Auxiliary Forces against Moscow (II)

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) - The Mejlis, a Crimean Tatar organization - banned in Russia but supported by Berlin - has announced its plans to open official representative offices in Brussels and Washington this autumn, emphasizing particularly the importance of a seat in Brussels. The Mejlis, presented in the West as the only legitimate representative body of the Crimean Tatars, is actually only representing the pro-western tendency among them, while another tendency, with pro-Russian leanings, has for years explicitly rejected its policy. This split among Crimean Tatars hails back to the final years of the Cold War, when the long-time western ally - and subsequently Mejlis Chairman - Mustafa Jemilev supported radical demands for autonomy, while pursuing a tough anti-Russian course. When, in the 1960s, Jemilev began his campaign for Crimean Tatar autonomy in the Soviet-Union, he was given western support aimed at weakening the Soviet adversary from within. At the same time, Crimean Tatars, exiled in the Federal Republic of Germany, were pursuing the same objective - "Russia's national decomposition" - as it was referred to at the time. A Crimean Tatar, who had served as a main liaison to the Nazis, subsequently continuing his collaborationist activities in the Federal Republic of Germany, assisted them and, began in the 1950s, to also work for CIA-financed organizations in Munich.


The efforts of the Federal Republic of Germany, along with other western countries, particularly the United States, to use the Crimean Tatars for their foreign policy goals during the Cold War were based on the conditions resulting from the Tatars' 1941 to 1944 collaboration with the Nazi occupiers. In Mai 1944, in reaction to this collaboration,[1] the Soviet government deported some 200,000 Crimean Tatars to Central Asian regions of the Soviet Union - particularly, what is today Uzbekistan - under deplorable conditions. Numerous Tatars died during or shortly after deportation. There is no reliable count of the number of victims. In the early 1960s, Crimean Tatar activists began demanding the right of return to Crimea, in combination with the demand for political autonomy, which was of particular interest to Western powers. Aiming at weakening Moscow, western powers had already supported Ukrainian nationalists into the 1950s, fighting, with every means, for Ukraine's secession from the Soviet Union. ( reported.[2]) Following the Soviet administration's suppression of the Ukrainian unrest, the Crimean Tatars' quest for autonomy offered the West a new chance to foment another hotbed of instability on the adversary's soil.

Appealing to the West

Mustafa Jemilev, today, still one of Germany's most important Crimean Tatar contacts for its foreign policy, played a prominent role in this context. Already in 1961/62 he was at the forefront in the struggle for autonomy, when, at the age of 18, he co-founded the "Union of Crimean Tatar Youth." He intensified this struggle after Moscow, in 1967, exonerated the Tatar minority from the accusation of collective Nazi collaboration. In the 1970s, he became publicly known in the West as a comrade in arms of Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1975). At the time, Jemilev's hunger strike and other protests of Crimean Tatars were reported on in the West. Jemilev was arrested in 1974 for having planned to present US President Richard Nixon a petition on the situation of the Crimean Tatars, during his forthcoming Moscow visit. It had been planned as a publicity stunt and an appeal to put pressure on the Soviet government. In 1986, after numerous arrests, he was granted an early release due to US President Ronald Reagan's intervention on his behalf. People like Jemilev played an important role in western efforts to foment unrest in the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the West could use them on the international stage to accuse Moscow of repression, when it reacted with the anticipated police and secret service measures.

