For a long time, no actions of the Crimean authorities concerning the interethnic sphere have been particularly surprising, because it seems impossible to launch the situation even more strongly. But what will be discussed below goes far beyond logic and common sense.
Recently, in the local parliament, which on this day looked more like a vanity fair, the state award of the republic the Gasprinsky Medal was solemnly awarded. For those who, like me, did not know about its existence, I will explain that since 2017 it has been awarded to different figures, regardless of nationality or religion. For what? For “a significant personal contribution to the cultural and spiritual development of the ethnics of Crimea, for contribution to the strengthening of traditional faiths in the interests of the republic, special personal merits in strengthening interethnic and inter-confessional peace and harmony in Crimea.”
The declared achievements sound very positive, and the award itself, is precious and flattering, given the activities of Ismail Gasprinsky, in whose honour it was established. But the receiving side looks more like a mockery of the Crimean Tatars. On January 20, the deputy chairman of the Crimean Public Chamber, Alexander Formanchuk, was marked by this medal. The most high-profile “merit” in recent years has been his participation in writing the scandalous school manual “History of the Crimea” for grade 10 students.
In the textbook, I recall, it was stated that most Crimean Tatars sympathised with the occupation of the peninsula during the Great Patriotic War, and also collaborated with the Germans: “part” of the Crimean Tatars met the Nazi occupiers “with bouquets, treated them with fruits and wine,” seeing them as “liberators. ” “The majority of the Tatar population was loyal to the Germans, and many actively helped them,” the manual says. It noted that “the total number of Crimean Tatar units that served the Nazis with weapons in their hands is estimated at 20 thousand people.” Crimean Tatar public organisations demanded the removal of the book from school libraries, and someone even expected an apology from its compilers. Then slander and lies were also admitted in the local Ministry of Education, temporarily withdrawing manuals and partially cutting out content that angered public.
But Alexander Formanchuk, as a co-author, continued to stand his ground. He is sure that the information presented in the textbook cannot offend anyone, as it is a “historical truth”. He also said that he was not going to apologize to anyone. “I am very sorry for the State Duma deputy Ruslan Balbek who came down to such a low level of understanding of historical processes. If we hush up everything as he demands, we will repeat the mistake of Ukraine when the actual rehabilitation of the OUN-UPA (banned in the Russian Federation) occurred”, Formanchuk said, adding that he and no other authors would apologise to anyone.
On the whole, Formanchuk is a typical representative of the pro-Russian camp of Crimean activists. In the past, he held not the last positions in the Crimean regional committee of the Communist Party, the Council of Ministers of the ARC, the Verkhovna Rada of the ARC, and led various state centres and departments. In his role as a political scientist, he likes to hand out comments to the mass media that are pleasing to his superiors on various occasions.
Given all these facts, giving Formanchuk the Gasprinsky medal is not just illogical, but insulting. It turns out that a prize established in honour of the famous Crimean Tatar leader, a century later, is used against his own people, encouraging attacks on the Crimean Tatars.
About what contribution can we talk in this situation? After all, what Alexander Formanchuk does is diametrically different from what the medal is supposed to be awarded for. Maybe the award was created to demonstrate their power once again to the Crimean Tatars even in such matters? That there was one more reason to “prick” the Crimean Tatar public? Whatever it is, such actions do not affect interethnic harmony in Crimea in the best way.
In 2017, when the award was only instituted, it was awarded to Fevzi Yakubov, the former president of the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University.
Presenting a medal this year, in its absurdity, breaks all records. Naturally, no one outlined the real achievements of Formanchuk (if there is any) in front of Crimean residents.
The execution of the award itself seems absurd. At first glance, the medal is made according to all the canons and rules, out of an alloy of non-ferrous metals of silver colour. By the way, initially, at a meeting of the heraldic commission of the Central Museum of Tauris in Simferopol, an option made of gold was considered, but in the end, they chose a modest silver.
In the centre of the medal is a round blue enamel medallion depicting a bas-relief of Ismail Gasprinsky and his name. On the reverse side around the circumference is a wreath of laurel and oak branches, in the centre of the medal is the inscription “Republic of Crimea”, and below it is the number of the medal. A convex side borders the edges of the medal. For daily wear, a strap is covered with a silk moire ribbon in the colours of the flag of the republic. The Gasprinsky Medal is awarded together with a badge and an established form certificate.
There is only one nuance that is bewildering: on the front side of the coin, as if under the bas-relief of Gasprinsky, a relief composition of an oblique “St. Andrew’s Cross” and a figure in the form of six beams diverging from the centre of parallel beams are depicted.
Again. Ismail Gasprinsky is a Crimean Tatar intellectual, enlightener, publisher and politician. Gasprinsky’s worldview principles and ideas were based on liberal ideology, the progressive development of society, the friendship of peoples, and religious tolerance.
St. Andrew’s Cross is an oblique cross symbolizing the crucifixion of the First Baptist of Russia, the Apostle Andrew the First-Called. Peter I placed the image of the St. Andrew cross on the state emblem, on his symbolising, on the naval flag. The shape of the letter X was associated with the Greek spelling of the name of Christ. In 1944-1946, it was the official flag of the Committee for the Liberation of the ethnics of Russia, formed on the initiative of Andrei Vlasov and his supporters with the support of the Third Reich to overthrow the socio-political system of the USSR.
How is the Muslim Crimean Tatar enlightener related to the facts above? Why are they combined on the same medal? Why did they choose the Andreevsky cross for the decoration of the award? What guided the designers and the commission that approved the final form of the award? There are, as always, more questions than answers.