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of the Mass Protest of Crimean Tatars and National Democratic Organizations

"NO to colonialism and communist tyranny in Crimea and Ukraine!"

8 April 1999



It has been 216 years since the Russian Empire, after crudely violating
the Kuchuk-Kaynarja Treaty of 1774, began to destroy Crimean-Tatar
statehood, carried out mass deportation of the civilian population,
and proclaimed Crimea its property.

This is how colonialism, discrimination, repression, and economic and cultural
degradation were introduced into Crimea. When communism came, it turned
out to be even more ferocious and blood-thirsty. Its intention was to wipe
out the whole nation of Crimean Tatars from the face of Crimea, and transform
Crimea into a red paradise, where the communist elite would indulge themselves.

When the Communist regime collapsed under the pressure of powerful democratic
resistance, many nations took advantage of that historic momentum, and
sought to restore their own national rights that had been violated so
many times.

While the new Constitution of Ukraine upholds the priority of human rights
as well as the rights of native peoples, the government of Crimea, which
basically represents a branch of Moscow's Politburo, tries to restore the
communist regime.

The government of Ukraine still does not realize that the assent to the
violation of the rights of Crimean Tatars by chauvinistic powers
encourages them, and they are the enemies of the sovereign and independent
state of Ukraine. This political short-sightedness is revealed by the
failure to ensure fair representation of Crimean Tatars in the elective
and executive bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The Crimean
constitution represents the political, economic, cultural, and linguistic
interests of the ruling colonial majority, denying the existence of the
native people of Crimea.

Having gained control of official appointments, the communists expel Crimean
Tatars from government bodies, curtail the development of Crimean Tatar
schools, threaten with physical violence and intimidate our people, who
are struggling for their rights, and take actions that may involve Ukraine
in an armed international conflict.

We, the representatives of the Crimean Tatars and democratic forces of
Crimea, demand that the governmental authorities take urgent and
effective measures to support the basic rights of our people:

-- To recognize us as one of the native peoples of Ukraine, whose rights
should be protected according to the articles 11 and 92 of the
Constitution of Ukraine;

-- To legalize the Kurultay and Mejlis as the sole representative
bodies of Crimean Tatars;

-- To ensure effective representation of Crimean Tatars in all
branches of the state government at different levels;

-- To recognize the Crimean Tatar language as an official language of
the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.