Chords of friendship bind accordionist Olesya Kamovich and comrades, who meet Sundays in Sevastopol to sing.
Chords of friendship bind accordionist Olesya Kamovich and comrades, who meet Sundays in Sevastopol to sing.

A Jewel in Two Crowns

Russia’s paradise lost belongs to Ukraine—and that’s where the trouble begins.

The past is never past in Sevastopol. It waves from flagpoles and drapes the parade stand on patriotic holidays. It finds sanctuary in war monuments and is posted on signs: Lenin Square, Heroes of Stalingrad Street, Cinema Moscow. It even simmers in a pot of borscht.

Take Galina Onischenko's version of the eastern European staple. "This is Russian borscht," she said, setting down a porcelain bowl of "green" or summer borscht with its dill-flecked mosaic of beets, carrots, and potatoes. "No lard with garlic like they put in Ukrainian borscht."

Galina, a 70-year-old grandmother with a cumulous cloud of white hair and stern, cornflower blue eyes, had returned to her fifth-floor walk-up from marching down Lenin Street waving a Soviet Navy flag in support of her beloved Black Sea Fleet. "Sevastopol is a Russian city, and we will never put up with the fact that Ukraine is in charge," she said.

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