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Ukraine: Russia accused of organizing a "hidden genocide" by mobilizing the Crimean Tatars

2022-09-27T15:05:24.582Z

According to Tatar militants, 90% of enlisted people from the peninsula target the minority of Turkish origin. President Zelensky accuses the Kremlin of wanting to eradicate this longstanding opposing community in Moscow.



"

The mobilization of the Crimean Tatars could lead to genocide

".

This cry of alarm, launched by the NGO SOS Crimea, came two days after the announcement of the partial mobilization by Vladimir Putin, on September 21.

Since that day, thousands of Russian men have received a summons on specific criteria: only those who have "

already served

" or "

who have relevant experience

" in the military field are called, according to the Kremlin.

In the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014 by Russia, the Tatar minority nevertheless claims to be specially targeted: 90% of those recruited come from this community of Turkish origin with a Muslim majority, according to initial data from SOS Crimea

.

Tamila Tasheva, a Tatar activist and appointed '

Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea

' since last April, told the

Guardian

 that she had received dozens of reports from residents themselves of mass police summonses in their community.

"

People are panicking, they don't know what to do

," she says.

The activist recommends that those mobilized try to surrender to the Ukrainian forces at the first possible opportunity.

Although of course we fear that they will be shot in the back by the Russians

”.

Read alsoWar in Ukraine: these Russian men who go to the front disillusioned

While the Tatars represent 13% to 15% of the peninsula's population, "

such a scale of mobilization can lead to a hidden genocide of the Crimean Tatar people

", warns Yevgeny Yaroshenko, an analyst with the organization who estimates in total 5000 the number of Tatars requisitioned this last week.

An accusation relayed by the Ukrainian president himself.

"

This is a conscious effort to destroy the Crimean Tatar nation

," accused Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily speech on Saturday, followed by his adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, who spoke to the Ukrainian daily

The Kiev Independent

"

an ethnic genocide

», «

a tragedy for the whole nation

».

Targeted because rebels?

The Tatars' mistrust of Moscow goes back a long way.

Resident of Crimea for centuries, this people became a minority when Catherine of Russia took control of it in the 18th century.

The Tatars suffered a further blow when, in 1944, Stalin accused them of collaborating with the Nazis, and signed by decree their mass deportation.

Most will only be allowed to return to their homelands in the 1980s.

In 2014, when signing the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin pledged to respect the rights of the Tatar minority.

"

I consider that all political and legislative decisions should be taken that complete the process of rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatar people, decisions that fully restore their rights and the honor of their name

," said the head of the Kremlin, reaffirming equality of the three languages ​​Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar.

Insufficient promises to stifle the Tatar opposition, very active since the end of the 1980s, and which the annexation only revived, giving rise to severe repression.

In November 2021, the Council of Europe itself alerted to "

persecutions

" against "

officials (...), human rights defenders, activists or journalists, but also many ordinary members

" , including through arbitrary arrests.

These are often justified by alleged links with the Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir which advocates a jihad without violence, legal in Ukraine, but considered “

terrorist

” in Russia.

A long-used accusation

While Russia itself has admitted to multiple "errors" in the call for mobilization, it is difficult to verify the figures put forward by SOS Crimea, an organization created to defend the "

displaced

" who fled Russian power after the annexation of Crimea, including nearly 100,000 Tatars.

Pierre Lorrain, journalist and writer, thus calls for caution.

"

Tatar nationalism is made up of multiple tendencies and movements, some nationalists, some Islamists, others still anti-Russian

", explains the Russia specialist.

Refugees often follow the politics of their host country

.

VS

those who are in Turkey avoid adding fuel to the fire, while those who have found refuge in Ukraine are more virulent against Moscow

”, points out Pierre Lorrain.

"

The charge of 'genocide' has long been used by the Crimean Tatars in their political fight, to regain the place that had been theirs before their mass deportation at the end of the Second World War

", points out to his tour Grégory Dufaud, lecturer at the IEP in Lyon and specialist in the Tatar question.

For its part, SOS Crimea ensures that the criteria of genocide are indeed there, defined by international law as the “

deliberate establishment of conditions leading to the total or partial destruction of an ethnic group

”.

Crimean Tatars are the least loyal segment of the population to Russia, and they were clearly very buoyed by recent Ukrainian military successes.

Now they are being punished

,” accuses Tamila Tasheva, Zelensky’s main representative for Crimea.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-09-27

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