YALTA, August 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear on Thursday that he would welcome any healthy criticism when it comes to building relations with Crimean Tatars and other peoples on the peninsula but was against exploiting past problems.
“We are going to work with absolutely everybody who wishes good to the people of Russia, including Crimean Tatars who live in Crimea, but will not work with those who wish to speculate on past problems and make it their profession to earn money on them,” Putin said at a meeting with Crimean cultural workers in the resort town of Yalta on Thursday.
His remarks followed a complaint by Elmira Ablyalimova, director of Bakhchisaray’s historical and cultural reserve, that the Crimean authorities had banned Refat Chubarov and Mustafa Dzhemilev, the incumbent and former leaders of the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar peoples, from entering Crimea.
Putin replied that he would welcome a dialogue rather than bans but repeated that no one should parasite on past problems.
“We should think about the future and make our work positive,” Putin said adding he had signed a decree on rehabilitation of all peoples repressed in Crimea during Stalinist repressions last April.
“All people residing in Crimea should feel themselves absolutely equal,” Putin went on to say. That is why Crimea has three state languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar.
Putin admitted that the living conditions in settlements densely populated with Crimean Tatars were far from being ideal and noted that it was time to translate words into concrete actions designed to improve the living standards in those areas.
Putin said that the authorities would work with everybody who, while being critical, stays positive.
“We are going to maintain a dialogue with everybody who really wants to work rather than build a personal PR on past problems,” the president concluded.