World Bulletin / News Desk
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemliev has expressed his support for Western sanctions against Russia following the annexation of Crimea, saying that increased economic pressure could result in a rebellion against Vladimir Putin's rule in Moscow.
A revolt against Putin by his own people could be the only way to return Crimea to Ukraine, Jemilev told Belarusian opposition TV channel Belsat, reiterating his conviction that the West will save Crimea from Russia.
'I said after the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, we waited ten years for the Soviet Union to disperse. They told me, the situation today is more dynamic, so we won't have to wait ten years this time,' he explained.
Regarding Putin, Jemilev said that so long as he remains in power, Russia will not retreat from Crimea, but many people within the Kremlin are hoping that the administration will change.
'Everyone knows Putin has problems within his circle. The sanctions are showing their effect. Most probably a rebellion will start. The more sanctions enforced, the quicker his end will come,' Jemilev said.
However, Jemilev admitted that he was worried about the potential fall of Russia.
'I say this with all my heart. We fear for the destruction of Russia. Despite everything, this country has nuclear weapons. Terrible things may happen in Russia,' he added.
Mustafa Jemilev, 70, was awarded the Polish Freedom Prize on Tuesday for his efforts to raise awareness for his people at a ceremony attended by U.S. president Barack Obama. He was also given a similar award by Turkey.
The Crimean Tatars, the native Turkic-speaking Muslim population of the peninsula, were reduced to just 13% of Crimea's mainly Russian population after being deported in 1944 by Josef Stalin's Soviet Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many, including Jemilev, returned in the early 90s. Today their population is around 300,000.
Due to this bloody past, the Crimean Tatars have opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Jemilev, now a Ukrainian MP based in Kiev, has been barred from entering his homeland for five years.Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Haziran 2014, 14:40