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Expert: Crimean authorities should have banned Mejlis yet two years ago

The Crimean authorities should have banned “the Mejlis of the Crimean-Tatar people” yet two years ago, says Alexey Grishin, the president of Religion and Society information and analytical center, specialist in Islamic Studies.

“At least, it is better late than never. Truth to be told, they should have not held any dialogue with Mustafa Cemilev and Refat Chubarov. The Crimean Tatars have enough constructive leaders. The authorities should have been working with them since the very beginning,” Grishin says.

“Mejlis has never been a representative body of the Crimean Tatars. At least, no one has ever considered it as such. That organization like the so-called ‘Kurultay’ (a representative body of the so-called ‘Mejlis’) has never been registered anywhere.” However, Grishin says, as soon as Crimea reunited with Russia, the Russian authorities on the tip from some officials tried to work just with “Mejlis” and “Kurultay” for some unknown reasons. “Cemilev and Chubarov were invited to some public councils at the government agencies. They even had a phone talk with Putin. However, later Cemilev and Chubarov left everything and travelled to Europe, where they were offered other type of activity.”

Alexey Grishin commented on the recent demand by the U.S. Department of State from the Russian authorities to suspend the “Mejlis.” John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs, said: “The Mejlis has long been a representative body for the traditionally under-represented and historically oppressed Crimean Tatar population. It has also served as an important independent voice in preserving their culture and protecting them from discrimination,” Kirby said.  Therefore, he said, U.S. calls on the Russian Federation to reverse the Ministry of Justice’s recent decision to designate the Crimean Tatar Mejlis as an extremist organization.

Along with “Mejlis” and “Kurultay,” there are also other public movements of the Crimean Tatars that come out as representative bodies, for instance, “Milli Firka,” “Kirim Birliği,” the Public Council of Crimean-Tatar People, and “Kirim” Movement, Grishin says.  So why does U.S. support only one organization of the Crimean Tatars and disregard others? It is not clear, to put it mildly. However, this is not clear to the uninformed people only. These organizations, for instance, participated in Crimea’s unification with Russia; they have been involved in Russia’s affairs with the Tatars. Meanwhile, the “Mejlis” is just destabilizing the situation in Crimea and damaging the West-Russia relations. Therefore, it has enlisted the U.S. support. Such a selectivity!”

In his words, Russia should not take the U.S. demands concerning the “Mejlis” seriously. After all, they disregard our protests over Guantanamo, Yaroshenko and Bout (Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor Bout are Russian citizens unlawfully detained and condemned in the United States – EADaily’s note), says the specialist in the Islamic Studies.  They are bombing sovereign states without having a UN mandate for it and teaching others democracy at the same time. America does not support extremists for extremism – they are just pursuing their interests pragmatically and consistently. If an organization is in the wake of the U.S. Policy, much is forgiven to these organizations and even states. Everyone sees what kind of people have seized power in Ukraine and to where they are leading the country, but America seeks to destabilize the region and keep Russia stuck in that conflict. Therefore, it turns out that U.S. often supports extremists.”

EADaily reminds that on April 26, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Crimea satisfied the petition of Crimea’s Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya for recognizing the “Mejlis of the Crimean-Tatar People” as an extremist organization. “Mejlis is banned in the Russian Federation. Any actions of the Mejlis will be qualified as a violation of the law. If members or representatives of the Mejlis launch any activity despite the court’s verdict, they will be brought accountable,” Natalia Poklonskaya told journalists. During the judicial pleadings, Crimea’s prosecutor said the “Mejlis is stirring up hatred and ethnic discord in Crimea.”

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