Staunton, August 25 – Many people have focused on the way in which social media are transforming political life around the world, but the Crimean Tatars are now making use of a slightly older but equally powerful device to end run the actions of the Russian occupation authorities in their homeland.
That is video conferencing. On Friday, the Crimean Tatar Mejlis met in Simferopol and took actions as usual except for one detail: Its chairman, Refat Chubarov, was not in the room but rather in another Ukrainian city and participating via a video conference link.
Chubarov was not there physically because the Russian occupation authorities have banned him and his predecessor Mustafa Cemilev from entering their homeland for five years. In the past, other Crimean Tatars have travelled beyond the zone of Russian occupation to meet with the two, but now Chubarov and presumably Cemilev have the ability to be there virtually.
That development may be more important than any of the decision which were taken at the Mejlis session. Among those was the exclusion from the body of three individuals who have chosen to occupy positions of power in the Russian occupation regime: Remzi Ilyasov, Teyfuk Gafarov and Zaur Smirnov, the last of which earlier suspended his participation.
Ilyasov is serving as deputy chairman of the Russian occupation State Council of Crimea, Gafarov has been appointed vice mayor of Simferopol, and Smirnov continues to serve as head of the republic committee for inter-ethnic relations and the affairs of deported citizens.