MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. Almost half of Crimean Tatars (46%) are opposed to Crimea’s return to Ukraine, whereas just 17% of them are pinning their hopes on Kiev, Igor Barinov, the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs, told TASS on Tuesday.
"During the 23 years the peninsula was part of Ukraine, none of the issues on repressed ethnicities - the Crimean Tatars, Armenians, and Greeks - had been resolved. Russia, on the other hand, has already done a lot," Barinov noted. He emphasized that legislation on rehabilitating repressed peoples has been passed. More to the point, the Crimean-Tatar language is officially one of the three state languages in Crimea, and Eid al-Fitr has become a holiday across the republic. Furthermore, mosques, houses, day-care centers and power engineering facilities are under construction, while cultural heritage sites are being renovated. For example, work has begun on restoring the Khan’s Palace in Bakhchisaray.
Barinov recalled that about 17% of Crimean Tatars voted in the referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014. "They were cautious about this move back then," he indicated. "Now the situation has changed, as 46% of Crimean Tatars do not want Crimea’s return to Ukraine and just 17% are pinning their hopes on Ukraine."
"I am confident that the peninsula’s energy blockade and foiled terror plot will alienate Crimean Tatars from official Kiev and Mejlis leaders once and for all," Barinov declared. "Even now, (Crimean Prime Minister) Sergei Aksyonov is the most popular regional political figure among Crimean Tatars, while Vladimir Putin is the most prominent national one."