17 March 2014
Source: HRO.org (info)
To whom does Crimea belong?
Crimea belongs to us!
It is ours by right of love and by right of responsibility for what happens there.
Because what belongs to us belongs to us not because we enter there with an iron boot, but because we love it and feel a sense of responsibility for it.
My grandfather was born in the small Russian village of Kurtsy not far from Simferopol. His mother was the daughter of a pastor from a neighbouring Estonian village and his cousin was married to a Ukrainian.
I was taken by my grandfather to this village of Kurtsy when I was 14 years old, which is when I first heard of the tragedy of the Crimean Tatars. And perhaps, it was then that I first began to feel that I was a citizen of this country because for the first time I felt pain and shame for my own country. And this feeling of responsibility, which is love for the country where we live, unites all of us here today. It completely disenfranchises our regime today, which is acting totally irresponsibly and extremely thoughtlessly.
Therefore today each one of us should feel ourselves to be citizens; each one of us should accept responsibility for our country and what is done in our name. And all of us gathered here today understand this.
Russia should be free! Ukraine should be free! And everyone on our planet should live in peace! Today we are answerable for this.
And one more thing. They are now trying to convince us that streams of refugees are fleeing Ukraine and migration agencies in Moscow and other subjects of the RF are preparing to take them. They tell us that in Russia there are already several hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine. Dear friends, I have been studying the problems of asylum for a couple of decades, and even longer. And I can categorically say this is not true. In not one of the border regions, where our consultation points are located, has anyone discovered crowds of refugees on the border fleeing Ukraine.
However, when refugees from Syria and Egypt poured into Russia, at the time of two wars with Chechnya when streams of IDPs came flooding in, all our reception centres were taken up with people seeking aid, with for those seeking asylum.
None of our Ukrainian relatives has come to any of us to be rescued from persecution and in fear of their own lives. Nobody needs to be saved from Ukrainian authorities, or from what happened on the Maidan. If today Ukrainian citizens come to the migration service, it is those who have been living in Russia for years, but have not been legalised, like many former fellow citizens from previous Soviet republics. It is possible that today they will get the chance to legalise their status, and I would be very happy for them.
Freedom to Russia! Freedom to Ukraine! Freedom to everyone on earth!
Translated by Frances Robson
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