Liaison for the Nazi-Reich

Western governments have always tried to instrumentalize exiled Crimean Tatars for their own policies - for interfering in Soviet affairs or at least for their propaganda. Edige Kirimal, who lived in the Federal Republic of Germany, was one of the most influential exiled Crimean Tatars. Born in 1911, he grew up on the Crimea and fled in the 1930s to Istanbul, where he contacted prominent Crimean Tatar exiled politicians. In late 1941, Kirimal and another exiled Crimean Tatar were passed on to Berlin by the German ambassador to Turkey, Franz von Papen, to assist in planning the collaboration on the Crimea.[3] Kirimal remained in the Reich as the main liaison between the Nazi-regime and Crimean Tatars, headed the "Krimtatarische Leitstelle" (Crimean Tatar Central Office) and, just before the end of the war, was named "President" of a "Crimean Tatar National Committee" by his - probably - most important contact in Berlin, Gerhard von Mende.[4] Von Mende worked in the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territory, first as head of the Caucasus/Turkestan division and beginning in 1943, as head of the "Führungsgruppe III Fremde Völker" (Directorate III Foreign Peoples). He was considered the most important strategist for the political instrumentalization of Soviet linguistic minorities. He proposed their recruitment as Nazi collaborators to deploy them as auxiliary forces in the battle against Moscow. After World War II, von Mende once again placed his knowledge and networks at the disposal of the struggle against the Soviet Union - this time for the Bonn government and its new western allies.[5]

National Decomposition

The Nazi's liaison, Kirimal, is one of the people with whom Mende was still cooperating. After the Second World War, Kirimal sought to make a name for himself as a publicist on themes concerning Crimean Tatars. Mende promoted and wrote the preface to his first major work entitled "The National Struggle of the Crimean Turks" that he published in 1952. In late 1952, "Der Spiegel," reflected in a publicity review of the work, "in his book," Kirimal, touches on "the 'timeless' dilemma of every adversary of Russia: how can this collossus be brought down? (...) Should 'Moscow's centralism' be accepted or rather the centrifugal nationalist forces within the Russian realm be promoted?" Kirimal obviously tended to favor the second approach, as did Mende. "Kirimal's book was prefaced by Prof. Gerhard von Mende, the advisor of Alfred Rosenberg, Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories," "Der Spiegel" continued. "Von Mende was (and evidently remained) a supporter of 'Russia's national decomposition,' which means the dismemberment of this huge empire into as many national mini-states as possible."[6] Mendes' protégé, Kirimal, had been working in line with this strategy, since the 1950s for the Munich-based, CIA-financed "Radio Free Europe," alongside various other activists from Mendes' "ethnic minorities" networks. Later he worked for the Munich-based - also CIA-financed - "Institute for USSR Studies,"[7] where he published the journal "Dergi." Munich's anti-communist exile circles, in which Kirimal was circulating, included Ukrainian fascists [8] - a milieu with which Crimean Tatars in the Jemilev entourage were recently cooperating to blockade the Crimean Peninsula. ( reported.[9])

The Split among Crimean Tatars

Whereas Kirimal, who died in 1980, had not lived to see the demise of the Soviet Union, Jemilev could benefit from the lifting of the official territorial ban, in 1989, barring the return of the Crimean Tatars, and he resettled on the peninsula. Since then, there a split developed among the Tatars of Crimea, which, still today, is having grave political consequences. In 1988, Yuri Osmanov, one of the most famous Crimean Tatar leaders, besides Jemilev, founded the "National Crimean Tatar Movement" (NDKT). Whereas, Osmanov and the NDKT were satisfied with the right to return to Crimea, favoring a thriving cooperation with the other ethnic groups and with the authorities, the Crimean Tatar National Movement (OKND), the more radical Organization under Mustafa Jemilev's leadership, split off in 1989.[10] Jemilev and the OKND explicitly demanded ethnically defined privileges - a Crimean Tatar "autonomy" - and to add emphasis to their demand - convened in 1991 a "Kurultay," a Crimean Tatar National Assembly that would elect the "Mejlis," to serve as the Crimean Tatars' executive ruling body. Osmanov and the NDKT sought good relations also with Russia - not least of all, because of the traditionally strong Russian influence on Crimea - while Jemilev and his OKND were on a pro-western course in opposition to Moscow. In 1991, Jemilev was elected chair of the Mejlis, Osmanow was killed 1n 1993, by unknown assassins.

