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Russian nuclear weapons in Crimea?

Former political prisoner and dissident Mustafa Dzhemilev tells Ny Tid about the fight against the occupation of Crimea, his relationship with Russia and why he received the Nansen Medal. Today, he is the political leader of the 280 Crimean Tatar ethnic group. 


Crimean Tatars' Mustafa Dzhemilev (72) tells Ny Tid that it was never in his thoughts to become a political leader. Not a single day was this plan. But as a political activist for a number of years, he was asked, and has today represented a quarter of a million Crimean Tatars in a quarter of a century.

Just after the birth in Crimea, the Tatar family was banished when the Soviet occupied Crimea in 1944. Dzhemilev grew up in exile in Uzbekistan and has been very politically active since the age of 18. For the next 25 years, he was arrested six times for anti-Soviet activities, and spent 15 years in prison, including in labor camps. His life was constantly monitored. Dzhemilev is also known to have carried out the longest hunger strike in the history of the human rights movement – in 303 days. He survived only because he was forcibly fed.

Crimean Tatars. When Ny Tid in Kiev manages to meet the region's Nelson Mandela, we meet a man who is characterized by having fought for a lifetime.
Is there any difference between today's Russia and the old Soviet treatment of the Tatars? “Basically, our fight is the same, against the same forces. Today's occupiers of Crimea have the same mentality as the former Soviet Union. After 24 years of Ukrainian independence with democratic human rights, we are back under Soviet administration. As in the former Soviet Union, we have no right to freedom or freedom of expression where we could express what we thought. "
I ask him to be more specific, and he explains that the authorities are withholding information. One must go abroad to be informed. But after the revolution that is now underway in Ukraine, there they have some freedom with the Internet, radio and mass media, although these are controlled and monitored by Ukrainian authorities. "If the authorities are accused today, you only get accusations against you, or are fined afterwards," says Dzhemilev.
What about Crimea – what is really going on, as an insider as the Crimean Tatars leader sees it? "Nobody asked us for permission to send in foreign forces. These have never been welcomed by the people as I see it. The Crimean Tatars have long fought this struggle for independence – ever since the occupation in 1783! We have always been pressured to leave the country, ever since we made up 97 percent of the population. Before the displacement in 1944, we accounted for 25 per cent, while the return in 1989 improved this. But today, more than half live in exile. ”
Dzhemilev believes that institutions and authorities in Crimea should represent the most important ethnic groups, given autonomy. Therefore, the Crimean Tatars own language – as Dzhemilev insists on speaking here in Kiev, translated with an interpreter – just be one of several official language. The people groups should be able to have proportional representation.

We know that the Russians actually bring nuclear weapons to Crimea.

The Tatars make up 280 of 000 million inhabitants, with ethnic Russian being 2,2 million and Ukrainians 1,5. , we have seen a number of killings and kidnappings – we require an international committee to investigate what happened to at least 350 documented cases. We know who did this and that it was done to scare people. " Dzhemilev believes human rights organizations need to be let into the territory to monitor what is happening.

Screen Shot at 2016 01-07-20.30.30Atom depot. Historically, the Tatars have been known to fight with weapons, unlike today's nonviolent line under Dzhemilev. The Crimean Tatars' national movement is now non-violent. But the same week we met, a number of Tatars in the area east of Odessa had blocked food supplies on their way to Crimea, as well as demolished and destroyed power towers that provided power to the Crimean Peninsula. According to Dzhemilev, both half of the food supplies and 85 percent of the electricity comes from the "mainland" Ukraine. Crimea was therefore placed in an exceptional state by the Russians: “One of our demands is that the Russians now release political prisoners. Occupants oppress people who are still loyal to Ukraine and hostile to occupiers. " However, the Tatars' strategy has been for a while: “We started roadblocks on the roads to Crimea in September last year. This is not a sabotage, we have only blocked the roads for large trailers on their way to the occupied areas. ” What about electricity – does it not affect the entire population? "Electricity is the most effective way to block the Russians. It was previously agreed that Russia supplements Ukraine in the north while exporting to the south. During an occupation, these democratic rules of the game cannot be observed. ”
“Remember that all our resistance is non-violent. Although the Tatars are historically known to be hard warriors, we are no longer in the Middle Ages. Nothing is achieved with violence. Had we started a liberation struggle using armed force, a lot of blood would have been spilled in Crimea, a place no one would then want to live. ”
I ask how heavy the military occupation from Russia is. The answer is surprising: “We know that the Russians are actually bringing nuclear weapons to Crimea. If something happens to those weapons, the whole of Crimea will become uninhabitable! ” I ask him where he got this information from. “During the Soviet era, a village near Yalta was used as a nuclear depot. After the Budapest agreement in 1994, ask for the deposit to be closed. But with today's occupation, it has reopened, and we have seen rocket systems carried there. The Russians have declared that they will use the area for whatever they want. "
I ask for more documentation on this alarming information. "We've also been able to access a lot of documents. It says that if conflicts increase, the Crimean Tatars should be at the top of the list. We have this from the self-defense groups who worked closely on the Russian occupiers. Since many of the Russian soldiers drank closely, such documents ended up in our hands. We have a good network. "

