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At the end of April 2022, the Russian mass media, as well as the media resources of Crimea controlled by the occupiers, spread the news under pretentious headlines such as “Crimean Tatars supported the special operation in Ukraine.” Of course, such reports encourage the search for answers to the question – whether the largest indigenous people of the occupied peninsula, the number of representatives of which is about three hundred thousand people in the region, unanimously or at least by an overwhelming majority came out in support of the full-scale war that the Russian Federation has been waging against Ukraine for more than Four months. Quite expectedly, given the tendency of Russian propagandists to exaggerate and distort facts, the analysis of the situation unequivocally denies such statements.
This time, as always, Russian home-grown opinion makers resorted to their usual technique – to take a private or even a single case and give it universal dimensions. As it turned out, the number of Crimean Tatars who allegedly supported the leader of the aggressor state, Vladimir Putin, in his mad desire to wipe Ukraine and its citizens from the face of the earth, numbered only three hundred or so – that is, a thousand times less than the Crimean Tatar population of the occupied peninsula. Moreover, the existence of any powers from the people in the participants of the rally under the famous name “All-People’s Congress of Crimean Tatars” is in absolute doubt, despite the fact that it was described as “a congress of municipal deputies and public organizations of Crimean Tatars.” According to Ervin Musayev, “adviser to the head of the Republic of Crimea”, who boasted of his participation in the organization of the celebration of the Russian “Victory Day” in the occupied Kherson region, the “congress” was held as a response to the actions of the “pseudo-democratic institutions of the USA and Western countries”, which “use the Crimean Tatar factor for the appeasement of Russia” – although with the latter Russia itself manages quite successfully even without external support.
During the “convention” held at the Crimean Tatar Academic Theater in temporarily occupied Simferopol, an appeal was adopted to Vladimir Putin and to the Crimean Tatars living on the mainland of Ukraine and in other countries, supporting the course of the President of the Russian Federation regarding “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine”. The text stated the following: “We, the Crimean Tatars who live in our homeland, in Crimea, express our full support for the foreign policy course of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, aimed at protecting the sovereignty and ensuring the security of the country and its citizens. Today, we as a people are fully integrated into the multinational society of the Russian Federation as full-fledged citizens. The state supports and protects all nations that are part of the common family of the Russian Federation, the development of their languages, traditions, culture and identity. In Crimea, everything is done to preserve and develop the culture, traditions, language and customs of the Crimean Tatars. Currently, it is important for all of us to consolidate, have a common statesmanship position, once again show loyalty to the motherland and call on the people to unite. The Russian Federation is a leading state with a strong economic and defense potential, led by a strong and decisive commander-in-chief. We believe in our leader, we believe in our joint victory. Thank you for the peaceful, clear sky overhead.” Despite the beginning of this tirade, it should be understood that its exponents are exclusively those Crimean Tatars who became signatories of this appeal, and not the entire Crimean Tatar people, who did not authorize the participants of this “national congress” to make any statements on its behalf. In addition, among the participants of the meeting there were no members of the representative bodies of the Crimean Tatar people, as well as independent journalists and lawyers, including those who defend the interests of political prisoners in the courts of the occupying state. During the “congress” issues relevant to the Crimean Tatars were not discussed, and no permanent structure responsible for the implementation of the decisions was created.
Questions also arise regarding the prerequisites and course of the organization of the “convention”, which was gathered ostensibly for the purpose of securing the Crimean Tatars from mass repressions by the Russian occupiers in the conditions of the war against Ukraine. In particular, according to journalist Muslim Umerov, as early as March 2022, Crimean “deputies” of all levels and “public representatives” allegedly voiced the need to discuss their goals and draft a statement that only the the Crimean Tatars, who live directly on its territory, and therefore the right to represent the Crimean Tatars have local “deputies”, and in no way the “extremist” Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people (hereinafter referred to as MKTN). Umerov also reported that the participants of the “convention” were mostly employees of agricultural enterprises, who were told that they had to go to “some concert” where they would have to raise their hands during “some kind of vote.”
Before the “congress”, the chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov, informed about the “provocative meeting place” that the plans of the occupation authorities of Crimea intend to involve students of the “Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University” and “budget workers”, including teachers. At the same time, it should be noted that the “honorary guest of the congress” was the “rector” of the mentioned “university” Chingiz Yakubov, who is also a “deputy of the state council of the Republic of Crimea”: during his speech he stated that the confrontation between the West and the East was also of the Crimean Khanate, and under the Russian Empire, and under the Soviet Union, and today, with its war against Ukraine, the Russian Federation is “responding to the aggressive actions of NATO” in order not to have a war on its territory. In this way, the “rector”, who should have been an independent figure, proved that he is only one of the “talking heads” relaying Putin’s crazy statements.