No Longer a Majority

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Mejlis was much more popular than the NDKT among Crimea's Tatars, but times have changed. The "Ukraine Analysen," a publication of the University of Bremen, noted that by late 2010, Mejlis "support was dwindling" among Crimean Tatars, and "new actors," who no longer agree with the Mejlis' "leadership role" have "appeared on the political stage." The fact that the organization has "lost its monopolizing position" and "no longer rallies the support of the majority of Crimean Tatars" is "generally ignored in the West."[11] "Ukraine Analysen" makes reference to the Milli Firqa Party, founded in 2006 under the auspices of the NDKT, which "from the beginning ... took a pro-Russian stand" - contrary to Mejlis, which accepts support from Turkey and promoted the forces behind the Orange Revolution. Over the years, this polarization among Crimea's Tatars has been growing stronger. In May 2013 - even before the Maidan protests began - the Jamestown Foundation in the USA reported on escalating tensions between the two factions.[12]

Electric Pylons Blown up

These tensions escalated with the Maidan protests and Crimea's subsequent secession. Milli Firqa opposed the Maidan protests, campaigned for participation in the secession referendum and for the peninsula's incorporation into Russia. The Mejlis supported Maidan and called for a boycott of the referendum. Jemilev even called on NATO to consider intervening on the Crimean Peninsula.[13] Jemilev and the Mejlis are still fighting for the restitution of Crimea to Ukraine. They are not adverse to the use of violence to reach their objectives. Last fall, their activists - with the support of Ukrainian fascists - blockaded Crimea, setting up roadblocks to stop commodities from reaching the peninsula and cutting off the electrical supply, by blowing up electric pylons. This caused serious damage to the Crimean population. ( reported.[14]) Russian authorities ruled that the Mejlis is a terrorist organization (April 18, 2016) and therefore, outlawed it (April 26). The organization, on the other hand, has announced its intention of setting up representative offices in Washington, but "particularly" in Brussels [15] - which is a clear indication of its intention to serve the West even more as an auxiliary force against Russia. will report further soon.

For more on this theme: Auxiliary Forces Against Moscow (I).

[1] See Auxiliary Forces Against Moscow (I).
[2] See Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (V).
[3] Johannes Hürter: Nachrichten aus dem "Zweiten Krimkrieg" (1941/42). Werner Otto von Hentig als Vertreter des Auswärtigen Amts bei der 11. Armee. In: Christian Hartmann, Johannes Hürter, Peter Lieb, Dieter Pohl: Der deutsche Krieg im Osten 1941-1944. Facetten einer Grenzüberschreitung. München 2009. S. 369-391. Hier: S. 382f. See Auxiliary Forces Against Moscow (I).
[4] Ian Johnson: A Mosque in Munich. New York 2010. S. 274f.
[5] See Heimatdienst.
[6] Edige Kirimal: Der nationale Kampf der Krim-Türken. Der Spiegel, 10.12.1952.
[7] Gudrun Hentges: Staat und politische Bildung. Von der "Zentrale für Heimatdienst" zur "Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung". Wiesbaden 2013.
[8] See Alte, neue Verbündete and Ein Sammelpunkt der OUN.
[9] See The Siege of Crimea (I).
[10] Maximilian von Platen: Die Rückkehr der Krimtataren in ihre historische Heimat. Bundesinstitut für ostwissenschaftliche und internationale Studien: Aktuelle Analysen Nr. 33/1997.
[11] Yuliya Borshchevska: Neue politische Zersplitterung auf der "Insel der Krimtataren". Radikalisierung des politischen Programms? In: Ukraine-Analysen Nr. 84, 14.12.2010. S. 2-5.
[12] Idil P. Izmirli: Growing Sense of Polarization and Escalating Tensions in Crimea Ahead of 69th Anniversary of Crimean Tatar Deportation. 17.05.2013.
[13] Dario Thuburn:NATO should intervene in Crimea "before massacre': Tatar leader. 13.03.2014.
[14] See The Siege of Crimea (I).
[15] Mejlis representations may open in Brussels, Washington in autumn. 22.04.2016.