World Bulletin / News Desk
The Mejlis (Parliament) of the Crimean Tatars has revealed that it is stepping back from its idea to hold a seperate referendum after Crimea was annexed by Russia based on the votes of the mainly ethnic Russian population of the peninsula.
Having boycotted the March 16 referendum amid claims that it was being held under the threat of pro-Russian militias who had occupied the region, the Mejlis previously discussed holding a referendum to seek the community's unity with the Kiev-based Ukrainian government.
However, in the last meeting, Mejlis leader Refat Chubarov said that efforts would now be put into seeking autonomy for the community, which would be done within the framework of talks with Russia, Ukraine, the United Nations, the European Council and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
As the natives of the peninsula, the Turkic-speaking Muslim Crimean Tatars were reduced to a minority in their homeland after former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin exiled them in masses in 1944. Fearing a repeat of such events, the Crimean Tatars have opposed the region's annexation by Russia.
Tatarstan urges Putin to review rehabilitation of Crimean Tatars
The president of Russia’s constituent republic of Tatarstan on Tuesday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to review the country’s rehabilitation law and apply it to the Crimean Tatars.
"I have visited Crimea on three separate occasions. They [Crimean Tatars] fell victim to political reprisals 70 years ago. You said in clear terms in your message that the Rehabilitation Law passed by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SSR on April 26, 1991, should be applied to the Crimean Tatars. This would provide moral incentives for the Crimean Tatars to comply with Russian law," Rustam Minnikhanov told Putin.
Russia’s rehabilitation law applies to those who suffered from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s mass deportations in the 1930s and 1940s. The law has previously been applied to ethnic groups in the North Caucasus, including the Chechens and Ingushetians.
Putin responded by saying he would consider the matter and appoint a commission to review a possible exoneration of the Crimean Tatar community.
"I will certainly give orders to look into the matter," Putin said at a meeting with Minnikhanov.
Russia unilaterally annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula after taking control of the region on February 26-27 when armed gunmen, believed to be Russian Special Forces, seized the regional parliament and the capital Simferopol's airport.
In a controversial referendum held on March 16, Crimea voted to secede from Kiev in favor of unification with Moscow.
Putin signed a bill into law that officially incorporated Crimea into the Russian Federation on March 21.Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2014, 11:32