As for the so-called Declaration of Independence of Crimea, which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of the autonomous republic, this is a relapse of 1992. Back then Crimea called itself a secular democratic republic with the same name. That is why, according to their plan, the new declaration is, first of all, a step back, in comparison with the former decision “to join the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject” and a virtual agreement that at the so-called referendum the majority of Crimean residents will give an answer to the second question, but not the first one, that is, express the opinion that Crimea should remain a part of Ukraine. Perhaps they understood they tried too hard and now they are trying to play it back.
In any case, this declaration is a sign of incompetence and legal ignorance of Crimean MPs, and it shows they have equally illiterate Russian advisers who do not harmonize their ‘documents’ with any legal system.
But even despite this, the declaration does not have legal power, it has no legal basis. It is strange that Crimean MPs refer to the UN documents, which guarantee the “self-identification of the peoples.” But what nation is trying to identify itself in Crimea? Russian? Oh please! The Russian people have identified themselves a long time ago and they have a huge country already.
As for the referendum, it is not legitimate in any case, since the Crimean authorities intend to carry it out under at gunpoint of foreign military forces. On the other hand, the referendum does not have a subject that will organize it. Who will do it? The Verkhovna Rada of Crimea? Sorry, but according to the Constitution of Ukraine it did not have a right to make such a decision, secondly, it has already been canceled, thirdly, Konstantynov and Aksionov must not prepare for the referendum, but voluntarily turn in at the prosecutor’s office, before it is too late, and testify how and why they ended up involved in separatist and anti-state activities. I strongly advise they do it.
On the other hand, the resolution about the so-called “guarantees” to the Crimean Tatar people and “guarantees” of our integration into Crimean society appear interesting to us. This is a good resolution from the following point of view. Firstly, it contains the same points we have been struggling to achieve all these years after the deportation. We were assured all the time that the state does not have an opportunity to settle these questions – and now all of them are being settled simultaneously! This is just fantastic! The Party of Regions headed by the former president was especially active in opposing our rights, and now a miracle is happening – after ending up in a bad situation, the same Crimean members of the Party of Regions grasp the Crimean Tatar people and want to buy us, because they see that Crimean residents do not support their referendum and Crimean Tatars boycott them. On the other hand, Russia is not too enthusiastic about them being a part of it.
But the whole resolution oozes insincerity towards Crimean Tatars. In it, Konstantynov and Aksionov are presented as Russian owners of this land, and they throw us a bone – 20 percent of MPs in the Verkhovna Rada of the autonomy and other things.
Konstantynov stated that he was ready to give the Crimean Tatar people the powers we have never had. It is strange, but Konstantynov simply does not know history. I can tell him that for over four hundred years, until the Russian Empire invaded the peninsula, the Crimean Tatar People had an independent flourishing state on this land, the Crimean Khanate, which was recognized by all the countries in the world, and with which all the other countries in the world reckoned. And that back then all kinds of various nations lived there as well, who valued friendship and harmony. And back then, not as it is now, the slogan ‘Prosperity in unity!’ was truly implemented. What more can Konstantynov offer us? Perhaps, he can revive the Crimean Khanate and make it a member of the UN Security Council? Or does he offer us to restore the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of 1921 but with wider powers? No, after decades of discrimination he throws us a bone saying that he can legalize Kurultai, and he writes this word with a capital letter, which was never observed at the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, this word was always written as a common name. But we are sure that Kurultai as a body of the people’s self-government will be recognized sooner or later, and this question is not in the sphere of competence of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, which is not a legitimate body of power, since it violates the Constitution of the country. That is why we will come back to this issue, and all these decisions must be made, but only after the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea comes back to the legal field of Ukraine and becomes legitimate again, after foreign troops leave our land. Of course, the discussion of joining the Russian Federation is out of the question, and we see our future only as part of Ukraine.
Mustafa Dzhemilev is MP, former head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, member of the Crimean Tatar People’s Representatives Council under the President of Ukraine