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Journalist Ayder Muzhdabayev: Persecution of Crimean Tatars is a disgrace to Russia

Crimean Tartar protest against the Russian occupation.
Crimean Tartar protest against the Russian occupation.
Journalist Ayder Muzhdabayev: Persecution of Crimean Tatars is a disgrace to Russia
Article by: Ayder Muzhdabayev
Translated by: Peter Dutczyn

A huge and strong state, the Russian Federation, with the hands of the authorities appointed by it and the “officials” it has sent, is creating a tyranny in relation to an indigenous people – the Crimean Tatars, of whom there are no more than a million on Earth, and only about 300,000 in Crimea.

Crimean Tatars are forbidden to celebrate their holidays or commemorate the victims of political repressions wherever they occurred in their homeland, except at “places of compact residence”, which have de facto become an ethnic ghetto.

The democratically-elected leaders of the people are forbidden entry to Crimea.

Crimean Tatars are mistreated: at work and in everyday life – by colleagues and neighbours, who “suggest” that they get out of Crimea, on the streets – by people in masks and without them, calling themselves “self-defence”, and by “officials” all over the peninsula, for whom, it seems, the law doesn’t exist.

Widespread searches are taking place, during which in the building of the Majlis (Crimean Tatar Parliament in #Simferopol) and in people’s homes they look for “weapons and extremist literature”.

Naturally they don’t find any, because the Crimean Tatars have never taken up arms, and have never considered or committed any extremist acts.

Crimean Tatars are a peaceful people who do not pose a threat either to the authorities or to their neighbors of any nationality. Lately the moral terror in relation to the Crimean Tatars has increased severely. The aim is evidently to gradually force some of the indigenous people out of their homeland, and the rest to be forced to exist in Crimea as second-class citizens.

This is unworthy of a great country.

This is a disgraceful blot on the civilized world. This is inhuman treatment of defenceless people. This must be stopped.

I appeal to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. Stop the mistreatment of the Crimean Tatars – in your government. I appeal to the leaders of the countries of the world and international organizations – it is in your power to express support for the Crimean Tatar people and influence the situation, to prevent it from getting to forced deportation and apartheid. I appeal to the world and Russian communities, to famous writers and poets, artists and scholars, sportspeople, and religious figures – raise your voices in defence of Crimean Tatars.

Unfortunately, until now the Crimean Tatars have mainly either unfulfilled promises or indifferent silence heard from the people and organizations listed above.

This is unconscionable and, ultimately, it is disgraceful. Crimean Tatars don’t cry. But it is already impossible to look at the tears of women and children who don’t know what kind of fate awaits them. I ask all people – those who are not indifferent or who have some power – to do everything to stop this persecution of a people who had already suffered, almost half of whom died during Stalin’s deportation.

A country that destroys the weak cannot be considered great. A world in which such injustice reigns cannot be considered civilized. A person who sees this and doesn’t try to oppose it cannot have a clear conscience.

Translated by: Peter Dutczyn
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