Refat Chubarov: Ukraine will return the Crimea earlier than it would in the Kremlin

Ukraine is already late with the creation of the Crimean Tatar autonomy, but it could be in the future the main argument in the return of the occupied Peninsula, said the MP, Chairman of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov. Of detentions and anonymous letters of denunciation in the Crimea, the prospects of the liberation of the Peninsula and how to punish those who collaborated with the occupying Russian authorities, one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatars said in the second part of an interview with “Apostrophe”.


The first part of the interview is available here: There are two ways to strike at Russia – Refat Chubarov the Crimea and how to remove Putin

Lily Ragulka: How do you assess the efforts of the Ukrainian authorities on the international stage, in order to return the Crimea? In your opinion, every effort is made or could be more?

Refat Chubarov: In this situation, I think whatever was done — we can always say that this is not enough. And I think the first thing you can blame the government — is that in the fall of 2014 or at least 2015, in any case it was impossible to separate the situation in the East of Ukraine the situation in Crimea. It is impossible to separate the question of restoring control over certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions from the question of the return of the Crimea. I always speak openly.

I can understand the reasons why there Minsk agreement, in particular the Minsk-1. 2014 was terrible for Ukraine. Perhaps few people realize how terrible. But I really felt then (and now convinced that was not mistaken) that the Ukraine was on the verge of losing its sovereignty. I would like to military historians, in the end, paid tribute to the volunteer battalions, which then would not allow it. They were different. And the people there were very different. There were adventurers, and who you want. But they defended Ukraine. If there was then dobrobatov, I think the situation today would be much worse.

And then some disaster, the same Ilovaysk — all this has led to the emergence of panic and significant deterioration of the situation. I saw what was happening in the presidential Administration. And no matter what anyone said, but if Peter Poroshenko and the President has not adopted several important decisions, for which today it is criticized, I don’t know who would have kept the situation in Ukraine. And whether it was possible to do it at all.

But… Here, you know, included here is the Ukrainian “but”. A year later, when he moved the army, when it began to acquire a certain shape of professional control of the aggressor — then it is already possible and it was necessary to make some amendments to the previous positions. And we had to convince and explain to our Western partners.

Putin is always improvising. And it has many different interpretations of his previous positions. He does not attribute their actions to the previous promises. And does it brazenly, even with some maniacal pleasure. But we are very firm in their promises. It’s good when you’re dealing only with Western partners. But at some point our Western partners put in an awkward position. First and foremost, the power.

I return to the question of the occupied Crimea and events in Eastern Ukraine, the uncontrolled regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. I don’t know how, but we need to go back to what should be the only requirement. We cannot consider the question of restoring the borders of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the holding of any election, the special status of these territories separately from the issue of returning Crimea. We must say one thing very clearly: on the restoration of the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state within the borders recognized by the international community. Including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city Sevastopol. We should be one goal of a common formula for all international sites, — the de-occupation of the Crimea and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

I understand that this is to some extent complicate the current situation. Because it supposedly will give some preference to Putin, he will again get out of my pants and say: “See, Ukraine does not want to perform the Minsk agreement! Ukraine is not compliant!” And so on. But we should just back off and honestly in the eyes of all to say, “Look, we want nothing other than restore its integrity. It is our right”.

— Especially since the whole world is our right, like recognize…

— This is not a reproach of power, but in this part, I just need the courage to all — and the Cabinet of Ministers, presidential institution, all of it — to say that here in Ukraine there is only one task — the restoration of territorial integrity. But not in the queue, and together. Alternately, because Putin will not give.

— How likely in your opinion that the Crimea will return to Ukraine with our life?

— I’m always here and very confidently say: it will happen much sooner than it would in the Kremlin.

— Sooner than never? Because they are unlikely to plan to give stolen…

— It will be much sooner.

— How soon, there is speculation?

— It will be in our lifetime. We will return to the Crimea, otherwise it can not be.

