Chubarov: Simferopol authorities are segregating Crimean Tatars
June 26 2014 is the fifth time that Crimean Tatar Flag Day is celebrated in the Crimea. In all previous years, the event took place in the centre of Simferopol. This year, as reported, the Simferopol authorities under Russian occupation have refused to let it take place in the centre. Almost to the last minute the ‘authorities’ in Simferopol procrastinated with agreeing a place to hold the festival. Crimean Tatars (and not only they) are understandably angered by the overt discrimination.
The pretext for the ban was that on June 26 the civic organization ‘Russian Community’ is holding a Mordovia – Crimea marathon on the central Lenin Square. Radio Svoboda reports that the authorities also claimed that the Flag Day could not be held in the centre of the city because it supposedly posed a danger to hundreds of children who visit the park”.
Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, asks what kind of danger could possibly be presented by the planned children’s drawing on the asphalt; a culinary competition; exhibition of national art work and a concert.
“This is segregation of the Crimean Tatars. Segregation of Crimean Tatar children. You want to hold an event? By all means – on the outskirts of the city. It seems to me that those who banned or passed this decision are still working on the assumption as they put it that Simferopol is ‘ours’, that is, theirs”.
Permission was received to hold the festivities in the micro-district of Al-Mechet on the outskirts of Simferopol.
The car rally planned also to mark Crimean Tatar Flag Day was also banned with the excuse for this being that it might cause ‘inconvenience for forms of transportation and their passengers.”
Crimean Tatar Flag Day was not the first time under Russian occupation that Crimean Tatars have been prevented from holding events in the centre of Simferopol. In May the occupation regime banned the traditional remembrance gatherings marking the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation.
One of the responses both from Crimean Tatars and from some Ukrainians outraged at the ban was a flashmob in the centre of Simferopol (and in other parts of the Crimea) with young men and women appearing dressed in full national costume.
As can be seen from the Radio Svoboda photos, some of those who came to express their solidarity with Crimean Tatars on this day wore Ukrainian embroidered blouses / shirts.