On January 5, the 4th session of Kurultay III of the Crimean Tatar people was held in restored building Crimean Tatar musical-drama theatre.
The session was first and foremost to consider and assert the Resolution on elections of Kurultay delegates, which will define the delegates of up-coming Kurultay IV to be held in summer.
After 143 (out of total 167) delegates and Kurultay guests from different regions of Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tadjistan had been registered at 11 a.m. the Chairman of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people, Mustafa Dzhemilev announced opening of the session. National Crimean Tatar and state Ukrainian anthems were performed. Crimean Moslem Mufty adji Emir-Ali efendi blessed Kurultay with his prayer.
As it was time for Friday namaz, at 1 p.m. they announced a 90-minute break.
After the break delegates elected the Presidium of the session, which included the following participants:
Dzhulvern Ablyamitov, Refat Chubarov, Abdureshit Dzhepparov, Ayder Mustafayev, Remzi Ablayev and national deputy of Ukraine, chairman of party Narodniy Ruh ("National Movement") Gennadiy Udovenko (his candidature was proposed by delegate Sinaver Kadyrov).
Gennadiy Udovenko was the first to deliver his speech. He said it was a symbolic fact that the session of Kurultay was held in former building of club of Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was used for deporting Crimean Tatar people from its Homeland. In this connection, he believes, today's aim of Crimean Tatar National Movement and Narodniy Ruh of Ukraine is not to let it happen again. G. Udovenko emphasized that only democratic Ukraine did its best to enable Crimean Tatars' repatriation to their Homeland. He reminded that the founder of Narodniy Ruh of Ukraine party, Vyacheslav Chornovil yet in times of totalitarianism in his correspondence with Mustafa Dzhemilev discussed the strategy of Crimean Tatar people's repatriation to its Homeland. Crimean Tatar issue was often discussed by the leaders of law-protecting Helsinki group, that used to gather in Colonel Pyotr Grigorenko's flat in Moscow. He wished that the collaboration of Narodniy Ruh of Ukraine and Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people made stronger, helping build independent democratic Ukraine.
Vice Prime Minister of Crimean autonomy, Sergey Velizhanskiy congratulated delegates and Kurultay guests on the New Year and Millenium and wished them success. He said he was hoping that the decisions to be passed at this Kurultay would be useful not only for the Crimean Tatars but also other Crimean residents.
Delegates elected members responsible for computing election result, secretariat and editing commission and got down to discussing the session agenda. They offered the following project of agenda including 5 issues:
1. Report of Mejiis of Crimean Tatar people on the activity of organs of Crimean Tatar people's national authorities since October 1999 through November 2000.
2. Report of Revision commission of Kurultay III of Crimean Tatar people for the period of October 1999 - November 2000.
3. Asserting "Regulations on electing delegates of Kurultay of Crimean Tatar people" and electing Central electoral commission.
4. Organizational issues.
5. Restoring Crimean Tatar names, family names and patronymic names in accordance with national traditions and customs.
Delegate Enver Ametov suggested including the issue on principals of electing new members of Crimean Parliament with a sufficient Crimean Tatar representatives' rate into the agenda. 70 delegates voted for including this issue into Kurultay agenda, which made the majority.
The proposition to add the issue of people's self-naming caused loud and emotional discussion. Delegates decided to put off solution of this complicated issue nowadays, which may cause a considerable discord into the Crimean Tatar society.
Delegate Sinaver Kadyrov proposed to add a clause on introducing changes into Kurultay's time-limit, touching upon the status of a Mejlis member taking into consideration that a member of representative organ can't be a state executive at the simultaneously because the executive is unable to do his best in fulfilling r duties in both positions. The proposition caused an acute discussion among delegates though it was not included into the session agenda.
Thus, with majority the session agenda was asserted in accordance with proposed variant together with clause touching upon Crimean Tatars' representatives in Crimean parliament (Enver Ametov's proposition).
After that the chairman of Mejiis of Crimean Tatar people, Mustafa Dzhemilev delivered a 90-minu report about the work fulfilled by the organs of Crimean Tatar national authorities for the period since Octobi 1999 through November 2000.
