Challenges and Hopes
Edited By Viktor Stepanenko and Yaroslav Pylynskyi
Crimean Tatars’ National Institutes under the Occupation: The Case of the Muftiyat of Crimea
With its annexation by Russia, Crimea became a challenging subject for studying the role and transformation of institutions under the conditions of foreign occupation. In this case study I will focus particularly on the Crimean Tatars’ religious institution, the Muftiyat. One can observe various tactics of the occupiers towards the Crimean Tatars and their institutions – ranging from carrots to sticks. And if the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and also its leaders have found themselves under ongoing aggressive attacks and repressions, the Tatars’ religious institutions, particularly the Muftiyat, are engaged in a more sophisticated political game, the aim of which is to achieve the loyalty of the Crimean Tatars to (or, at least, their recognition of) the new Russian authorities in Crimea.
The collapse of Yanukovych’s government had a significant impact on the country’s security sector and allowed aggravation of the situation in Crimea. Part of the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea (the Parliament of the Crimea) decided to follow the plan of the Kremlin to change the status of the peninsula.
From December 2013, Crimea saw an increasing presence of Russian special forces and special services, as well as Russian volunteers. On February 26, 2014 the Crimean Parliament scheduled an extraordinary session, at which it planned to adopt separatist resolutions. Then the session did not take place due to pressure from protesters who came out at the call of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. However, in the night...
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