A meeting of Crimean Tatars devoted to International Human Rights Day was held in Simferopol on December 10th. A resolution was adopted after several speeches, which noted that discrimination against native peoples in the Crimea still continues. In particular, we notice this in the absence of Crimean Tatar representatives in the Supreme Court of Crimea and in the disregard for their interests in the privatization process. The resolution also supports protest against the war waged by the Russian government in Chechnya: "At the moment, the Crimean Tatars and the Chechens are enduring a period of chauvinist aggression,” notes the Resolution. “That is why we are addressing the world communities at the UN and OSCE asking them to force certain countries of the former USSR to solve their nationality problems in civil ways."
The same day, a rally of Crimean Tatars was held near the Saki city state administration. It was devoted to the restoration of the rights they have been deprived of and also to the ending of military actions in Chechnya. The Crimean Tatars - the real landowners - have almost no land because of several reasons. There is no single representative of the Crimean Tatars in Saki city council, even if there are more than 2000 Crimean Tatars in the city. There are only 2 Crimean Tatar deputies in the city administration out of 70 existing places. "Who will protect our rights?"-Asked the people at the rally. But the district and city administration representatives did not even bother to leave their warm cabinets to come to the gathering and answer their vital questions. They just occaisionally looked out of their windows and did not hear the peoples’ address.
A resolution calling to protect the rights of compatriots was adopted at the end of the rally. Copies of the resolution were given to the city, district, and republic administrations.
R.Seitmemetov, N.Halilov, "Golos Kryma," #51(318), 17 December 1999, p.1.
The Crimean Tatars, who blocked the building of the Bakhchisaray district administration building on December 10, ended the action on December 11. Some 500 gathered near the building of the district state administration demanding to discharge the head of the administration, Leontiy Sheketa, who is a deputy of the Crimean Supreme Court and a member of the Communist party. The Crimean Tatars demanded to nominate the chairman of Bakhchisaray regional Mejlis, Ilmi Umerov, instead of Leontiy Sheketa. A portion of those assembled (some 60 people) entered the administration building and stated that they would not leave until the problem was solved.
According to M.Djemilev, the main reason for conflict is the absence of Crimean Tatars in the district organs of power, since Crimean Tatars make up one-fourth of the district population (25 thousand). "The Crimean Tatars have to use these kind of methods in order get their representatives into the organs of power” - stated the leader of the Mejlis. He also gave the information that the action had been stopped and its participants had left the building when the chairman of the Ministry Council of Crimea, Sergey Kunitsyn, met with them. He promised to solve the problem of discharging L.Sheketa's. In addition, the Crimean Tatars were promised that I. Umerov would be nominated as the first assistant of the district administrative head.
The same day, Sergey Kunitsyn expressed his opinion in an interview saying that Leonid Kuchma, after being elected the President of Ukraine again, should conduct new nominations of the district administrative leaders. He also reminded us that 2/3 of the electors in Bakhchisaray voted for Petr Simonenko, and 1/3 - for L.Kuchma.
The chairman of Bakhchisaray Mejlis, Ilmi Umerov, stated the following in his interview: " We will insist on having more Crimean Tatar representatives in the power structures, and if this problem is not solved, we will then have to resort to protest actions."
Interfax-Ukraine, "Krymskiye Izvestiya," #233(854), 14 December 1999, p.3/
The Mejlis’ action in Bakhchisaray, of course, has not delighted the Russian population of the region. The local organization of the Russian community in Crimea decided to conduct a rally aimed against the Mejlis action on December 13. The address to the Crimean government states that the purpose of the Mejlis action is to occupy power at the district level with so-called "Native Nations" organizations. The authors of the address demanded a careful investigation and the punishment of those who are responsible for organizing the occupation of the building. The Russian community members expressed their strict objection against nominating Crimean Tatar Mejlis activists to leading positions.
Alexey Nejivoy, "Krymskoye Vremya," #233(854), 14 December 1999, p.3.
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The district dwellers held a rally supporting the current Bakhchisaray administration leader. The participants demanded the investigation and punishment of those who are responsible for carrying out illegal actions on December 10. They also decided to support the decision of the Bakhchisaray state district council to assert Leontiy Sheket in the position of district administrative head for the next term. The Russian community of Crimea supported the action. The same day, deputies of the Bakhchisaray district Council were gathered for a session. They made an assurance that they were ready to support the candidature of the current district leader.
Program "Novosty," TV-Company "Inter."
On the day when the protest meeting was held in Bakhchisaray, Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine, signed an order to nominate kolkhoz director Vladimir Tsyganskiy to the position of district state administrator. When he was questioned if he would nominate Ilmi Umerov as his first assistant, he answered that he had not decided yet.
Tatyana Ryabchikova, "Krymskaya Pravda," #230(22402), 15 December 1999, p.2.
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The news about nominating a new leader was not adequate in the district. The presentation procedure became a long discussion, since there were many supporters of Leontiy Sheketa at the presentation. People were eager to know why the leadership term of Leontiy Sheketa was not being prolonged. The process of changing executive leaders on the district and oblast levels is conducted on the entire territory of Ukraine, but only in Crimea does it create a dangerous situation on the district level. However, the nomination was held and the president has the power to choose a candidature he thinks is the most appropriate. There was one more problem that worried people: who would be the assistant to the new leader, and will the problems of the Crimean Tatars be solved in the district? Vladimir Tsyganskiy expressed his opinion in the following way: " I think it will do all of us good if a Crimean Tatar will be one of my assistants. But he has to have good business qualities, and have a good knowledge of problems concerning the deported.”
"Krymskaya Gazeta," #231(15846), 17 December 1999, p.1.
