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    'All by Ourselves': Сrimea's Cultural Heritage Can Thrive Without UNESCO Help

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    Crimea's cultural heritage will not be damaged by Western countries' recent decision to block UNESCO's contacts with Crimea's heritage sites, Vladislav Ganzhara, member of the Crimean State Council, told Sputnik.

    Russia's Permanent Envoy to the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Alexander Kuznetsov said in an interview with Sputnik on Friday that the Western countries had blocked UNESCO contacts with the heritage sites in Crimea, even though the organization itself did not suspended such ties.

    "I was recently asked if UNESCO has allegedly taken a decision not to maintain the contacts [with Crimea.] This is not true. The UNESCO Secretariat has not taken any particular decisions on the issue," Kuznetsov said after the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in the Polish city of Krakow earlier this week.

    Kuznetsov noted that the UNESCO Executive Board is regularly adopting "politically motivated resolutions" in relation to Crimea.

    "We vote against such resolutions. We are in general against the politicization of UNESCO and believe that this issue is absolutely beyond the organization's jurisdiction. As for the ties with UNESCO's traditional partners in Crimea, the Western countries have blocked these contacts. There are no contacts in practice, our applications are not being considered," Kuznetsov explained.

    Commenting on the matter, member of the State Council of Crimea Vladislav Ganzhara, for his part, told Sputnik that the position of Western countries, in fact, prevents UNESCO from performing its direct duties.

    "UNESCO is a UN body which is tasked with preserving mankind's historical and cultural heritage. In this vein, Crimea is a unique territory in terms of the number of historical, cultural and architectural monuments," Ganzhura said.

    At the same time, the local and federal authorities have provided all the necessary conditions for the preservation of cultural heritage sites on Crimean territory, according to him.

    Ganzhura said that "despite the fact that UNESCO does not support us in this matter, all the monuments are in excellent condition thanks to the joint activities of the government bodies of the Republic of Crimea and federal structures as well as the Culture Ministry." 

    "The difficult issues that went to us after Crimea became part of Russia are being resolved or have already been resolved. So we will certainly cope with them all by ourselves," he concluded. 

    Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014 as a result of a referendum at which 97 percent of the peninsula residents supported the move.

    Despite that, the reunification was not recognized by the majority of the Western countries including the European Union which subsequently imposed the economic and political sanctions on Moscow in relation to the move.

    Moscow has repeatedly said that the referendum on rejoining Russia was conducted by Crimea in compliance with international law. Kiev, in turn, considers Crimea a "temporarily occupied" territory.

    The group of sites as part of the Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora located on the Crimean Peninsula are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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    activities, monuments, condition, territory, government, heritage, UNESCO, Crimea, Russia
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