Parliamentary hearings related to the "Problems of Lawful Regulating And Implementation Of State Policy Dealing With Crimean Tatars And National Rights of Deported Minorities”, which have willingly returned, have been set for April 5.
The Committee of Verkhovna Rada* of Ukraine dealing with human rights and national minorities is recommended to attract representatives of central and local executive organs of Parliament and government of the Crimea, Crimean Tatar nation's Mejilis and also non-government organizations of national minorities for implementation of necessary measures related to the hearings organization.
Newspaper "Avdet", ("Return"), #6 (240), 29 March 2000, pg. 1.
Editor’s Note: *Verkhovna Rada - The Parliament of Ukraine.
The Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Nikolay Julinskiy visited the Crimea on 27-28 March in conjunction with the coming parliamentary hearings related to the Crimean Tatar nation's status. The nature of the visit was a fact-finding one and involved issues relating to the lawful political, socio-economic and humanitarian problems of these previously-deported citizens.
The Ukrainian President's representative in the Crimea, A.Korneychuk, Ministry Council Leadership, the Crimean Tatar Nation's Representatives Council, representatives of national societies and communities in the autonomy took part in the final conference, which was held in the House of Government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, S. Kunitsin.
When discussing the land problems, opinions were divided into two groups: those who, referring to the law, think that land re-division is unlawful, and the second group, focusing on the urgency of the problem, is sure that its possible to solve the problem of land division among Crimean Tatars without violating of anyone's rights. People’s opinions held that it was necessary to conduct the land re-division. They also emphasized that the unemployment problem of the deported remained unsolved. They proposed to adopt a law for the rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars. It was also emphasized that, prior to the deportation, the Crimean Tatars had used 70% of the available rural land.
As M.Djemilev noted, the conference gave one the impression of being "a discussion among the deaf" because "one group proved its right for land and the second one thought that the Crimean Tatars didn't need this land at all". Furthermore, he emphasized that if something was unlawfully withdrawn in any civilized society, then it had to be returned. "In our country, they don't return anything- neither our houses, nor our property- strangers live in our houses”, he said. We understand that they have nowhere to go and we understand the problems of the state and that's why we don't insist on a return in entirety. But for some reason, no one wants to understand us. We now observe the situation, analogous to the situation in 1989-1990 timeframe. We requested land in order to conduct our own construction. Forty-six thousand (46,000) land plots were occupied by "samozahvats". Local leaders are worried that someone will get 4 hectares of land instead of 5 hectares but no one is concerned that many Crimean Tatars will get nothing. The Resolution, signed by S. Kunitsin on 24 May 1999, which foresees the solution of this problem by the local administrations and representatives of the Republic’s Committee dealing with the land resources, was sabotaged. We have great expectations from the Parliamentary hearings. The rate of unemployment among the Crimean Tatars is very high, equaling 80% in some districts. There are no Crimean Tatar representatives in the autonomy’s parliament since the percentage of their representation in the organs of executive power is very low.
The Prime Minister, S.Kunitsin, noted that discussing the problems of the deported is one more step towards their solution. He also noted that “everyone should try to walk in their shoes - having worked during their whole life in the place of exile, most of them are compelled to live without even an elementary means of accommodation.”
N. Julinskiy agreed that the fact that it was necessary to follow the law, and in particular, to fulfill the President's Decrees. He emphasized that the repatriates' problem in Ukraine was extremely urgent. He thinks that the most important is the solution of their socio-economic problems. The Vice Prime Minister of the Ukrainian government thinks that it is necessary to solve current problems by means of a close partnership between the Parliament and government.
Lentara Halilova, "Golos Krima", #14(333), 31 March 2000, pg. 1.
The meeting of the Crimean Supreme Court chairman, Leonid Grach and the Vice Prime Minister, Nikolay Julinskiy was held on March 28
L.Grach* spoke about the current problems in Crimea, including difficulties which are experienced by the Crimean Tatars who returned from the places of exile. During the discussion, N.Julinskiy emphasized that the most important current problems were socio-economic and related to electrification and water supplies for villages where the formerly-deported live in close quarters, their medical treatment, in obtaining plots of land and so forth.
Speaking of some political problems, such as "The Status Of The Native Nation" he opined that these problems have had no precedent in the world, thus far.
