Read the original article at day.kyiv.ua
PACE Vice-president, Verkhovna Rada deputy Georgiy Logvynsky is a man who represents both Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. Our talk with him took place during the Kyiv Security Forum. How did we use the time before Russian aggression to build a strong state? How do people in the occupied territories live today? Does the state make enough for the return of the Crimea?
No one in Crimea can be sure of his safety
- We are currently at the 10th Kyiv Security Forum, where one of the pressing issues is the interaction between Ukraine and NATO. What prevents Ukraine from moving more actively towards the Alliance? Don’t you think that the course towards NATO is more declarative than real?
- There are politicians who think that the issue of joining NATO should be decided on a referendum. Ultimately, such a decision will affect the geopolitical state of the country, and in many countries this already happened. But in Ukraine, still not everyone understands why we need NATO, so they cannot vote from the standpoint of objective knowledge. Accordingly, it is first necessary to explain to people what NATO is, what the purpose of this organization is and what it can give Ukraine. Of course, for many years propaganda said that NATO is an enemy. Many Ukrainians still have this false Soviet stereotype in their minds. It is necessary to change this system of stereotypes.
- It seems that the authorities do not worry too much about explaining to people the motivation for their actions and their plans.
- Authorities really need to explain a lot and maintain maximum contact with the society, since the success of the government's steps depends, among other things, on the support of its people. And this will not happen, if there is some information vacuum between the people and the government. Especially in the conditions of war, when our enemy is trying to fill this vacuum. Ukraine has long been successfully cooperating with NATO. We conducted joint military exercises on the territory of Ukraine, NATO experts shared their experience with the Ukrainian military. There is a proposal to build a certain security alliance with NATO, where NATO and Ukraine will be equal members. That is, if we cannot join the Alliance, we can find the most integrated system of relations with a common program of actions. This can be a very effective step that will accelerate the integration processes.
- Do you think that Crimean Tatars in Crimea and Ukrainians in the occupied territories hear the messages from Kyiv clearly, that Ukraine will not leave them, that Ukraine will do everything for their return?
- Despite the fact that we are making a lot of efforts, this problem does exist. For me personally this is very important. My duty as a deputy who represents the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in the parliament, and as a person who sets the goal of returning our territories, is to convey to the citizens of Ukraine this state goal. But this is my initiative and initiative of other deputies. In general, in the state, we really have problems with this. And the problems are serious. On the one hand, all people support the Crimean Tatars and Crimea, and on the other – only a few understand the reality of life. Someone, for example, says - why are we happy about the visa-free regime with the EU? I answer: you do not understand how the Crimean Tatars rejoice at every PACE resolution. Even at a small amendment. Because all such messages give people hope.
No one in Crimea can be sure of his security. Every day for them is a test, and they overcome fear. In Kyiv, a very few feel and accurately realize the importance of such information messages. Therefore, it is necessary to inform people that our main weapon is patriotism and unity. If earlier someone could see in these words excessive pathos, then after our land was occupied, after thousands of deaths it became clear that these words are the basic guarantee of victory. With this weapon, not just machine guns or tanks, Israel was able to defend itself in a very difficult situation. Look at the US war in Vietnam or the USSR war in Afghanistan. The one who felt himself on the native land, he won.
Antidote against Russian propaganda exists
- But when the war lasts three years, then demoralization is inevitable.
- That is why the Russian Federation uses messages like “we lost everything” inside our information field. Therefore, we need an antidote. The main injection of such an antidote is having at least small victories. We actually did not have an army. And now we already have a powerful army. How much examples can you find in Europe today, when the people for all these three years have stood against a powerful armada, which Russia has created for decades? Is this not an excuse for strengthening the sense of self-confidence as a nation-winner?
- Nevertheless, when you turn on Ukrainian television, it’s a feeling like our enemy is actively working in our information rear. So it turns out that the military shed blood on the front, but here, in Kyiv, people seem to fall asleep over the abyss.
