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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

950 Riot Police Clash With 50 Tatar Squatters, Demolish Illegal Settlements

An unprecedented squatter crackdown took place in Crimea on Tuesday. The below Novy Kanal report strikingly — and surprisingly — resembles the scripts used by Russian state television in its Chechen War coverage.



Voiceover: Another showdown in Crimea. Armed-to-the-teeth Berkut SWAT teams stormed Mt. Ai-Petri. They demolished from the sanctuary plateau the illegal settlements of Crimean Tatars. The operation was so secret that the task force leaders didn’t even tell their personnel where they were going. As a result, the Tatars had no time to pull their main forces to Mt. Ai-Petri. Currently, all roads leading to the mountains are sealed.

Bailiff: Based on the court ruling of November 6, 2007, in the absence of voluntary compliance, forcible execution has been mandated.

Voiceover: Early in the morning today, a bailiff read out to all of the present 50 Tatars the decision to demolish their ethnic eateries in Yalta Sanctuary at Mt. Ai-Petri. It would have been naive to hope that the real estate owners would obey the law. Instead, they kept at the ready Molotov cocktails and propane gas tanks.

Tatars: This is robbery! We will stand until death! We won’t quit, we mean it!

Voiceover: They didn’t have to stand for too long — heavy gear went into action.

Tatars: You will be responsibly for murder!

Voiceover: After a brief staff meeting, special police forces and internal troops are ordered to provide ground support for the bailiffs and for the bulldozer.

Voiceover: Five minutes later, the sanctuary plateau at Mt. Ai-Petri was quiet. Everyone was doing their job. Law enforcement was packing the offenders to police trucks; the machinery was leveling the illegal real estate.

Anatoliy Mohyliov, head of the Crimean Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior: Any resistance to law enforcement officers will be forcefully thwarted. That’s what police is for — to uphold decisions made under the law. Any counteraction to the execution of this lawful court decision will naturally be thwarted.

Voiceover: Who occupied the sanctuary? During today’s events he was in the first line and obstructed the bailiffs. His name is Akhtem Chyigoz; he is the head of the Bakhchysarai Majlis. On the occupied land, on behalf of the Majlis, they started a business. They collected rent from their fellow believers for the right to open an eatery here.

Forest Ranger: People came from the Bakhchysarais Majlis and said that all paperwork has been completed. Only a few signoffs were left to be obtained from the [Crimean] Cabinet of Ministers. They showed me the flagged plots, a total 18 plots, I guess. They named the price each had to pay to build a house there and to open a business.

Voiceover: Now, in place of the businesses, Mt. Ai-Petri is again a sanctuary. Police and bulldozers won’t be sitting idly for too long, local law enforcement says. As the head of Crimean police, Anatoliy Mohyliov, promised, by the end of the week Crimeans will witness yet another series of court decisions being carried out. Oleh Kryuchkov, Oleksandr Solovyenko, Novy Kanal.

Notice the lack of balance, the gung-ho attitude, and the racist overtones. It looks more like a public relations material from Myanmar’s Ministry of the Interior.

According to earlier reports at Ukrayinska Pravda, the bailiffs’ writ of execution concerned only one building. Later in the day, however, that figure rose to seven. A total of 28 Tatars were detained. Three were hospitalized with major injuries.

All of which raises grave questions:

What doesn’t Novy Kanal ever mention those recreation centers and vast tracts of land grabitized by non-Tatars for a nickel or a dime? See no evil, hear no evil?

Why is it that some have to bear the full brunt of the law while others stay above the law?

Why is it that some have to play by the rules while others play with the rules?

“To my friends, everything; to my enemies, the law.” Is that the house rule?

Unless the "untouchables" give these questions some thought, they may very well be subscribing to a nightmare that will put First Blood on a Sri Lankan scale.

With the Tatars playing as the Tamil Tigers, this “action movie” will render the "untouchables’" villas uninhabitable for a long time.

Video uploaded from: http://video.novy.tv/reporter/reporter_2007_11_06-1.wmv


P.S. Just one more footage of the event:



Henadiy Holub, head of the Yalta State Bailiff Service Department: I believe that this is…uh…the beginning…the beginning of these teardowns that take place in Crimea, say, the teardowns of illegal real estate.
Video uploaded from: http://censor.net.ua/go/offer/ResourceID/67257.html

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

off topic - but in case u did not see - a piece about, "How to save the hryvnia"
http://www.unian.net/ukr/news
/news-220743.html

Luida

Veronica Khokhlova said...

Taras,

Thank you so much for covering this. What's happening over there is extremely heartbreaking.

Taras said...

Luida,

I wonder if Ukraine is going to coin the term "Stabilnist paradox": the U.S. has a falling dollar, Ukraine has a rising dollar.