O.Volodin, "Krimskaya Pravda", #58(22471), 30 March 2000, p.1.
*Editor’s Note: The chairman of the Crimean Parliament, Leonid Grach is also the head of the Crimean communists.
The President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma "is worried about the way the problem of land division in the Crimea is solved. In the autonomous regions, where most Crimean Tatars have no possibility of becoming members of the Collective Agriculture Enterprises (CAE), and are also deprived of right to get plots of land, "this problem is transferred into the political plane". "We are interested that the problem of land division should be solved fairly, and with no complaints,"- stated the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Nikolay Julinskiy.
"Krimskiye Izvestiya", #60(2064), 31 March 2000, pg. 1.
A picket by Crimean Tatars, related to division of land, was held near the Crimean government building on March 27. It was the third such action held in Simferopol demanding the reconsideration of law deeds.
Today, 73% of 260,000 Crimean Tatars who have returned to their motherland live in rural areas. Crimean Tatars comprise 25% of the rural population. A yet smaller portion of them works in the Collective Agriculture Enterprises (CAE), (for example, Tatars comprise only 3% in the district of Simferopol). The current Land Code was adopted 40 years ago and, of course, does not take into account the interests of the banished (Tatar) native nation. Thus, the majority of repatriates may remain without the main means of production and the main condition of existence in the rural zone in the result of land privatization.
The Crimean Tatars demand that the President's Decree "About Land Privatization" should not be put into effect until a new Land Code of Ukraine, guaranteeing the native nation's right for the land, is adopted. They insist on conducting the land re-division only with the participation of the Crimean Tatars' representatives and the obligatory participation of the Mufti of the Crimea, returning vakuf* lands to the Moslem communities, as well as considering and solving the problem of all property that was unlawfully withdrawn in 1944*.
"Avdet", ("Return"), #6(240), 29 March 2000, p.1.
*The so-called “vakuf lands” were the ones belonging to religious communities before the Soviets came in power in the Crimea. These lands were used for helping poor people, for opening new mosques and for supporting others, and for other charital aims.
**Crimean Tatars had all of their property withdrawn when they were deported in 1994. The property has not yet been returned.
The land plots privatization campaign is practically over in the autonomy of Crimea. As many as 300,000 Crimean Tatars who have returned to their historical motherland definitely disagree with the results of this land division. This was decisively stated by the Chairman of the Crimean Tatar nations’ Mejilis, Mustafa Djemilev, at a meeting with journalists. In particular, he believes that in some districts, having an abundance of land, there is no need for land re-division. But in those areas where everything has already been divided, and the Crimean Tatars have remained without land, the land re-division is essential. Besides, the issue is not about special privileges or advantages for the Crimean Tatars, it is about everyone having equal rights.
The land, which essentially belongs to everyone is currently being divided only among workers of former kolkhozes (collective farms) by so-called “agro reformers”. The resulting inequity of this strategy was directly demonstrated by the example in Crimea. After having returned from their places of exile, Crimean Tatars have mostly been situated on various land parcels, but without being allowed to own any of it. And all this is still happening after 10 long years of the mass return of Tatars to Crimea.
In order to prove this, let's recall some numbers. We should at first warn that the numbers are rounded off, but this does not change the main idea involved.
Today, approximately 25% of "local" dwellers have gotten a land plot in the Crimean autonomy, but only 6% among the repatriates have received land plots. So, we see a four-time difference between "slavic" and "non-slavic" parts of the rural zones on the peninsula. However, with all fairness, it should be said that it was a five-time difference, two years ago. So, the tendency of equalizing seems to be working. Even with the most optimistic forecast, all we may expect during the coming months is a change to a three-time difference. This is even if, at long last, Resolution #182 (dated 24 May, 1999, from Sergey Kunitsin, the Head of the Ministry of the Council of Crimea), which foresees giving land to every third Crimean Tatar living in the rural zone, does not work. Even if the Kunitsin Resolution is more widely implemented, it is lower in rank in comparison to the President's Decree of land reform. This is why it does not work - its being blocked by the Office Of Public Prosecutor. Nevertheless, Kunitsin has no intention of abolishing his own resolution: "This is a political document, which was adopted, being grounded. The price of responsibility is too high".
