Last Saturday, the whole country’s attention was drawn to conventions of various parties, at which candidates for presidency were nominated, and that is why, unfortunately, very few noticed that the main event of the day was taking place not in the capital, but in a green-painted House of Culture in a small Crimean raion center of Bakhchysarai, which was the capital of the powerful Crimean Khanate from 14th to 18th century. By the way, the Khanate included the southern part of present-day Ukraine.
But on the other hand, the attention of the international community was riveted not to Kyiv, but to Crimea: the future of Ukraine did not depend on the presidential candidacies so much as it did on the discussion of the Kurultai delegates, who adopted historic decisions on the fate of Crimea, and therefore, on the further situation in the world in general, and relations between Russia and Ukraine in particular. It seems that only Kyiv failed to realize this. A very simple fact proves that the Crimean decisions are more important for the future of the country than the “parade of presidents”: nobody appealed to the UN from Kyiv, while petitions to the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, Kyiv, and Moscow were sent from Bakhchysarai on that day.
It was strange that in the conditions of annexation, foreign guests were able to arrive at the congress of Crimean Tatars, the most numerous pro-Ukrainian association on the peninsula: Rustam Minnikhanov, president of Tatarstan, and Rawil Gaynetdin, head of the Muftis Council (Russia). The meeting between Refat Chubarov and Vladimir Putin was announced already. However, not only was Kyiv not represented at the Congress, but there was not a single mention that Chubarov was welcome in Kyiv at least for a conversation. After all this, should anyone wonder that only the anthem of Crimean Tatars was performed during the Kurultai, and the anthem of Ukraine, which was performed during the previous 23 years, was neglected?
The importance of the 6th Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People is that on March 29, 2014, it declared the creation (restoration) of the fourth (in this nation’s history) state of the Crimean Tatars. The world “restoration” is used for a reason: the first state was the Crimean Khanate, which existed from the 14th to the 17th century, the second – the Crimean People’s Republic, proclaimed by the First Kurultai in December 1917, which adopted the constitution, state symbols, and announced itself as a parliament, but was soon destroyed by the Bolsheviks. A building in which it functioned has survived in Simferopol. The third state was the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which existed in 1921-44 and was destroyed after Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea. And for the fourth time, the Kurultai declares its statehood in the form of the national and territorial autonomy. Delegates greeted this intention of Mejlis, which finally dared to do it, with a standing ovation and shouts “Masha’Allah!” and were virtually unanimous in supporting this project during the vote.
The resolution gives a thorough and immaculate legal justification of the implementation of the Crimean Tatars’ right for self-determination. It says that under the current circumstances, when the status of Crimea has been forcefully changed regardless of the will of Crimea’s indigenous people, and when “the people, using the universally recognized regulations of the international documents which guarantee the right for self-determination as a basis... [then a list of references to documents follows. – Author], the Kurultai declares the start of the political and legal procedures on the creation (restoration) of the national and territorial autonomy of the Crimean Tatar people on their historical territory in Crimea.” At the same time, the Kurultai took into consideration all current Crimean circumstances: the right of the indigenous people to autonomy and self-governance, full-fledged participation in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the country of residence, and the fact that according to the regulations of international law, “military activities shall not take place in the territories of indigenous peoples, unless otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the peoples concerned.” (Article 30 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).
Under these circumstances, the Kurultai’s decision of March 29 is absolutely justified. Based on the Declaration of the National Sovereignty of the Crimean Tatar People, adopted by the 2nd Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People on June 28, 1991, it implements its right to autonomy. The Kurultai commissioned Mejlis with “contacting international organizations: the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, parliaments and governments of states in all matters relating to securing the right of the Crimean Tatar People for self-determination in their historic territory, in Crimea.”
But the main question arises here: did the Mejlis understand the essence of the decisions adopted by the Kurultai? For Crimean Tatars were the first to worry about this.