CRIMEAN NEWS No. 28.
(The Mass-media Survey for 18-23 October 1999).
The Crimean Tatars set up a picket near Russia's Black Sea naval headquarters in Sevastopol on 15 October 1999. It was organized by the Sevastopol regional Mejlis. "Stop the war in Chechnya!" was the slogan of the action. The picket participants blame the Russian soldiers for crimes committed in the Chechen Republic. Compatriots from Bakhchisaray and Simferopol joined locals. The picket participants adopted a resolution addressed to the government of Russia. After the picket all the participants went to the mosque where they said prayers honoring those who have perished in Chechnya.
(TV program "Haberler" (News), The Crimean Tatar editorial staff, State TV/Radio company "The Crimea".)
The Mejlis chairman, Mustafa Djemilev, met the Turkish ambassador to Ukraine, Alp Karaosmanoglu, on 13 October. They discussed the results of the recent Kurultay and the Turkish perspective on their assistance in solving the social problems of the Crimean Tatars. The Mejlis chairman presented a set of the documents adopted at the Kurultay on 1-3 October to the ambassador.
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The Chairman of the Mejlis, Mustafa Djemilev, together with representatives of Chechen Diaspora in Ukraine and some Ukrainian legal-defenders held a† press conference dealing with the ongoing bombardment of Chechen territory by the Russian Air Force.† Both the declaration adopted by the second session of the Third Kurultay, concerning the terrorist policy of Russia in the Caucasus, and an address to the President of Chechnya (Aslan Maskhadov) prepared by the Ukrainian legal-defenders, were presented at the press conference.
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The national deputies of Ukraine, the chairman of Mejlis and his assistant (R.Chubarov), took part in the picketing of the Russian Embassy and protested Russia's cruel policy in the Caucasus. About one hundred and fifty people participated in the picket organized by the Ukrainian legal-defenders and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
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Results of the second session of the Third Kurultay were discussed at the Mejlis sitting on 16 October. Groups were formed to organize activities to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the "Zingirly Medrese" (the famous Crimean university which was closed by the communist regime) in 2000 and the 150th anniversary of the prominent† Crimean Tatar instructor Ismail-Bey Gasprinsky in 2001.†
(Mejlis press service, "The Voice of The Crimea", No. 43 (310), 29 October 1999, p.1).
A member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Community (PAEC), Lord Ponsonby, recently visited Evpatorya, together with A.Rakhovsky, the deputy of the Ukrainian Parliament responsible for the Evpatorya electoral district (also a member of the PAEC). The main goal of the visit was to learn the problems of the Crimean Tatars in the cities of Evpatorya and Saki, and in the Saki district more generally. A report is to be prepared for the PAEC session. Lord Ponsonby had several meetings with local administration in Evpatorya, Saki and the Saki district. He also met with the leaders of the Mejlis and visited the village of Ismail-Bey.† The Committee of Refugee Migration and Demography was presented with a report prepared by the Lord Ponsonby and the national deputy, A.Rakhovsky, resulting from both their visit to the Crimean Peninsula and meetings held in Kiev and Simferopol. The committee approved their work and decided to prepare a report "The repatriation and migration of the Crimean Tatars" for the next session of the PAEC.
(Nuri Halilov, "The Voice of the Crimea" No. 43 (310), 22 October 1999, p.1).
THE CRIMEAN CABINET discussing the problems of deported nations.
The leader of the Crimean government, Sergey Kunitsyn, having emerged from a sitting of his Cabinet, discussed the measures taken to solve the† problems of the deported nations. 1,260,000 grivnas from the Crimean budget in 1999 was used for the accommodation of repatriated persons. (4.65 grivnas equals $1US). 6,015,000 grivnas from the central government's (i.e. Kiev's) budget was also directed towards this purpose. A majority of this (3,140,000 grivnas) was used for construction. This allowed for the settlement of all debts owed to firms for work carried out in 1998 and for the complete electrification of ten villages, along with the laying of water pipes in three villages densely inhabited by Crimean Tatars.† Acting on the proposal of the Ministry, the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic adopted a program of housing and socio-cultural development for the year 2000. The Crimean government plans to use 10 million grivnas from its budget for construction and socio-cultural programs. In the finalized minutes the high profile ministries and departments were given an order to restructure the electricity debts in the villages where Crimean Tatars live in large numbers. The present debt amounts to 40 million grivnas. The finalized minutes include a project for (providing) credit on favorable terms, aimed at the creation of additional employment in villages of dense (settler) inhabitation. They also included a project for creating a network of secondary schools. Ukraine intends to continue to work with international organizations, attracting (where possible) donor assistance.† Two million grivnas assigned by the Cabinet last week will allow for the electrification of 10 villages and provide water to 20 villages of repatriated persons. The leader of the government intends to visit Saki where a multi-story building was recently finished and is now ready to shelter homeless Crimean Tatars.
