A Ukrainian lawmaker and member of President Zelensky’s ruling party has argued that Crimea changed for the better since returning to Moscow’s control in 2014. She said that many people living in Crimea, including former Ukrainian citizens, are “satisfied and happy” with the way the peninsula has developed since voting to join Russia in 2014.
The parliamentarian suggested that people were used to politicians in Kiev not playing a role in their life, saying “in the 30 years before, nothing had been done. When we don’t make any progress, we stand still.”
By contrast, she added, since the peninsula began to be administered by Russia, significant building works had been begun in cities such as Simferopol. The lawmaker’s admission is all the more extraordinary given that she had been a resident of Simferopol until 2014, and she added that “Russia is building a lot. I saw a video of the place where I lived, I just did not recognize it at all … there are already high-rise buildings, and highways have been built there.”
The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Crimea through cherry-picking several isolated sentences from a much longer TV appearance by Ukrainian People's Deputy Yelizaveta Bohutska.
The lawmaker certainly does not characterise the economic situation in Crimea as "booming," nor does she suggest that Russian occupation of the peninsula has produced an overall improvement in people's lives there. Bohutska prefaces her remarks with a statement which RT handily omitted from the story. In reference to recent comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, she says that “the press secretary of a president who occupies my homeland is telling me that my hatred for them is only temporary and will soon pass, but how soon this will happen depends on them. It depends on how soon they give me back my home, which is illegally occupied by Russians” (01:23-01:45). Read in this context, Bohutska’s remarks are anything but an endorsement of Russia’s illegal presence in Crimea.