The leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev received the Solidarity Award in Warsaw for his role in defending democracy and human rights. The award was presented by President of the Polish Republic Bronislaw Komorowski and former head of state Lech Walesa in the presence of dozens of leaders of other countries. “This award is an expression of the Poles’ solidarity with the Crimean Tatars and the whole of Ukraine,” Komorowski said during the award ceremony. In his turn, Walesa thanked Dzhemilev for “beautiful, peaceful, and wise struggle” and said: “We implore you to keep fighting this way,” the Polish media reported.
Dzhemilev himself stressed that he considered this award a sign of timely moral support for Ukraine and the Crimean Tatars. “I have received this award on behalf of my entire people, because we see it as rewarding not a person, but the national liberation movement of the Crimean Tatar people in its entirety.” He also emphasized: “The West has to focus its efforts on restoring the status quo of Crimea by returning it to Ukraine. It has to do it not for Ukraine or the Crimean Tatars but for the West’s own sake, because Russia’s behavior is destroying the international order.” The Mejlis leader promised to spend his one million euros-worth prize on the Crimea Development Fund and help for the families of people who died during the anti-terrorist operation and the bloody events at the Euromaidan.
Attending the ceremony, the newly elected president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said: “I want to thank Poland for presenting the first Solidarity Award to Dzhemilev who is an outstanding Ukrainian patriot and a leader of the Crimean Tatars, and is now fighting for Ukrainian solidarity, freedom, and democracy. Today, the hundreds-of-thousands-strong Crimean Tatar people is living in the occupied territories, on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, but they stay united. I believe that the region will soon be free, and the Crimean Tatars will join the Ukrainians in creating a democratic and free society in Crimea.”
Dzhemilev is a well-known and consistent anti-Stalinist, a member of the dissident movement in the USSR, a former political prisoner, a leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement, and a political and social activist who has always stood for independence and integrity of Ukraine. For this, the Kremlin has recently denied him the right to enter into the Russian-occupied Ukrainian Crimea, which shows how consistent it is in following the Soviet policies. Dzhemilev’s authority is now undeniable, and the Polish award is another evidence of this.
Yevhen Marchuk presented speech “Lessons for Ukraine” at the “Challenges of Time: Expert Opinion” forum in the Kyiv International Institute of Management MIM-Kyiv in March 2014, saying in particular: “The Crimean Tatar factor is very serious and important for Ukraine. I want to emphasize that at the recent meeting of experts in the Verkhovna Rada, I asked the Ukrainian government to nominate him as Ukraine’s candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. It would be fair and a serious signal to the Crimean Tatar people on Ukraine’s part. There are ample justifications for such a step: he was a prisoner of Joseph Stalin’s penal camps, made a significant contribution to the resolution of the acute Crimean crisis of 1993-94 and I am ready to help with that justification as I know these events and his participation in them well. Dzhemilev also takes great pains now to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Crimea.”
In April 2014 a number of civic organizations of Tatarstan (a republic which is a part of the Russian Federation) responded and nominated Mustafa Dzhemilev for the Nobel Peace Prize. “There is no doubt that Mustafa Dzhemilev is one of the most worthy candidates for this prestigious prize. Owing to Dzhemilev the Crimean Tatars have become an integrated part of Ukrainian society and are taking an active part in the state-political building of modern Ukraine,” reads the joint statement of Tatar organizations (Council of the Elders, Tatar Civic Center, and Mejlis of the Tatar people).
In Ukraine Marchuk’s proposal was supported on the idea level, but it was not – on the organizational level. We return to this question, underlining its actuality and necessity. It would be very important for this to be done by Ukrainians.
“He dedicated his whole life to the struggle for his people – he did not encroach on anything or attack anyone, just fought for the rights of the Crimean Tatars. He has also done a lot for Ukrainian independence. Therefore the idea to nominate Dzhemilev for the Nobel Peace Prize is very appropriate and right. Ukrainians should organize this,” former political prisoner, leader of Norilsk Uprising of 1953 Yevhen Hrytsiak commented to The Day. It will be recalled that Dzhemilev has already been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice, in 2009 and 2011.
JUNE 3, 2014. WARSAW / Photo courtesy of Crimean Community
In Poland, where Dzhemilev won the Solidarity Prize, the chances for the leader of the Crimean Tatars to win the award are considered to be high. “I think that the Solidarity Award may become the first step to the possibility of winning the Nobel Peace Prize by Dzhemilev, in order to show that he is a person with rich history and a devoted citizen of Ukraine. He is connected with Ukraine by the struggle against the occupation of the Crimea by Russia,” head of delegation of the European Parliament in the Committee of Parliamentary Cooperation “EU-Ukraine” Pawel Kowal commented to The Day. Poland and other countries cannot influence directly the choice of the Nobel winner, but the first signal has been made, because everyone has seen that Dzhemilev receives the Solidarity Award practically in presence of Obama. Apart from that, Lech Walesa was present there, who is as well a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. So, one can say clearly that the first step to receiving of the Peace Prize by Dzhemilev has been made.
Below is a reference on mechanism of nomination and selection for the Nobel Peace Prize, in particular, people who can nominate a person for the prize.
According to the website of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, it begins to accept the nominations for the next year in August and the process will continue till February 1 of the year when the prize is awarded. So, Mustafa Dzhemilev can become quite a real candidate and the main contender for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2015.
The Day’s FACT FILE
The following information was taken from the official website of the Nobel Prize.
Process of Nomination and Selection:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any persons who are qualified to nominate.
Qualified Nominators: According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:
♦ Members of national assemblies and governments of states.
♦ Members of international courts.
♦ University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes.
♦ Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
♦ Board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
♦ Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1).
♦ Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee).
The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those persons or organizations nominated by qualified individuals, see above. A nomination for yourself will not be taken into consideration.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee starts to receive nominations for the next year in August and the process lasts till February of the year of awarding the laureates.