About the project

The project aims to recall people’s lives after the occupation, people’s rights violations, and persecutions in Crimea.

The occupation of the Crimean peninsula was not all of a sudden. Russia had been preparing informationally and politically for a long time, took a chance while the state authorities were being re-elected at the beginning of 2014, and dared to occupy Crimea. Since then, once a promising touristic region has started to turn into a training area for the Russian military. In Crimea, there are still thousands of occupation opponents, with whom Russian authorities systematically fight and are sanctioned by the civilized countries.

In the series “We are Crimea” created jointly by the Ukrainian Institute and the Ukrainer, we show Crimea through the eyes of people who cannot be there because of the temporary occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.

The heroes in VR glasses are watching sights in Crimea that are important for them, sharing their memories and memorable stories about their native peninsula. VR videos will create a sense of presence so that everybody can see and feel places of the warmest memories of Crimea.

Like thousands of the Crimeans, Akhtem Seitablaiev, Jamala, Mustafa Jemilev, and Oleg Sentsov do not have an opportunity to come to Crimea for 7 years.

#РіднийКрим #WeAreCrimea #WeAreCrimeaVRCrimea

“We are Crimea” is a project about Crimea we love, we miss, and we are waiting to come back.

Full interviews in text format are also available on the Ukrainer’s website.

Jamala is a Ukrainian singer with Crimean Tatar roots. In 2016, Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “1944”, dedicated to the tragedy of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea. Like many residents of the peninsula, Jamala has not been to Crimea — occupied by the Russian Federation since February 2014 — for years.

Mustafa Jemilev is a political and public figure, one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement. His family survived rozkurkulennya (or dekulakization) in the 1930s and was deported from Crimea, their homeland, in the 1940s. Mustafa was expelled from the university and later put on trial for his political views, and later even taken to court. He had been imprisoned for fifteen years. Since Ukraine became independent, he has played an active role in political life and has proposed dozens of legislation drafts. Due to the Russian occupation, this world-renowned human rights activist has not been able to visit his homeland for several years now.

Director and stage and film actor, ethnic Crimean Tatar (Qt — qırımtatarlar) Akhtem Seitablaiev was born in Yangiyul town near Tashkent in Uzbekistan; the place where his parents, like other Crimean Tatars, were deported to from their native Crimea in May 1944. His family returned home only in the early 90’s, and later Akhtem was forced to leave his homeland again due to the occupation. Today he is one of the most successful Ukrainian actors and directors, and heads ‘Crimean House’.

Oleg Sentsov is a Ukrainian film director, scriptwriter, writer and activist. In 2014, he was arrested in Simferopol by the Russian FSB on charges of plotting a series of terrorist attacks. After five years of illegal imprisonment, Oleg returned to Ukraine in the first exchange of Russian criminals and Ukrainian prisoners of war. He has been kidnapped, arrested and illegally convicted, and yet occupied Crimea remains off-limits to him, as well as to thousands of others.