(Press service of the Crimean Ministry, "The Crimean newspaper' No. 196 (15810), 23 October 1999)
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Sergey Kunitsyn reported just before the Parliamentary hearing that this was the first hearing of such a kind (on such questions). He continued by saying that the government foresees financing from the state budget of not be less than 20 million grivnas, with 11.5 grivnas being from the Crimean budget. He noted that the labor and social defense minister has been assigned the project of using definite sum of money from the Employment Fund in order to create additional employment in places where persons of deported nationalities live in large numbers.
(TV-Program "12 minutes of news", State TV-Radio Company "The Crimea")
With the beginning of the 21st century, the aim of creating new transport corridors in Ukraine, joining its western boarders with its eastern ones, and of developing free economic zones necessitates the construction of a huge auto terminal on the Kerch coast. This construction will resemble a very large concrete square with hangars for cars in transit, roads, goods depositories, filter plants and a service-center. The service-center will consist of cafes, pubs and a mini-hotel. It will also handle the ferry crossing with frontier, customs, ecology and other services. If the terminal is built, and the transport corridor begins to function, the transport route will be reduced by 700 kilometers and there will naturally be a consequent reduction in transport costs. The initiators of the idea expect that the result will be an increasing the cargo flow and a decrease in transport expenses. This would be very positive for the economy of Kerch and the district as a whole. The local government has allotted 3 hectares of land for construction. The project documents, which will be finalized by 2000, are being prepared at the present time.
(Pavel Golovanov, "The Crimean Times"), No. 199 (820), 23 October 1999, p.2).
Another trunk-line station began working in a district of Simferopol , Ak-Meschit, where Crimean Tatars live in significant numbers The station is always crowded and full of clients. Four new cabins have been made available. The station is very well located and is equipped with a facsimile service. "Krymtel" plans to provide telephones to the whole Ak-Meschit district.
(Ivan Dyakov, "The Crimean Truth", No. 196(22368), 23 October 1999, p.1)
The Djankoy-Pheodosiya-Kerch natural gas line has now reached the very western part of the Crimean peninsula. The assembly of special equipment for the supply of gas to dwellings will be completed soon. At the same time, consumers are being contacted and their gas equipment is being† completely reconstructed. All the houses in the network will be supplied with gas by the end of October. The gas line is being utilized along its entire length.
ONE MORE MOSQUE CAME INTO BEING.
A new mosque was solemnly opened in the village Kalambar (Prudovoye), in the district of Simferopol, on 15 October. (Local) Moslems began building the mosque using their own money in 1993, but due to the economic recession in Ukraine building was stopped. Eventually, in 1998,† building was recommenced thanks to the ”Unity‘ fund and ”Arraid‘ organization from Saudi Arabia. Local volunteers helped to speed up the process.† Villagers, representatives of the Crimean Mufti and construction sponsors took part in the opening ceremony. Following the ceremony a Friday Islamic ritual prayer was performed.
The Crimean Tatar Research and Instruction Center has prepared a methodical instruction program using modern instruction techniques in primary classes at national schools. Eight methodical textbooks have been issued, including "The Native Language" for the first forms and "Mathematics" for forms 1-3. The textbooks were presented to the Crimean Tatar national school No. 5 in Bakhchisaray.
("Kirim", No. 43 (540), 23 October 1999, p.8)
THE CRIMEA: THE FIGHT BETWEEN AND UNITY OF CIVILIZATIONS"
The second session of the Third Kurultay and the "round table": "The Crimean Government and the Mejlis: is dialogue possible". These meetings provided the impetus for discussion of problems which have been dropping out of public view in Ukraine.
THE AUTONOMOUS FORM ÷ AS THE AGREEMENT OF THREE SIDES.
