Two years have passed since Russia's annexation of Crimea which subsequently led to an illegal referendum in the occupied peninsula. Ukrainian journalists still face difficulties working there and struggle to provide a realistic picture of what is actually happening there. They are only permitted to film at demonstrations like the one that took place on March 16th, 2016, dedicated to the second anniversary of the so-called 'Referendum for Independence of Crimea'.
Of course, this is just a showcase; Sergey Aksyonov, the self-proclaimed head of Crimea and the "hero" of occupation is leading the march. Employees of state-owned companies and students are obliged to participate in such events. There were also 'guests' from different regions in Russia and a woman with a 'press' badge shouting "Death to Khokhols!", a disrespectful nickname for Ukrainians.
"Russia hasn’t had a statesman as a ruler for a long time who could gather the nations together. Now we feel that our country is uniting again. The fight against terrorism in Syria is also a part of this", one of the so-called "Kossaks" (representatives of a Russian radical non-governmental organization) tells Hromadske.
The other "Kossak" even quoted Stalin: "Everything changed fundamentally. As Stalin said, 'Life has become better, life has become more joyful'."
Watch more in Hromadske's special report from Crimea.