“We are not so young to change our habits”


Finally, we have decided to summarize all our impressions of this week. On July 10th, 2019 (and all will turn the same as ere) Crimean Tatars came out on the Red Square. Some of them were there in July 1987 (32 years ago). The first thing came to my mind was: “It’s impossible!”. Ten minutes later I started thinking like: ” Why, actually, is it impossible?”.

What makes us think that we can’t do it? Here they are standing on the square. And that is what I would like to say: first of all, it was nice. The sun was shining, The Red Square, crowds of tourists, all inline into the mausoleum. Some French people were shooting a movie in the center of the square. In the story, some guy and a girl were walking on the square talking about something. A crowd of extras was chasing the camera and tourists wanted to be a part of the movie. And at the same time, more than forty veterans of national Crimean Tatar movement were also walking there like ordinary tourists who were looking around, easily answered to requests to take a photo in front of the Kremlin holding bags in their hands. There was water, some snacks for the case of being arrested. One of them not far from me opened his bag and I saw a prayer rug. Suddenly you start to notice that amount of Crimean Tatars on the square increase. It is still just a walk but now it’s more close to the center. Suddenly at 11 sharp, the first poster was opened.

After it, tens of them were disclosed. I started to count the seconds. But five or seven minutes left. It’s been a really long time. Tourists started gazing at those posters and journalists were promptly shooting everything because they knew it wouldn’t last for a long time. Frenchmen stopped their shootings. Two police cars came. It was so ridiculous to see them on the Red Square because they seemed to be so little like toy cars. Policemen came to the protesters.  People refolded them one by one and disappeared in the crowds. Seven of them were detained by the police. Seven out of forty. I went to the Internal Affairs Agencies to “Kitai – Gorod”. While I was waiting for the layer, cars of the Federal Protective Service and some police bosses were coming in and out. Obviously, they were confused. “Why did you come? Why to the Red Square? We are not so young to change our habits”. I don’t know exactly whether the conversation was like this one but I am sure that in general, it was something like that. My phone was blowing up because of the journalists from all over the world. Photos and videos from the square were spreading at the velocity of sound. At once a very “difficult” story about 63 Crimeans arrested and accused of terrorism turned to be “an obvious and clear human tragedy”. It should be mentioned that Russian mass-media showed everything under such headings like “Seven Crimean Tatars were detained on the Red Square”. And world mass-media showed it like ” Tens of Crimean Tatars came out on the Red Square”. Tell me please, what’s in our heads? All paperwork about veterans was done very quickly and nearly 3 pm they were free.

Day two

On July 11 Military Chamber of the Supreme Court was considering an appeal against the judgment of four Crimean Tatars sentenced for participation in the terroristic organization. They got 44 years in prison for all of them in total. More than a hundred of people came from Crimea to support their compatriots. It was the usual Crimean atmosphere around a court building. In such circumstances, we with our colleagues have spent dozens of court hearings in Crimea: brought some scones, biscuits, candies, boiled water somewhere in a cattle that traveled 1,000 miles with us. At some point, I became such nervous that forgot the last name of my best friend who was a lawyer at the court at that moment. I ran to ask her surname and suddenly brought down an iron pillar that was stuck in concrete. People standing next to me turned around and said to the police: “See, what kind of women we have!” After that, the atmosphere around became more pleasant and warm.

Policemen were standing around us and just couldn’t understand what was going on and what to do with all of this stuff and to be sure they detained all the people near the court building except me and journalists ( total 46 people).

After the decision of ” the most independent and the most righteous”  court in the world the term of imprisonment was reduced for three months (totally they were imprisoned not for 44  years but for 42 years and 10 months). After it all detained came out of the court building and everybody went to the police offices where everything was all the same: hours of waiting and picnic on the sidelines. Everybody was free at about 10 pm. Mass-media of Moscow reported about ” detention of supporters of Crimean Tatars”. ” At least not ” detention of people born in Uzbekistan” – somebody joked near the police office. On the Motherland in Crimea, all the participants of these events meant to be kind of heroes and were met in an appropriate way.

I don’t know to what extent this story can influence the situation, I don’t know what do powers that be think about it. I even don’t know whether it leads to the solidarity of Russian people. But those feelings of inspiration, unity and mutual support that united all the Crimean Tatars young and experienced, religious and not for the sake of protection of their children and brothers from police state – all of this will not be simply forgotten. This is what brought Crimean Tatars to their Motherland and this is what will make Crimea free in general and victims of the regime in particular. I wish I could name all the heroes of these events. But you know that you marked here by invisible color.  I love you all so much and I do admire.

Sasha Krilenkova

Author: Редакция Avdet