Neeka,

Thank you for covering this subject. It is indeed heartbreaking. And the fourth estate has a lot of objective reporting and awareness raising to do to prevent the Sri Lankan scenario from engulfing Crimea.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors Open Criminal Case Upon Fact Of Personal Injury When Demolishing Unauthorized Buildings At Ai-Petri, Crimea
http://www.ukranews.com/eng
/article/78786.html

"As Ukrainian News earlier reported, police are establishing the identity of the person who fired into a crowd from a hunting or sawn-off rifle during an incident on the Ai-Petri plateau in Crimea.

Crimea's Police Chief Anatolii Mohyliov said that the actions of the police during the demolition of unauthorized structures on the Ai-Petri plateau on November 6 were an adequate reaction to the resistance of Crimean Tatars.

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people demanded the resignation of Mohyliov on Wednesday, November 7, for his involvement in the mass beating of Crimean Tatars on the Ai Petri plateau. "

Luida

Taras said...

Luida,

I think it’s just a show they’re putting on to help the Tatars let off steam.

We all know that prosecution in Ukraine bears a very close resemblance to the oldest profession. By the way, it has just occurred to me that, ironically, Ukraine’s richest person is a Tatar, albeit of non-Crimean origin.

This time, one of the Crimean Tatars caught a plastic bullet in his leg. Now that the first blood has been drawn, next time Crimean authorities may very well be walking a two-way street.

Anonymous said...

Interior Ministry Accuses 1+1 Studio Of Making Biased Reports About Police Actions Ai-Petri Plateau In Crimea
http://www.ukranews.com/eng/article
/78658.html

"Kornienko further said that law enforcement agencies would continue the execution of the court ruling to release illegally seized land lots. He said there were over 80 land lots in Crimea to be released."

Luida

PS I know, I know that it is just for show but just the simple fact that they have to do a 'dog and pony show' is a good thing because if not for media and attention which Ai-Petri received, they would not have done anything even if they had put all the protestors in the hospital - police brutality across Ukraine has happened and will again - with no court cases, nothing, ...

Taras said...

Sure, publicity played a key role in this case being taken up by the prosecution, even though it appears to be a no-consequence one.

What is of consequence is that the first blood has been drawn. Maybe acting Minister Kornienko will be so brave as to lead the next eviction task force up to the mountains?

Anonymous said...

Recent article - Luida

"Crimean Card: to divide or to Play?"
Author: Valentyna SAMAR

http://www.mw.ua/1000/1550/61109/

"The snow on Ai-Petri Mountain is dirty now. The bulldozers have cleared off signs of the carnage that took place on Ai-Petri plateau. There are four injured people in Livadia hospital one, of whom is with a gunshot wound. Another three injured are in Bakhchisaray hospital. 18 repatriates and Bakhchisaray Majlis chairman are detained for three to thirteen days for resisting the militia. These are the consequences of compulsory execution of the Crimean Economical Court’s decision on demolition of the building in Yalta Mountain-Forest Preserve, illegally erected by private entrepreneur E. Mustaphayev. 950 Berkut special militia unit solders, snipers, three armored troop-carriers and heavy trucks were deployed to carry out the Court’s decision. The whole operation was headed by V.Davydov, the deputy chief of Interior Ministry central board, and V. Parhomchuk, the chief of Crimean State Executive Service Board." ...

"The size of the repatriates’ tent-camp at the central square of Crimean capital is growing. New people are arriving from the regions, and a great meeting is planned for Sunday. The demands made by Majlis – to dismiss and bring to criminal liability the chief of the central board of Crimean militia Anatoliy Mohylev and other officials involved in the beating of repatriates on Ai-Petri plateau, to discharge detained Tatars, to create a state committee for investigating the incident – are hard to fulfill. This means that the Tatars’ action is going to be long-standing and full of provocations which may blow up the situation. Who is going to be responsible for taking control of this situation, considering that the militia is one of the sides of the conflict?" ...

Taras said...

Thank you, Luida.

Quite a far cry from the Novy Kanal report, isn’t it? The Tatars are now pondering plans to organize a militia force of their own.

Anonymous said...

Updated coverage on the story/situation

"Yalta is interested in building winter resort on Ai-Petri to extend the tourist season. Reporters learned this from the town mayor Serhii Braiko. "We must build a ski resort and thus prolong the season," he told. "
http://www.ukranews.com/eng/article
/80514.html

And so it is NO SURPRISE that the Tartar people are pro-Europe (since under the current system/regime their rights are constantly violated in favor of business.)
http://www.unian.net/ukr/news
/news-221953.html

Taras said...

Hey, what about the sanctuary? Didn’t those officials pride themselves on protecting Ai-Petri Sanctuary? Apparently some policies change faster than you can say “sanctuary.”