For this purpose, the Russian Federation should break up? Or what should happen?


Different may be possible. If collapsed, we would, I think, not really be sorry. The main thing that it was all for them.


You know, centuries of Russian Empire and then the Soviet Empire in such a huge volume of the territories was finally demonstrated that they are not able to manage such scale. Nothing here is not terrible. Let take its historically associated land, which interest a particular stage of development of the Russian Empire — and let them establish life. I think a lot of people, who against their will are held in the Russian Federation, will also be very happy about this development. There is a powerful Tatarstan, Bashkiria is, there are Buryats, there are the Udmurts, is the Caucasus.

But I understand that it’s supposed to be under total external control. And again — do not be afraid of such terms. Because we are talking about nuclear weapons, which is now in the hands of people who do not value neither his life nor the present, nor the future of his people. And, moreover, they do not care about the existence and future of their neighbours. And it is necessary to take control.

— Quite a long time there is a debate about what the Peninsula needs to create a national Crimean Tatar autonomy. And, judging by the statements of officials, this idea has the support of the government. Why is it important to do right now? Or first, perhaps, we would have to release Crimea? In what order, in your opinion, these events should occur?

— It should have been done yesterday! Look, when the international community will have to reach some more or less acceptable solution to the global crisis resulting from the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, everything will be decided at the negotiating table in different variations. Perhaps it will be in the UN, perhaps there will be a special conference to gather regional and global. I see the return of the Crimea in the result of military and diplomatic actions. But I also understand that participation in the future of Crimea will adopt a number of powerful players.

— Possible to claim the Peninsula?

— No, I think they were just going to use the Crimea as one of the tools, including for satisfaction of their interests. It is not necessary to encroach on the Peninsula. It may be political interests, and regional.

— What players are you talking about?


— The US, European Union, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia. Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria. Why not? Is the black country… They will all have different weights. Don’t have to be like that. Possible large list of countries or regional organizations created by a different formula. The same EU or, say, NATO. And each of these players will announce their approaches, principles. And some will give motivation for why Crimea should belong to one country or another. I will be talking about Ukraine and Russia.

— But isn’t it obvious who should own the Crimea? Unless it’s someone other than Russia, of course, there is the slightest doubt about this?

— It is clear that our positions are the most durable. They are based on international law. But when powerful players are looking for a way to compromise, and in the history it happened often — ignored existing international law. And elaborated on, creates some exceptions to this law, which then itself becomes the rule. Remember how divided the world and the country at the Yalta conference in 1945…

In this situation the explanation that will be used by Ukraine regarding the inviolability of borders, territorial integrity, you can add a heavy duty argument: the right of indigenous people to self-determination. None of the other countries who in one form or another, will be to make a claim, there is no way to make such important argument.

Only at the disposal of the Ukraine this is the most powerful lever — the right of indigenous people to self-determination. Neither does anybody else. And so we must be ready for such talks. In our Arsenal must be approved by a private Ukrainian law, the norms of Ukrainian legislation. And so we’re talking about modification and additions in the Constitution of Ukraine concerning the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol. We are talking about the adoption of laws that would define the status of the Crimean Tatar people in Ukraine about the law about indigenous peoples in our country.

Of course, this will also work on the restoration of rights of Crimean Tatar people — what we have not achieved for 23 years.

But, see, you say that in such situations, sometimes even ignored international law and established norms are changed and rewritten. So where is the guarantee that will be taken into account that the decision taken by Ukraine at a time when she had no control over the Peninsula?

— You may not believe it, but the guarantee is represented by the Crimean Tatars. The 300-strong community. Right this community can be perceived by the international community just like the lever that pulls the scale on the side of Ukraine. Because, whatever it was, no matter how irrational wasn’t the world is and how sometimes it would not be cynical actions of some States, but the world (and God forbid that it was so long) no one has dared aloud rude to say “no” to the natural rights of a whole nation. In this case, the indigenous nation of Crimea. No one, except Russia, of course.

