Staunton, September 16 – In the wake of the Russian-organized elections, the Russian occupation authorities raided the offices of the Crimean Tatar Milli Mejlis and those of the Crimean Tatar newspaper Avdet, the latest indication that Moscow plans to suppress any and all independent Crimean Tatar activity on the Ukrainian peninsula.
This latest manifestation of lawlessness – which was in part carried out by masked men rather than police in regular uniform – represents, Crimean Tatar activist Kurtseit Abdullayev says, “a direct attack on the Crimean Tatar people,” because “the Mejlis is [their] only representative organ.”
He suggested that the raids, which apparently sought to find banned Islamic literature and which led to the confiscation of some computers, had been launched because the Milli Mejlis and its leaders Refat Chubarov and Mustafa Cemilev had successfully called for a boycott of last weekend’s vote.
Fewer than half of eligible voters took part – people could vote if they showed a Russian passport or residence document – and a far smaller share of Crimean Tatars did. Yesterday, Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs chief, said “the European Union does not recognize the legal basis or the legitimacy of these elections.”