When speaking of decisions on up-coming presidential elections of the 3rd session of Kurultay III held in October 1999, M.Dzhemilev emphasized that Kurultay's decision concerning the 1st tour of elections had not been fulfilled as planned. As is known, Kurultay decided to support the candidature of the leader of Narodniy Ruh party, Gennadiy Udovenko in the first tour. Mejiis chairman believes that "it was necessary to launch mass electoral campaign, visit remote villages and hold many meetings. Unfortunately, we didn't succeed in fulfilling this aim as Mejlis was very busy in that period and besides we had no enough money for Mejlis members to travel around Crimea. As we later found out many of our compatriots didn't even have an idea about Kurultay's stand on presidential elections. In result, the majority of our compatriots didn't take part in the ballot at all. The rest though having been informed about Kurultay's decision voted for the current president as they were unaware of our motives and supposed that Kurultay made a mistake when deciding to vote for the unreal candidate".
There were some Crimean Tatar political groups, which caused the derangement of implementing Kurultay's decision on elections, in particular, "Millet" movement and some executives who are also Kurultay delegates. In result, G.Udovenko got about 4 times fewer voices than expected. M.Dzhemilev placed responsibility for non-fulfillment of Kurultay's decision concerning presidential elections on Mejiis and more importantly on its chairman. He reminded about his statement, made after the 1st tour of elections "due to serious failure in implementing Kurultay's decision on elections, he intended to initiate reelections of Mejlis chairman at the up-coming session". He called the delegates upon considering candidatures that they will promote to the position of Mejiis chairman on January 6.
Touching upon the issue of the Crimean Tatars' representatives in the Crimean parliament, M.Dzhemilev noted that in order to solve the issue, it was necessary to introduce corresponding changes into the Constitution of Crimea, adopted in the end of 1998 and asserted in spring 1999 by the parliament of Ukraine, Law about elections to the Crimean parliament. And the second way is that Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopts a separate law aimed at protecting the Crimean Tatars, he said. So far we have been able to succeed in neither of them".
Mustafa Dzhemilev emphasized that with the current composition of Verkhovna Rada of the autonomy there was only one way "which could convince them that it was necessary to reconsider their Constitution and their law concerning elections... I mean recurrence of autumn 1993 situation when after beginning of mass civil Crimean Tatars' actions autonomy parliament deputies realized that further development in this direction could lead to introduction of State of Emergency on the peninsula and annulment of autonomy in its present and in this connection they were compelled to reconsider their law concerning elections and introduce quotas for deportee at least for one period. Mejlis has not taken any measures on preparations for developments in this field becausi of two reasons. First of all, under current circumstances people are afraid that events can get out of control and cause a great damage to Ukraine in the whole and secondly, it is still possible to use other, less conflict parliamentary ways out of this problem".
Furthermore, the reporter informed about parliamentary hearings on the Crimean Tatars' issue held in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on April 5, 2000. In result, they adopted recommendations containing some positive points. "First of all, it mentions the Crimean Tatars as a whole people (nation), but not in expressions like "members of Crimean Tatar people" or "deportees from the Crimean Tatars and other national minorities", as it was practiced in previous state Acts of Ukraine. Secondly, they acknowledge that there are some legal problems of the Crimean Tatars and that it is necessary to solve them".
M.Dzhemilev drew everyone's attention to the course of consideration the Law project "About rehabilitation and providing rights for people belonging to national minorities that suffered deportations from Ukraine, prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in Verkhovna Rada on November 1-2, 2000. The law project was not adopted as well due to counteraction mainly of left fractions, and only 170 people out of 392 voted for introducing it to repeated first reading as we were striving for. The reporter made a conclusion that "there are 170-190 deputies in the present parliament of Ukraine willing to support our legal demands".
"Nevertheless, - continued the speaker, - consideration of Law project "About Crimean Tatar people's status" has been included into the work plan of parliament session, though obviously ensuring of its adoption demands a great deal of work both among parliament deputies and our people to activate its fight for their legal rights".
