How Russia is Trying to Erase Tatar Muslims

24 September 2018, 08:18 | Monitoring | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

CJ Werleman

Middle East Eye, Sep 2, 2018

If you've never heard of Tatar Muslims, then you're unfamiliar with the Soviet Union's campaign of terror against this Turkic-speaking minority. Even if you know about Joseph Stalin's use of atheist militias to drive this indigenous population of Crimea into extinction, you might not be aware of Russia's more recent and ongoing effort to ethnically cleanse this little-known Muslim minority.

"It's very likely that tomorrow, Crimean Tatars will be declared the most terrible criminals, and this will be the pretext for a new genocide," Mejlis leader Zair Smedlyaev said in a recent interview with Al Jazeera.

The Mejlis was founded in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as a representative body meant to convey Tatars' issues and address their grievances to the Ukrainian central government, the Crimean provincial government, and international institutions.

Illegal occupation When Russia formalised its illegal occupation of Crimea in 2014, however, the Mejlis chose to sit out the Kremlin-held referendum for fear that the horrors of Stalin's Soviet Union - which resulted in the starvation of half of the Tatar Muslim population during the postwar period - would be revisited upon them.

When Tatar Muslims refused to cooperate with Russian-Crimean authorities, the Kremlin accused the Mejlis of being an "Islamic extremist" organisation, labeling them as "separatists" and "terrorists," and then implemented a slew of laws that included bans on public gatherings of Tatar Muslims and on their religious books.

Russian politicians have made no secret of their sinister intent to ethnically cleanse Crimea of 250,000 Tatar Muslims, in what they call "de-Turkification," with some urging Crimea to be renamed "Tavrida" or "Tavriya" to separate the Crimean Tatars from the "land on which they arose and evolved".

In 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine released its first report on the human rights situation in Crimea, concluding that conditions for Tatar Muslims had "significantly deteriorated under Russian occupation".

Night raids

According to Human Rights Watch, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is conducting regular nighttime home raids of Tatar Muslims who express criticism of Russia's occupation either in public or online, observing that many have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned for merely discussing interpretations of the Quran or other Islamic texts.

A Crimean Tatar Muslim who worked as a grocer at a local market in his hometown of Nizhnegorskiy was detained on 13 September 2017 on suspicion of being involved with an "extremist" group. After kicking down the front door of his home, FSB agents hog-tied Renat Paralamov and dragged him to a waiting van in front of his wife and children. For more than 24 hours, his family had no information about his whereabouts, according to Human Rights Watch.

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Last comments

  • RODOVID | 16 February 2019, 21:45

    "Тому що еллінізм і Вселенський Патріархат мають першість в Православ'ї"? Вселенський Патріархат - так має першість у Православ'ї, але яке відношення до Церкви має так званий

  • LASTIVKAUST | 16 February 2019, 01:29


  • LASTIVKAUST | 16 February 2019, 01:26

    ПАН "рокитне" заклопотаний кількістю прихожан в його приходах. не буде чим ясир платити МП

  • muhamuha33 | 15 February 2019, 18:52

    хтось ще повірить в цю єресь !!! - 5 років нас усіх годують цією брехнею! А під шумок наші трахані політики нас безсовісно обманюють і обкрадають!!!

  • LASTIVKAUST | 15 February 2019, 18:27