Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 27.07.2018
Ukraine’s region of Crimea has been under brutal foreign occupation from Muscovy for almost four and a half years. In recent weeks, the Putin regime has been increasingly terrorizing not just Ukrainian loyalists but their families as well. Russia is beginning to practice North Korean-style collective punishment against the captive population of Ukrainian citizens, as a means to crush all dissent.
Putin hates and fears the Crimean Tatars especially. The Crimean Tatars have been living in this southern peninsula of Ukraine for centuries. Moreover, since 1474 till 1686 Muscovy had been paying tributes ("kazna" in Tatarian) in cash and natural goods to the Crimean Tatars, equal to one thousand horses yearly. The very existence of the Crimean Tatars negates the ridiculous and far-fetched claim that far-away Muscovy says it has to Crimea. That is why Putin wishes to negate the existence of the Crimean Tatars. The Putin regime’s persecution of the Crimean Tatars is several steps along the way to genocide.
On July 26, the illegal occupation authorities raided houses of Crimean Tatar families who live in Kurske, Bilohirsk district, Crimea, Ukraine (Russian-occupied). This was reported by the Crimean Solidarity community organization. The invaders in Crimea are persecuting five young boys who are accused of removing a Russian flag from the village council. Searches were being conducted in Kurske and in nearby Kholodivka, Sudak district, Crimea, Ukraine (Russian-occupied) to find or plant evidence that the Russians will use in a ‘prosecution’ that could lead to restriction of freedom, forced labour, arrest, or imprisonment of the children.
According to activist Zair Smedlyaev, the Russians are increasingly targeting the wives and children of Crimean Tatars who are Ukrainian loyalists. The world’s attention turned away from Russia after the World Cup ended. “As we predicted, a new wave of repressions has begun. It is obvious that Putin is making use of that ‘indulgence’ which he received from Trump and other world leaders,” said Zair Smedlyaev to Radio Svoboda.
The Russians are taking up collective punishment in the parts of Ukraine they occupy, in the style of North Korea. North Korea has had a “three generations of punishment” policy for 70 years: spouses, children, and grandchildren are punished for the same ‘crime’ as the so-called perpetrator. A shocking example occurred in Russian-occupied Ukrainian Crimea on July 19. Masked and armed men from the Muscovy occupation regime raided the home of Muslim Aliyev in the village of Verkhnaya Kutuzovka. Muslim Aliyev is a hostage of the occupation regime because he is a Crimean Tatar, professes Islam, and keeps his loyalty as a Ukrainian citizen. While Muslim Aliyev is in a Russian dungeon, Putin’s goons were raiding his home to put pressure on his daughter, Gulsum Aliyeva. In the case of Gulsum Aliyeva, the Russians are fabricating charges about the positions she takes on social media, charging her with “inciting hatred or enmity, as well as humiliation of human dignity” – the boilerplate charge that is used to stifle all dissent in Muscovy and in the territory occupied by its invasion armies.
It should be noted that the application of Russian Federation laws in Ukraine’s Crimea is a gross violation of international human rights law. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, the pre-eminent international human rights organization in Europe. Russia has been ordered by the Council of Europe to reverse its illegitimate act of removing Ukrainian laws and imposing Russian laws in Crimea – an order which the Putin regime has ignored.
Muslim Aliyev, the father of Gulsum Aliyeva, was abducted by Putin’s goons on 11 February 2016. Along with him were snatched up Emir-Usein Kuku, Envir Bekirov and Vadim Siruk. Later, on 18 April 2016, Refat Alimov and Arsen Dzhepparov were grabbed. All these men are recognized as political prisoners by the authoritative Memorial Human Rights Centre.
Russia’s hold over Ukraine’s Crimea is so unsteady that the Putin regime has taken to terrorizing children. The nine-year-old son of Emir-Usein Kuku was stopped by a man outside his school who told the boy that his father was “a bad person who would sit for a very long time if he did not cooperate.” The family and lawyer of Emir-Usein Kuku filed a complaint about the frightening incident. Instead of protecting the child, the Russian occupation authorities accused Emir-Usein Kuku (who is incarcerated by the Russian occupation authorities) of not fulfilling his parental responsibilities because he “let an unknown man molest” his son. They then demanded that the boy’s mother, Emir-Usein Kuku’s wife, come in for questioning about the ‘neglect.’ This insane procedure was paused when Amnesty International demanded that the persecution of Emir-Usein Kuku and his wife and children be stopped.
In March 2014, when Putin was beginning his invasion of Ukraine, he vowed that his troops would come from “behind the women and children” of the Ukrainians. He was threatening to use ‘human shield’ terrorist tactics, which he in fact carried out in both Crimea and Donbas. Now Putin is terrorizing women and children as a way to further torture the more than 70 hostages he is keeping. Ukrainians in Russian-occupied Crimea – many of whom come from the Crimean Tatar community – are being subjected to a brutal foreign occupation, the likes of which has not been seen in Europe since the Second World War.