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Articles > RMC > "We are both blood kin and brothers in faith"

"We are both blood kin and brothers in faith" An excerpt fr om the interview of RMC Chairman Ravil hazrat Gaynutdin to Nazifa Karimova of Radio Azatliq fr om March 14, 2014. Translated from Tatar.

"Crimean Tatars are our close relatives. They are not only our brothers in faith, but also our blood and spiritual kin. The Khanate of Kazan was once ruled by khans from Crimean dynasty, and there were Kazan Tatar amirs in the Khanate of Crimea; we also had dynastic marriages. That is why Crimean Tatars are people that we, Kazan Tatars, consider our relatives.

Tatar people have endured many hardships, but the fate of Crimean Tatars is especially tragic. First their Khanate has fallen, and then, in the years of Great Patriotic War, they were all deported from their native land. During this period, Crimean Tatar nation lost half of its population. And even after Soviet authorities allowed them to return to their land, they met many obstacles on their way back. Ukrainian leadership put obstacles in their way, didn't return them their land.

In the last few years, I've been to Crimea several times. I've visited the resting place of Ismail bey Gaspirali, prayed in Khan's Mosque of Bakhchysarai Palace. Who didn't let Crimean Tatars build houses in Crimea at their own expense? Who prevented construction of mosques? Ukraine. Wh ere did the money for the resettlement and development of the returning people go? Why was it forbidden to legally acquire land rights and build houses on people's own money? It wasn't just a policy of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, it was a policy of all Ukrainian state.

A referendum was called. I watched the address of Refat Chubarov on ATR TV station. I understand his concerns. Crimean Tatars may boycott the referendum. But, according to the official data, Tatars comprise only 12% of Crimean population. Opinion of twelve percent cannot change situation. I'm afraid that Tatars will only worsen their condition (by not participating in the vote). I'd really want to influence the attitude of Crimean Tatars, to heal that wound that still hurts badly. If only Russia acknowledged that the accusations against Crimean Tatars were unjust and rehabilitated them. Unfortunately, I see no moves in this direction. Perhaps if this was done, Crimean Tatars would vote on the referendum. The leading part here belongs to the politicians and whether they will find common ground or not.

According to the Vice Premier Timergaliev, Crimean Tatars were promised several ministerial positions in the new government, and Crimean Tatar language is to become one of the three official languages of the republic. I can't guess the outcome of the referendum, but the idea behind it is clear: to let people express their will. If the referendum results in Crimea joining Russia, then Crimean Tatars will become Ukrainian citizens living on Russian territory. They won't go to Kiev; they are already at home. The situation is serious, and I pray for the well-being of Crimean Tatar nation."

Published on the website of Azatliq.

Translation: RMC and SAMER

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