“At the thought that you too are in Sevastopol, a certain feeling of manliness, of pride,” penetrates your soul, he wrote, and your blood begins “to flow more swiftly through your veins.”
Hence some find it infuriating that outside officials have begun tampering with history in a city where nearly every major square or avenue is named for a battle or military hero.
The Kremlin recently adopted the proposal by a group of expatriate nobles to erect a monument to reconciliation in the city, given that Crimea is where the Russian aristocracy and its White Army made their last stand after the 1917 revolution.
It garnered some local support. Yet many grumble that a city of 418,000 people — including numerous descendants of Red Army soldiers — and 2,000 monuments does not need another one.
“This is a hero city, a city of warriors, and a warrior is not supposed to reconcile,” barked Mr. Kiyashko, the local Communist leader, sitting in the party headquarters decorated with giant portraits of Lenin.
The economic ills and constant meddling by Moscow make even senior government officials acknowledge widespread disillusionment reminiscent of Ukrainian days. The Kremlin was too quick to treat Crimea like the rest of the country despite its long, traumatic history, said Mr. Formanchuk, the longtime local official.
“Many Crimeans are unhappy that the Russian Federal center is also trying to do the same thing — to grind everything up and say you are like everyone else,” he said. “We suffered on our own, and what are you doing telling us how to live?”