Mustafa Jemiliev: Crimean Tatars full of foreboding about the future
Mustafa Jemiliev, MP, former political prisoner and champion of Crimean Tatar rights, and Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people were detained for an hour on the border of the Kherson region and the Crimea on Saturday. Six men with rifles surrounded the two men and removed their documents. They initially said nothing about why they were stopping them, then they stated that they were on a persona non grata list of people not allowed into the Crimea under its occupation government. However after an hour, the men were allowed to continue.
Jemiliev had not been in the Crimea since its annexation and Radio Svoboda reports that he was greeted by supporters along the way.
The Crimean News Agency reports, however, that the Ukrainian flag raised over the Mejlis building in Simferopol to mark Jemiliev’s arrival provoked a visit from the local police. Riza Shekiyev, member of the Mejlis told the officers that he has a citizen of Ukraine, the building belongs to his civic organization, the Crimea Foundation, not to the state. He said it was therefore unclear why they had come to ask about the flag at all. He was told that there had been “a phone call from concerned people”. The officers also tried to claim that the Ukrainian flag could cause various forms of provocation and attacks on the building. They were rightly told that it was the responsibility of the law enforcement bodies to prevent such incidents and to punish those who resort to such provocation.
Mustafa Jemiliev told Hromadskie.TV that according to his sources in the Russian Security Service [FSB], a majority within the FSB is in favour of deportation and of creating the sort of conditions that will force the Crimean Tatars to leave. There are also those who believe that this will damage Russia’s reputation.
Jemiliev added that manifestations of xenophobia on an everyday basis in the Crimea have increased. “For example, the so-called “Cossacks” ask: “When are you leaving? After all they’re going to evict you and I want to move into your flat.” He says that this is said by neighbours who used to visit each other. Children are beginning to attack Crimean Tatars especially if they’re speaking their own language. The children are picking this up from adults. He says that among Crimean Tatars there is a sense of foreboding and anxiety regarding the future.