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Why the Kremlin fears the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars

The Mejlis building in Simferopol. Archival photo.
Why the Kremlin fears the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

The desire of the Crimean occupying “authorities” to destroy the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has both a purely Crimean and a general Russian rationale.

The determination by the occupying “powers” in Crimea to destroy the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people (executive representative body of the Crimean Tatar people — Ed.), as recently demonstrated by Poklonskaya, the local occupation “prosecutor,” has both a purely Crimean and a general Russian rationale. It is precisely the overlap between the interests of the puppet “government” of Crimea and the Kremlin that has resulted in such a brutal attack. (Poklonskaya has appealed to the so-called “Supreme Court of the Republic of Crimea” to declare the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people as an extremist organization and to ban its activity in the territory of the Russian Federation — Ed.).

To begin with, since the annexation of Crimea, there has been no legitimate leadership on the peninsula. Ukraine has not formed a temporary government of Crimea on unoccupied territory — unlike Georgia, for example, which after losing control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, formed a government in exile for these territories. It turns out there is no government in Crimea at all. Aksyonov (Crimea’s “prime minister”), Konstantinov (“speaker” of the Crimean Parliament), and Poklonskaya are not leaders but ordinary war criminals who are simply sitting in Simferopol, pretending to be the “government” and who have no idea what will happen after the collapse of Putin — if they will be taken to Moscow to burn through what has been stolen in Crimea or if they will be extradited to Ukraine to face justice. Fortunately, there are plenty of accumulated questions for the thugs.

In this situation it appears that the only legitimate authority in Crimea is the Mejlis — the one that people have actually voted for. Well, we will not consider the Russian “elections” as elections, and not only from the perspective of the Crimean Tatars. It is clear that the Mejlis must be destroyed. Only after the destruction of the Mejlis will Crimea finally become a territory of gangster tyranny, territory where  it will be impossible to protect citizens against the occupiers and their lackeys, either through word or deed.

But this is not only the logic of annexation; it is also the logic of the entire Russian state structure. Since the late 80s of the past century, when civic consciousness was again awakened briefly among Russians, the Kremlin has stubbornly fought against national organizations that really enjoy the trust of the peoples of Russia. And the (Kremlin) systematically has replaced them with obedient facsimiles. This is because Moscow has not learned dialogue — either with citizens or with the nations that make up the populations of the Russian state. And in this situation the Mejlis is like a red cape to the authoritarian bull. Because it is not simply an organization. It is an elected organization. Elected by the people. And when Putin or Aksenov hear the words “honest elections” they unleash the “prosecutor.”

This is precisely why in Russian-occupied Crimea, the Mejlis is one of the main irritants for the Kremlin and its proxies. And they will do everything possible for it not to exist.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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