The urgent Parliamentary crisis, which actually blocked the work of the Crimean Supreme Court, was solved by the resignation of the Presidium on 16 November. The Democratic Parliament majority headed by Crimean Ministry Council Sergey Kunitsyn was formed before the resignation. It includes the "Soglasiye" and "Respublika" factions. The majority expressed its initiative to add some more details to the session agenda.
The Parliamentary speaker, Leonid Grach, made the work of the deputies unreasonable by using some parts of regalement. Neither attempts to compromise nor to create agreement commissions were successful. The session could not begin its work for the whole day. "Communists and national power" factions definitely denied obeying the principals of the communist party - the principal of democratic centralization. Obviously, some other rule in the fight with opponents was appropriate: all means are good for the achievement of goals. Having made sure that the opposite propositions of the two factions were useless, 51 deputies voted for changing the agenda of the Supreme Court and passed a resolution dealing with staff problems on the evening of December 15.
The Parliament crisis worsened on Thursday. Leonid Grach refused to leave the problems of the accounts and the Presidium members' voting rotation. Most of the deputies proposed to discharge the Supreme Court Presidium and its chairman. 51 deputies voted for this variant as a way out of this crisis. As a result, 51 deputies voted for conducting an extraordinary Parliament session, which will finally decide the fate of the Crimean Supreme Court Presidium.
However, it all depends on the President of Ukraine, who received several addresses from both opposing sides.
"Krymskaya Gazeta," #232(15847), 18 December 1999, p.2.
The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar nation passed a resolution related to provocation in the Russian press intended to provoke religious and national hatred in Crimea. The ground for this resolution was the publication of the article "Crimean breakdown” on November 24, 1999, in the Russian newspaper "Izvestiya." It says that the peninsula can become a new center of vahabbism and a base for preparing Islamic soldiers. The Resolution states that the Document is not only inadequate for the real situation in the Crimea, but also contains several fragments which are actually fiction and which do not express the real opinions of certain persons that the author interviewed during her visit in Crimea. She used lies, distorting evaluations and facts that she got during interviews. She sometimes expressed the opposite of the real opinions of her interviewers.
It is noteworthy that the conclusion of the article is based on the speeches of Crimean communists and the Parliament, which is famous for its anti Crimean Tatar views and activities, which have remained after the Soviet regime.
Moslems were abused by the provocation of distrust and enmity for people of different religions in the article. Propagation, educational and charity activities of a religious or a public organization is a usual occasion. The wish of the Crimean Tatars to restore destroyed mosques and build new ones related to the traditional practice of Islam must be respected also. In a multi-national and multi-religious society like Ukraine, the desire to present one of the religions, and the people belonging to it, a nation or national group, as a source of threat for the other nations or national groups and confessions is an irresponsible and dangerous provocation.
"Kyrim," #51(548), 18 December 1999, p.3.
Under the support of the Crimean development and integration Program of the UN (PRIK U), a consulting center has been organized in Crimea. PRIK UN has to solve the problems of integration and development of deported nations. They held a "round-table" in order to solve socio-economic, ethnic and national problems under this program. Leaders of state structures, representatives of public organizations, representatives of the President and the Supreme Court representatives took part in the work of the "round-table."
Nadir Bekirov, a member of Mejlis, noted in his speech that the Parliament of Ukraine prevents discussion of the Crimean Tatar nation's problems. N. Bekirov also told about reports and speeches made at International conferences and about the Human Rights conference results, which were held in Kiev, Geneva and Strasbourg.
Boris Balayan, the chairman of the national community association in the Crimea, announced that on behalf of the other Crimean nations he had informed the Parliament of Ukraine that he would protest against discussing Crimean Tatar problems in the Parliament.
Program "Haberler," ("News"), the Crimean Tatar editorial office, state TV-Company "Krym."
Georgian consul Nikolay Gohitidze arrived in Simferopol to receive documents for the giving up of citizenship of the deported that are refugees from Georgia and now live in the Crimea. As the passport, registration and migration services inform, there are 3250 refugees from Georgia in Crimea. Moreover, 50 of them are ethnic Georgians and the rest are representatives of the deported nations and their ancestors. The Crimean Tatars make up the majority. Most of them came to Crimea for permanent residence. The Georgian consul will accept the necessary documents for the giving up of Georgian citizenship until December 19.
Interfax-Ukraine, "Krymskiye Izvestiya," #242(1993), 16 December 1999, p.4.
Some 200 thousand people applied to the employment services of Crimea during 11 months of the current year. 70 thousand of them received official status as unemployed. Women make up the majority in this category (54 per cent). There are 17 persons applying for every one position in Crimea, and there are 8615 unemployed in Crimea who are younger than 28. About 3 thousand young men were sent to learn some skills. Crimean enterprises and organizations created 2.5 thousand seasonal positions during 9 months.
KIA, "Krymskaya Gazeta," #230(15844), 14 December 1999, p.1.
Under an International program of integration of Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Greeks, and other deported nations into Ukrainian society, a republic seminar was held in Simferopol. The "school and the children’s library are helping to transform the educational process in the Crimean Tatar language." A seminar organized by the Crimean Tatar "Ismail Gasprinsky" library is aimed at extending work with Crimean Tatar children. Library workers from different regions of Crimea took part in it.
L.Lebedeva, "Krymskiye Izvestiya," #243-244(19994-1995), 17-18 December 1999, p.3.
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The problems of education in the Crimean Tatar language, restoring the native language, basic steps in the history of Crimean Tatar literature, the status of school and children’s libraries in the system of libraries - these and some other problems were the subject of discussion at the seminar. The seminar participants were introduced to the works of Crimean Tatar writers. They also met modern writers, visited the Ismail Gasprinskiy republic library and the Republic children’s library.
Gulnara Useinova, "Golos Kryma," #51(318), 17 December 1999, p.1