On Saturday, May 3, Russian OMON spetsnaz forces, together with the so-called Crimean “police”, prevented Mustafa Dzhemilev from entering the Crimea.
Around 5 thousand Crimean Tatars arrived at Armyansk on the border between Kherson oblast and the Crimea early on Saturday morning. Many had tears in their eyes as they greeted the veteran leader of the Crimean Tatars a day after he was stopped by the Russian authorities in Moscow from travelling to Simferopol in the Crimea. He was informed that this was in accordance with a five year ban on his entry to the Russian Federation. With the Crimea having been annexed by Russia, this ban now includes Mustafa Jemiliev’s homeland, Jemiliev called the ban on his entry to the Crimea “the zone of Russian democracy”.
Several thousand Crimean Tatars came right up to the checkpoint, and then formed a corridor to enable Jemiliev to cross into the Crimea. The Crimea News Agency reports that the acting interior minister, Sergei Abisov arrived at the border and told those present that Mustafa Jemiliev would not be allowed to enter.
In speaking with the head of the Mejlis, Refat Chubarov, Abisov claimed that there had been information in the press about the ban on Jemiliev entering the Russian Federation for 5 years and that Jemiliev himself had received this document.
The dishonesty is astounding. The ban was reported on April 22, yet by the following day high-ranking people in both Russia and the Crimea were claiming that the document presented to Mustafa Jemiliev had been a fake.
The ban, as we see, is no fake. It is, however a monstrous affront to Mustafa Jemiliev and the entire Crimean Tatar people, and a violation of Jemiliev’s rights.
It was yet again a credit to Jemiliev and the Crimean Tatars that the stand-off ended without bloodshed. The leader of the Crimean Tatars, a man of immense moral standing, known throughout the world has been banned from entering his homeland.
Refat Chubarov is quoted as saying that “it seems any Crimean Tatar can today not be allowed back to his homeland. The Crimean Tatars who for 50 years fought for the right to live in their homeland.”
As reported, the Mejlis decided on Friday evening to cancel celebrations of a major Crimean Tatar festival following the refusal of the Russian authorities to allow Jemiliev to fly to Simferopol. It was decided instead to travel to the border with the Kherson oblast to meet Jemiliev who has still not even received an official decision regarding the reasons for the ban.
The Kremlin-backed self-styled prime minister of the Crimea, Sergei Aksenov claimed that Jemiliev had come to the Crimea “at the instigation of the western security service to destabilize the situation”.
Crimean Tatars began blocking roads near Simferopol, Bakhchysarai and other places in protest. However it was decided that Jemiliev would return to Kyiv in order to avoid confrontation and bloodshed.
The decision was doubtless wise. Over the last two months Russia has been waging an undeclared war using all means to provoke conflict and create the impression that Ukrainians are fighting among themselves.
The head of the Mejlis has said that the situation with Jemiliev’s return must be resolved by May 18 when visitors from all over the world will be in the Crimea remembering the victims of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar people in May 1944.
The ban on Mustafa Jemiliev’s return to his homeland on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation is a personal tragedy and a profound affront, and seems deliberately aimed at stirring up conflict.
Please see the following for details about the ban and other repressive measures against the Crimean Tatars, as well as a translation of most of the Mejlis’ decision, adopted in response to the ban: Russian ban on Mustafa Jemiliev enforced