Echo of War: how military operation in Donbass affect Tatarstan

Tatarstan sanatoriums are ready for recepting refugees, and carriers have stopped driving trucks from the Odessa seaport

Tatarstan is an important international transport and economic hub in Russia, cannot stand aside from the turbulence unfolding in the world. In the first hours of the start of the unprecedented military operation in the Donbas, the authorities in Tatarstan were among the first in the country to announce about readiness to promptly receive refugees from the DPR and LPR at any time and provide them with all necessary assistance. Meanwhile, the events in the recognised republics and in Ukraine have had an impact on the life of the republic. As it became known to Realnoe Vremya, Tatarstan carriers of international cargo had difficulties due to the closure of the seaport of Odessa, several flights to the south of the country were cancelled from Kazan by the order of the Federal Air Transport Agency.

Trade union sanatoriums of Tatarstan are ready to accept refugees

Mobilisation is not momentary, but permanent — in the “blood” of the republican state apparatus in Tatarstan. As usual, the region quickly adapted to the situation, mobilising the necessary resources in a short time.

Even before the start of Russia's military operation in the Donbass, the authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics began to evacuate civilians. The first trains with refugees began arriving in our country at the end of last week. In just a few days, more than 100 thousand people left Donbass. They were received by the southern regions of the country, Moscow Oblast and the Volga region.

In total, more than 40 regions of Russia, including Tatarstan, have declared their readiness to accept civilians of the DPR and LPR. First Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan Rustam Nigmatullin held an operational headquarters that will coordinate the placement of forcibly displaced persons. According to the operational headquarters, the republic was waiting for the arrival of about a thousand people from the DPR and LPR.

They decided to place the refugees in three Kazan sanatoriums of the Federation of Trade Unions — Zhemchuzhina, Livadia, and Vasilevsky in the Zelenodolsk district of the Republic of Tatarstan. In addition to this, the Kvart hotels in Kazan and KAMAZ hotels in Naberezhnye Chelny will be involved. Although the arrival of residents of the DPR and LPR is postponed for the time being, everything is ready for their arrival in the sanatoriums, they assured Realnoe Vremya.

“We are in a state of 100% readiness, ready to receive guests at any time," Irina Puzakova, the representative of the Federation of Trade Unions of Tatarstan, told our publication.

According to her, Zhemchuzhina, which is designed for 250 people, is ready to receive the most number of guests. One hundred and fifty places are allocated in the sanatorium Livadia, another 100 refugees will be received in Vasilevsky. The forcibly displaced persons will rest and attend wellness programmes, Puzakova said. There is an agreement that the refugees will stay for two weeks.

Ak Bars Creation Charitable Foundation has opened a single settlement account to raise funds to help those in need, the press service of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan reported. Besides, Molodaya Gvardiya and the United Russia regional department opened a humanitarian collection of things for temporary migrants from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in Kazan on Gorky Street, 12.

Before accommodation, the health of refugees will be checked by ambulance crews, and doctors will be on duty in sanatoriums. They will receive emergency medical care in large specialised clinics of Tatarstan, including the Republican Clinical Hospital and the Children's Republican Clinical Hospital.

However, so far echelons with refugees from Donbass have not been formed. As the head of the press service of the President of the Republic, Lilia Galimova, explained at the briefing, the authorities of Tatarstan cannot influence the speed of departure of the train, but they are ready to meet people at any time and provide all necessary assistance.

Besides, the citizens of the LPR and the DPR are ready to offer more than 50 thousand vacancies in the republic:

“The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of Tatarstan is organising the work with target groups of arrivals from the DPR and LPR — these are women with children, minors and the elderly," the press service of the department reports.

Tatarstan is ready to offer jobs for the citizens of the DPR and LPR. Employers of the republic have announced 53 thousand vacancies with an average salary of 40 thousand rubles.

“Cargo transportation will continue on other routes”

On the first day of the military operation in Donbass, it caused certain difficulties for businesses. First of all, international road transport of goods imported from the sea port of Odessa has been completely stopped. Among them, there are vegetables and fruits supplied by Turkey to Russia.

As the head of the freight transportation department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tatarstan, Sergey Sotnikov, told Realnoe Vremya, the transit of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers through the territory of Ukraine has been suspended for the time being.

This information was confirmed by the head of the Volga branch of the Association of International Automobile Carriers, Evgeny Okunev. According to him, trucks began to be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine a few days ago, and the last cars were supposed to leave on February 22-23.

