“Tell the truth”

is what my ‘colorado beetle’ taxi driver said to me this morning when he dropped me off at the press centre in Simferopol.

It’s exactly what the members of the self-appointed self-defence group said at Simferopol station, when I arrived from Kiev and they stopped me and demanded to see my passport.

And what the men in fatigues said at the checkpoint on the road to Sevastopol, as they searched the car boot.

“Tell the truth.” It sounds so simple.

The truth to me is that people who have no right to do so stopped the car I was in, and demanded to see my passport. The truth to me is that Simferopol right now is simmering with an incredible euphoria that has been deliberately built out of old history and myths and misapprehensions and fears and outright lies – if it wasn’t, why would these people all be so anxious that I tell the truth?

But  these people will have a completely different version to me of what’s true, of course. I’m doing my best to understand both sides.

It’s very hard.

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