When speaking about the issue Crimean Tatar representatives in executive power structures of Crimea, M.Dzhemilev emphasized that "the policy of Crimean authorities tells not to take any Crimean Tatar specialists to the posts of executive power when possible, and if it is impossible they should recruit "convenient" people, which means that they are to be in opposition with Mejiis... The issue of Crimean Tatars' representatives in the executive power structures is in a close contact with providing our people's representatives in the parliament".
Mejiis chairman, Mustafa Dzhemilev paid a great deal of attention to one of the most acute issues - the land issue. He noted that "the main idea of the issue is that in correspondence with current legislation, land is given to the property only to the members of former collective enterprises". But more than 70% of the Crimean Tatars live in the rural zone and make up 25% of the whole Crimean rural population and due to various reasons they were not members and could not be members of these kolkhozes. "In result, the Crimean Tatars living in the rural zone of Crimea, whose lands are given to other Crimean citizens that are mostly postwar settlers from Russia and their descendants, according to their proportion in the whole population will get 3-4 times fewer land than the rest of Crimean population. And many thousands of people that use land to earn their living will remain without any land at all". He gave a lot of examples when district powers counteracted all attempts to find a way out of the land problem and also explained the main idea of Mejlis's propositions on fair land division among the Crimean Tatars. M.Dzhemilev said he was afraid of an acute conflict, in case a fair way out is not found, which can grow into an interethnic conflict because thousands of our compatriots living in the rural zone are unlikely to agree to remain with no land and become farm-laborers of Russia's settlers and their descendants on their own land. Of course, the representative organ of our people can't agree upon this".
When speaking about the condition of budget financing of repatriation program, M.Dzhemilev said there has been "some comparative progress" in this field during these two years. Thus, in the previous year 2000 40 million grivnas from Ukraine's budget and 11 million grivnas from Crimea's budget were allocated. Besides it was last year when they succeeded in taking all the allocated facilities".
Assertion of the exact figure of budget for deportees' problems in 2000 and 2001 (45 million grivnas) was made possible thanks to great efforts of national deputies of Ukraine, representing the Crimean Tatars supported by fractions Narodniy Ruh and "Reforms and Congress".
M.Dzhemilev paid a special attention to the fact of increase in anti-Crimean Tatar and anti-Mejlis propaganda in Crimean Russian-language Means of Mass Media and to unlawful actions of security and court organs of Crimea against the Crimean Tatars and Mejiis, which have become rather frequent lately.
In his opinion, prevocational actions of some church Orthodox activists of Moscow patriarchy and politicians, related to erecting worship crosses everywhere in Crimea and slogans like "Crimea is the cradle of Orthodox" have lead to a dangerous situation in Crimea.
Among the most positive events for the last year, M.Dzhemilev focused on parliamentary hearings in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the issue of restoring legal rights to the Crimean Tatar people and hearings devoted to the Crimean Tatars' issues in the Parliamentary Assembly of European Council (PAEC) in Strasbourg simultaneously held on April 5, 2000. Mejlis chairman emphasized that Strasbourg hearings marked a really important event for his compatriots, as it was the first time that the Crimean Tatars' issues were considered in such a worldwide recognized international organ… But this event demanded a considerable work of our law department, our participating in different international conferences and symposiums, meetings with PAEC's leaders, diplomats from UN headquarters in Brussels and European deputies from various countries".
At the conclusion of his speech, Mejlis chairman introduced his assessment on the project of Regulations for electing Kurultay delegates, raised for session discussion and said he would like "the elections to be held in accordance with strictly democratic rules". He would also like the most worthy representative of our people to be elected because it is them that will later be elected to the representative organ of our people - Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people".
