The Interpreter | August 3, 2014
Staunton, August 1 – In order to weaken the Crimean Tatars by muddying the water about them, the Russian occupation authorities are backing a new group that would combine Azov Greeks, Don Armenians and Crimean Tatars into a single group representing what its organizers call the “older resident” communities on the peninsula.
These disparate groups, Azerbaijani commentator Amir Eyvaz says, are supposed to unite under the banner of what they are calling the Tauris Organization. The chief proponent of this idea, an ethnic Greek named Eduard Chernov says it will lead to “the consolidation and cooperation” of these groups.
According to Chernov, “out peoples have much in common – national costumes, music, dances, cuisine, mentality, genealogy, geography and history. Unity will allow us to know more about one another and about our ancestors and traditions.” To that end, the Tauris Organization plans to organize creative groups to familiarize society with “common Crimean culture.”
Such a “common” culture does not exist, Eyvaz says. The only things which tie these peoples together is their common experience in the Crimean khanate which ruled over all of them and of course “the recent Russian occupation.” Clearly, he says, this is an attempt by “pro-Russian forces” to promote acceptance by the residents of Crimea by that illegal act.
But of course there are three more important goals that the formation of such a group will help the Russian occupation authorities achieve. First, by creating a group that they can claim represents the Crimean Tatars, those authorities are setting the stage for further attacks on the Crimean Tatar mejlis (community).
Second, by combining Turkic and Armenian groups under the same umbrella organization, the Russian authorities are clearly counting on weakening both, given that the history of relations between those two communities at least in the larger world has been anything but good.
And third, the Russian authorities are counting on the Western media to help them. On the one hand, many Western journalists who confuse balance with objectivity will feel compelled to mention this group without knowing what it is about. And on the other, they will find it almost impossible not to boost this supposed example of inter-ethnic and even inter-religious cooperation, even though it is like many such Russian projects something else.
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