Preparing for the military invasion of Crimea, the Russian invaders in 2013 released the film “Stalingrad”. It begins with footage of Fyodor Bondarchuk, as a rescuer, dismantling the rubble after the earthquake in Japan. So the Russian “collective unconscious” warned that they were “going to repeat” something similar with their occupational economic activities in Crimea. The relatively weak earthquake that took place in Yalta on the night of January 11, 2021 provoked panic among the occupiers, which has every reason. In their statements, the Russians with horror avoided the word “landslide”, realizing that fatal irreversible processes had started.

Lessons from the Chukurlar landslide

More than 100 years ago, an elite village was located on the site of the Yalta Primorsky Park, now destroyed by the Russian invaders. It consisted of several dozen elite estates of the nobility of those years, which chose the site due to its proximity to the old palace of the Romanov tsars in Oreanda and the new one in Livadia. In 1906-1907, the Chukurlar landslide occurred there, which destroyed the village of the Russian nobility of those times [1].

Landslide processes occurred there repeatedly throughout the 20th century. The earthquake that occurred in Yalta in 1927, which destroyed 70 % of local buildings and deformed the Swallow’s Nest castle, clearly showed that nature makes special demands on the buildings of the Southern Coast of Crimea. That is why the Dolossy sanatorium, built in those years, has such thick and strong walls, built on a reinforced foundation.

Therefore, in Ukraine, and until 1991 also, the opinion of the state Anti-landslide Management Office played an important role in the design and development of the Southern Coast of Crimea. That is why the promising part of the Yalta coast between the “Oreanda” hotel and the “Dolphin” beach was not built up, but turned into a park, which at one time was considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. Hundreds of relict trees performed the most important function – they held the soil, preventing landslides.

Moreover, shore protection structures (groins, breakwaters, breakwaters) play an important role in counteracting landslides – these are the most complex and expensive elements of the engineering infrastructure. For the Ukrainian Crimea, huge budgets were allocated for the construction and operation of hundreds of buns and breakwaters on the southern coast of Crimea, because the safety of the housing stock, resort facilities and infrastructure of the region directly depended on these structures.

Yalta development and Russian expansion

Started under the architect of the Russian economic occupation, the mayor of Yalta in 2002-2010, Sergei Braiko [2], the massive construction of high-rise buildings in Yalta entails long-term threats. With the support of the “Saylem” and “Bashmaki” criminal groups, subordinated to the Kremlin special services, Russian oligarchs, criminals and their junior Ukrainian partners began the massive construction of Big Yalta with technologically dangerous skyscrapers [2]. Multi-storey monsters, grossly violating all norms, began to appear abundantly in Gurzuf, Massandra, Otradny, Nikita, Livadia, Miskhor, Koreiz, Alupka, Opolznevoye, Foros.

The controversial “Mriya” hotel of the owner of the Russian “Sberbank” German Gref, built by foreigners in Ponizovka, according to experts familiar with the construction process, was also built with an emphasis on the “greatness” so beloved by Russians, to the detriment of seismic and landslide safety standards. Also, ill-wishers claim that due to seismic reasons, the multi-storey hotel “Respect-Hall” in Koreiz, which until 2018 was owned by the former deputy of Medvedchuk’s SDPU(o) Oleg Nemirovsky, is slowly cracking and collapsing [8].

The key performers in transforming Yalta into a concrete ghetto were the structures of the Russian “AFK Sistema” Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, as well as their local consigliere, the Ukrainian oligarch Vasily Khmelnitsky [2], focused on the Russian Federation and China, together with the son-in-law of Nikolai Bagrov, Andrey Priputnikov [4], with a partner of Ramzan Kadyrov and of the Ukrainian customs clan Kaletnikov Sergey Klimov [3], together with the liaison between the Russian president and the disgraced oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, oligarch Leonid Golubovich [5], and many others.

