich, unveiled the special issue in Madrid during the working visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov and at the OSCE conference in Geneva. As is the case, after the speech of Maria Volkonskaya, who told about the real facts of the life of habitants of Crimea, the word was passed to a speaker from among the local participants and he began arguing that residents of Crimea were oppressed and their rights were violated. Nevertheless, a speech plan of such arrangements is based on similar to that speaker’s theses — Crimeans have much difficulty in participating in these events and it’s even more difficult for residents of Crimea to get an opportunity to express their views, as they have to dispute, prove and persuade opponents every time, as well as Crimeans have to refute outrageous assumptions and fight off untenable accusations. However, the “CM” doesn’t give up and continues to act as the voice of Crimea at the international platforms.
“We are glad to offer this truthful “Crimean Magazine” to you and our audience, foreign colleagues and partners. Now, this media issue, which has being published during the long period of time, is released in English. They do it for people, who are really interested in Crimea and Crimean agenda. This is an absolutely live story, I can say it’s a truly live one”, — Maria Zakharova stated at the traditional briefing on issues of foreign policy held in Moscow in January 2018.
By the way, we dedicated the second English-language issue “Crimean media: the inside view” to the mass media outlets of the republic, we have got a lot of them, and to the Western doers’ favorite topic, which is the freedom of speech. We told about the actual work of our television, radio and print media. The MFA of Russia sent the circulation to all the international organizations as much detail as possible. Furthermore, that special issue became “heavier” than its Russian-language co-brother as many as 130 pages of actual information!
“We have deiced to talk about the important pillar of any society that is a media sphere. It’s quite obvious, as exactly we, journalists, see from the inside how the Russian Crimea lives and develops, which exists in the center of geopolitical contradictions and under close attention of many countries. So, we are ready to have an honest unedited conversation without political undertones. We differ from each other, but we work together without regard to the format and technical equipment for the prosperity of Crimea. We work in the conditions of sanctions breaking the information blockade. Of course, it’s very difficult to cover the whole subject matter and give a word to every Crimean media outlet, as there are more than 466 media sources acting within the peninsula, including such national editorial offices as: Crimean Tatar, Bulgarian, German and Armenian ones and so on”, — Head Editor of the “CM” said.
The English-language “Crimean Magazine” turned out to be a republic’s timely response to the global challenges and the fact people read it in France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Czech Republic, Belgium, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Lebanon, Israel, South Korea and other countries just proves that we do everything right. The Russian diplomats present the “CM” at the foreign platforms, including OSCE sessions and international summits. The special issues had already been unveiled in Munich, Madrid, Geneva, Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong.
“About two million of people live in the republic and they have a right to express their own opinion and choose the country they want to belong to. Among other things, they have a right to be heard at the international platforms and I always upheld such a position. Thus, any information activity aimed at changing the topic of Crimea from geopolitical level into the area of protection of interests and rights of the people living in the peninsula is useful”, — Chairman of the Federation Council’s Interim Commission on Information Policy and Cooperation with the Media Alexei Pushkov told about the “Crimean Magazine”.
We constantly look for new topics and methods to reach out to the world. That year, we created a news section in English on the website of our media outlet, where we publish the most actual news and articles about Crimea in the non-stop mode before a new special issue will be released. Certainly, we give speech at the international platforms, though unfortunately we do it online now, as previously we faced with the problem of obtaining a visa of the European countries, so nowadays the pandemic and closed borders dictate terms to us.
In June, the Head Editor of the “Crimean Magazine” Maria Volkonskaya participated in the OSCE online conference on the human dimension. She was first person of the Crimeans, who took the floor at that meeting devoted to the information access, urged Europe to listen to Crimeans and hear the facts residents of the republic talk about. And it will be even better to hold the next OSCE conference in Crimea. Unhappily, representatives of this organization will not risk to arrive in Crimea — there is a high danger of destroying the set stereotypes about the peninsula, which they reinforce so diligently, but the “CM” dispels such myths persistently. We strongly believe that we will reach our goals once and the position of Crimea will be heard and appreciated. The main thing is not to recede and surrender, but to go on doing what we believe in and assert our rights — the rights of all the Crimeans.
Reference: Crimean Magazine