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Socio-economic development program for Crimean Tatars gains steam - official

May 14, 7:54 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS NATIONS May, 14. /TASS
The official recalled that in March 2014 more than 80% of Crimean Tatars ignored the referendum on the issue of reunification with Russia
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UNITED NATIONS, May 14. /TASS/. The socio-economic development program for the Crimean Tatars and other nationalities in the peninsula, including the construction of schools and community centers, has been gaining steam, the head of Russia’s federal agency for the nationalities’ affairs, Igor Barinov, told the media on the sidelines of the 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

He emphasized certain legislative measures, including the application of the law on the repressed peoples to the Crimean Tatars and the decision to declare the official status of their language and holidays.

Borisov said schools in Crimea offered instruction in the Crimean Tatar language. An extensive program is underway for the social and economic development of the repressed peoples.

"Alongside the Crimea Tatars there are also Greeks, Germans and Armenians. The program is just gaining momentum. Schools, childcare facilities and community centers will be built," Barinov said in reply to a question from TASS.

Alternative to Mejlis

Barinov pointed out that one of the tasks of both federal and regional authorities was to protect the Crimean Tatars from the harmful influences of the former leaders of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, outlawed in Russia.

"Alternative organizations are being created. They have been gradually gaining strength and earning credibility with the Crimean Tatar people. A new television channel broadcasting in the Crimean Tatar language has gone on the air to replace the ATR, which at a certain point opted for destructive, radical policies."

No isolation of the Crimean Tatars is on the agenda, Barinov went on to say.

"No, of course not. There are certain nuances concerning the mentality of Crimean Tatars, who are in the habit of leading a rather secluded life. But the task of the federal and regional authorities is to ensure the negative stereotypes of the ‘Mejlis’ leaders should not influence the majority of the Crimean Tatars," Barinov said.

Attitudes change

The official recalled that in March 2014 more than 80% of Crimean Tatars ignored the referendum on the issue of reunification with Russia, but most of those who did go to the polls supported the idea.

"Now we can see that one third of those who had been against eventually changed their mind. Over the years Crimea had been part of Ukraine the leaders of the Crimean Tatars and the leaders of Ukraine did nothing for the sake of the Crimean Tatar people, except for making fine statements," Barinov said.

An opinion poll held at the end of 2015 indicated fundamental shifts in the public opinion. Russian President Vladimir Putin proved the most popular politician among the Crimean Tatars.

"Nearly 60% appreciated his policy," Barinov said adding that Crimea’s current leader Sergey Aksyonov enjoyed a rather high level of trust, too.

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