The most "frightening" element in the program of the Crimean Tatar national movement is its final goal, that of creating a Crimean Tatar national state on the land where the nation formed and has developed. At first glance the situation appears to present a threat to stability in the country (of Ukraine) and to the welfare of other nationalities. Actually, this threat would materialize only in the case of prolonged neglect in solving the Nation's problems, and of the government ignoring its (the Nation's) rights and interests. This would lead to an intensification of protests and demands. It would also strain the national movement, which has declared its intentions to use non-violent methods of struggle. In such circumstances the movement would be compelled to change its ideology. On the other hand, the apparent threat can be sorted out through successful dialogue between the Crimean Tatars and the government. It now seems that both sides have understood that stability in the Crimea, which is acknowledged as an indisputable achievement and an absolute value, has a price (both for the government and the Crimean Tatars). Both sides understand that they will have to sacrifice something essential in order to preserve social peace and welfare. Which side must make the (first) sacrifice and what do they have to sacrifice" Has anyone already sacrificed anything"†
The Crimean Tatars have obviously postponed their demand of material compensation for lost possessions from the deportation for an indefinite period. One would likely agree that such demands are legally well founded, the deportees having been thrown off their native land and the Soviet State not even having taken care to formally legalize its actions. There was no law adopted confirming the confiscation of houses and other† possessions, which belonged to Crimean Tatars before 18 May 1944. And even if the damage caused by the deportation is now known with certainty, it will† probably take a great deal of time until the total value of help received by the nation from the State equals the amount of damage caused in 1944. If the nation is well accommodated, if it is properly integrated into the economic, political and socio-cultural system, the compensation issue will lose its currency.† The government needs also to understand that the price of stability in the Crimea from its perspective includes taking into consideration and solving the present problems of the (Crimean† Tatar) Nation. The fact that the government's different branches have different opinions concerning this problem is yet another issue. The budget has money for housing and for new national schools (even if this requires a lot of money). Five and a half per cent of the Crimean Government's workforce are Crimean Tatars, despite the fact that they make up 12 per cent of the whole Crimean population. The creation of the Crimean Tatars Consultative Counsel, which includes the† President of Ukraine, is a form of recognition for the Mejlis, as the highest national representative body. But, put quite frankly, not all Crimean Tatars† share the same opinion. From another perspective, not all the government representatives approve of this President's action. Above all it is distressing to the Parliament of the Crimea, which is elected by the people of the Crimea and does not recognize the Mejlis, which is elected by the Crimean Tatar Nation. It has created, in distinction, the Counsel of the Crimean Tatars "Aksakals", which still has not been recognized (by Crimean Tatars).† Refat Chubarov has stated that he thinks Leonid Grach has made a mistake in doing this as it has the potential to destabilize the political situation. Crimean Tatars do not consider the National Counsel with the President to be ideal because its members are appointed by the President instead of being elected by the (Crimean Tatar) Nation. This leaves open the possibility of the President appointing and removing members from one day to the next according to his predilection. The reality of the situation is, however, that the government and Mejlis have learnt how to work together.† The main result of "Government-Mejlis" dialogue, as Refat Chubarov states, needs to be a form of Crimean Tatar autonomy, consented to by all three sides: the Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian State and the local population of the Crimea. Only such a three-sided agreement can guarantee stability for the country. However, the form (of such an arrangement) has not even been discussed yet, and given the pace of the dialogue to date, such a discussion will not occur soon. Disagreements within both the Crimean Tatar movement and the Government are the main reason for such a slow rate of progress in the dialogue.
There are currently no grounds for believing that the territory of the Crimea will somehow be transformed into a nation belonging to the Crimean Tatars. On the other hand there are no fundamental obstacles to the slow development of more appropriate circumstances through the agreement of the three sides referred to. It is too early to say that both branches of the Ukrainian Government will agree on a common means of solving the Crimean Tatar issue. While the legislative arm ignores the question, the Mejlis is in discussion with the executive arm.†
The disagreements within the Crimean Tatar movement must be discussed and resolved. The main one of these is the questions of leadership and national democratic forms. The "Millet" movement has separated from the Mejlis because it accused Mustafa Djemilev of being authoritarian ÷ the Kurultay dropped democratic demands to limit the Mejlis chairman's right to stand for election for more than two consecutive terms. Mustafa has begun his third term. On one hand it cannot be ignored that Mustafa remains the recognized national leader and that he has weakened internal national opposition; however, on the other hand, it should be remembered that the forming of new political groups within the nation is a perfectly normal process.
The Kurultay decided to recommend to its compatriots that they vote for Gennadiy Udovenko at the up-coming Presidential elections. The "Millet" movement will probably recommend a vote for Leonid Kuchma. It is, then, up to 160,000 Crimean Tatars to decide for whom to vote. Moreover, it is possible to envisage that in the second round of the elections, both sides will recommend a vote for the same candidate since neither of them desires a vote for the left-wing parties.†
The International Congress of the Crimean Tatars is planned for 2000 and the majority of people are in no doubt that the leader of the Congress will be Mustafa Djemilev. There is also almost no uncertainty surrounding the fact that the common programs of both factions will induce them to participate together.
It is thought that the 21st century will be the century of dialogue between "civilizations". It is noteworthy that within Ukraine the Slavic and Turkic (cultures), in other words Christian and Moslem world civilizations, meet in the Crimea. For this reason it is clear that with the turn of the millennium the Crimea will have a new status - it will be the territory of dialogue between civilizations. There are two possible variants in such cases: either one resembling Chechnya (God forbid) or that seen in Ukraine (thank God). The leader of the Crimean National Strategy Research Institute has stated that the situation in the Crimea is developing "from worse to better". While the participants in national protest actions in 1993 made up 13.7 per cent of the total Crimean population, by 1994 (one year later) their numbers had decreased to 8.8 per cent. The number of people witnessing such events decreased from 45.8 per cent to 19.6 per cent. The number of people who do not identify with such protests increased from 36.5 per cent to 68.4 per cent. Scientists believe that the dynamic producing these trends remains and will possibly survive into the 21st century. There are almost no religious disagreements on the peninsula, on the contrary an Inter-religious Council "Peace and God's Gift" was created. Eight religious organizations take part in this body, of which the Moslem Mufti and the Christian Bishop have been elected co-chairmen.
(Nikolai Semenov, "The Week Mirror", No. 41 (262), 16 October 1999).