The Association itself appealed to carriers to stop transit flights:

“Due to the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine and the closure of checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, we strongly recommend that you do not carry out transportation in bilateral communication and transit through the territory of Ukraine until the situation normalises.”

Besides, the Association began searching for those who could be “stuck” in Ukraine: “To develop measures together with the Ministry of Transport of Russia to return vehicles of Russian carriers to Russia, we ask you to send information about vehicles that are unable to leave the territory of Ukraine, as well as about road trains that require an alternative route to bypass Ukraine to return to Russia.”

However, some Tatarstan carriers claim that they stopped travelling to Ukraine after the Crimean spring:

“We have not been travelling to Ukraine since 2014, so there are no drivers among our drivers who could get stuck on its territory. Certainly, this situation will change the logistics of cargo transportation — everything will change, and this will affect everyone. But cargo transportation will continue on other routes.”

According to market participants, the port of Novorossiysk, through which imported vegetables are also transshipped, will take over a larger volume of cargo transshipment. In their opinion, supplies can be replaced with goods from China, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan. For example, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance has allowed the import of apples and pears from China under the guarantees of the Chinese side since February 20 of this year.

Airports in the south of Russia are closed until March 2

The schedule of air transportation has also changed. Although the Federal Air Transport Agency recommended stopping flights to airports in the southern regions until March 2, airlines cancel flights with a reserve for another 2-3 days.

We are talking about a large reduction in flights — for example, Azimut Airlines announced the termination of 39 flights on February 24 and 25.

Flights to Bryansk, Simferopol, Mineralnye Vody were cancelled from Kazan, and a flight to Sochi was delayed. Flights to Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don have been cancelled from Begishevo. According to the Federal Air Transport Agency, “due to the complication of the situation around the situation in Ukraine, from February 24, 2022, from 3.45 a.m. Moscow time, flights to a number of airports in southern Russia are temporarily restricted. The restriction is valid until 3.45 Moscow time on March 02, 2022.” The work of airports has been temporarily suspended: Rostov (Platov), Krasnodar (Pashkovsky), Anapa (Vityazevo), Gelendzhik, Elista, Stavropol, Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk, Voronezh, Simferopol.

Besides, ticket sales have been cancelled. Smartavia sent out a notification about the cancellation of promotions for the sale of cheap tickets to different regions of the country, which was planned for February 25 and 26.

“Due to information from the Russian aviation authorities (Rosaviation) about the closure of a number of airports in the south of Russia, we decided to postpone the sale of air tickets scheduled for February 25 and 26, 2022. We hope that in the near future the situation in the country will stabilise and we will again be able to fly to our beloved cities to our loved ones and relatives. We will inform you about the new dates of special promotions and sales in addition," the company said.

Currency and technology

The volatility of the ruble has caused concern among the population. The Central Bank after 2 p.m. raised the dollar by 6 rubles — from 80.41 rubles to 86.92 rubles, and the euro — from 90.88 to 97.76 rubles.

However, information about huge queues at ATMs and problems in retail chains repeatedly didn't hold up, turning out to be fakes.

Against this background, retailers of household appliances and electronics have added a real negative. Sellers who have been experiencing an acute shortage of popular goods since the pandemic, with the beginning of the military operation, began to rewrite the price tags for what was left in stock. Prices for various categories of goods are increasing by 10-20%.

Tatarstan exporting enterprises have expressed concerns about the conduct of foreign exchange transactions. Definitely, over time, the emotional tension will subside and entrepreneurs will calmly sort out the situation, find ways to circumvent sanctions and other blocking measures of “Western partners”.

Sellers who have been experiencing an acute shortage of popular goods since the pandemic, with the beginning of the military operation, began to rewrite the price tags for what was left in stock. Photo:

The situation is complicated. US President Joe Biden said that the country intends to limit Russia's ability to do businesses in dollars, pounds, euros and yen. In addition, the United States imposes sanctions against Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank and several other banks. Also, the new US sanctions will affect the Russian space programme and will affect the bonds of the largest Russian state-owned companies. The G7 countries have agreed to limit the possibilities of the Russian Federation in the field of high technology.

However, during a meeting with major businessmen, President Vladimir Putin announced the readiness of the authorities to support those enterprises that will suffer from sanctions.

Realnoe Vremya will follow the developments.

Luiza Ignatyeva