Putin In 1989, 250 Crimean Tatars returned to Crimea, and Dzhemilev has since led the Crimean Tatars' national movement (OKND and others). Ten years later, he also sat in the Ukrainian parliament. He was re-elected in 000, when he was high on President Poroshenko's list. That is why President Putin actually contacted Dzhemilev before the occupation. Here is Dzhemilev's comment on this incident: "Before the invasion of Crimea, he wanted to meet me to speak, but I refused, as it would seem to justify the occupation. There was nothing to discuss. In a later lengthy telephone conversation in which Putin called me, I explained to him that it would be a mistake for Russia to occupy Crimea. He said he supported the way Ukraine had dealt with Crimea, but that this was something that had to be negotiated. He also mentioned that it was a good virtue to help people, but that Crimea became part of Russia in 2014. At the time, Putin said he would hold a referendum and that it would be best to withdraw troops. Besides, his phone line would be open 1944 hours a day if that was something I was wondering about. But after two weeks, I was banned from moving into the Russian territories. "
Dzhemilev is then also denied entry to Crimea, where his wife and family still live.

Resistance. What about the Ukrainian government – do they support the Crimean Tatars? “Both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Jatsenjuk are on our side, and they support our demands. But not necessarily the blockade of power. This leads to the Russians cutting supplies of coal and gas, for example, to Ukraine. Sanctions between countries also affect the economy. "

I've been in prison for 15 years, so you might ask if it was worth it.

What about the people themselves, beyond what the authorities of Ukraine or Russia do – how do protests affect politics? Here, Dzhemilev is clear on the differences: "While people in Ukraine take to the streets to get the government replaced, this does not happen in Russia, where no one is allowed to protest. They would be arrested as soon as they hit the streets. Not even a Ukrainian symbol would be allowed to show. "
I end the conversation by asking the 72-year-old about his personal motivation for the engagement – including the choice to go hungry strike with the risk of dying. "The main goal was to return home and to collapse the Soviet Union. I was not alone in such protests. Today, with the occupation, the goal is to get back home again. I've been in prison for 15 years, so you might ask if it was worth it. But it is of great value to be able to speak freely. It costs to fight for this, but it's worth it. ”
Dzhemilev has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and because of his relentless assistance to refugees, he was awarded the UN Nansen Medal in 1998, designated by Kofi Annan. “The medal was established by the UN Refugee Commission. As you well know, Fridtjof Nansen helped refugees to live their lives. I was nominated because I helped refugees return to Crimea. In a way, the Crimean Tatars could be an example to follow when it comes to returning home. ”
On my way out to Maidan Square in Kiev, outside Dzhemilev's office, the thoughts of refugees actually wander to my visits to Palestine and Israel. Especially considering the recent Dzhemilev said to me: “And remember, in every peace negotiation there is a different understanding on each side. You need an important balance for each page to understand. It should never be a winner, but rather honesty and justice. "

See also the website for an upcoming video excerpt of the conversation.

Truls Lie
Truls Liehttp: /
Editor-in-chief in MODERN TIMES. See previous articles by Lie i Le Monde diplomatique (2003–2013) and Morgenbladet (1993-2003) See also part video work by Lie here.

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