[Yahoo! News/AFP] Tatars stay away in Bakhchysaray as pro-Russians vote en masse
In Bakhchysaray, the main centre of Crimea’s native Muslim Tatar community, Russian-speakers are the only people turning up at the polls on Sunday, as Tatars have decided to boycott the referendum.
(Photo: AFP Photo/Dimitar Dilkoff)
[Al-Jazeera] Crimea crisis: The Tatarstan factor
The Crimean Tatars’ anti-Russian (hence in this context, pro-European) stance was forged by their 1944 deportation to Central Asia and problematic resettlement in their ancestral homeland. They are suspicious of Russian intentions and politically mobilised under the leadership of the Crimean Tatar Majlis. The official justification for Russia’s actions in Ukraine was supposedly their concern for minority groups – specifically, though not limited to, Crimean Russians. Given their mistrust and fears of repeated persecution, the Kremlin is approaching the Crimean Tatar community cautiously, with a little help from its friends, such as Shaimiev.