Crimean Tatars: the citizenship problem


To: MINELRES list submissions <minelres-l@riga.lv>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 09:50:28 -0800
From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>
Subject: Crimean Tatars: the citizenship problem

From: MINELRES moderator   <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: John Jaworsky   <jjaworsk@watarts.uwaterloo.ca>

Crimean Tatars: the citizenship problem


On February 17, 1998 the Ukrainian newspaper Den' carried the following
news item (my translation).  Other Ukrainian newspapers carried similar
news items.

Refat Chubarov, the Deputy Speaker of the Crimean parliament and
Deputy Chair of the Crimean Tatar Medzhlis, sent Ukraine's President an
appeal which he read out at a press conference.  "The failure to resolve
the issues related to the acquisition of [Ukrainian] citizenship by the
Crimean Tatars undermines the image of our [Ukrainian] state," the appeal
states. Chubarov warns the country's leader that from February 18 on a
series of protest actions will begin, the aim of which is to prevent
elections from taking place if, prior to these elections, the following
issues are not resolved: the acquisition of citizenship; parliamentary
representation for the Crimean Tatars; and recognition of the Medzhlis.
Chubarov hopes that the actions will be peaceful; however, in his opinion,
all possibilities for dialogue with the state have been exhausted.
According to Refat Chubarov, "It will be difficult to restrain people from
engaging in illegal actions."

N.B.  My comment... Neither Refat Chubarov nor the great majority of
Crimean Tatar leaders can be considered extremists in any sense of the
word. The statement above reflects the frustration of the Crimean Tatar
community in light of the failure by Ukraine's leadership to address many
of the most pressing problems facing the Crimean Tatars who, beginning in
the mid-1980s, returned to Crimea in large numbers from the regions to
which they had been deported in 1944.

Ivan Jaworsky
Dept. of Political Science
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON, Canada

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