Staunton, October 3 – Since the Anschluss, 18 Crimean Tatars have “disappeared,” three of them in the last week alone, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Cemilev told a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe yesterday, a reflection of increasing oppression and growing illegality by the Russian occupiers.
Two youths, Isyam Dzhepparov and Dzhevdet Islyamov disappeared on September 27 from the village of Sary-Su in the Belgorod district, and a third Edem Asanov disappeared on his way to work in Yevpatoriya. (Edem Asanov was found dead on October 7–Ed.)
This wave of disappearances, only two of which have been solved by the discovery of bodies, is only part of the oppression that the occupation authorities are inflicting on the Crimean Tatars Also in the course of the last week, Russian forces conducted 40 searches in Crimean Tatar homes and institutions.
In some but not all cases, the Russian police have opened criminal cases and gone through the motions at least of conducting a search, but their lack of progress has provoked suspicions that the authorities themselves are involved in the disappearances of the Crimean Tatars.
Those suspicions have grown so strong that Sergei Aksyonov, who is the acting head of the Russian occupation, announced that he was creating a special “contact group” attached to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea to deal with “the affairs of missing Crimean Tatars.”
But that announcement only underscores the extent of the problem and the failure of the authorities to respond to it in any meaningful way. And it will certainly increase the number of Crimean Tatars who accept Cemilev’s earlier argument that Russia wants a Crimea without Crimean Tatars.