Oct 06, 2020

Crimean Tatars: Chairman of the Mejlis Denounces Propaganda Ahead of Visit of Russian Journalists

The Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, former Member of Parliament of Ukraine Refat Chubarov has expressed strong concerns about the scheduled tour of Russians journalists to Crimea. Speaking at a press conference yesterday  [5 October 2020], Mr Chubarov warned that the group of 15-20 "leading journalists" chosen for the visit is part of a mission to disseminate Russian propaganda to the international community with regards to the situation in the occupied territory.

The tour across Crimea will be a pretext for the Russian journalists to frame the Mejlis as "an extremist organization”, as well as to claim that its leaders and leading Crimean Tatar politicians are "extremists and terrorists". According to Mr Chubarov, such attempt to fabricate facts and spread propaganda is needed to justify the criminal cases that have been initiated against them.

Determined to dominate the narrative over developments in occupied Crimea, Russia has ramped up its propaganda efforts in the last year as a means to persuade Western European politicians and the international community of a different picture in the peninsula and in Ukraine in general.

The media and policy-makers should remain critical and resist to propaganda concealed as “news”. Contrary to what Moscow wants the world to believe,  Crimean Tatars have been victims of arbitrary searches and arrests, while human rights defenders and media outlets who dare to denounce such violations are being silenced or killed. The banning of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People on 26 April 2016 only made their plight more critical. Yet, Crimean Tatars remain committed to nonviolent resistance and have consistently rejected any form of extremism.