Crimea switches to Moscow time amid incorporation frenzy

A general view shows St. Michael the Archangel Church in the hills overlooking the Crimean town of Yalta. Credit: Reuters
A general view shows St. Michael the Archangel Church in the hills overlooking the Crimean town of Yalta.
Credit: Reuters

The hands of a clock on the main railway station in Simferopol jumped from 10 P.M. to midnight on Saturday as Crimea switched to Moscow time, symbolicly finalizing the region’s incorporation into Russia.

Several hundred people gathered on the railway square for the ceremonial change of time, waving Russian national flags and chanting “Crimea! Russia!” after Moscow formally annexed the Black Sea region from Ukraine on March 21.

“I greet you with our return home,” Crimea’s new pro-Moscow Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov told the crowd.

“I am confident that all that we have done is to the benefit of Crimea and Crimeans,” he exclaimed, extending his thanks to “our President Vladimir Putin” to noisy applause from the crowd.

Wrapped in Russian flags and some with tears of joy in their eyes, the people gathered in the provincial capital of Simferopol on Saturday sang Russia’s national anthem when the clock moved to Moscow time.

“This is my moment of happiness. We all dreamed of this but did not dare think it may come now,” said Tatiana, a 35-year-old waitress dancing to the music played on the square.

Her colleague Inga said she was 11-years-old when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, giving Ukraine independence and splitting Crimea from Moscow.

“My heart was crying back then. But now it is rejoicing, we have returned home. We were born on Moscow time and we are back to it again,” she said. “I love the Ukrainian people but I do not recognize Ukraine as a country.”

Crimea has already introduced the Russian ruble as its official currency and started paying out pensions and state salaries in the unit since the region voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia on March 16.

Kiev and the West have denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea, an impoverished region of 2 million people with a narrow ethnic Russian majority, as illegal and undermining peace in Europe.

The United States and Europe curbed cooperation with Moscow and introduced sanctions on Russia as well as some of Putin’s closest allies over the move but have refrained from harsh economic sanctions.

Kiev has ordered its troops in Crimea to retreat to the mainland, acknowledging defeat after Russian soldiers grabbed Ukrainian bases in the region one after another in a largely bloodless seizure.

Scores of mid-level Russian officials are now in Simferopol helping the local authorities to bring Crimea’s legal and tax regulations in line with the Russian ones, a process due to be finalized by the end of the year.

Aksyonov and Crimea’s new authorities hope Russia will now sponsor an economic upgrade of the region, a project likely to put additional pressure on the state coffers in Moscow that are already strained from a slowing economy.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…