Currently, a median size of a land plot is approximately 5 hectares. The area of divided agriculture land is about 1 million hectares. There are 170,000 owners of land certificates today. There will soon be some 30,000 more people, meaning that there will be 200,000 lawful landowners. And the land will actually be completely divided. Consequently, in order to fulfill the May Resolution of the Crimean government, according to the median norm of 5 hectares per person, it is obligatory to have at least 250,000 -300,000 hectares. But so much land is not available in the autonomy if we take into account that available undivided lands of the reserve fund makes up some 300,000 hectares. The Mejilis intends to reserve some land for those who haven't yet returned to the Crimea. So, once again, land re-division is the only solution, which means that the size of the land plot must be decreased, especially in such critical districts as Simferopol, Bakhchisarai and Belogorsk. Besides, the specific weight of landowners among the "local" population is approximately two times higher then among the repatriates.
It's also clear that proposition of land re-division is reasonable but there is doubt whether or not it is possible to carry it out. Further, there is no point in relying on the conscience of current landowners. It was much easier to give land in the past, than take it back now. However, Mejilis leaders insist on land re-division. Its also interesting that Mr.Kunitsin stated that he didn't exclude the fact that they might have to conduct meetings related to the problems of land re-division.
V.Darg, "Golos Krima", #14(333), 31 March 2000, p.3.
A solemn opening ceremony for the public cultural-and-educational center was held in the Belogorsk district village of Sari-Su on 28 March. It was opened due to the help of the Mejilis chairman, Mustafa Djemilev, after he had received the Nonsen Premium.
The representatives for the development and integration of the Crimea Program (PROK) UNO, people were introduced to the ideas that PRIK UNO planned to expand the activity of the Center, where they planned to open a reading hall, a library and a computer laboratory. They also intended to run rapid training programs in English. The aged people will have an opportunity to spend their time having a cup of coffee.
Leylya Alyadinova, "Golos Krima", #14(333), 31 March 2000, p.1.
A new documentary film about the Moslem educational establishment Zindjirli-Medrese will be made in Crimea.
It was opened in Bakhchisarai by Mengli-Girey khan in 1500. There was an iron chain of half-body height found at the entrance ("zindjer", which means "chain"; "Zindjirli Medrese" means "Medrese with a chain"). It all had a symbolic idea behind it: that “everyone entering the temple of knowledge would take a bow, thus demonstrating the equality of khans and simple persons when it came to the topic of education.
There was an academy based on the Medrese of the 17th century. Even a womens’ department was planned to open. And, at the beginning of the present century, they gave instruction not only in religious subjects, but also secular ones ( to both rich and poor people, alike).
Now, the Medrese is in very poor condition. Moreover, it's located on the territory of a mental hospital. The restorative work is also complicated by the fact that there is an enormous gap in the materials concerning the Medrese functioning, at least the materials used for the last 3 centuries are very poor.
The project initiators are the "Ansar Foundation Association” and the interoblast organization, "Arraid". At present, these are working to collect additional information about this educational establishment and also about Medrese graduates. Zindjirli Medrese has become popular in Crimea and beyond. This year, we are celebrating its 500th anniversary.
Gayana Yuksel, "Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine", #59(875/22285), 31 March - 7 April 2000, p.14.
The presentation of the collection of selected works by writer Shamil Alyadin was held at the Tauriaya National University on 23 March. The collection includes the prose of the postwar years and is written in the Russian and Crimean Tatar languages, works including: "I'm Your Tsar and God", "Invitation To The Devil's Feast", "Kreml Kurbanlari", an uncompleted historical novel named "Tugay Bey" and other works.
Shamil Alyadin (1912-1996) was the founder and the first editor of "Yildiz" ("Star") magazine, "Lenin Bayragi" ("Lenin's flag") newspaper, editorial office of radio broadcast in the Uzbek language, the Crimean Tatar editorial staff of the publishing house named after Gafur Gulyam were opened due to his initiative. He trained a whole Pleiades of Crimean Tatar literature activists.
Elmas Sedvapova, "Avdet", ("Return"), #6(240), 29 March 2000, p.4.
Editor’s Note: The "Yildiz" magazine and the "Lenin Bayaragi" newspaper were the only works published in the Crimean Tatar language, in Uzbekistan, during the time period of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars.