“Crimea’s Tatars Try to Keep Their Resistance Peaceful”
The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 11, 2014, p.A8
“Crimea’s indigenous Tatars, who were subjected to ethnic cleansing during Soviet times, are debating now how aggressively to resist the prospect of coming under Moscow’s rule again. The outcome will help determine whether the Kremlin’s political gambit sparks a full-scale ethnic conflict similar to the bloody forays Russia has waged in nearby Chechnya and Dagestan. Tatars, who are Sunni Muslim, are generally considered moderate. But dozens of Tatar men have fought alongside al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria in recent years. Some are now pushing back against a perceived passivity among the community’s elders and in favor of fighting back. … ‘I was raised on Gandhiism. But we have splits in our community. Tatars have gone to Syria and fought. Dozens of them are already returning. They say an enemy has entered our homeland and are ready to fight,’ [Ukrainian legislator Mustafa] Dzhemilev said. … Already across the peninsula, Crimean Tatar men have formed neighborhood patrols, aimed at keeping tabs overnight on Russian military infiltration of their villages, according to two businessmen involved.”
Quickie analysis: Interesting look at the Tatar community, which is often overlooked in discussions about ethnic Ukrainians vs. ethnic Russians in Crimea.