Mejlis outraged over new appointment of Minister of Internal Affairs

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has sharply criticized the appointment of Anatoly Mohylev as Minister of Internal Affairs and stated that it will seek to have a criminal investigation initiated over what they allege is his incitement to inter-ethnic enmity.

The conflict between the Mejlis and Mohylev arose in 2007 when Special Forces of the Crimean Police, under Mohylev’s control, and in enforcement of a court order, carried out an operation to remove Crimean Tatar buildings erected on the plateau of Mount Ai-Petri.

During this operation, the police, as acknowledged by the Prosecutor’s Office, unwarranted applied force resulting in more than 20 Crimean Tatars receiving injuries, with almost half ending up in hospital with serious injuries.

After these events the Mejlis managed to get Mohylev sacked, however the conflict flared up with new force in 2008 after an article by Mohylev was published in the newspaper “Krymskaya Pravda”. Mustafa Dzhemiliyev, Head of the Mejlis, told the BBC that the article demonstrates Mohylev’s chauvinist thinking.

“The article is called “The Crimea is developing according to a Kosovan scenario” and serious insults are aimed at the entire Crimean Tatar people. And in a tone which not even the Soviet authorities permitted, i.e. the most primitive Stalinism. Take, say, the statement that we should be grateful that we were simply exiled because we are supposed such an element that they could have simply destroyed us.”

Mr Dzhemiliyev said that he had shown this article to President Yanukovych and the newly appointed Prime Minister M. Azarov, and that they had promised to try to remove Mohylev as far as possible from the Crimea.

The article repeats the claim, long officially refuted, that there had been mass scale treason by Crimean Tatars during the War, and that when the War was still in progress, the country’s leadership had “acted correctly and humanely”.

The Mejlis now believes it has no choice but to try to get the Prosecutor General to initiate a criminal investigation for incitement to inter-ethnic enmity, and if there is no reaction, to turn to the European Court of Human Rights.

They also promise to inform the international community about what Mr Dzhemiliyev labels Mr Mohylev’s “feats” and will raise the subject when Mustafa Dzhemiliyev addresses the European Parliament on 17 March.

Anatoly Mohylev told the BBC that Mr Dzhemiliyev’s statement was absurd and said that there was no point in commenting on the statements of the leader of an illegitimate, self-styled organization. However he claimed that on Mount Ai-Petri his men had acted within the framework of the law.

He also asserted that he had not justified the Deportation and that his words were being distorted, advising people to look up the article and check for themselves.

We decided to follow his advice and found the article on the website of “Krymskaya Pravda” from 24 January 2008.  Among other things, in considering the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars he writes:

“There is a shameful page in the modern history of the Crimean Tatar people – mass treason during the period of the Great Patriotic War. Probably during a period of war, the leadership of the country acted correctly and humanely.” 

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