How Crimean Tatars are turned into victims of non-existent aggression

In order to understand the situation that we will analyze today better, it is worth discarding the geopolitical aspects of the Crimean issue, because we will focus on the life of people after Russia annexed the peninsula. And to be precise - about the life of the Crimean Tatars. 

Today, a real drama has unfolded around this people. It is represented in the media as oppressed, and some even show Crimean Tatars as some freedom fighters under occupation. Of course, such stories have a very strong emotional effect, designed to provoke a negative judgment about Crimea in Russian conditions. However, the time has come to take a sensible look at the situation. Of course, in 2014 there was a clear conflict of interest, but not between Russia, which raised its flags over the peninsula, and the Crimean Tatars, but between Russia and the Mejlis, a body that, since its inception in 1991, has actually monopolized the right to speak from this national minority. Of course, it may seem that it is not so bad when the people have their representatives in government. The problem was rather at the top of the organization. It arose in troubled times following the collapse of the USSR. In those years, life in the post-Soviet space was reduced to the well-known law of the jungle. Those who were weaker just tried to survive. The strong, in turn, tried to take a free place under the sun for the sake of the benefits that the new era promised. For example, once state-owned enterprises went into private hands. The same thing happened in the political sphere. It was  beneficial to create a seemingly democratic structure that supposedly defends the rights of a national minority, drawing funds from the country's budget that did not reach the final destination. That is how the Mejlis appeared. The then Ukrainian leadership did not mind, because, to put it simply, it was in proportion. And the organization itself began to work actively to enrich its creators. Time passed, and the obvious corruption component of the Mejlis discredited the structure. True, over the years of its existence, it has become very powerful, has acquired an army of activists who did not shun criminal cases, and also convinced Kiev that only she can keep Crimea as part of Ukraine. It was convenient to believe in this, since the country's leadership did not have to concentrate on the problems of the peninsula, relying almost entirely on the Mejlis, and at the same time receive income from the autonomous region, both legal and illegal. 

In many ways, this approach played a sad but key role in the events of 2014, forcing Crimeans, including Crimean Tatars, not included in certain ruling elites, to believe that they would be better off with Russia. We know the outcome, but it did not suit the leaders of the Mejlis . The fact that Europe and the USA do not recognize Crimea as Russian is a big policy. The Mejlis, on the other hand, was losing power and income, realizing that it would not work out the same with Moscow as it was with Kiev. Therefore, the top of the structure hastily fled to Kiev, leaving their heralds in the Crimea. 

Since then, the Mejlis began to criticize the new leadership of the Crimea, working not for the benefit of the Crimean Tatars or even Kiev, which invariably considers the peninsula to be Ukrainian territory. The leaders of the Mejlis worked for themselves, using the very monopoly that we spoke about above. They received subsidies, wealthy people, and made statements necessary for someone, even if they were not true. 

A good example is the recent elections in Crimea, was on September 8. The head of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov loudly said that the procedure was disrupted, that the Crimeans boycotted the election. The deputy of the Ukrainian parliament and deputy Chubarova Akhtem Chiygoz echoed him. 

“We spent six months monitoring, such a deep, thorough, and I can proudly tell you: despite all these repressions, 80% of our citizens refused to participate in these events, called the elections. They refused at all costs to save their life, skin. They refuse to attach their soft spot in the conditions proposed by the occupier, ” - he says. 

It is noteworthy that another activist of the Mejlis Nariman Jelal said a completely different thing, saying that the number of Crimean Tatars participating in the vote will increase. 

“Many people fit in, adapted to this occupation system. Someone is losing hope for the return of Crimea, for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Especially against the background of what is happening in Ukraine today, which does not demonstrate confidence and is undergoing political and ideological transformations, ”  - Dzhelal said. 

In any case, it is worthwhile to really assess the situation in Crimea, which is somewhat different from the gloomy picture that is painted in the Mejlis. The Crimean Tatars, who, according to the leaders of the Mejlis, boycott the Russian elections, received more than 200 deputy mandates at all levels of government. Yes, the total turnout in the elections was 33.3%, but if you observe the statistics of post-Soviet countries, it will become clear that this trend does not apply only to Crimea. For example, in Ukrainian parliamentary elections, this figure was only 49.84%. And this despite the fact that the elections were really crucial for the country. It is unlikely that anyone will dare to say now that some forces tried to sabotage the electoral process. 

Returning to the Crimea, I would like to point out the main mistake of the Mejlis. Crimean Tatars are purposely isolated there, making them rebellious or oppressed, depending on the situation. The realities are such that they are the same inhabitants of the peninsula as others, especially since the Crimea itself is a multinational and multicultural region. The names of the Crimean Tatars are on the party lists along with German, Georgian or Greek. At the same time, new Crimean Tatar organizations began to appear in Crimea, albeit not as large as the Mejlis, but definitely acting in the interests of the people. 

It turns out that with the departure of the Mejlis to Kiev, the Crimean Tatars became even freer. They got a kind of pluralism, got the opportunity to express their position independently , and not go to the "godfathers".

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