As tension mounts in the Crimea


With only days remaining, and tension high, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is urging members and observers of all diplomatic missions in Ukraine to come to Simferopol on 18 May, the 69th anniversary of the Deportation.  Mustafa Dzhemiliev, Head of the Mejlis, says that they will also be inviting the Permanent Representative of the President to attend the Remembrance Gathering to mark the Deportation, ordered by Stalin in 1944 of the Crimean Tatars from their homeland.

With regard to Anatoly Mohylyov, Head of the Crimean Government, Mustafa Dzhemiliev noted that he has been making provocative statements and attempting provocation with respect to the Crimean Tatar People and carrying out purges, removing Crimean Tatars from the authorities in the Crimea.

While according to diplomatic etiquette he could be invited, Mustafa Dzhemiliev said that this was not guaranteed  “It would be simply impossible to control the reaction to a person who makes statements regarding the Crimean Tatar people in a Stalinist spirit and to stop them from reacting.”.

He points out that Mohylyov was formally unwell last year and can be just as formally ill this year.

He said that an alternative meeting if widely attended could spark the same trouble as the presence of Mohylyov, however the Mejlis would not be stopping fellow Crimean Tatars from taking part in an alternative meeting.  He says that there was such an alternative gathering last year.  Their people counted that there were 171 participants. This year, however, since it is the Crimean authorities under Mohylyov who are behind such attempts, an alternative gathering could get more participants. He says that there is information that those who come will receive land plots, while those who don’t won’t get them.

As reported, the Simferopol authorities have been refusing to work with the Mejlis in coordinating the remembrance events on 17 and 18 May.   Tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars and other Ukrainians gather each year to honour the memory of the victims of that crime.

In March Mohylyov had the following to say:

“The Mejlis is a structure outside the legal framework in Ukraine. I am ready to cooperate with MP Dzemiliev and Member of the Crimean Parliament Chubarov [Mejlis Head and Deputy Head, respectively - HC] however let’s get rid of this word Mejlis.”

Since1991 when newly independent Ukraine encouraged the Crimean Tatars deported in 1944 to return to their native Crimea, the Mejlis has been the representative executive body elected by the Crimean Tatar Kurultai [National Congress], of the Crimean Tatars who now constitute around 12% of the Crimea’s population.

Mohylyov is well-aware that the lack of official recognition for the Mejlis has long aroused concern, and by no means only in Ukraine. The lack of de jure status does not diminish the standing of the Mejlis, and his attempts to “remove the word” or present the Mejlis as an outlaw organization will not wash.  

Mustafa Dzhemiliev is convinced that Mohylyov is simply carrying out President Yanukovych’s instructions. He believes that the latter has it in for the Mejlis both because it acts as an autonomous body, and because it has in recent years supported parties and candidates in opposition to Yanukovych.

More information both about the tension and about Mohylyov’s hate speech and dubious actions at Dangerous Manoeuvres in the Crimea

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