Only one Crimean Tatar was elected to the Crimean parliament, the Supreme Soviet, in Sunday’s election. To add insult to injury, that deputy was elected not as a representative of the Tatars — the indigenous population of the peninsula — but as a Communist party candidate. Until these elections, the Tatars had a guaranteed quota of fourteen seats in the legislature of the autonomous republic. The other deported nations — Armenians, Bulgarians, Greeks and Germans — had one seat each. These quotas were abolished by the Ukrainian parliament, which argued that, despite the injustice of Stalin’s deportations, deportees should not have rights not enjoyed by other Ukrainian citizens. Although the quota did indeed give the Tatars larger representation than their share of the population alone would merit, that only half of the Tatars resident in Crimea are citizens with the right to vote means that, now that the quota has been abolished, the Tatar community finds itself with no representation.
The only piece of good news for the Tatars was that their veteran leader Mustafa Jemilev, chairman of the Majlis (the unofficial Crimean Tatar parliament), was elected to the Ukrainian parliament in Sunday’s election on the Rukh party list. Jemilev said that he will campaign in the Ukrainian legislature to win representation for Crimea’s deportees in the parliament of the autonomous republic. (Radio Ukraine World Service, March 31)
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