The best way to explore a new destination is through the eyes of its local residents, right? Get ready for a virtual trip to Crimea! Now you will see and feel Crimea through emotions and memories of people who were born there but had to leave their homeland due to the Russian occupation.
In the video stories, four Crimeans show the dearest to their hearts places in Crimea, share their recollections, and speak on how this loss affected them: put on your imaginary VR headset and begin your journey to Crimea we love, we miss, and we are waiting to come back.
Akhtem Seitablaiev, one of the most successful Ukrainian actors and directors, Head of NGO ‘Crimean House’. Like other Crimean Tatars, his family was deported from their native Crimea in 1944 and returned home only in the early ’90s. Later Akhtem had to leave his homeland again due to the occupation.
Famous Ukrainian Ukrainian activist and film director Oleg Sentsov was arrested in Simferopol by the Russian FSB in 2014 and charged with planning terrorist attacks. After five years of illegal imprisonment, Oleg returned to Ukraine. Still, he can’t visit his homeland – it remains out of bounds for him, as for thousands of others who can take only a virtual trip to Crimea.
Ukrainian singer with Crimean Tatar roots Jamala who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 with the song “1944” about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea, has not visited her homeland for years. Jamala’s parents still live on the peninsula. She keeps in contact with them through the internet. Jamala says she didn’t choose whether to return to Crimea or not. Circumstances decided everything.
Mustafa Jemilev is a political figure and one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement. His family survived deportation from Crimea too in the 1940s. For his political views, Mustafa was expelled from the university and later put to jail for fifteen years. Since Ukraine’s independence, he has been an active political figure. Due to the Russian occupation, he couldn’t visit his homeland for many years now.
Cover photo: Zarema Yaliboylu