Protest against the shutdown of ATR Crimean Tartar TV channel in Crimea by the Russian occupation authorities (Image: krymr.org)
Moscow officials are asserting and some in the West are accepting the notion that local officials in Crimea are to blame for any problems with the registration of Crimean Tatar media outlets such as ATR television, but that is a lie in the case of the former and a self-deception on the part of the latter, Ayder Muzhdabayev says.
The Moscow journalist, himself a Crimean Tatar, says the occupation authorities simply were waiting for the Kremlin’s decision. Had that been other than to close Crimean Tatar outlets, they would have extended ATR’s license “instantly” because this is “a routine bureaucratic” step.
Consequently, he argues, the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin personally must be held accountable for this most unfortunate action as well as for the fact that Moscow has begun “ethnic cleansings” in the Ukrainian peninsula as a first step to what he calls “a hybrid genocide” of the Crimean Tatar nation.
The entirely “intentional” Moscow lies about what is happening in Crimea is “the latest link in a chain of lies about the real situation of the Crimean Tatar people under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and has the following goal: having hid this reality from the world community, to continue the persecution of the Crimean Tatars in an ever more harsh way.”
This situation threatens to take the form of “a repetition of the worst examples of the policies of Stalin and Hitler.” And in the near term, Muzhdabayev says, he is “certain that soon the leaders and employees of ATR will be subjected not only to threats but to administrative and criminal persecution with equally false accusations.”
Foreign diplomats need to recognize that Moscow is lying to them and is moving quickly to “liquidate” the only Crimean Tatar television and radio channels. That is bad enough, but “still worse” is that it is becoming “a signal for the beginning of a new phase of repressions against the Crimean Tatars,” repressions designed to force some to “’voluntarily’” deport themselves.
The actions if not the words of Russian officials show that that is what they are planning and that the world must speak out against this latest case of “ethnic cleansing,” this time against the Crimean Tatars. And they must begin with a recognition that “the resolution of the national question” in Crimea is the work of Putin personally not some unknown local official.
The time to speak out against and stop this “hybrid genocide” is now, Muzhdabayev concludes.
The situation is truly dire. As Halya Coynash points out, “As well as lies about the forced silencing of Crimean Tatar TV ATR and plans to replace it with a malleable pro-regime clone, a top figure in Russian-occupied Crimea has proposed that the ‘cult’ of May 18 – the anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar People in 1944 should be stopped and Crimeans should instead celebrate a ‘day of joy.’”
The Ukrainian commentator cites the words of Dmitry Polonsky, the first deputy prime minister of the occupation regime, as given to Lenta.ru. They are truly frightening in their implications for anyone who remembers how Hitler and Stalin lied about what they did at the time and how so many fell for their words.
According to Polonsky, “a joint conference of all major civic Crimean Tatar organizations” on April 2, a statement that itself is a lie because all Crimean Tatars who oppose the occupation were excluded, “expressed the opinion that it is long time to remove the accent from May 18. This is undoubtedly the anniversary of a tragedy, a day of mourning, however it should be held in memory of the dead, by going to the cemetery and remembering the innocent victims at home.”
“The cult of 18 May among Crimean Tatars was for decades artificially created by the leaders of the so-called mejlis in order to give people an inferiority complex,” Polonsky said. “ It’s impossible to build plans about the successful development of a people on the basis of a tragedy. That, incidentally, was the great mistake of the Ukrainian authorities that constantly tried to create a cult out of various tragedies, whether Holodomor or the deportation. It’s impossible to build a strong nation on failings.”
Polonsky said that the pocket Crimean Tatar activists had proposed an alternative Crimean Tatar holiday to occur on April 21, “the day that the President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed a degree about the rehabilitation of victims of the deportation …From a day of mourning we must nonetheless move to a day of joy. … You need to remember the dead quietly, and rejoice loudly.”