All eyes are on the Crimean Peninsula, which has just been annexed by Russia after a popular vote to secede from Ukraine. Potential flashpoints for escalation, with grave implications for world peace, include the fate of the Crimean Tatar ethnic minority and the thousands of Ukrainian military troops that remain in the territory.
But Crimea, with its agreeable climate (by Russo-Ukrainian standards), has also long been a hippie haven. Since 2007, "Fairy Town" festivals have been held several times each year in different parts of Ukraine, mostly Crimea. These events, on the model of the Rainbow Gatherings and Burning Man in the USA, are organized by a group calling itself the Rainbow Academy, based in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the local Crimean capital Simferopol. And while Crimea's Black Sea coast is now more famous for the Russian naval fleet based there, it also hosts numerous nude beaches that have long been a magnet for Ukrainian and Russian hippies and self-styled Slavic Rastafarians. It will be interesting to see if these ecstacy-seeking bliss bunnies will continue to have a haven as Crimea is contested by rival powers -- or, if some of the more activist-oriented Crimean hippies can play a role as peace-makers, advocating ethnic co-existence. We'd love to hear from any contacts in the Rainbow Academy.