Putin’s approach to Crimean Tatar leaders like Brezhnev’s toward Soviet refuseniks, Portnikov says

Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov during a press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey after their release from prison and expulsion abroad by the Putin regime. October 26, 2017, Ankara, Turkey (Image: YouTube video capture)

Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov during a press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey after their release from prison and expulsion abroad by the Putin regime. October 26, 2017, Ankara, Turkey (Image: YouTube video capture) 

Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Russia

Vladimir Putin’s freeing and then expulsion abroad of Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, two leaders of the Crimean Tatar Milli Mejlis, follows the scenario the Soviet Union used under Leonid Brezhnev when it expelled political opponents and Jewish refuseniks, Vitaly Portnikov says.

Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer

Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer

That is, the Ukrainian commentator continues, Moscow did so “secretly, by secret decrees and to that Western country which was prepared to serve as a place of asylum or transit.”

Indeed, one can say, Portnikov argues that Umerov and Chizygoz are also ‘prisoners of Zion,’ with this difference: their people is already in its historical motherland and seeks recognition of its right to determine the fate of Crimea without ‘polite little green men’” and other Putinist inventions.

“In Soviet times, the country which was concerned about the freedom and security of its heroes was the State of Israel. But Israel, if one is honest, did not have great influence on the anti-Semitic Kremlin elders who could not forgive the small country for the defeat of the Arab armies and their Soviet advisors in the Six Day War of 1967.”

Fortunately, Israel received help from the international community and “above all the Jewish community of the US. It turned out that the Soviet leaders did not find it so easy to say no to American presidents. The White House had levers on the Kremlin then and now,” the Ukrainian commentator continues.

“Today the country which has assumed responsibility for the future of the Crimean Tatar people and the preservation of the Mejlis, its parliament which has been banned in Russia, is Ukraine,” Portnikov says. But its influence on the Kremlin now is “completely comparable” to that of Israel and for the same reason: Ukrainians proved ready to “fight for freedom.”

Ukraine has now received help from Turkey because while Moscow can “ignore Poroshenko,” it is “much more difficult for it to ignore Erdogan.

There is another parallel in these two situations which is even more important. “The liberation of ‘the prisoners of Zion’ showed that the Jewish movement in the Soviet Union really existed, that it had to be taken into account and that repressions against its activists could lead to undesirable consequences for the USSR leadership,” such as the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

“The freeing of Umerov and Chiygoz according to this scenario … also shows that no judicial decisions about banning the Mejlis can destroy the international authority of the popular parliament of the Crimean Tatars or the need to take that body into account.” Indeed, by freeing these two, Putin has recognized that they are “political figures whose freedom must be respected.”

And that in turn means, Portnikov continues, that the Crimean question whatever Moscow propagandists say, is “hardly closed just as the Jewish question was not closed after the latest ban on departures from the USSR. The will of peoples, even small but free ones, always is stronger than the will of dictators.”

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Rafael Hernandez

    I’m sure if these ‘tatar leaders’ weren’t islamists and jihadists, Russia would treat them nice. There are over 6 million tatars living perfectly fine in Russia. EP propaganda works fine on those with little intelligence.

    • Fortranz

      “- I’m sure if these ‘tatar leaders’ weren’t islamists and jihadists, Russia would treat them nice.-”

      Sure Rafael Hernandez [usefuluseless-idiot of the St Petersburg troll factory] like how the Russians treated the Muslims in Chechnya nice, right?

      • Ihor Dawydiak

        Rafochko also conveniently ignores the trouble that has been brewing in Tatarstan (among the Kazan Tatars) where locals have taken a defiant stand against Moscow as a result of their loss of autonomy and increased attempts to russify this region in the Russian Federation.

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      Rafael, insults aren’t arguments.

      And I do have doubts about your ‘argument’ that “There are over 6 million tatars living perfectly fine in Russia.” and it was exposed a few minutes ago as the lie it is by Ihor Dawydiak. So there’s no need anymore for me to do so again.
      So only the denigrating of your opponents is what remains of your post… A rather poor result for your effort as it exposes you for what you really are…

  • Fortranz

    “- Putin’s approach to Crimean Tatar leaders like Brezhnev’s toward Soviet refuseniks -”

    How typical of Russians: When confronted by a people(s) who don’t want your government revert to Stalin-ism [Russiafication].

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      Speaking of the two former Soviet leaders, Putin adores Stalin (another dwarf) but despises Brezhnev. Why? It has nothing to do with ideology or the fact that Brezhnev was a better imperialist. It’s all about image politics. The Russian “bear” had larger man breasts and larger everything else including only one eyebrow and Putin can’t compete.

  • zorbatheturk

    At least these Tatars are out of fascist RuSSia.