And I am sure that the international community, on the contrary, just take a deep breath and say, “Yes, that is their right. And they want to stay in Ukraine.” All is one to one. Violation of international law, the violation of borders and, most importantly, the principles that were established after the Second world war is all Russia has done. Russia has violated all its commitments, including the agreement with Ukraine. That is here so obvious that the Crimea is Ukrainian land. But if there will be some way to problematise other maxims — some “spiritual ties” and the like — use the lever of the Crimean Tatar.

What I say very seriously. And I want Ukrainian politicians understand this. In history there have been periods when, seemingly, not very powerful factors have taken their place and, in the end, changed the course of history. So it will be in our situation.

— Recently you said they were going to go to the court in the case of Akhtem chigusa. What this opportunity thanks to the guaranteed Russian law, you as the witness immunity. Really, after Russia so blatantly violated the Budapest Memorandum, after the Kremlin has ignored all international agreements and arrangements, do you believe that you’ll enjoy such immunity? (interview was recorded on may 17, later the Crimean court denied the defense challenge for questioning Refat Chubarov, — “Apostrophe”.)

— My Deputy, my old friend Ahtem Chiygoz 29 Jan 2015 behind bars. He is accused that he was one of the participants of the rally in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which was held on 26 February 2014. It’s been more than 115 trial, made more than 150 witnesses for the prosecution. None of these witnesses, except for one villain, no gave incriminating evidence against Ahtem. Although there are very different witnesses.

Now began part of the process when are witnesses. We understand that it is occupying the court that the decision is already there ready. That’s all we understand. And, first and foremost, understands all Ahtem. But at the same time, it is extremely important that in these trials we recorded just a reflection of the positions of all parties — even in this parody, as the occupation court. That we definitely need, especially in the international tribunals, where, I believe, will be judged at the time the criminals who occupied the Crimea.

In Russian legislation there is a norm, which guarantees immunity invited as a witness, public defender or expert, if he is invited from outside of the Russian Federation. This is an article 456 of the Criminal procedure code of the Russian Federation. And Chiygoza lawyer Nikolai Polozov turned to me with a proposal to agree to testify in court as a witness. I consent was signed and sent to him. He will perform on the court with my application and, if the court decides against me a positive decision and will invite me to speak, the Russian side needs it to issue through the Ministry of justice in Ukraine. They will treat this request. And then we will discuss the questions of provision of guarantees in accordance with this article. If such assurances are provided, will I be able to go to the Crimea and to speak directly to the court.

We, a group of deputies, met with the head of the special OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine Mr Ertugrul Apakan spoke about the war in the East of Ukraine. And during our meeting I asked him what I expect a positive decision that an illegal court, which is happening in Simferopol. And if we get a call from the Russian Federation, I turn to his mission, so that they consider my support of one of employees of this mission. I just wish he was with me an observer, nothing more. That is, it performs its role, the observer of the OSCE, but with my movement across the administrative border and have occupied the Crimea, to witness the provocation or to avoid provocations. They took note. If there is formal consent of the occupying power, I will act.

— But you understand the risk remains very serious?

— You know, I have to be honest, I’ve been thinking about this. Those people who are now in the Crimea — I’m talking about the Crimean Tatars in the first place, which I know much better, I know just what they are doing now — are the real heroes. They are struggling to hold on to the Crimean land. We were so long in exile and so difficult was coming back, that should make everything to avoid such a new displacement or exile from the Crimea. Ahtem Chiygoz, when I last saw him when he came to me in Kiev, already felt that he would be arrested. I told him: “let’s think… Maybe you’re not going?” He said: “you Can do so, but who will be there?” It is his word. And he went to the Crimea, home where a few days were arrested.

