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Crimean parliament guarantees broader rights to Tatar minority

Published time: March 11, 2014 14:09
Edited time: March 11, 2014 14:51
Crimean Tatars talk after praying in the Khan Chair mosque in Bakhchisaray, near Simferopol (Reuters / Thomas Peter0

Crimean Tatars talk after praying in the Khan Chair mosque in Bakhchisaray, near Simferopol (Reuters / Thomas Peter0

A resolution passed by the Crimean parliament guarantees proportional representation in the republic’s legislative and executive bodies for the Crimean Tatar ethnic minority and grants their language official status, among other things.

The resolution provides for constitutional reform that would amend several key provisions of Crimea’s basic law. Under the amended constitution, the Crimean Tatar language would be granted official status, on a par with Russian and Ukrainian in Crimea.

It stipulates proportional representation in future parliaments and provides for at least 20 percent of seats in the republic’s executive for Crimean Tatars. They would have guaranteed representation in the lower levels of government as well.

The parliament also wants to recognize as official the self-governance bodies of the Crimean Tatars, starting with the Kurultai, a general assembly of the Tatars.

Crimean MPs pledged to fund programs for support of the Tatar community in Crimea and repatriation of Crimean Tatars, who were deported from the peninsula by Joseph Stalin's Soviet government in the 1940s.

There will also be recognition of the Tatars’ cultural impact on Crimea through the return of the original names of some geographical features such as mountains or rivers that were changed at the time of the deportation.

Parliament Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov called the bill “historic” and said Crimean Tatars have been waiting for the reform for 70 years.

“The Crimean Tatar people have not been offered anything like this from either the Soviet Union or independent Ukraine. They have been hoping for this for decades, and it will allow Crimeans of all nationalities to develop and feel safe and comfortable on Crimean soil,” he said.

The Crimean authorities have denounced the self-proclaimed government in Kiev. Crimeans began protesting after the new Kiev authorities introduced a law abolishing the use of other languages for official purposes in Ukraine. More than half the Crimean population is Russian and uses only this language for their communication.

On Tuesday, the Crimean parliament adopted a declaration of independence from Ukraine, which is required to hold a March 16 referendum. On Saturday, Crimean residents will cast their ballots to decide whether the region wants to remain part of Ukraine with broader autonomy rights, or to join Russia.

Comments (45)


Listens 12.03.2014 18:49

Practically speaking the RUSSIA fiction is presently the most reliable - because it has no empire to speak of and is about building rapport with its own people. Yes there is big company in all, but the US FICTION has established it's troops in 40 or 50 countries and in many places where the local people do not wish to have them. When this practice is withdrawn and troops are brought home from all these locations - then the US FICTION can be looked at as possibly speaking without forked tongue.


Oliver Tito 12.03.2014 16:33

One can't trust Russia. Russia=Lies. I would be very scared if I was a Tartar, I'm sure the Russians are planning an ethnic cleansing scheme.


John Thomas 12.03.2014 13:02

I'm of the opinion that a new independent Crimean country is by far and away the best option where all 3 nationalities can live together without a national debt interest burden but I'm also a realist. I know that there are too many powerful interests at work & my own recommendation is for Russia to prevail in Crimea rather than NATO or PNAC's war ambitions.

Crimea's parliament has given assurances to Tatars in front of the world. Maybe now is the time for Tatars to embrace their Crimean comrades whatever their histories & look to the future with a strong benevolent peace-loving ally close by.

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