The coordinator of the group, who introduced himself simply as Mark, said that his supporters were already beginning to work in the security structures of the Crimean autonomy. He argues that the nationalists do not seek to infringe the rights of the Russian-speaking majority of the Crimea and do not see anything contradictory in reliance on the Crimean Tatars. Oleg Boldyrev spoke with a representative of the “Right Sector”:
Bi-bi-si: What are your tasks here in Crimea?
Mark: At the moment, the tasks are identical throughout Ukraine and in the Crimea. Up to this point, the main task was the fight against the corruption regime of Yanukovych. Now the regime has fallen, and firstly, it is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of the actions of this regime, and then carry out lustration - completely examine all officials. There will also be an audit of all state property that has been criminally taken from people.
Bi-bi-si: And in the Crimea, too?
Mark: It will be held throughout Ukraine, and I see no difference between the Lviv, Ternopil regions and the Crimea. The scheme of work of this government was the same throughout Ukraine.
Bi-bi-si: But if the population sympathizes with you in a large part of Ukraine, then this cannot be said about the Crimea, the majority of the population are hostile to the “Right Sector”.
Mark: This is due to the fact that the population of southern Ukraine, and Crimea in particular, evaluates our activities from the standpoint of some historical myths. About the war, about Bandera and so on. In fact, our main task is the fight against the criminal regime, that is, the fight for the rights of the people, for freedoms, for democratic values. Our task in this regard is to convey the true goals of the "Right Sector" to the population, in particular, Crimea. Social and national justice is a priority for us.
Bi-bi-si: But this relies on the support of the population, as we could see in Kiev. You cannot boast of such support here. Roughly speaking - who called you here?
Mark: Public support is possible only if the population knows the true goals that we set for ourselves. If the population of Crimea represents us in a distorted form, then our main task is to convey true goals. And when we carry, let the population be determined whether it supports us or not.
Bi-bi-si: Well, the simplest and most biting label - "Bandera." He apparently does not offend you ...
Mark: We must go down in history and see who Bandera is. To take a simple example - when the Napoleonic army came to Russia, a mass partisan movement arose. Bandera fought against the invaders who came to their land. The population rallied and drove the enemy from their territory. First, the Poles came, then the Soviets came, then the Germans came, who began to arrange their own order.
Bi-bi-si: But in the Crimea there was a different situation.
Mark: In the Crimea, there was a different situation. But so that you understand who such Bandera. By the time when the Soviet troops entered the territory of Western Ukraine, six or nine years had passed since the famine, about seven million Ukrainians were destroyed by the Soviet authorities. And from the side of Germany at that time not a single Ukrainian was killed. It was a country that at the time did not cause Ukraine any harm. And we can not say that Bandera betrayed someone. Why do you have to fight for those who killed millions of your people? I want to repeat, in 1941, the fact that the Nazis were doing crimes was not yet known.
Bi-bi-si: And such people like you, with such an attitude to Bandera, come to the Crimea, where the war is perceived completely differently, and justified. How to be?
Mark: We in no way condemn people who think differently. This is their opinion, it happened. Our task is not to reject his empty head. We are ready for dialogue, to show facts and find consensus in the discussion.
Bi-bi-si: Are you ready to make concessions during this consensus?
Mark: Naturally. We are open to dialogue, and we are ready to discuss any controversial issue, and if they have arguments, let them give theirs. Let the third party decide which of us is objective. This is a dialogue. We are creating a platform on which it will be possible for each side to express their opinion, and not to label them, they say, this is the way it cannot be challenged.
Bi-bi-si: For many, it was surprising that the Tatars were to support Euromaidan, support the new authorities of Ukraine. It seems either the Tatars are so short-sighted, or the Ukrainian nationalists are not so narrow-profile nationalists. Explain why the Crimean Tatars should support the Ukrainian nationalists?
Mark: The Crimean Tatars for the time that they returned to the Crimea at the beginning of the 90-s, even considering that the regimes were not at all democratic, did not feel big problems with their national and cultural needs. They were convinced that, being a part of Ukraine, they can guarantee the development of their people and plan life together with Ukrainians. With regard to the Tatars, we have an absolutely clear position: this is a brotherly people to us and we have in many ways common historical roots and we are ready to build a common state with them, taking into account their cultural and national traditions. There will not be any discrimination due to the fact that they are Tatars.
Bi-bi-si: And as for the Russians?
Mark: Any nationality - Russian, Tatar, Greek. For us, the main position - a citizen of Ukraine respects and honors the laws of the country, meets the requirements of the constitution and lives a full life. For us, nationality is secondary. We oppose separatist and extremist manifestations on a national or religious basis.
