Monday, March 10, 2014

Russians Will Die In Crimea - Just Like Chechnya

Tatars warn Russia risks provoking jihadi backlash in Crimea -

Russia risks a repeat of its bloody entanglements in Chechnya if it annexes Crimea, a senior Crimean Tatar leader has warned, with extremist elements in the community threatening jihadi-style violence against Russian troops occupying the peninsula.

Mustafa Jemilev, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, said a number of militant Tatars had approached him to say they would fight the Russians.

"We have Islamists, Wahhabis, Salafis . . . groups who have fought [with the opposition] in Syria," he said in an interview in Simferopol, the Crimean capital. "They say: 'an enemy has entered our land and we are ready'.

"We can't stop people who want to die with honour," he said, making he clear he did not endorse a jihadist campaign.

Anxiety among Crimean Tatars has its roots in their tragic history under Russian rule, which began when Catherine the Great annexed the region in 1783. Josef Stalin deported the entire Tatar population in 1944, on the pretext that they had collaborated with the Nazis.

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