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Remembrance of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism banned in Simferopol

Halya Coynash

   Remembering the Victims of the Deportation in Kyiv when "mass events" were banned by the Crimean occupation regime

The Simferopol authorities have refused to allow Crimean Tatars to hold their traditional remembrance gathering to mark European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism on Aug 23.  They claim that this is because of the hot weather.

Dilyaver Akiyev, head of the Secretariat of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People showed 15 minutes a copy of the city council letter.  There are many words, but the essence is that that people could get sunstroke because of the hot weather. 

“Holding the public event announced could adversely affect their (the participants’) state of health and exacerbate chronic illnesses.  In some cases it could lead to the organism overheating and people feeling much worse”.

They were advised to hold the gathering indoors.

This is not the first time since Russia occupied the Crimea that remembrance meetings have been banned.  Two days before the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar People, the authorities banned all public events in the Crimea

Refat Chubarov , head of the Mejlis said then

Can you imagine – there are 22 regions and in each region there are places where people come to honour the dead, places with memorial stones, and Crimean Tatars on May 17-18 don’t have the right to go there together to pay their respects, to honour those people! I don’t know what kind of person you have to be to not think of the consequences! I don’t know how to stop people so that they don’t go there. It’s like telling everybody “Don’t go to your holy places, don’t visit your dead” If they prohibited you, how would you act?  Force can stop everything, or not everything – it won’t stop the human spirit.”

He likened it to Jewish people being prohibited from honouring the victims of the Holocaust or Ukrainians – those who were starved to death in Holodomor.

The ban was to some extent defied, however the traditional meeting in the centre of Simferopol  was prevented with huge numbers of Russian OMON riot police and soldiers blocking the centre.  The authorities also had military helicopters circling over people’s heads.

The ban was lifted in time for the Crimean occupation regime to put on a grandiose show for Russian Language Day on June 6.

This did not stop the Simferopol authorities from then preventing events to mark Crimean Tatar Flag Day from being held in the centre.  Once again, this was the first time that Crimean Tatars had been obstructed.  Refat Chubarov reacted angrily, saying that the authorities were trying to segregate Crimean Tatars. 

And silence them. 

The response from Russian and/or its occupation regime in the Crimea has been to ban Chubarov from his homeland for five years.  This was the second ban, after that imposed on veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemliev.  

Since a similar ban has now been imposed on the owner of the Crimean News Agency and adviser to the Mejlis, Isbet Yuksel (a Turkish national who has lived in Crimea for 20 years, it is unfortunately likely that there will be others.

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