Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

I went for a walk in the local park today.

Walk in the park Walk in the park

I saw this in the distance.

Ship sailing pastIt joined its friend.

Military shipsI don’t know where they’re from, but I’d be surprised if they’re not Russian. They’re outside the entrance to Sevastopol harbour. They join this ship, which has been inside the harbour for at least a week now, maybe even two or three. (My sense of time is completely gone, since everything is moving so fast here.)

Ship in the mouth of Sevastopol bayI also (unintentionally, on the bus) went past two Russian naval bases in a part of the city I haven’t visited before. The sailors near the entrance seemed to be relaxed, no different to how I’d seen sailors in other bases before this all started.

While in the same part of the city we went into a café, which turned out to be one of the polling stations for tomorrow. People periodically came in and went through this door to collect their polling cards.

Get your polling cards hereTomorrow, they will weave their way past the café tables, take their polling cards into these booths and cast their votes.

Polling booths

The BBC shows how another polling station has been set up in Simferopol. On a random note, I notice that the curtains are in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. I wonder how deliberate that is, and whether anyone has even noticed!

Talking about flags, there were considerably more of them on display today, and they were all Russian. People were carrying them, had them tied to bags, they were hanging from shops and flats, and I even saw a pram with one. The flags were in all of the parts of the city I visited or travelled through today.

When I was in the centre yesterday, I saw a cavalcade of cars flying Russian flags beeping their horns loudly. There were enough to completely surround this roundabout. (No, it’s not a real police car.)

Cars flying Russian flags Cars flying Russian flags

They went past my flat today.

About half an hour later a lot of bikers went past, who I assume were the Night Wolves.

While I was writing this, a referendum van went past with a loudspeaker I can’t understand, but which was clearly sharing pro-Russian messages. This is the third or fourth time I’ve heard the van in the last few days.

This evening, when my bus went past Nekhimov, the main square where people gather here, I noticed a stage has appeared (I don’t know when) and people were beginning to gather. I’ve just taken this screenshot from the live webcam of the square.

Webcam screenshotThere are a lot of Russian flags in the crowd, and from what I could see in the brief glimpse I got, there was a large banner hanging at the back of the stage with the Russian flag and Россия written on it.

The first part of this BBC video is all filmed in Sevastopol, including the first man interviewed. I’m not sure if the woman who follows him was in Sevastopol too. The BBC have also been going to other parts of Crimea to interview people there, for example in Saky (I echo this man’s reservations about the lack of background knowledge about the Crimean Prime Minister) and Novo-Ozyorne. I’m pleased  that they are trying to give a voice to those who support autonomy too, because they seem to have been completely shut out here.

Since yesterday, a lot of the buses have been carrying poster versions of this billboard:

Home, to Russia

16 March. Home, to Russia. (The text on the right is the two referendum questions, with a tick in the ‘Russia’ box)

The bus I went into town on today accompanied said poster with two more sheets of A4 with four or five sets of statistics/graphs comparing Russia and Ukraine. From what I could understand they were all connected to the economy, and one of them was definitely about the financial reserves of the two countries. I think another one was about petrol prices. With my beginner-level Russian, I’m pretty sure they were trying to show that Crimea would be better off financially in Russia.

Those who are organising the propaganda campaign are certainly leaving little to chance.

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