- When we talk about the return of Crimea and part of Donbas, we must also proceed from the fact whether we are ready to accept these territories now? And the issue here is not only in the ability to financially restore and maintain these territories, which the enemy actually plundered. Imagine that tomorrow the Russian Federation leaves Ukraine and formally the Ukrainian authorities can hold elections there, appoint their officials, etc. Imagine a few million people who have experienced great stress, in the hearts and minds of them there is pain, resentment, even hatred. These people are told for three years that they are being bombarded by Ukraine, that there is junta in Kyiv and so on. And how many people there are just afraid of returning, because they think that Ukraine will condemn them for working in the occupation institutions. Of course, for the return of these lands, everything must be done to erase things which divide people. This requires a powerful reintegration program. We have 1.8 million of internally displaced persons. This is an unprecedented number of migratory populations. For Europe this is too much, what to say about Ukraine? We built a center for internally displaced persons; we implemented general programs, interactive projects. In the field near Kyiv, together with a group of benefactors, we have already built a small infrastructure with a school, apartments and actually a collective farm. Ukrainian citizens from Donbas now reside there. This is a good example of how you can create systems.
- On the other hand, psychological support is very important.
- We conduct relevant work. It is customary to say that a person has lost everything. On the contrary, it is necessary to say: a person has started everything and only new chances are ahead, and new conditions, new people. It happens that a person complains about life, that he had to endure losses as a result of the war and occupation, and at the same time he did not even write a CV. Moving is normal for the countries of Europe. The main base for them is the ability to learn and use the acquired experience. Those who are capable of this as a result of migration are even more effective than those who are always tied to the same territory and the same conditions. My home is inhabited by settlers from Donbas. They are lawyers who have lost everything. Their son worked as a prosecutor. Here he couldn’t receive the prosecutor’s job, and now he is a businessman, he already has a cafe, and we can say that he is absolutely adapted in the new conditions. Moreover, maybe he would not have had this in Donbas.
Crimean Tatars can’t accept occupational power
- Recently there was another event of the Crimean Tatars and many of them spoke directly about the fact that they need national autonomy. If they receive it, this will be another incentive for them to return Crimea to Ukraine. Is there any danger here, because then other nationalities who reside on the territory of Ukraine can wish for national autonomy, which in the conditions of neighborhood with the aggressor can become a reason for separatism?
- There are indigenous peoples, but there are national minorities. Karaites, Crimean Tatars and Krymchaks are indigenous peoples. They have no other Motherland, in addition to Crimea as part of Ukraine. For example, in Ukraine there are Jews, but they have their own homeland - Israel. And there are very small number of Karaites and Krymchaks. Secondly - Crimea is already an autonomy, but territorial. What could Russia do for the Crimean Tatars to betray Ukraine? It proposed to introduce officially the Crimean Tatar as national language in Crimea. And the Russian Federation did this, while Ukraine hasn’t done it for 20 years.
- But Ukraine earlier allowed the Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland and created all conditions for this.
- Yes. But at the same time there was no financing for schools teaching Crimean Tatar language, but the Russian Federation approved it. That is, the Russian Federation, of course, is doing everything to ensure that the Crimean Tatars are inclined towards Russia and accept its propaganda. But the goal of the Crimean Tatars is different - they want to have the opportunity to officially recognize their homeland. Of course, this will not be given to them by the Russian Federation. That's why I support the idea of granting the national autonomy to the Crimea, and a bill which provides it has already been registered.
- Is there a huge number of Crimean Tatars who support Russia?
- The pro-Russian views are not a matter of nationality. Crimean Tatars may be more Ukrainian than ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea or in Donbas. And there are many examples. Crimean Tatars were deported precisely on a national basis. 40 percent of this people were killed by Soviet Russia. Only since 1989 the Crimean Tatars began to return to their homeland. This means that everyone remembers the tragedy of his family - who was killed, who did not return, the terrible conditions of life, etc. That is why, at the genetic level, they cannot accept the occupation authorities.