Crimean Tatars in the Political Game against Russia
New Eastern Outlook
Throughout centuries the Crimea was traditionally regarded by the Western and Turkish authorities as a key to dominance in the Black Sea basin, additionally it was an effective political instrument for fighting Russia – the chief regional rival. In this rivalry, the Crimean Tatars have traditionally been used to influence the situation in the region.
Over the last decade the self-proclaimed governing body of this ethnic entity in Crimea – the Majlis has been the tool for applying this influence. One should note that the Majlis was an illegal body in the Ukrainian political field. After the adoption of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation, despite the decree issued by the Russian President Vladimir Putin that implied the rehabilitation of once repressed people of Crimea, along with the decision of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea to restore the rights of the Crimean Tatars, the Majlis leadership, especially Mustafa Dzhemilev, declared itself a “stronghold of Ukraine ” in Crimea . With the active support of certain Western countries and Turkey, the Majlis started to incite the local population to fight other ethnic entities. As the threats went on, the council threaten the “occupiers” with holding a referendum on the self-determination of the Crimean Tatars, at the same time the Majlis did not refuse to delegate its representatives to the executive bodies of the Republic of Crimea.
Mustafa Dzhemilev subdued over the last couple years of the Crimean Tatar muftis, ascribed himself to the leadership of the Majlis, and was fully committed to the implementation of the Pan-Turkism program, following Ankara’s policy of restoring neo-Ottoman greatness and obeying orders issued by the Western players to promote ethnic and religious differences in destabilizing the situation in the Crimea and in the whole post-Soviet space.
It is noteworthy that after his return from prison in the early 90s, where Mustafa Dzhemilev had been serving time for anti-government agitation and propaganda, his political rivals (ethnic Tatars as well) started to die under mysterious circumstances. Roland Kadiev — a famous scientist who devoted himself to serving the Crimean Tatar national movement unexpectedly passed away; Yuri Osmanov – one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatars , was brutally murdered in 1993; Norick Shiri – the leader of the youth organization of the Crimean Tatars “Birlik -Unity” , founder and publisher of the newspaper “Voice of the Youth”, was also killed in 2006.
Mustafa Dzhemilev has actively used his positions in the Majlis to promote the radical Islam in the Crimea, and above all the group Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami that is recognized as terrorist organization by a number of states . He supported, while being backed financially by Turkey and the West, the creation of a Crimean Tatar bank “Imdat”, that started to fund and supply with weapons Salafi and Wahhabi militants. The money for the regular gatherings of militants of the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, that were disguised as demonstrations, were also issued by this bank. Such meetings started to gather 2-3 thousand “soldiers of Islam” over time. The radicalization of the Crimean population was facilitated by the fact that Mustafa Dzhemilev controled all Crimean Tatar media and the Majlis website was supported by the National Republican Institute of the United States and the US intelligence instructors .
Because of this, a significant number of young people from this ethnic group were exposed to the ideas of Islamic Extremism, out of the influence of moderate imams and elders. No wonder then that around 350 militants fighting the regular army in Syria turned out to be of the Crimean origin.
Mustafa Dzhemilev was also behind the campaign of illegal seizure of land, according to the national land committee, by his orders more than 40 thousand hectares of land were occupied. On top of all he had signed a secret deal with the Ukrainian political establishment which allowed him to obtain a deputy mandate from the parliament of Ukraine and a certain degree of covert control over the local financial flows. This “mastermind” along with his “associates” created corruption schemes designed to scam international charitable funds contributing funds for the improvement of living conditions of the Crimean Tatar population.
It’s only logical that under such conditions the majority of Crimean Tatars who disagreed with the actions of Mustafa Dzhemilev had forced him to leave the Majlis on November 14, 2011 along with his deputy Refat Chubarov. It also logical that he started to seek “protection” from his people overseas, starting with a trip to the NATO headquarters in Brussels. There’s little surprise that this corrupted “leader” and Wahhabi supporter managed to establish a regular schedule of meetings with leaders of the NATO, former US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow, along with a number of other Western officials.
Vladimir Odintsov, political commentator, exclusively for the internet magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.