Against the backdrop of ongoing political turmoil in Kyiv on February 26, no less tragic event - a rally outside the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) building - was held in Simferopol in 2014.

On 25 February, it became known that the ARC Parliament planned to hold the extraordinary session next day and prepared the resolution that would lead to the secession of Crimea from Ukraine.

In this regard, the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars, in the evening of the same day and after a long attempt of persuading deputies and the head of the Crimean Parliament, decides to hold a peaceful rally under the slogan "Preserving the territorial integrity of Ukraine and preventing the adoption by the ARC Parliament of resolutions aimed at destabilizing the situation in the autonomy” on February 26, 2014.

However, pro-Russian politicians, in particular, the leader of "Russian Unity" Sergey Aksyonov, appointed their own rally on the same date.

Around 11 am on February 26, people started to gather at the square in front of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea building, including around 12 thousand Crimean Tatars.

Pro-Russian rally. Cossacks were brought by buses from Sebastopol. 

In the midst of the rally on the one hand of a police cordon there were Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags, on the other - the Russian flags and St. George ribbons. Each of the protesters came to defend their Crimea!

Pro-Ukrainian protesters, due to large-scale participation and determination of Crimean Tatars, were able to cancel the session of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea. At least for one day, but the Crimean Tatars then managed to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

This event seemed to stop all further separatist tendencies ...

“We broke up, being confident that saved Crimea and Ukraine. I could not even think what would happen in the morning of February 27,” says Refat Chubarov.

Next - the seizure of the buildings of the Supreme Council (Verkhovna Rada) and the Council of Ministers by the Russian security services armed militants, the occupation, the referendum, Russia, arrests and murders.

Two years later, Crimean people are still worried about the events on February 26. The absurdity of the current actions of the Russian Federation is obvious – litigation of events that took place in the framework of the Ukrainian jurisdiction, have no legal basis. The only explanation is the political intimidation of the Crimean Tatars.

In view of the recently filed claim for recognition of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars as extremist organization and banning its activities in Crimea by the so-called "Prosecutor of Crimea" - will it become a reason to judge Ahtem Chiygoz and other participants of the rally on February 26 as "terrorists"?!

The Russian government intends to conduct a show trial of the Crimean Tatars, and to get political mileage from it. But they are unlikely to succeed to force the Crimean Tatars to bow to their pressure.