Escape from Crimea : the Tatar

Full video transcript

Escape from Crimea: the Tatar

When Crimea was occupied and

annexed by Russian forces in 2014,

many promises were made

by the new authorities

about protecting

the peninsula citizens.

But when we interviewed

Crimeans living in Kiev,

we found out that several had left

their home region because of fear.

In the first story

we talk to a Crimean Tatar

about why he escaped from Crimea.

My feelings are

Crimea has turned into a prison.

My relatives keep calling

that people disappear

and the press is not informed. Why?

Because when people disappear,

particularly

the believers are Muslims,

the relatives are afraid

to report it to the authorities.

It's like letting criminals know

about the violence taking place.

It’s pointless.

Official statistics is

about eighteen to nineteen cases,

but in reality

there is a larger number of cases.

They are covered up,

as people are afraid

that reporting these cases

will only make matters worse.

On 21 November,

when people came out to the Maidan,

I was here, I was at the Maidan,

the European square,

and I spent here practically...

I was there almost every day

with the Crimean Tatar flag.

So de facto

I became the activist of the Maidan.

I did not throw any Molotov cocktails,

as on that picture,

and did not participate in

any activities with the use of force,

but as a representative of my people.

With our flag I was there quite often,

so I did not hide my position.

And in the social networks

there were photographs and videos.

And people in Yalta,

where I live, the neighbours,

they all knew about this.

So at the moment when I came back

to see the family

on 22 or 23 February,

I already felt the antagonism

of the population around us,

non-Tatar population.

So it was clear to me

that this might not end well.

Well, there were

questions from the neighbours:

When are you going to leave?

How are you going to sell your house?

Even though

we were not announcing anything.

So it went subtle, creation of

the situation, which caused anxiety.

When you're asked:

How do you plan to sell your house?

We want to buy

your house for a low price.

At school they stopped teaching.

My son is in the third form,

there was a ban

on teaching Ukrainian language.

Tatar was not taught at all.

They started applying propaganda.

So to avoid this influence,

as my son is

the only Crimean Tatar in his class...

It is quite a cunning system.

There were no direct threats,

but they were creating

an atmosphere of anxiety.

That’s what it was first of all.

The intimidation

started already in Kiev.

They thought we were still in Crimea

and we were receiving

the calls here, including for example,

our flat was mortgaged,

mortgaged by the bank.

And the bank sold our data

to the Russian Federation.

So the calls started from Moscow:

We will take your accommodation

away, etc. That sort of thing.

There they at least

have the roof over their heads.

They’re in an anxious state.

They ask me:

Why isn’t Ukraine proactive?

They say: Why did you not switch

of water, electricity, gas, everything?

Cut of everything. It is better...

How do you say this in Russian?

It is better to have a horrible end

rather than horror without an end.

I left with the family,

my wife and four children,

and two of my sisters

with their families. But the rest,

the larger part of the family,

remains there of course,

but they are all anxious.

They’re all in a state of anxiety.

Somebody ended up with a stroke;

somebody had a heart attack.

So they are all

in a very bad psychological state.

Escape from Crimea: the Tatar

When Crimea was occupied and

annexed by Russian forces in 2014,

many promises were made

by the new authorities

about protecting

the peninsula citizens.

But when we interviewed

Crimeans living in Kiev,

we found out that several had left

their home region because of fear.

In the first story

we talk to a Crimean Tatar

about why he escaped from Crimea.

My feelings are

Crimea has turned into a prison.

My relatives keep calling

that people disappear

and the press is not informed. Why?

Because when people disappear,

particularly

the believers are Muslims,

the relatives are afraid

to report it to the authorities.

It's like letting criminals know

about the violence taking place.

It’s pointless.

Official statistics is

about eighteen to nineteen cases,

but in reality

there is a larger number of cases.

They are covered up,

as people are afraid

that reporting these cases

will only make matters worse.

On 21 November,

when people came out to the Maidan,

I was here, I was at the Maidan,

the European square,

and I spent here practically...

I was there almost every day

with the Crimean Tatar flag.

So de facto

I became the activist of the Maidan.

I did not throw any Molotov cocktails,

as on that picture,

and did not participate in

any activities with the use of force,

but as a representative of my people.

With our flag I was there quite often,

so I did not hide my position.

And in the social networks

there were photographs and videos.

And people in Yalta,

where I live, the neighbours,

they all knew about this.

So at the moment when I came back

to see the family

on 22 or 23 February,

I already felt the antagonism

of the population around us,

non-Tatar population.

So it was clear to me

that this might not end well.

Well, there were

questions from the neighbours:

When are you going to leave?

How are you going to sell your house?

Even though

we were not announcing anything.

So it went subtle, creation of

the situation, which caused anxiety.

When you're asked:

How do you plan to sell your house?

We want to buy

your house for a low price.

At school they stopped teaching.

My son is in the third form,

there was a ban

on teaching Ukrainian language.

Tatar was not taught at all.

They started applying propaganda.

So to avoid this influence,

as my son is

the only Crimean Tatar in his class...

It is quite a cunning system.

There were no direct threats,

but they were creating

an atmosphere of anxiety.

That’s what it was first of all.

The intimidation

started already in Kiev.

They thought we were still in Crimea

and we were receiving

the calls here, including for example,

our flat was mortgaged,

mortgaged by the bank.

And the bank sold our data

to the Russian Federation.

So the calls started from Moscow:

We will take your accommodation

away, etc. That sort of thing.

There they at least

have the roof over their heads.

They’re in an anxious state.

They ask me:

Why isn’t Ukraine proactive?

They say: Why did you not switch

of water, electricity, gas, everything?

Cut of everything. It is better...

How do you say this in Russian?

It is better to have a horrible end

rather than horror without an end.

I left with the family,

my wife and four children,

and two of my sisters

with their families. But the rest,

the larger part of the family,

remains there of course,

but they are all anxious.

They’re all in a state of anxiety.

Somebody ended up with a stroke;

somebody had a heart attack.

So they are all

in a very bad psychological state.