Russian media started demonizing Crimean Tatars. What is their goal? 



Article by: Mustafa Chaush
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Simferopol – Lately, the Russian media have more and more frequently started publicizing articles on the fact that Islamist radicals are ready to begin combat in Crimea. For example, on October 8, Nezavisemaya Gazeta published an article titled “Islamists are planning something in Crimea,” in which, based on the statements made on social networks, conclusions are drawn that there is a high possibility of the emergence of an armed camp in Crimea on part of the biggest group of local Muslims, the Crimean Tatars.

The website of the Russian Center for the Study of National Conflicts and the Federal Expert Network published a prognosis regarding the situation in inter-ethnic relations in Russian regions, Crimea in particular. According to the experts at the Center, the main problem on the peninsula is the “destructive” activity of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, and according to their prognosis, “a serious incident may provoke massive conflict.”

The Crimean Tatar public is currently suffering through the recent events surrounding the disappearance and mysterious deaths of Crimean Tatars. Meanwhile, the Crimean Tatar society has no aggression or calls for war. This was confirmed by Human Rights Watch expert Yulia Horbunova, who spent the last weeks doing research on the peninsula.

“The general mood of the people is quite crestfallen, however I did not hear any militaristic or hostile statements. On principle, Crimean Tatars do not want confrontation,” the international human rights organization representative noted.

One of the missing, Edem Asanov, was found hanged in an abandoned building on October 6. According to official reports, the 25-year-old man committed suicide. Earlier head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov warned that the investigation would insist on the non-violent nature of Asanov’s death.

Mejlis: events in Crimea are reminiscent of the ‘Chechen scenario’ 

Head of the international communications department at the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Ali Khamzin emphasizes the fact that events in Crimea are now unfolding according to the ‘Chechen scenario.’

Such activity on part of Russian media is very reminiscent of what happened during the armed conflicts in the Caucasus, Chechnya in particular. First kidnapping and disappearance of people, spreading information about radicalization and creation of groups of mercenaries and, as a consequence, heightened activity on part of the Russian army against a certain group of people.

Meanwhile famous Russian journalist Maxim Shevchenko, who is considered to be close to the Kremlin, during his visit to Yalta shared his thoughts on Crimean Tatars and noted their love for peace.

“They are a good, hard-working people who, if treated with respect, may be a friend, a brother, and build our common Crimea together. I speak a lot to Crimean Tatars and do not feel any hostility neither to the Russian nor the Ukrainian population of Crimea, non-Crimean Tatar, so to speak. This is the first nation within the Russian Federation, besides the Chechens, however, there was war there, which may boast that they had a special discussion with the President of the huge Russian Federation, which includes another 194 nations, about the problems of their people,” said the Russian journalist in a comment to Radio Liberty.

Mejlis asks Crimean Tatars not to leave Crimea

Meanwhile the Mejlis is asking not to leave Crimea and not give in to provocations, despite the psychological pressure.

“We have to remain in Crimea in the name of the Motherland and the principles we preached, to return at any cost. We have a powerful form of countering in the shape of the global community, and we have to take advantage of this. The Kremlin should finally understand that we have no logical reasons to take up arms and fight,” emphasized Ali Khamzin.

Earlier national leader of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev also addressed his compatriots with the petition not to leave the peninsula.

According to the UN, the number of forced migrants from Crimea to continental Ukraine has increased to almost 18 thousand people.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

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