The local bandits, brothers Sergey and Georgy Gabestro, Alexander Grintsevich, Merab Kontridze, heir to the leader of the “Bashmaki” grouping Ruvim Aronov, “Deputy Prime Minister” Yevgeny Kabanov, “Speaker of the Crimean State Council” Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergey Klimov, were directly involved in the development of the Primorsky Park of Yalta.

The most odious technologically dangerous building is located in the Primorsky Park. This is the “Zazerkalye” skyscraper, owned by the Moscow company “Sorang”. The nominal owner of the company, Igor Zobov, is, in the opinion of Muscovites, a raider controlled by the Russian special services [6], and the real owners of the structure are Alexander Volkov and Marat Fayzzulin [21]. Volkov and Fayzzulin are the former key functionaries of the State Customs Committee of the Russian Federation, whose conflict with furniture magnate Sergei Zuev began the famous “Case of the Three Whales” [7], as a result of which Vladimir Putin completely reorganized the power vertical he inherited from Yeltsin and built a modern despotism.

Having worked for ten years in this process as the “avenging sword” of the Russian president, Volkov and Fayzulin became very rich persons and, in retirement, contributed to the destruction of Yalta’s Primorsky Park. It is interesting that on the spot all the questions of Volkov and Faizulin were solved by the former secretary of the Yalta City Council Sergei Karnaukh, known by the nickname “Half-a-Hectare”. At the same time, Karnaukh became the “guardian” of the only “graciously left” in the Crimea by the occupiers of the estate of one well-known Ukrainian oligarch, “a big lover of cutlets” – a secret cottage complex high above Yalta on the territory of a mountain-forest reserve.

Destruction of occupied Yalta

With the beginning of the occupation, fraudsters flooded into Yalta from different regions of the Russian Federation, and, under the roof of curators from the special services, they started dozens of dubious development projects. Skyscrapers were built in Foros, because of which the sewage system burst and streams of sewage flowed through the houses of local residents [9]. In Oreanda in 2015, due to the illegal construction of the “Diplomat” high-rise complex by the Russian oligarch Leonid Golubovich, a large landslide descended, destroying the “lower” “Yalta-Alupka” road [10].

In Yalta, after the felling of 170 relict trees and the construction of skyscrapers on the Hill of Glory by Sergei Klimov, Vasily Khmelnitsky and Murmansk oligarch, the financier of the “Crimean Spring” Nikolai Frolov, powerful landslides began in the center along the streets of Voikov, Lesya Ukrainka, Kirov, Dmitriev. Old houses, monuments of architecture, began to crack and crumble, and the streets of the district are regularly flooded with sewage, as such communal system often breaks due to a landslide, while slow [9].

Local landslides and sewerage gusts are observed near all the high-rise buildings built by the odious developer Dmitry Tyukayev [11]. The roads of a general landslide are cracking near the constructed high-rise buildings of the alliance of Dubrovitsky, Deineko and Yalta “police” on Yalta Vinogradnaya Street. Because of those facilities, as well as because of the “Console” skyscraper build by “Speaker of the State Council” Konstantinov, at the entrance to the city, the “Yalta-Simferopol” highway burst and collapsed due to a landslide [12].

Similar phenomena are observed near the new buildings of Gurzuf, Gaspra, Koreiz, Foros, Alupka. The ugly high-rise building of the “Almaz” residential complex by Sergei Klimov on Blukher Street in Yalta is gradually crumbling from gusts of strong winds during winter storms, due to its construction landslides began in the district. Due to the construction of Merab Kontridze on Chervonykh Partizan Street in Yalta, severe landslides started, which had already destroyed one of the private houses below the object [13]. A similar situation is due to the “Orthodox multi-storey hotel” of the Moscow Patriarchate on Kurchatov Street in Yalta [22].

We are talking about hundreds of facilities built by the occupiers with gross violations of safety and seismic standards in 2014-2020. And the clockwork of the “high-altitude bomb” of the invaders can no longer be stopped. Moreover, all this will hit the highest-ranking occupants, even despite the fact that most of the new buildings are money laundering, and not a development business.

