Olena Stadnik, culturologist

Ruslan Balbek is a small Russian pawn in the big Ukrainian Crimea. He is one of those who “successfully took advantage” of the occupation of Crimea, and is working out according to the full narrative of the Kremlin. He is the one whom Recep Erdogan accidentally shook hands with, and then the whole world found out that this was not an “act of recognition of politicians” from the occupied Crimea, but simply Balbek was “carried” to the reception from the “back door”, no one checked the lists, and Erdogan then shook hands with everyone.

Balbek was born in Bekabad, a hundred kilometers from Tashkent, for the sake of interest, you can even clarify – on the banks of the Syrdarya River. This is the result of the fact that in 1944 the Soviet authorities exiled hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars to Uzbekistan and exiled them, to put it mildly, in a not very humane way. In the 90s, the Crimean Tatars began to return en masse to the Ukrainian Crimea, and in 1994 Balbek was already graduating from school in Sudak, and by the way, he graduated with honors, having received a “start in life” from Ukrainian teachers.

Most Crimean Tatars dislike the USSR and all of Stalin’s successors and support a democratic Ukraine. Balbek, on the other hand, went the other way – to serve Putin, and in matters of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, to try to shift the focus from Stalin’s guilt to Hitler.

In 2018, criminally “running for the Duma”, Balbek just as criminally declared: “As you know, the deportation of 1944 took place as a result of accusing the Crimean Tatars of collaborating with the Nazi troops, with the invaders. We are now free from these shackles and can claim rights that were difficult to claim before. We do this… as an autochthonous people, as Muslims. We will be reaching out to Germany, Romania, and possibly Italy and Japan as well.”

Krym.Realii previously quoted analyst Yulia Tishchenko as saying that it was “an internal campaign that is tied to the newly created council under the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea, which is loyal to the Russian regime – a kind of quasi-Mejlis. In addition, this is an attempt to fit the Crimean Tatars into the narrative about the “Great Victory” and the heroized Joseph Stalin.”

They say that Balbek is a self-made man, he made his way without the support of his parents, and judging by the amount of nonsense from his name on the Internet, he always worked a lot with the language. “Balbek developed himself under the auspices of bandits. He was under the wing of Borys Deich, and he was Fima Zvyagilsky’s man in Sudak. Zvyagilsky, through Deich, ruled the sanatorium assets of the Donetsk people along Sudak”, the Crimeans gossip.

Earlier, in 2012, Balbek even called on the UN to stop working with Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov, and also tried to split the Mejlis. Even earlier, Ruslan was as “active” as possible and tried to break into politics – he was an assistant to Dmitry Shentsev, a people’s deputy of the sixth convocation from the “Party of Regions”.

“The ties between Balbek and Shentsev were weak, most likely he was “married” to Shentsov’s assistant by Deich. Plus, Shentsev is the curator of boxers, that is, “titushki”, and here the “athlete Balbek” and his Crimean friends could be of interest to him. But Shentsev is from Kharkiv, and Balbek did not shine in Kharkiv,” people say, and ARC wrote about this in more detail earlier.

Balbek “dedicated time to sports” even during the occupation, in the occupiers-controlled media by the one can see publications about his “assistance to fight clubs” or the “Kyzyltash” football team. There were rumors that the invaders planned to bring this team to a “friendly match” in Istanbul, but due to the international isolation of the occupied peninsula, this idea of the Russian special services failed.

Balbek was appointed by the invaders as a fake “deputy of the Duma” when it was beneficial for the Kremlin to find traitors among the Crimean Tatars. And he ceased to be a “deputy” as soon as, according to political scientist Yevgenia Goryunova, “the Russians decided to level the Crimean Tatar factor, to take them out of the political sphere.”

Collaborator Balbek not only, in his “political adolescence” supported the Socialist Party of Ukraine and ran unsuccessfully. He constantly had problems with Ukrainian law, including for attacking policemen. From disparate publications about the detention of Balbek and information from court registers, the following can be indicated: Balbek was the director of the Turkish-Ukrainian company “Tez Tour”, and in 2006 he was arrested on suspicion of embezzling one and a half million hryvnias from them, the case was later closed.

