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Official says most Crimean Tatars are against reunification with Ukraine

According to an official, Crimean Tatars had expanded their business opportunities after the peninsula's reunification with Russia

SIMFEROPOL, August 17 /TASS/. Most Crimean Tatars are against returning the peninsula to Ukraine. The Federal Agency for the Affairs of Nationalities have outdated figures, which were relevant back in 2015, Crimea’s Vice-Premier Ruslan Balbek in charge of the inter-ethnic relations told TASS on Wednesday.

Igor Barinov, the head of the Federal Agency for the Affairs of Nationalities, said in a TASS interview that almost half or 46% of Crimean Tatars were against returning the peninsula to Ukraine. He added that according to his estimates, only 17% of Crimean Tatars pinned their hopes on Ukraine.

"The information that 17% of Crimean Tatars are dreaming of reuniting with Ukraine reflects the last year mood that existed prior to the power cuts (which the peninsula faced late in 2015 - TASS)," Balbek clarified.

"If you poll people in the street, the majority would not say a single good word about the Kiev government and its idea to return the peninsula to Ukraine," the Crimean politician added.

Balbek said that the Tatars who dreamt of returning Crimea to Ukraine had lined their pockets on the problems of the Crimean Tatar population under the Ukrainian rule.

The Kiev authorities could only count on the support of radicals and crooks who used to line their pockets with money on the problems of the Crimean Tatar people under the Ukrainian rule.

"As agents of influence they are no good; if we treat them as an espionage ring, they are amateurish. Any attempt to play the Crimean-Tatar factor is doomed to failure," Balbek stressed.

Balbek said that Crimean Tatars had expanded their business opportunities after Crimea’s reunification with Russia. "For the moment, Crimean Tatar entrepreneurs are actively developing their business. A tour of Crimea’s southern coast will easily convince you that it is true. People are making their homes comfortable; they are expanding their households and are showing no signs of moving anywhere," Balbek added.

He also noted that the Russian authorities had translated their words into deeds. "They have shown Crimean Tatars that they are part of a vast country - with broad rights and equal opportunities - rather than a small people. It is also true of business opportunities and the language (the Crimean Tatar language is a state language in Crimea - TASS) as well as the celebration of national holidays," the vice-premier stressed.

"Ukraine also tries to prove to the world that the life of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula has become much worse than it was under Ukraine. To prove that, Ukraine has imposed water and food blockades on the peninsula and cut off all power supplies in a 15-degree winter frost. But the Kiev politicians miscalculated," the Crimean politician indicated.

"People were left with water and habitual Ukrainian foodstuffs for some time. A power blackout under the frosts of minus 15 degrees Centigrade was the final straw. Like all the other inhabitants on the peninsula, Crimean Tatars had to sit without water and warm their children manually for days. All that chased away the remaining loyalty but strengthened the Tatars’ conviction that Crimea is Russia," Balbek stressed.