“Crimea Was, Is, and Always Will Be Russian”: Slovak Businessmen After a Business Trip to Crimea

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Crimean and Slovak businessmen are working out an agreement on the opening of a center of Crimean wines in Bratislava…

On August 1st-3rd a delegation of Slovak businessmen and politicians paid a friendly visit to Crimea.

The Slovak representatives’ program of stay on Crimean land started with a reception in the Republic’s government. The Vice-President of the government of Crimea Vitaly Nakhlupin defined promising sectors for investment in Crimea for the Slovak businessmen and spoke about the mechanisms of assisting in the implementation of investment projects. In reply the head of the delegation, the independent deputy of the National Assembly of Slovakia Peter Marček, noted that his country does business with many regions of Russia and there are no reasons why it can’t be done with Crimea too. And the head of the government of Crimea Sergey Aksenov announced the creation of a working group for the expansion of contacts and interaction with the Slovak Republic.

According to the adviser to the Prime Minister of Slovakia and in combination the Vice-President of the Society of Slovak-Russian friendship Igor Cibula, most Slovak citizens know that Crimea is historically Russian land. The opinion of people differs from the official position of government officials, although the position of the latter will change, he is sure.

For the deputy P. Marček there is also no question of who Crimea belongs to. He found a definitive answer while communicating with people in Kiev. “What I heard convinced me that Crimea was, is, and always will be Russian,” he said. The head of the Slovak delegation promised to present the “Crimean declaration” to all parliamentary factions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia at the end of the following week, informing them about the real situation in Crimea. The document will urge the parliament and government in Bratislava to respect the will of Crimeans shown during the 2014 March referendum and its subsequent results.

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“In the ‘Crimean declaration’ I will speak about what I saw here. And I will also urge my colleagues and our foreign policy department to respect the will of the Crimean people, who made their choice in a difficult situation,” said the politician, explaining the essence of the initiative. In addition, in September, after the parliamentary recess has ended, P. Marček is going to put the question of officially recognising the legitimacy of the accession of Crimea into the structure of Russia to a vote.

Yalta became an important point of the visit of the Slovak representatives to Crimea. The guests took part in a session of the 5th Yalta International Economic Forum “The Republic of Crimea — a New Point of Growth in Russian-Slovak Relations” and the round table “Business dialogue: Crimea-Slovakia”.

As it became known, Crimean and Slovak businessmen are working out an agreement on opening a center of Crimean wines in Bratislava. “In Bratislava one of my colleagues has a hotel called ‘Crimea’. We have now agreed with Crimean businessmen to create a center of Crimean wines in this hotel, which will offer the tasting and sale of wines not only for Slovakia, but also for all of Europe,” reported P. Marček. Besides this, the question of creating a European-Crimean chamber of commerce in Bratislava to assist in the development of business cooperation between the peninsula and EU countries is being studied. The constituent agreement on this was signed by the head of the “Krymkongress” foundation Rustam Muratov, the Slovak businessman Roman Busho, and the head of the delegation Peter Marček.

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Kiev started to become nervous as soon as it learnt about the intention of the Slovak deputies and businessmen to visit Crimea. The ambassador of Ukraine in Slovakia Yury Mushka declared the inadmissibility of the visit, accused its initiators of violating Ukrainian legislation, and threatened to ban them from entering Ukraine. However, the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “It is a private trip, and we can’t imagine how we in general can have the right to forbid something like that”. And the speaker of the National Assembly of Slovakia Andrej Danko supported the idea of sending a delegation to Crimea, having accused the Ukrainian ambassador of violating diplomatic protocol, and advised him not to tell members of parliament where they can go and when.

After this members of the Slovak delegation were placed on the blacklist of the Ukrainian website Mirotvorets on the day of their arrival on the peninsula.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament of Slovakia was late to join the scandal, having declared its plans to gather and condemn the words of their colleagues in support of Russia’s ownership of Crimea. As a result of the discussion, the pro-government majority in the Slovak parliament is going to adopt an official statement in support of the official position of Slovakia, the EU, and NATO concerning the Crimean question. At the same time, the opposition “People’s Party – Our Slovakia”, which is present in the national parliament, has repeatedly supported the official recognition of the legality of the Crimean referendum and the reunion of the peninsula with Russia, as was declared publicly by the leader of the party Marian Kotleba and his press secretary Milan Uhríka.

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