No less surprising were the statements of “Advisor to the President of the Republic of Crimea”, “President of the regional NGO “Society of Crimean Tatars “Inkishaf” Eskender Bilyalov, who declared that the future of the Crimean Tatar people “is with the Russian Federation, not with some other country”, and invited the Crimean Tatars , who “found themselves in a difficult situation in Ukraine”, to move to Crimea, where they will be helped in every possible way. Apparently, it is precisely to confirm these words that the Russian occupying security forces in the captured regions of southern Ukraine kidnap Crimean Tatars, in particular those who participated in the civil blockade of Crimea, and forcefully transport them to the occupied peninsula, where they condemn some of the detained men for their (mostly fictitious) involvement in the battalion named after Noman Chelebijihan, which the aggressor state recently declared a “terrorist organization”. Good “help”, needless to say.
According to Ayder Tipp, the so-called “Chairman of the State Committee of the Republic of Crimea on International Relations”, the interests of the people and acting on their behalf should be represented by “people’s elected officials” – that is, “deputies” of various levels, “united by a deep understanding of the problems and hopes of the people and sincere desire for their resolution”. One of these “deputies”, Albert Kurshutov, who presents the “Yalta City Council”, assures: the “documents” that were adopted during the “congress” and which Ayder Tippa had to transfer to Putin through the “Chairman of the Republic of Crimea” Serhii Aksyonov, can be considered “the position of the Crimean Tatar people”, which in the future no one has the right to change and distort, since the “deputies” as representatives of the people who elected them, unanimously supported the announced initiatives. Perhaps these words would be correct – if not for one “but”: even taking into account the obvious illegitimacy of the puppet “authority” in the occupied Crimea, “deputies” must solve certain issues within the limits of their competences and powers, which are conferred on them by their chosen ones In addition, representatives of the government (and even a fake one) should solve these issues within the framework of certain authorities – and in no case during various “people’s congresses”, at which they, as delegates, have the same voting rights as public figures. which in itself looks absurd. Moreover, the deputy elected to the authorities presents not only the ethnic community to which he belongs, but his voters who voted for him at a specific polling station, regardless of their nationality, religion, social status and other factors.
For more than eight years, the Russian occupiers have been inventing various “forms of self-organization” of the Crimean Tatar community of the peninsula – at various stages, these were “interregional public movements” such as the Kyrym organization named after the written off and forgotten Ramzi Ilyasov, the “Council of Elders”, etc. Currently, we are watching how the Crimean “authority” enacts scenes of support for the occupation of the peninsula and the war against Ukraine, not even through these or other organizations, but with the help of one-day “people’s congresses”. However, the only nationally elected and formed organization of national self-government of the Crimean Tatars was and remains the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, which, in turn, is the executive body of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar people.
At the end of March 2014, after the Russian occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially declared the Mejlis the highest representative body of the Crimean Tatar people, despite its lack of legal registration. In particular, the Deputy Chairman of the Mejlich Ilmi Umerov is convinced that the Crimean Tatars can only be presented by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people as an authorized elected representative body of the people – and in no case can a “circle of collaborators” do this.
It should be mentioned that the “supreme court of the Republic of Crimea” in April 2016 declared the Mejlim an “extremist organization” and banned its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation and Crimea occupied by it. Although even earlier, members of the aforementioned puppet “public movements and councils” pathetically “forbade” the Mejlis to speak on behalf of the Crimean Tatar people – as happened, for example, in December 2015 during the congress of the “Kyrym” movement. The same demand to the Mejlis was recently repeated by another Crimean collaborator – the “head of the regional national and cultural autonomy of the Crimean Tatars” Eyvaz Umerov, who is positioned in the Crimean mass media controlled by the occupiers as the “organizer” of the mentioned “all-nation congress of the Crimean Tatars” – although the organization of this event the already mentioned Ayder Tippa also attributed to himself. Umerov’s “title” cannot be called anything other than tragicomic – because by creating the mentioned “autonomy”, the Russian occupiers in Crimea make it clear that they consider the Crimean Tatars not as the largest of the three indigenous peoples of Crimea, but purely as one of the regional national minorities. It’s a pity that the holder of the title himself is not given to understand this.
Recently, the media of the aggressor state actively use Eyvaz Umerov as the voice of the opinion of all Crimean Tatars, presenting his statements under headings such as “Crimean Tatars declared / supported / confirmed …”, etc., and sometimes even call him the “leader of the Crimean Tatars” – although who only they it was not called that for the past eight years. So, for example, under the heading “Crimean Tatars expressed willingness to volunteer to participate in a special operation” Umerov’s statement was given that the Crimean Tatars as part of the invading Russian army are participating in hostilities against Ukraine, which is supposedly being “cleansed from the Nazis”, and even are ready to go to this war as volunteers to “protect the sovereignty” of the aggressor state. But Umerov forgot to add something – Crimean Tatar men and women, like other residents of the occupied Crimea, mostly find themselves in the ranks of the occupying army as a result of forced mobilization, due to blackmail by the fate of relatives and friends, receive mutilations, fall into captivity, and some of them have already returned home in a coffin.
