The view from the ground in Simferopol

Pro-Russian sympathizers donate money for local militants at a small rally on March 5, 2014 in Simferopol, Ukraine. 

Context, in economics and geopolitics, is everything. Who's doing what to whom, and what happens as a result.

So with that in mind, we asked the BBC's Natalia Antelava to tell us what things are like in the ground on Simferopol, the Crimean capital.

What's the mood like?

"Nervous. I'd say it's even more nervous than it was a week ago... People woke up this morning in Crimea not quite sure whether they were waking up into Ukraine or Russia."

Does it feel like a Cold War? Does that phrase have a different meaning there?

"It does. And actually Cold War has never been the phrase very widely used in the former Soviet Union, so that's not the words people are using. But the sentiments are certainly the same. Especially among people who are publicly supporting Russia."

What's life like on the ground? What's changed about the day to day?

"Prices are going up. People have been telling me they have been stocking up on some things, like flour and the basics. But the city on the outside is functioning normally. I went to the market this morning and talked to some ladies selling vegetables, and they were complaining about prices... saying, 'But it's ok, because once we join Russia, Putin will take care of us."

What does it feel like to you?

"It feels like the 1990s. I myself am Georgian, I grew up in post-Soviet Georiga, and the breakaway republics, like...they never developed as autonomous... they're these frozen conflicts that every once in awhile flare up. And that's what people fear here."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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