Political manoeuvres by Kiev seen as provocation by Crimean Tatars

Ukranian authorities are trying to undermine the influence of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People which has always represented a clear majority; Cemilev warns of danger of bloodshed

Political manoeuvres by Kiev seen as provocation by Crimean Tatars

World Bulletin/News Desk
The Ukrainian government and its representatives in Crimea have taken several new steps to undercut and divide the Crimean Tatar national movement, and Mejlis leader Mustafa Cemilev warns that these policies may lead to bloodshed if the authorities do not reverse their ban of upcoming commemorations of the 1944 deportation of his nation, according to the Window on Eurisa report.

Tatyana Ivzhenko from Nezavisimaya gazeta reported both about what the Ukrainian government has done in recent weeks and why both Crimean Tatars and experts on that region say that these moves of a divide and rule kind could trigger violence on the peninsula in the near future.

According to the report, Crimean Prime Minister Anatoly Mohilev ignored Mejlis requests that the Crimean Presidential Council of the Crimean Tatar People be elected rather than appointed. Instead, in convening that body for the first time since 2010, Mohilev welcomed the president’s appointment of a man who is openly antagonistic to the Mejlis.

Also in February, the Crimean Republic government named another opponent of the Mejlis, Refat Kenzhaliyev, in place of Mejlis ally Eduard Dudakov to head the Republic Committee on Inter-Ethnic Relations which oversees a 7.5 million US dollar budget for the repatriation of the Crimean Tatars, report says.

And at the end of last month, officials in the republic government removed Remzi Ilyasov, who is deputy to Mejlis head Mustafa Cemilev and widely assumed to his probable successor, from the position of chairman of Crimea’s parliamentary commission on inter-ethnic relations and the problems of deported citizens. In his place, the government named businessman Enver Abduraimov, who, Ivzhenko says, has “complicated relations with the Mejlis.”

According to Cemilev, the Crimean Republic government has also dismissed “more than twenty” representatives of the Mejlis at all levels of government,” a clear indication that Kyiv and its representatives in Crimea want to divide the Crimean Tatars and weaken their oldest and most prominent organization.

Another potentially explosive situation is looming due to the decision by the Simferopol City Council to ban remembrance events on 17 – 18 May to mark the anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar People. According to the Human Rights in Ukraine, there is a serious danger of clashes if Crimean officials continue to try to ban meetings on the May 18th anniversary of the 1944 deportation or to allow only Crimean Tatars not connected with the Meclis to lead them.

Cemilev said that 30 to 35,000 people will take part in a demonstration in Simferopil on May 18 that the Meclis plans to hold regardless of what the officials say, and he added that if Crimean Tatars see “the renegades” who are working against the Meclis on the platform, “no one will be safe.”

The Mejlis leader said that he is appealing to the Crimean Tatar diaspora to organize similar meetings on May 18 in front of Ukrainian embassies around the world to protest the efforts of Mohilev to “ethnically cleanse” the Crimean Government of Crimean Tatars with Mejlis ties.

And Cemilev concluded that what the Ukrainian authorities are doing is simply the latest variation of their old “divide and rule” tactic, an approach that the Crimean Tatars have long experience with and know how to respond.

Last Mod: 02 Mart 2013, 11:16
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