CrimeaSOS: russia imitates the representation of Crimean Tatars, which does not actually exist

7 / 11 / 2023

The occupying authorities in Crimea deliberately create an imitation of the representation of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula, at the same time massively persecuting representatives of the ethnic group as the biggest threat. CrimeaSOS co-coordinator Sabina Iliasova said this in an interview with a Polish publication PolskieRadio24.

“Regarding cultural rights, the russians create the appearance that we [Crimean Tatars – ed.] have visibility and opportunities to implement culture, but in reality we do not. The only Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR ceased to exist in Crimea. Its representatives are persecuted. The majority of the editorial staff was forced to leave the peninsula, as freedom of speech is violated in Crimea. And this is also an element of culture for us. This TV channel demonstrated the achievements of Crimean Tatar culture”, – said Sabina Iliasova.

Reference: ATR is a Ukrainian state Crimean Tatar channel that started broadcasting in the city of Simferopol in 2006. After the occupation of the Crimean peninsula by russia, the channel was blocked by the occupying authorities and stopped broadcasting on the peninsula on August 31, 2015. Since then, the TV channel has been operating from Kyiv, currently it can be watched on YouTube.

At the same time, there are journalists who continue working under occupation conditions, including Crimean Tatars. However, they become victims of politically motivated persecution. Since 2014, at least 19 Crimean journalists have been or are being prosecuted, 16 of them are still behind bars.​

Suppression of publicity is not the only way to destroy the Crimean Tatar identity​. The language issue is a big problem. The number of Crimean Tatar schools was insignificant even before the occupation of Crimea, when there were approximately 15 such educational institutions on the entire peninsula. However, after 2014, the number of hours of studying the Crimean Tatar language decreased or even reached zero even in these schools.

Children do not have the opportunity to learn their native language in their homeland, which negatively affects the development of Crimean Tatar identity and culture. This will have serious and long-lasting consequences.

“Active representation and visibility of the Crimean Tatars are uncomfortable for russia. The experience of our work shows that it is very important to involve the international community, in particular Poland, in talking about the Crimean Tatars, communicating with the Crimean Tatars, spreading information about their existence and their culture, because in this way we give a chance to save people and preserve this culture. And in the future, it will become a potential for further development”, —Sabina Iliasova added.

We would like to remind you that since the beginning of the occupation, the indigenous population of Crimea, especially the Crimean Tatars, have been under constant pressure from the occupation authorities. Approximately two-thirds of the victims of politically motivated persecution on the peninsula are representatives of the Crimean Tatar people, and up to 75% of arbitrary searches take place in the homes of Crimean Tatars.

The reason for the oppression is mostly the disloyal position of the Crimean Tatars regarding the russian occupation and unwillingness to cooperate with russia. The russian occupation authorities in Crimea are trying to show Crimean Tatars as “extremists” and “saboteurs” by searching their homes and accusing them of fabricated crimes. 


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