I don’t think they will go to such direct total methods, they will try to fulfill the law, not because they want to do it, but because in this situation it is cheaper to comply than not to comply. They now have such a situation with the decision of the international court (the international court of justice in the Hague, which recently ordered Russia to stop the oppression of the Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea — “Apostrophe”). We know for sure that they will not be executed. But they still don’t know how not to carry out, this is a problem for them.

— By the way, oppression, repression intensified over time?

— Sorry. Just this morning (the interview was recorded on may 17 — “Apostrophe”), one of my Vice-Nariman Celal and Lemmar Yunusov was summoned to the Prosecutor’s office and received a so-called warning again. On the eve of may 18 (the Day of memory of victims of genocide of Crimean Tatar people — “Apostrophe”) they are all members of the Majlis caused. Emine Avamileva (Lemmar Yunusov and Emine Avamileva member of the Majlis — “Apostrophe”) was home sick, so it came as if for a visit and handed her the message. It is moral and psychological pressure on members of Parliament.

For Ruslan Zeitullaev, one of the Crimean Tatars, which is accused of preparing terrorist acts, the public Prosecutor demanded 17 years — gave him a 7. The Prosecutor appealed the decision of Severo-the Caucasian military district court, and Ruslan was given 12 years. The Prosecutor appealed the sentence and again require 17 years in prison for Ruslan Zeitullaev. This is all done to just crush the people, that they just didn’t dare to even think about their disagreement with the occupiers, and not something to take to the streets.

— From the media we know that when searches come very often refer to allegedly anonymous denunciations. It is a 1937 year returns?

— Received a message from the guys that the editor of the newspaper “Avdet” Sevket Kaybullaev was summoned to the Prosecutor’s office, said that this is due to the fact that it is a letter which says that he is preparing a terrorist act. In this regard, is demanded of him a written explanation to begin with, and he demands that he showed this letter. His response, according to the Russian legislation it is impossible. So it was with my relatives.

Indeed, people call and say “you got a letter, and that letter as a citizen. or any other claims that you have at home…” — and off we go. And people have to explain.

But it could just be a flimsy basis, and in fact these letters?

— No, they are, but they can be organized, it’s true. Physically they are — that’s for sure, there is his system, and when you really need someone to show it, they show it, but it is organized that letter. Perhaps there is no such person on whose behalf this letter was written, but the letter itself is.

— Kindle now the occupiers discord among the Crimean Tatars, for example, Russians, Ukrainians in Crimea?

— You know, daily affirmation such ideas that people have created an image of all the Crimean Tatars as enemies, no. Used this method, which was used in Soviet times: there are bad Crimean Tatars, and have a good, good Crimean Tatars. And although they are trying to make a point and filigree, but very often break down, showing the true face of the Russian chauvinism, so people have established this understanding that they are enemies to us.

I will tell you, to explain it simply. There are cases — they are not one-time, and they do not stop — when people are detained by certain characteristics that hint at their faith or ethnicity. Last time at the Simferopol market, they detained all men of non-Slavic appearance. Beards — all without exception. Took them to the police station and there have already established their identity. Many fingerprinted and saliva for analysis. That have such approaches. And once on a market rumor that the arrest of the Crimean Tatars or Muslims.

Have been numerous cases where hundreds of people were arrested near mosques after the prayers. That is, when the people prayed, the mosque was surrounded by, the bus came 2-3 hundreds of police set up a corridor and all of the men were taken. And set, again, their identity. But no this was not the case near the Russian Orthodox Church. This again suggests that there are directed repression. I’m not talking about the propaganda that is pouring every evening to the Majlis, “bad Crimean Tatars,” Dzhemilev, Chubarov… It happens every night. Not a day goes by that our names did not sound with the Crimean screens.

— By the way, what are you most wild about itself heard in these broadcasts?

— I already so do not pay attention… a Lot of things. But they cannot go beyond the classical methods that we know and have experienced during the Soviet era.

