Crimean Tatars: ‘Ukraine, Poland might be the next if Russia occupies Crimea’ (video)

New authorities in Simferopol promise that Crimean Tatars will go to the Cabinet of Ministers and their language will be granted the official status if the autonomy joins Russia. But do Crimean Tatars really want to cooperate with Russia?

20 years ago there was a field. To obtain this land into ownership, the Tatars had to literally lie on the pavement in front of the building of the city council. Now Crimean Tatars – indigenous population of the peninsula – say they are in danger again.

We met Musa Tatarov in a mosque of Bakhchisaray. Before a prayer people watch news online. Musa watches both Russia-24 and Crimean TV channel ATR, but draws conclusions himself. He invites us to his son’s, tells about his family and Crimea.

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{movie}In Focus, 10.03.2014. Crimean Tatars: Ukraine, Poland might be next if Russia occupies Crimea (video)|right|15269{/movie}


‘Crimea derives from the Crimean Tatar language, Turkic group. It means “the country which are always fought for”’

His parents were deported to central Asia. Building a house, they first were making a big concrete structure to shelter in if anything cropped up. Here, in Crimea, they erected a similar one – for a rainy day which may came soon.


‘If this anarchy develops, it won’t be a picnic for Turkey. If they occupy Crimea Ukraine and Poland will be the next. At the very beginning Hitler was also neglected.’

It is impossible to avoid talks about policy, about the oncoming referendum. People are sharing their opinions about the Russian army, children are role-playing Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.


‘We played mock battles at school…I was on the Ukrainian side!’

Musa’s family arrived in Ukraine in the 70s, but he couldn’t return to Crimea until 1990.


‘We are often asked about our attitude to Russians. What can we say about people who brought their troops here without any sanction or permission? And now they start lying that the troops are not theirs. Do they mean we don’t understand whose troops are here? Do they think they are smart, and the rest are fool? This can’t happen.’

Crimean Tatars don’t recognise the referendum and consider themselves as the citizens of Ukraine. They hope international community will stop the annexion of Crimea by Russian troops.


If Crimea joins Russia, I won’t change my mind. If pressure steps up and genocide continues I will make a stand even at my age, I have nothing to lose. I’ll do my best to prevent another deportation. They will be able to deport me only if I’m dead’

I might also hoist a Turkish flag and demand Crimea’s joining Turkey, he says. But there are dozens of nationalities in Crimea, and its fate should be determined by a dialogue, which is impossible to hold at barrels of Russian guns.

Arkadz Nestsiarenka, Yuras Wysocki

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