A Discussion with the Crimean Tatar Leader

A Discussion with the Crimean Tatar Leader

On May 13, 2016, the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) organized a seminar with Mustafa Dzhemilev, the former Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament since 1998. He is the recognized leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement and a former Soviet dissident and human rights activist.

As Russia formally annexed Crimea, Mr Dzhemilev, with other leaders of the Crimean mejlis, or ruling council, was barred from entering the peninsula. Since then the human rights situation has deteriorated. 

The Crimean Tatars make up about 13 percent of Crimea's population. They are a Muslim people native to the peninsula who were deported under Soviet leader Josef Stalin, returning only at the collapse of the Soviet Union when the territory was granted autonomous status within a newly independent Ukraine.

The seminar was moderated by Martin Kragh, Senior Reseach Fellow and Head of UI’s Russia and Eurasia Programme.


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