A week after the referendum to join Russia, the Crimean capital of Simferopol was reported by Thepchai Yong, chief editor of Nation Multimedia Group, and his team as looking normal, with Russians in the city seemingly happy but Ukrainians worrying about t
“We could say that the atmosphere barely changed in the city of Simferopol since the referendum to join Russia on March 16,” Thepchai said in a television report.
The twelve-hour train trip from Ukraine’s capital Kiev to Simferopol was smooth with only one passport check on board, he reported in Nation TV yesterday. Accompanying Thepchai are Krailuck Ngarm-sopa, Nation TV’s foreign news editor, and cameraman Kasem Intapat. Krailuck went to a Russian university for his mass communications degree and speaks Russian. Their reports started airing last week.
“There was no document checking while travelling between Kiev and Crimea 28 years ago when I was here,” said Krailuck in the report together with Thepchai.
Besides the travel document examination, doing journalistic work for reporting to Thailand was relatively free, as officials seemed not to restrict media work, Thepchai said.
“They said we can film anywhere at will,” Krailuck said.
Before integrating into Ukraine decades ago, Crimea was part of the Soviet Union. But the vast majority of people in Crimea and Simferopol are Russian.
“Many Russians we have talked with are happy to return to be a part of Russia again,” Thepchai said. But for Ukrainians in the city, it is different story, as they face an uncertain future and are worried their fellow Russians might change their attitude toward Ukrainians, he said.
A quarter of the 2.3 million population in Simferopol is Ukrainian, he added.
A Ukrainian woman said in an interview with the team that she was considering moving out to escape from Russia.