Regular visitors of the "Republic of KaZantip" were surprised when the republic's leadership announced that they would move to Anaklia in Georgia from their traditional location in Crimea.
The self-named "Republic of Kazantip" project has developed a reputation in the West in recent years as a month-long rave and party where more or less anything goes, set near the secluded village of Popovka on the Black Sea coast in Crimea.
"The reasons for the impossibility of holding the event in Crimea do not stem from the organizers — this is due to changes in government structure and the legal code, making the existence of the project impossible, at the least, for this year," organizers wrote on their website in an announcement of the move.
The rave has been occurring annually for over 20 years and presents itself as an independent state with its own laws and leadership. Describing itself as a "former democratic republic headed by a tyrannical president," KaZantip is led by President Nikita Marshunok, founder of the project and a reclusive figure who supposedly first created the event in 1992 with a local group of windsurfers.
In recent years, KaZantip has attracted thousands of guests from around the world, who pay about $150 to receive a "visa" to visit the republic during the brief period of its existence. While KaZantip's government resolutely insists that the republic is "not a festival," the yearly event does include almost nonstop electronic music played by an extensive lineup of DJs, which in previous years has included well-known international stars like Skrillex, Tiesto, Ricardo Villalobos, Pendulum, and Armin Van Buuren.
With lax law enforcement in rural Crimea, the festival has developed a reputation as a hotspot for heavy drinking and recreational drugs, which has contributed to the reasons for its shift in location. The Russian federal service for narcotics control announced that they were prepared to raid KaZantip this summer "as the territory is now part of the Russian Federation."
Nikita Marshunok has said that Anaklia will make an ideal new location for KaZantip, Gazeta.ru reported. Posts on the forum of the KaZantip website suggested that the republic's leadership is already hard at work translating their constitution into Georgian, and have offered free visas to all Georgian women.