Sunday, October 12, 2014

In Moscow's Crimea, Tartar oppression increases

.... Aksyonov's time in power has been marked by a crackdown on Crimean Tatars. Unmarked troops and local self-defense forces answer to Aksyonov alone, said Crimean Tatar activist and journalist Nadji Femi. The Muslim ethnic minority comprises roughly 12 percent of the peninsula's population, and, for the most part, opposed the movement to join Russia.

A local court evicted the Crimean Tatar parliament from its building last month, citing "violations of rent contract payments." In the last two weeks, five young Tatar men have also disappeared. One was later found hanged in a suicide that his family and friends believe was staged.

Although Aksyonov has said the Tatars are not being discriminated against, Femi said the minority group no longer trusts the government.

"When they forbid our meetings, search our homes for weapons and banned literature and exile our leaders, they give us reason not to believe the authorities," she said. "Right now, Crimean Tatars are being intimidated so that most active of them leave and the rest stay quiet just to avoid punishment."


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