In the balance of disaster

Before the occupation, the landslide situation was satisfactory due to the margin of safety of the bank protection structures. But at the period of occupation, due to the dominance of Russian criminals and agents of influence in the Crimean and Yalta authorities, for many years nothing was done to properly prevent the state of hundreds of buns and breakwaters on the Southern Coast of Crimea [23].

Instead of maintenance, the Russians finally turned the “transfer of bank protection structures to the balance of the Yalta City Council” [18]. This was done trivially in order to “tie” with the groins and breakwaters “leases for the operation of beaches”. In this way, the invaders began to receive “black cash” at the cashier of the “Saylem” group of Sergei Aksenov through “tenants” admitted to the business.

In 2020, the remaining groins generally began to be “sold off” under the guise of “transferring them to the balance sheet for investment projects” [19]. Also last year, the “Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea” completely abolished the “anti-landslide management” [20], which during the year of occupation became an additional tool for bribery in the interests of the “Head of Crimea” Aksenov and did not fulfill its functions. Instead, another “capital construction department” was organized by the occupiers [20].

This happens in conditions when due to the increased man-made load on the inhabited territories of Big Yalta and other resorts of the Crimean coast on the peninsula, for 6 years of occupation, part of the coastal protection structures was deformed and destroyed [14]. Due to the disappearance of most of the groundwater on the peninsula, caused by the predatory economic activities of the invaders, degenerative processes are taking place underground on the peninsula, which has become another factor, bringing destructive landslides closer.

The Kremlin is likely to have information about the upcoming man-made disasters and is beginning to prepare public opinion. On December 28, 2020, the federal agency “RIA Novosti” published an article “Should We Expect a Big Earthquake in Crimea”, which was massively reprinted by the Crimean media, controlled by Russians [16]. It also mentions that in the opinion of modern science, devastating earthquakes in Big Yalta happen once every 100 years and add that supposedly “there is no need to be afraid, despite the fact that almost 100 years have passed since the last big earthquake”. By a strange coincidence, two weeks after the publication of this article, on the night of January 11-12, 2021, an earthquake occured in Big Yalta [17].

As a result, the Russian special services are activating their propaganda tools. For example, in the telegram channels administered by them, the morning of January 12 began with news in the style of “villains, to the delight of enemies, stir up panic about an earthquake that never happened”. By lunchtime on January 12, the Crimean media, controlled by the invaders, have to admit the obvious, and they reported that ‘there was no destruction as a result of the past earthquake’. And in the evening of that day, the “mayor of Yalta” Yanina Pavlenko declared that “she did not feel any quakes”. Probably such “problem with the vestibular apparatus” appeared due to the fact, that according to our information, Pavlenko is preparing for “modest financial support” to “sign permits” for the construction of several dozen more man-made high-rises. Naturally, with the transfer of the “share” up to her patrons, Kovalchuks.

However, having basic knowledge of physics and geology, and also due to communication with the retired Crimean experts who were still alive at that time, I can argue that the earthquake of January 2021 gave an accelerating impulse to many destructive landslide processes on the Southern Coast of Crimea. It can be a harbinger of stronger aftershocks. This means that in the very near future in Big Yalta, due to intensified landslides or a new earthquake, many modern buildings will be destroyed, which the invaders built from low-quality materials. This, in turn, endangers a number of vital infrastructure facilities.

It is clear that Russia, gripped by a systemic crisis, will not deal with the consequences of natural disasters in the occupied Crimea and will try to avoid payments for the enormous damage caused by the occupation. Therefore, Kiev already now, as part of the de-occupation strategy, needs to pay attention to the development of a program to overcome the consequences of devastating landslides or earthquakes on the Southern Coast of Crimea. And also it is necessary to improve the legal framework for the recovery of damage from the occupiers.

Ilya Tyukin