Staunton, September 18 – The world must end its “shameful silence” about the intensifying “moral terror” Moscow and its agents are waging against the Crimean Tatars to drive them again from their homeland or to force those who do not go to accept the status of “second class” citizens on the occupied Ukrainian peninsula, according the Ayder Muzhdabayev.
The Moscow commentator, himself a Crimean Tatar, says that Russia is “an enormous and strong state” is oppressing the Crimean Tatars who number “no more than a million” in the world at large and “all of 300,000” in Crimea, an action that is “unworthy” of a powerful state against a weak and peaceful people.”
The Russian occupiers have “prohibited the Crimean Tatars from their holidays and remembering the victims of political repressions” except, Muzhdabayev notes, in “’places of compact settlement,’ which are in fact becoming national ghettoes.” They have banned the elected leaders of the Crimean Tatars from entering their homeland.
Moreover, the occupiers are encouraging non-Crimean Tatars to “’suggest’” to their Crimean Tatar neighbors that they leave the peninsula, and “people in masks and without them calling themselves ‘self-defense’ forces” are acting in ways that show that they do not feel that they have to obey any law.
“Mass searches are being conducted,” he continues, “during which such people search for ‘arms and extremist literature’ in the Mejlis building and the homes of ordinary people.” Nothing is ever found, of course, because the Crimean Tatars are “a peaceful people” who have never taken up arms or engaged in “extremist” activity.
Whatever the Russian authorities say, Muzhdabayev says, they “do not represent a threat for the authorities or for their neighbors of other nationalities.” What Russian officials are doing is “unworthy of a great country. It is a shameful blot on the civilized world. It is inhuman in relation to defenseless people. [And] it must be stopped.”
The Moscow commentator says he is appealing to Vladimir Putin, who could end this if he chose to do so. He says he is also appealing to leaders of other countries and international organization to “express their support for the Crimean Tatar people” and to take action now to prevent things from reaching the point of “forced deportation and apartheid.”
And he says he is appealing to the intellectual and social leaders of all countries to “raise your voices in defense of the Crimean Tatars.”
“Unfortunately,” Muzhdabayev says, “up to now, the Crimean Tatars have heard from these people and organizations either unfulfilled promises or indifferent silence. This is unthinkable and in the final analysis shameful” — given the history of the Crimean Tatars almost half of whom died as a result of their deportation in 1944.
“No country can be considered great if it oppresses the weak, and the world cannot be considered civilized if such injustice is allowed to go on,” the Moscow commentator says. Moreover, “not one can have a clear conscience if he or she sees this and does not respond.”