Press Releases


Russian elections in Crimea (March 15)

Completely changed demographics after 10 years of annexation

This year, the Russian presidential election will for the first time also be held in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine – and in Crimea, which was annexed ten years ago in violation of international law, Putin will have himself elected for the second time: “This farce is supposed to show that Russia has full control over Crimea. For the last ten years, the regime in Moscow has been following an aggressive policy of Russification. Thus, 800,000 Russians were encouraged to resettle to Crimea, while 50,000 indigenous Crimean Tatars were forced to flee by means of systematic persecution,” stated Sarah Reinke, expert on Eastern Europe at the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), in Göttingen today. 
It is especially the Crimean Tatars who have been suffering from systematic persecution since the annexation: “Out of a total of 186 political prisoners from Crimea, 116 are Crimean Tatars. 19 Crimean Tatar journalists have been arrested since 2014 – and 16 of them are still in jail, as many of them were sentenced to 14 or 15 years imprisonment,” Reinke added. “Since the attack on all of Ukraine in 2022, it is especially Crimean Tatar lawyers who are being harassed. Many of them have lost their license.” Before the annexation, there were four Crimean Tatar media: the first Crimean Tatar TV station, ART, the news agency QHA, the newspaper Avdet, and the radio station Meydan FM. After the annexation, they were all banned, and the journalists had to flee or were persecuted.
“For the second time in recent history, many Crimean Tatars fear for the existence of their nation: In 1944, they were collectively deported by the Red Army under Stalin, and around 44 percent of the deportees died. Today, members of this population group are scattered across the world, desperately trying to preserve their language, culture, and identity. The Crimean Tatars see themselves as an integral part of the Ukrainian society. Now, Germany is obliged to help them and to support their initiatives – after German politicians left them defenseless to the Russian occupiers ten years ago,” Reinke emphasized.