Authorities in occupied Crimea are trying to destabilize the situation and incite ethnic hatred in order to distract public attention from the worsening economic situation in the region, says Zair Smedlyayev, Head of the Kurultay’s Central Executive Committee.

“Crimean Tatars being arrested, illegally detained, kidnapped and murdered, Crimean Tatar cemeteries being vandalized, Crimean Tatar mosques being set on fire and robbed, cars featuring Crimean Tatar symbols being damaged, Crimean Tatar symbols being banned – these are all acts aimed at destabilizing the situation in Crimea.

It is nobody’s secret that dissidents in Crimea are being kept under close surveillance. So, why are these crimes happening? The answer, in my opinion, is quite simple: it is all being done deliberately. To disguise their incompetence and inability to improve economic wellbeing of Crimean residents, something they’ve been talking about at great length, the authorities are trying to incite interethnic hatred. And they are being abetted in this by officials from amongst Crimean Tatars who approve of all this lawlessness and thus become complicit in provocations against all things that are Crimean Tatar and Muslim,” says Smedlyayev.

Smedlyayev does not rule out that militants from Donetsk and Lugansk might be deployed in Crimea.

“By appointing non-Crimean residents in positions of power and making statements about 250 thousand refugees from Ukraine being in Crimea, the authorities are trying to create Gotengau here, which cannot but raise concern. It is possible that militants from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions might be relocated to Crimea under the guise of refugees. They are most likely not welcome in Russia, which is why they will be settling down in Crimea where they will have no other choice but to continue doing what they did there,” Smedlyayev says.

Smedlyayev claims that the Crimean authorities are taking advantage of the ongoing blockade of Crimea to bring large quantities of grain and other agricultural products out of Crimea, thus setting the stage for another famine.

“Considering all the above, one can conclude that Crimean residents, and primarily Crimean Tatars, are not at all wanted here. By doing all those things, the Crimean authorities are forcing them into leaving the peninsula. However, I know one thing for sure: our parents did not return to Crimea for us to just leave it. The storm clouds will be gone, darkness will be gone and our families will be reunited again! concludes Smedlyayev.