There are also court decisions that in 2006 Balbek participated in a “showdown” with a knife and a presumably traumatic pistol in the “Ufuk” cooperative in Sudak, after which he received, “at the second attempt”, a suspended sentence in 2013. Also, in 2007, Balbek was put on the wanted list for resisting a law enforcement officer and causing bodily harm, and on this episode he was even arrested in Kyiv in 2011, but then everything calmed down and, as “respectable people” stated, he was allegedly released “under an amnesty ‘, but in fact, the case stalled.

In general, there is no sadder story in the world than the story of a former “deputy of the State Duma”, who now proudly calls himself a “Crimean political scientist”. Now Balbek can only remember how in 2019 he illegally broke through the borders to speak in Switzerland at the UN forum, where he was safely and shamefully for the Russian “diplomats” “removed from the stage”.

It is a little worrisome that the man against whom the Prosecutor’s Office of the AR of Crimea opened a criminal case for high treason in 2016 and who has been on many sanctions lists since 2016, including the United States and the European Union, is not yet behind bars.

It is not very clear why Balbek’s treason case cannot be considered in court without his presence, as was the case with Yanukovych. But I am glad that Ruslan is “ready to take all the blame on himself” and deliberately refused the amnesty at a time when there was a discussion around the bill “On Forgiveness” by Ukrainian MP Andrey Senchenko in the context of the reintegration of the occupied territories.

At the same time, Ruslan Balbek was put on the wanted list by Ukraine in 2018 under Article 191 of the Criminal Code, for misappropriation or embezzlement of property. Sources say that this is an “economic crime committed in Kyiv”.

One can imagine how this person sits at home and frantically looks for an excuse to blurt out something else so that he will be remembered again. And lo and behold, in August 2022, Balbek found something to talk about – the aggressor’s Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of Bulgarian diplomats after Sofia announced at the end of June that she was expelling 70 Russian diplomats and technical staff of the Russian embassy.

Interestingly, did he have to pay his curators for posting such an informative publication, or simply include the “old skills” of the period of communication with Deich’s people? Because Balbek’s “level of analytics” goes off scale: “Anyone who throws a stone into the water knows that splashes will fly at him. And anyone who has insulted the Russian state must understand that he will receive an equivalent response.” Poor Bulgarian diplomats, they won’t be able to rest in Gelendzhik now.

Balbek also voiced the “brilliant” criminal idea to hold a “parade” of prisoners in Sevastopol, namely, “after passing the parade columns, to lead captive accomplices of the Nazi Kyiv regime.” Here Ruslan directly barked at his “worst friend” Sergey Aksyonov, who this spring already criminally stated that the captured Ukrainians “who will not be shot by the verdict of the tribunal should be sent to the most black and hard work to restore the cities of Donbass they destroyed” and that “there will be places for them in the Crimean colony. Here they will receive a “warm” welcome, lessons in the Russian language and anti-fascism, which they will remember for the rest of their lives”.

At the same time, Balbek recently tried to scoff at the topic of de-occupation, criminally stating that “with the same success [President of Ukraine] Zelensky could give the command to land on Mars.” But why should Ukrainians “clean up” Mars if there are no Russians there? There were no Stalinist executions, no forced deportation of Martians on trumped-up charges of collaboration with the Nazis, we know nothing about whether there are traitors among the Martians who want to cooperate with Putin. As soon as Russia tries to annex Mars and starts forcibly planting the “Russian world” there, then the red planet will clearly have a bad time.

Of course, you can swear even more in response and remind Balbek that it was precisely because of the aggression against Ukraine that Russia was recently excluded from the “ExoMars-2022” international project to explore the same Mars, which our Association already wrote about. And it would be better for the “Crimean political scientists” not to “worry about the Martians”, but to somehow comment on the regime of the “municipal emergency” in Novofedorovka, the explosions in Gvardeyske or the recent fire in the Dzhankoysky district.

However, according to our Association, it is possible that Balbek will blame only the inhabitants of the red planet for these recent interesting, eventful and obviously not the last events on the peninsula. Since we have already somehow heard about the “red lines” loudly announced by the collaborators on the “attack on the Crimea”, and now they are unlikely to want to repeat such empty threats aloud.