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Crimean official calls Mejlis of Crimean Tatars "destructive organization"

Vladimir Konstantinov calls the assembly of the Crimean Tatar People a destructive organization, which uses anti-Russian slogans, brainwashes people and persuades them to resist everything Russian
The speaker of Crimea’s State Council, Vladimir Konstantinov Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS
The speaker of Crimea’s State Council, Vladimir Konstantinov
© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, February 17. /TASS/. The organization calling itself the Mejlis (assembly) of the Crimean Tatar People has no moral right to carry out its activity in Crimea, the speaker of the republic’s State Council, Vladimir Konstantinov, told the media on Wednesday.

"It is an absolutely destructive organization, which has used anti-Russian slogans all the way, brainwashed people and persuaded them to resist everything Russian. This organization has utterly outlived itself and it has no moral right to be represented in Russia’s Crimea," Konstantinov said in reply to a question from TASS.

At the same time he recalled that other non-governmental organizations of Crimean Tatars existing within Russia’s legal space would enjoy support from the republican authorities.

"We are open to new organizations that recognize the referendum [on Crimea’s self-determination], recognize Russia and wish to build Russian Crimea together with us," he said.

Konstantinov pointed out that Crimean Tatars already had representations in both Crimean bodies of power and in political parties.

Crimea’s Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya on February 15 asked Crimea’s Supreme Court to declare extremist the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar Peoples. A copy of the lawsuit was handed over to the first deputy leader of the Mejlis, Nariman Jelyalov, who is expected to hand it over to Mejlis leader Refat Chubarov, currently resident in the territory of Ukraine.

Poklonskaya explained she had asked the Crimean Supreme Court to outlaw the Crimean Tatars’ Mejlis due to the years-long destructive activity of its members and leadership. As an example she recalled anti-government demonstrations by Mejlis members and the mass rioting in front of the Crimean Parliament on February 26, 2014, which left two dead and 70 others injured.

In Crimea, the leaders of the Mejlis are held responsible for blowing up several pylons of high-voltage power lines in Ukraine’s Kherson Region. The overnight act of sabotage took place on November 22, 2015. A massive power blackout in Crimea followed. Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB opened criminal proceedings over the incident. Crimea’s former deputy prime minister, Mejlis member Lenur Islyamov was put on the federal wanted list.

The Russian authorities are investigating criminal charges against Refat Chubarov and also former Mejlis leader Mustafa Jemilev. Both are accused of calls for violating the territorial integrity of Russia. Both Jemilev and Islyamov are on an international wanted list.