They usually say that we work for the CIA, that we are agents… it All depends on who says what about us. If the Russian Central TV channels, there is always associated with anti-Americanism, anti-European attacks. If it’s some local channels, the main “claim” — that we serve the Ukrainians that we are not Crimean Tatars and so on.

— When we return the Crimea, as, in your opinion, Ukraine should deal with those who went to the “referendum”, who shouted “Crimea is Russia”, who collaborated with the occupiers? What to do with them?

— We must now develop the legislation… It is, incidentally, to the question, do not be late do we… We have to develop the legislation, which very clearly needs to be spelled out actions and responsibility for those acts. I am sure that the government should punish these people who contributed to the occupation, which encouraged the invaders. For such people, the criminal responsibility should be inevitable. I don’t think these people will be a lot among the inhabitants of the Crimea, but they collected a few thousand…

At the same time, it will be necessary to clearly define the positions and people in these positions, which cannot be held criminally liable, but they should be subject to some kind of lustration. For example, the Director of the school, which occupation he worked in this position and continued to work to organize the educational process for children and when the invaders came. It is clear that all programmes, content of these programmes has changed utterly. This Director praises Putin and so on. But should this man be held criminally liable? Should carry it for the teachers, doctors?.. I think that the organizers in these areas, that is, the Director, the doctors just need to get some restrictions for a definite period of 5 years, 3 years, not more. Because executing their duties, they crossed some boundaries, and moral, and perhaps administrative, but without it they would not have worked. And so they organized, provided training to children.

You can and should look for other. Those people (whoever they were) who came to the Peninsula contrary to the Ukrainian legislation after February 20 may 27 February, maybe March 16, 2014, when it was simulated the alleged “referendum” — all who settled in the Crimea since the occupation times are required to leave immediately. No there can’t be breaks. Everyone who has carried out some operations related to the purchase, sale of real estate, who built some objects, settled in the Crimea — and all this happened in violation of the law of Ukraine — these people have committed a crime. They just better leave. If they do not go in, we should just be deported from there.

— We will give the world to do it?

And there is no other way! They have brought 200 thousand Russians.

— What, in your opinion, the real percentage of support for Russia in Crimea today?

— I will tell you that the so-called “referendum” on 16 March 2014 received 34% of people. This is our data. I could have them questioned, as this data was obtained through Sbushnikov, who still hesitated at that time with the transition to the enemy in the Crimea. Just a day I already had these numbers. The 16th was a “referendum”, and the 18th in the morning, I already had them. I should be able to question, if not Moscow human rights activist and researcher Svetlana Gannushkina (by the way, I had a teacher in College, when I studied in Moscow). It deals with human rights, and she made an analysis of all data. After the “referendum” it went to number 40% of those who came to him. That’s all. From this draw conclusions. Moreover, of those who came to “referendum”, not all voted for Russia, there were those who believed that there’s sort of another question too.

— Believe that there are other options?

Yeah, what the options are.

Interestingly, three years later became Crimeans have less joy from the “return to home port” at last? Not see the light yet?

— The people of Crimea are very different in their mentality. For a large part of them, Crimea is a territory where they could live comfortably. In fact, the only reason they are there and settled. At any time when they will cease to count as such, they leave the Crimea. Now they are in big wondering how to proceed. Among these people is growing frustration with Russia, but they are not ready yet to admit his foul role in her arrival on the Crimean land. This is who my head does not hurt, they will always find a place where they are better. Such I call, excuse me, tumbleweed.

A very difficult situation for those who have not accepted and will not accept the Russian occupation. The situation for such people every year becomes more complicated. They need to survive under any conditions because they don’t think to leave the Crimea. And the most tragic is the situation of the Crimean Tatars, as they became the object of systematic discrimination and repression from the Russian occupiers. Knowing that Russia has as its goal the displacement of the Crimean Tatars outside of Crimea, they are the resistance inherent in the nonviolent method of struggle.

All Kiev waiting for some decisive action that would meet their expectations. But these expectations known — that Russia to leave Crimea.