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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Land Conflict Deepens Crimea’s Ethnic Fault Lines

The legacy of Stalin’s forcible deportation of Crimean Tatars comes back to haunt the peninsula. Tatar repatriates, whom local authorities often refuse to compensate for the land their parents and grandparents lost, often resort to squatting.

Against a background of widespread corruption and land grabs by the well-connected elites, squatting becomes the only remedy available to Tatar repatriates. This festering problem once again came to the fore Thursday, when a Simferopol firm tried to regain control of a land plot occupied by Tatar squatters.

Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes! Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes! (The rallying call of Ukrainian nationalists. Apparently a group of them came to show support for the Tatars.)
Tatars: How about coming out in the open? Just you wait! We’ll hold each of you accountable.
Police officer: In the event of unforeseeable circumstances that will lead to aggravated consequences, all of you will be prosecuted in accordance with the criminal code.
The firm’s “security forces”: What now, huh? Come over here if you’re so tough. Come on, come on, come on! Get them all here!
Tatars: Don’t think we’ll let you get away with it. No way. No way! Just some 100-200 hryvnias, and you’re dead! If you don’t convert to Islam, you’ll die. Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!

(Situation spins out of control. Shots fired in the air. Police fire tear gas.)

The longstanding mistreatment of the Tatar minority lays the ground for extremism, a time bomb that may explode at any time. Tatars steadily vote for NUNS, as a counterweight against Russian dominance and separatist ferment, fueled by the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and its blatant disregard for Ukrainian law.

Still, “one law for all,” NUNS’ campaign slogan, has yet to materialize in Crimea and in the rest of Ukraine. Thankfully, the confrontation did not result in large-scale violence. Several people sustained minor injuries.

The Thursday episode must serve as a wake up call to the Party of Regions, which holds a solid majority in local government. Unless the Party of Regions rethinks its land policies, the situation may escalate from bad to worse.

Once the genie is out of the bottle, the splendid villas of Kyiv, Donetsk, and Moscow moguls will be washed away into the Black Sea in a bloodbath that will rival Bosnia and the Gaza Strip. It’s not too late to work out a win-win land policy. This policy will rescue Crimea from a future of a world-class flash point, and instead will reprogram it to a future of a world-class resort.

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Qatar Cat said...

"If you don't convert to Islam you'll die".

Loved that.

Taras said...

Yes, that's a very serious threat. And we'll be hearing more, unless Crimea reconsiders its one-sided land policy.

Anonymous said...

У сутичках на плато Ай-Петрі кримська міліція затримала 20 осіб

Police arrested 20 people in the situation in Crimea

Taras said...

Thank you! I'll try to put together a report on that event by the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

Nasha Ukrayina blames Crimean authorities in discrimination against Crimean Tartars ... NU called the actions of the police on Nov. 1 and Nov. 6 'provocations'/set ups .... NU blames the authorities for not wanting to give the Tartars pieces of land instead give land to allied, commercial structures...

Наша Україна звинувачує кримську владу у дискримінації кримських татар


Anonymous said...

btw the land in Krym is valuable - whether for vineyards or as in the following story - hotels --- It is very much like land in the Hawaiian islands - there is only so much of it and the natives are getting shafted from their rights.

On October 30, two big Ukrainian developers joined forces with the global hotel operator Rezidor Hotel Group to sign an agreement over construction of a major new hotel complex in Yalta. The Ukrainian developers behind the deal, Nedvizhimost Stolitsy (NEST) and its partner Double W, stated that they are planning to launch this new landmark tourist attraction within three years. ....
According to preliminary plans, the first element of the complex to be completed will be a four-star hotel. It will occupy a total of 22,000 square metres and will include 280 suites, two restaurants, bars, café with a terrace, spa complex, open air and covered swimming pools, bowling alley, billiards, conference centre, cinema, private beach and yacht mooring facility.

A second, slightly more exclusive four-star hotel will take up a further area in 16 thousand square metres and contain 220 suites along with parking for 200 cars. The project is set to be based on plans drawn up by American and English architects. ...


Anonymous said...

One of the leaders of in the Communist Party speaks about the events in Krym -

that he is happy that the law is being put into effect - tearing down home-made buildings of the Tartars (my words) (who out of necessity are forced to build in order to have a place to live.)


Taras said...

Thank you, Luida! You did a great job of contextualizing this story, something that the Novy Kanal report failed to do.

I'm right in the middle of posting an entry.