Staunton, September 24 – Igor Semivolos, director of the Kyiv Center for Near Eastern Research, says that the Crimean Tatars must prepare themselves for what had been unthinkable only a few months ago: their forcible deportation from their homeland by the Russian occupiers for the second time, an action that would constitute a clear “crime against humanity.”
But because this threat is now so clear, he told Obozrevatel yesterday, the Crimean Tatars cannot afford to wait but must consider what they must do now, including “restructuring” their national movement.
“It is one thing when you are acting under conditions of peace, a culture of dialogue and compromise, but it is quite another when you are acting under conditions of a culture of force,” Semivolos said. “It is necessary to change strategy,” and that means adopting a policy of non-violence resistance on all occasions “and not just sporadically.”
The Kyiv-based expert also said that the Ukrainian government must not ignore the problems of the Crimean Tatars but raise the issue of their treatment by the Russian occupation authorities in all international organizations of which Ukraine is a member and in all talks which it has with foreign governments.
This is a matter not only for the Ukrainian government but for all countries and people of good will. Too often in recent weeks, Western governments and media have focused on what is going on with Russian aggression in other parts of Ukraine and have been treating Crimea as yesterday’s news.
But Semivolos’ warning should change that: Not only has Vladimir Putin illegally occupied the territory of a neighboring state, but his regime may be on the brink of committing not just a crime of war but a crime against humanity. That danger is something everyone should oppose lest it happen — or even worse lest he commit it against others as well.