Chairman of Revision Commission, Ayder Mustafayev was the next to deliver his report on work fulfilled for the period October 1999 through November 2000. A.Mustafayev focused on the issue related to the fact that it is impossible for Mejlis members to combine their professional activity in the representative organ of Crimean Tatar people with state positions of other work. In this connection, he being the head of Revision Commission of Kurultay insists on introducing corresponding additions concerning this issue into the "Regulations on Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people". Furthermore, Ayder Mustafayev focused on difficulties faced in addressing the land issue and Mejlis's activities on developing mechanisms of a fair land division among compatriots. The reporter informed that Revision Commission of Kurultay assessed the work of Mejlis as satisfactory and hoped that "Mejlis would manage to organize its efforts so that newly elected delegates of Kurultay IV and new composition of Mejlis would be provided with start-up conditions for beginning their activity.
Report speeches were followed by debates among Kurultay delegates and guests.
Delegate Ilmi Umerov criticized the report made by the chairman of Revision Commission, Ayder Mustafayev for not speaking about concrete activity of the commission.
Representative of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people for Asia, Ali Khamzin came out with information about Crimean Tatars' living conditions, who are compelled to stay in places of deportation due to various reasons. He focused on the issues of Crimean Tatar Diaspora in the region and stated the followings: "Considering our compatriots living in Uzbekistan as an indivisible part of Crimean Tatar people we, nevertheless, should face reality and admit that they are now one of Diaspora of our poor people". He emphasized that "the problems this Diaspora faced were the reason for tendencies influencing on strengthening of its new condition. And this, in its turn has some relationship of their returning to Crimea".
Ali Khamzin said that the continuation of campaign on restoring citizenship of our compatriots living in Uzbekistan was the most important aim of the representatives… One of the most difficult barriers in the activity of Mejlis representatives is how to explain interdependence of citizenship and repatriation issues to compatriots, said the reporter. The matter is that a certain port of Crimean Tatar Diaspora in Uzbekistan is confident its returning process to Homeland has to be organized ahead. That is why it doesn't pay much attention to restoring the Ukrainian citizenship until moving to Crimea, considering this procedure to b something separate and secondary. Undoubtedly, such an attitude influences on the results of this campaign to some extent, and thus makes barriers for many to make an important move towards Diaspora's returning to its Homeland.
A.Khamzin demanded that Kurultay delegates should provide official explanations concerning Crimean Tatars' returning to their homeland in order for Uzbekistan Representatives to be more effective in the field of Ukrainian citizenship restoring. Probably, this document will not justify naive hopes of a certain part of the Diaspora for returning to Crimea. But it has to convey session's opinion concerning present conditions of Crimean Tatar people's returning, which is nearly always implemented at the expense of returnees themselves, who are very eager to come back to their Homeland.
Arsen Alchikov said he worried about that fact that Moslem communities were getting isolated. To come up with such a negative tendency they have created a Council of Imams aimed at considering complicated issues of religious nature and giving its constructing recommendations. Contacts with foreign religious organizations and funds, which have become rather frequent lately, must be agreed with Crimean Muftiyat. A.Alchikov called all Crimean Moslems for uniting in religious life by trusting advice of Crimean Muftiyat.
Kurultay delegate, veteran of National Movement, poet Refat Chayak delivered his emotional speech saying it was necessary to unite not only in religious life but in all other fields of our people's life.
Veteran of National Movement, Eldar Shabanov criticized the activity of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people. He suggested following the principals contained in "Declaration of National Sovereignty" as from 1991. He stated that the term "national-territory state system" was "sold by Mejlis" in 1994 in exchange for 14 seats in the parliament of Crimea.
In his speech Enver Kutrtiyev reminded all Kurultay participants about principal demands of Crimean Tatar people raised in the course of full history of Crimean Tatar National movement under totalitarian regime. These demands are included to the "Declaration…" adopted in 1991. He focused on the most important demand - restoring Crimean Tatar national state system. The delegate suggested that the President's Council of Crimean Tatar people should raise these demands at the next in turn sitting. And in case the demands are not fulfilled the Council should be abolished for non-fulfilling its functions.
At this point, chairman Refat Chubarov suggested finishing the work of the first day of the 4th session of Kurultay III and beginning the following day with considering and asserting "Regulations for electing delegates to the Kurultay of Crimean Tatar people".
Concert of the Crimean Tatar art figures was performed after the first day of session.
Informational group of "Crimean Tatar initiative" fund.