During April, Eyvaz Umerov called for the residents of the southern regions of Ukraine occupied by Russian troops to be “protected from nationalists” by illegally issuing them passports of citizens of the Russian Federation, as well as to restore the so-called “Crimean Federal District” in order to “integrate” the specified territories, as well as… “historic the reunification of lands that never belonged to Ukraine within the borders of the Crimean Khanate” (!). At the beginning of May, Umerov announced that on the initiative of the “regional national and cultural autonomy of the Crimean Tatars” led by him and with the participation of unnamed elders of the Crimean Tatar people, prayers for servicemen of the armed forces of the Russian Federation were held in the houses and mosques of the Kirovsky, Pervomaysky, Soviet, Simferopol and Sudatsky districts of Crimea. participating in the war against Ukraine. “Our prayers are aimed at the earliest possible victory in the operation in Ukraine and the return of each of our soldiers home to their relatives and friends. Each of our soldiers on the front lines should feel the support of the multinational people, the power of our prayer, the power of our pride and love for our defenders,” – Umerov added.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify the testimony of the collaborator. However, the fact remains: in the occupied Crimea, the “authority” attracts a religious component to support its actions, represented not only by the three dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate, whose ministers sided with the occupiers as early as the spring of 2014, and in early June 2022 came under the direct control of the Russian Orthodox Church. The so-called “spiritual administration of the Muslims of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” (hereinafter referred to as “DUMKS”), which after the Russian occupation of Crimea, took the same position as the local branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the People’s Republic of Crimea, provides considerable assistance to the occupation regime in Crimea.
Not so long ago, we had to recall how the authorities of the aggressor state, with the beginning of a full-scale war against Ukraine, mobilized the Muslim clergy to support their actions and bless the flock to participate in aggressive actions against another state that was subjected to unprovoked military aggression. This wave did not pass by the Islamic circles of the occupied Crimea. In particular, on March 16, 2022, in Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia), an all-Russian scientific and practical conference was held on issues of spiritual service and social mission of religious organizations during the formation of the all-Russian civil identity of Russian Muslims. The participants of this event – leaders of Muslim religious organizations of the Russian Federation drafted a joint statement in support of Vladimir Putin’s decision regarding a “defensive” (sic!) war against Ukraine. One of the signatories of this statement, which was apparently created in the ranks of the Russian authorities or in the offices of the special services, was the “deputy mufti of the Muslims of Crimea” Esadullah Bairov, who during the mentioned event stated that the Crimean Tatars, whom the authorities of Ukraine in 2014 “intimidated with another deportation” (?!), during the Russian occupation of Crimea “stood side by side with the Russians and prevented a mutiny, surprising everyone with their solidarity.” In fact, with Bairov’s hands, “DUMKS” blessed the Muslims of Crimea to die for the interests of the Russian Federation in its war against Ukraine.
On the day of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the “Mufti of the Muslims of Crimea” Emirali Ablayev, who presents the interests of the occupying state to the Muslims, and not the other way around, made a brief appeal to fellow believers and “compatriots” with a call to remain calm, not to panic, to watch according to “official” information and not to believe fake news spread in social networks. At the end of April, during a collective iftar (break the fast) in Simferopol, the “Mufti of Crimea” appealed to his compatriots to pray to Allah that the Russian soldiers participating in the war against Ukraine return home as soon as possible. At the beginning of May, he declared Kherson “Russian” and announced the “establishment of ties” with the Muslim population of the regions of southern Ukraine occupied by the Russian army.
Another deputy of Ablayev, Raim Gafarov, took part in the mentioned “convention of municipal deputies and representatives of public organizations of Crimean Tatars”, which took place on April 30 in occupied Simferopol. During the event, Gafarov on behalf of his leader congratulated the meeting participants, made a statement in support of Vladimir Putin regarding the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, and after reading the prayers added: “May the work of the congress be for the good. I wish all of us to live in peace, harmony and unity in our native land. May Almighty Allah save us from harm and protect us. I ask the Almighty to support all our good deeds and intentions.” A week before the congress, Gafarov, together with the already mentioned “advisor to the head of the Republic of Crimea” Ervin Musaev and Crimean “public figure” Enver Abduraimov, took part in a collective iftar in the mosque of the village of Novooleksiiivka in the Kherson region, where more than two hundred Muslims from Crimea and Kherson region gathered regions occupied by the Russian Federation.
As we can see, the occupying regime appoints individual persons to voice slogans in support of the ruling regime and its aggressive aspirations, who are completely baselessly proclaimed the “voice of the people” – at the same time, the “people” becomes exclusively the “massovka”, recruited mainly from socially vulnerable categories of the population, dependent from “higher authorities”. Whether these “talking heads” speak and act on their own or on someone else’s desire, presenting only themselves is a question that investigators have to deal with. One way or another, after the deoccupation and reintegration of Crimea, there will certainly be questions from whom and for what.