Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Moves to Create Alternative Crimean Tatar Organization

Paul Goble


            Staunton, October 21 – The Russian occupation authorities have announced plans to create a new Crimean Tatar public movement by the end of this year, the latest step in their efforts to isolate, discredit and undermine the Crimean Tatar Mejlis which is committed to a Crimean Tatar future within Ukraine rather than in the Russian Federaiton.


            Remzi Ilyasov, the deputy chairman of the Russian-controlled State Council of Crimea, said that the new group, to be called “Kyyram,” will be a public organization because that is “the most flexible form of public organization in Russian law and will allow us to attract to its work a large number of active people both in Crimea and beyond its borders” (nazaccent.ru/content/13594-v-dekabre-v-krymu-sozdadut-novoe.html).


                The new movement will have sections in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Krasnodar kray, Moscow , Samara, Rostov-na-Donu, and St. Petersburg, an indication that Moscow plans to water down the Crimean Tatar movement in Crimea itself but a potentially dangerous move if influence flows not as Moscow hopes from the outside in but rather from the inside out.


                The Russian news agency Novosti added that the Crimean authorities were taking this step because the Mejlis was ineffective as a result of being “tied up without results in discussions,” a euphemistic way of saying that it opposes the occupation. The new group will have a founding congress in December (ria.ru/crimea_today/20141020/1029179354.html).


            Representatives of the Mejlis, including Nariman Dzhelyalov and Akhtem Chiygoz, told “Kommersant” today that their organization does not intend to cooperate with the new group, although they indicated that they could not exclude the possibility that some members of the Mejlis might join (kommersant.ru/doc/2593977).


            Creating such alternative organizations is a longstanding Russian tactic, one that is increasingly successful given that many Western media outlets will insist on giving it at least equal coverage in the name of “balance,” something often confused with objectivity, and even give it more coverage because official media in Crimea will give the new group more.


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