Bi-bi-si: The most frequent thing we hear here is that, on coming to power, the nationalists will restrict in their rights, including linguistic rights, the Russian-speaking population.
Mark: Until now, Crimea is the most Russian-speaking region, and I want to emphasize that this issue is not the key for us. To begin with, we want to proportionally represent those population groups that live in Crimea. 60 percent - ethnic Russians, 20 percent - Tatars and Ukrainians. Each group has the right to study in its schools according to the constitution, to have its own cultural institutions, theaters. So that if they appeal to the authorities with the demand to open a Tatar or Greek school and they have the necessary minimum of signatures, the government would be obliged to make concessions and open such a school. And not the way it was in the Crimea, when with a creak opened one single Ukrainian school. For us, the main thing is to provide and create a civil society. If the state does not have this society, it rests on the dictatorship of one ruler.
Bi-bi-si: These are wonderful words, but why everyone hears from the stage slogans from the Second World War - “Glory to Ukraine, heroes of glory!” - and much less heard of these statements about ethnic equality.
Mark: You see, a peaceful life is one thing. And when in a country a revolutionary situation, warriors and patriots of the country take the stage. Therefore, the slogans are appropriate. In any war, in any conflict, there are warriors and heroes, and I do not see anything shameful in praising them.
Bi-bi-si: But far from Kiev, these slogans are interpreted quite clearly - they threaten us, the local Russian-speaking population believes. While this is not your “home field”, what should you do to convince people that you are not a threat?
Mark: I want to emphasize once again that the main thing for us is the creation of a civil society, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press. Citizens themselves must decide - if they want something, within the framework of the constitution and the law, they have the right to do it. And the second point is the socio-economic component. We must return to the ownership of stolen land and businesses. After all, before the revolution in power were bandits and traders, hucksters!
Bi-bi-si: What is your relationship with the current authorities of Crimea?
Mark: We are not going to press any charges or threats against them. At the moment, representatives of our organization have entered and will hold posts in law enforcement agencies - the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Security Council.
Bi-bi-si: Is this happening right now? Do your people go to power ministries?
Mark: Yes. Previously, the siloviki were traders who sold the laws. Therefore there was a mess. We are nationalists, the main thing for us is order, the protection of state interests. And after we go into these power ministries, we will carry out checks on all officials and on all the facts, including the Crimean ones. If facts of their crimes are found, we will give them a legal legal assessment.
No power actions
Bi-bi-si: How do you assess the opposition of the Crimean parliament on Wednesday?
Mark: Events have been predicted. We had no doubt that the Crimean Tatars and the Majlis of the Tatar people, as a single coordinated mechanism, would defend their rights and the rights of the rest of Ukraine’s citizens who live in Crimea. And they will not give this little group - because in fact it is a small group of leaders. I will not say whether they are financed from abroad or not, but we know who gathers all sorts of separatist organizations here. They tried to sway the situation and weaken the new power, which will focus on the economy and social policy. And they want to shake the national and language issue.
Bi-bi-si: Did they manage to swing?
Mark: I think the opposite - they were convinced that there are forces in the Crimea that will not allow harmful situations. As a coordinator, I constantly receive calls from many residents of the Crimea, from different districts of it. People are ready to act and join our ranks. Of course, we could bring more people today, but in order not to aggravate the situation, we decided not to. Crimean Tatars gave an ample answer to these questions.
Bi-bi-si: You say - a group of leaders and separatist organizations. But we saw quite sincere people and quite sincere concern.
Mark: I agree, we observed mainly elderly people, women of retirement age. Well, yes, there were young people. But the organizers and ideological inspirers are the leaders of several groups and local parties. They seem to work in the legal field, but at the core - these are the inveterate separatists who hate our state and do everything to split it. We know how they actually organize these actions.
Bi-bi-si: How real are the separatist scenarios? We hear one version after another ...
Mark: One of the most frequently mentioned scenarios - the type of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - we studied. We know that Russia has a law that allows its forces to be brought into the territory of the country where, in its opinion, there is a threat to the citizens of Russia living there. And many, in particular, in Sevastopol, have second passports. Through these separatist organizations that are here, can provoke a conflict. The only thing they lack is small power excesses. It is necessary to show the picture that the Ukrainian nationalists arrived, beat someone. Therefore, we declare that from our side no one will go, no one will be beaten. We will never go for it, but perhaps they themselves will provoke it, bring disguised people and our slogans will shout. This is possible, but, I repeat, no one will do anything from our side.