Crimea: US national beaten up over EuroMaidan
With supreme irony, Jeffrey Luebbe , the latest victim of mounting violence against civic and EuroMaidan activists in the Crimea is the head of the EU-funded Diversification and Tourism Support Project The violent attack on him is a lousy advertisement for the Crimea and so too is the fact that the Crimean government is trying to pass the incident off as a drunken brawl.
Luebbe called the attack on himself what you get in Simferopol if you’re with a friend who openly expresses support for EuroMaidan. He calls it a disgrace and says he’s proud of his friends for openly expressing their civic position.
The friend, Oleksandr Rybalko, who was also slightly hurt, told the BBC Ukrainian Service what had happened. Three of them were in a Simferopol café and went out to smoke. They were standing, discussing EuroMaidan when a burly guy came up to them and asked aggressively whether they supported the protest movement. Rybalko answered that he did. They guy first started insulting them, then attacked, inflicting several quick blows.
Oleksandr Liyev, Crimean Minister for Tourism, saw fit however to call the attack “a fight between two not very sober groups”.
As reported, it has become positively dangerous to be a civic activist and/or support EuroMaidan in the Crimea, and the fact that the authorities’ response is so inadequate is not helping. There are, in fact, suspicions that the escalating tension and violence is being supported by those in power.
Oleksandra Dvoretska, the lawyer and civic activist who found menacing posters pasted up around where she lives, has now temporarily left the Crimea. Posters with similar hate speech have been circulated against coordinators of the Crimean EuroMaidan, Andriy Shchekun and Serhiy Kovalsky (See New menacing threats against civic activist for an example.