Criticism against planned concert of Hamburg-based techno band Scooter in Crimea: would Scooter also play a gig in Guantanamo?

Stop leading people to believe that the situation in the country is normal! The Crimean Tatars are suffering from Putin’s reign of terror! (Press Release)

Even if Scooter is trying not to be politically exploited by the Russian occupying forces, the concert will help Putin’s henchmen. Photo: Oleg Abarnikov via Flickr

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticizes the plans of the Hamburg-based techno band Scooter to play a gig in Crimea, which was occupied by Russia in an internationally wrongful act. “Any concert like this in Crimea is politically problematic – even if the musicians plan to stay out of politics – because it helps to create the impression of normal life, which simply doesn’t exist on the peninsula,” the STP wrote in a fax letter to the band on Friday. “The 280,000 Crimean Tatars on the peninsula are suffering from discrimination, persecution, and fear. The raids, arrests, and their systematic exclusion from public life must not be obscured and covered up. Even if Scooter is trying not to be politically exploited by the Russian occupying forces, the concert will help Putin’s henchmen who are trying to promote tourism in Crimea in order to lessen the consequences of the fact that the number of tourist from Western countries has declined dramatically.”

The techno band will perform at a festival in Balaklava, a district of Sevastopol, on August 4. Scooter’s manager Jens Thele expressed surprise about the criticism, emphasizing that the musicians are aware of the fact that Crimea was annexed, but were only trying to please the fans of their music. “Let’s see where else the band will be playing soon,” stated Ulrich Delius, the Director of the STP, in Göttingen on Friday. “Perhaps in the US prison camp Guantanamo? There might well be techno fans among the guards.”

About 30,000 Crimean Tatars have fled from the peninsula since February 26, 2014, when thousands of Crimean Tatars gathered in Simferopol to protest against the impending occupation by Russia. “Since then, the lives of the Crimean Tatars who stayed on the peninsula have been characterized by arbitrary house searches and raids, disappearances, politically motivated court trials, the destruction of their self-representation, and by a systematic policy of Russification,” reported Delius. “In 2016, their most important self-representation, the Mejlis, had been classified as an “extremist organization”, and all activities of this body were banned. The Mejlis is considered a kind of “government” of the Crimean Tatars.

In Crimea, more than 177 people were arrested and submitted to criminal identification for political reasons in 2016. More than 90 percent of them are said to be Crimean Tatars. They fear that their data could be used for criminal proceedings later on. Apart from that, members of the secret service and the police carried out at least 50 searches of houses, apartments, mosques, and other buildings that are mostly owned or used by Crimean Tatars.

Header Photo: Oleg Abarnikov via Flickr