An open letter from the Greek Club of Friends of Crimea to the President of the Hellenic Republic with an appeal not to participate in the summit of the "Crimean Platform"
Athens, July 14, 2021
Madam President of the Hellenic Republic
We were informed from the website of the President of Ukraine that you accepted an official invitation to take part in the summit on the institutionalization of the so-called "Crimean Platform Initiative" in Kiev in the last week of August this year. Similar invitations were sent to several heads of EU and NATO member states, including US President Joe Biden. The US, Turkey and the Baltic states have reportedly already accepted the invitation. The purpose of the "summit", according to statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, is to create an international mechanism to restore Russian-Ukrainian relations by canceling the reunification of the Crimean Peninsula with the Russian Federation. Among the central issues of discussion in the "summit" will also be the rights of the Crimean Tatars, for which Turkey has been campaigning around the world since 2014. The intention of the participants of the "initiative" is for the "Crimean Platform" to be institutionalized as a permanent mechanism at all levels: heads of states, ministers of defense and foreign affairs, experts, as well as of parliaments of the participating countries.
All signatories to this text are members of the “Greek Club of Friends of Crimea”, and we urge you not to participate in the summit. Because, speaking in simple Greek language, we all understand what will be institutionalized at the Kiev “summit”: it will attempt to create a new aggressive axis of the Cold War of the Euro-Atlantic countries. This axis will be directed directly against the will of the peoples of Crimea, which was expressed in a referendum on March 16, 2014, held under conditions of absolute freedom of expression - in the opinion of all international observers, and to which the peoples of Crimea came as a result of the well-known coup on the Maidan, which led to the overthrow of the elected Government and the President of Ukraine. The coup d'état took place under the sign of participation of neo-Nazi organizations, primarily the international partner of our Golden Dawn, the paramilitary Right Sector, and with undivided Euro-Atlantic support.
Whether the decision made in 2014 by the people of the Ukrainian Peninsula was correct or not - can be judged by the subsequent “explosion” of actions by ultra-right and neo-Nazi groups, as well as by state acts and legislations aimed at marginalizing the country's minorities, a policy that, unfortunately remains unabated to this day.
The violence and brutality culminated in an arson attack by far-right paramilitaries with the connivance of the authorities at the trade union headquarters in Odessa in May 2014, killing 48 Anti-Maidan protesters inside the building. At the same time, according to the laws adopted in Ukraine, Nazi collaborators were recognized as national heroes, the most famous of whom was Stepan Bandera, responsible for war crimes against Jews, Poles and Communists. The current Ukrainian military unit - the Azov battalion, a neo-Nazi battalion of "volunteers", officially uses Nazi symbols and greetings, and enjoys direct technical and military support from the Kiev government, as well as from other NATO member states.
This new axis of the Cold War will clearly be directed against the Russian Federation, further undermining the international political climate, contributing to Russophobia and the growth of mutual military aggression in proportion to those that took place in the Black Sea in the last days of NATO's Sea Breeze exercise with Greece's participation. In this direction, it is obvious that the creation of the "Crimean Platform" does not serve the cause of peace and the need to continue international dialogue based on the spirit and letter of the Minsk agreements.
Many of the signatories of this letter have visited the Crimean Peninsula in recent years at the invitation of Greek communities and other cultural and economic actors of the region, and we saw with our own eyes that the image that various foreign platforms create about Crimea is far from the reality of the daily life of its peoples. In particular, we saw how important the institutional, cultural and educational conquests of the Crimean Greeks, whose roots go back to the times of ancient Taurida, are. Some of us, in particular, visited the 2017 Greek language course at the 2nd school of Yalta, which was attended by children from all grades of primary and secondary schools, some of them of Greek origin, but most of them are Russians, Tatars and Germans in terms of national origin. With a small number of books, the school material was mainly based on the notes of a teacher, a native of Greece, a professor of geography at the University of Sevastopol, as well as on the study of modern Greek poetry and songs. As far as we know, over the next years, classes in the Greek language, which began in 2014 at the 2nd school of Yalta, were institutionalized in all schools of the Peninsula.
It should be emphasized that, after all, the Crimean Greeks are an officially recognized minority and coexist harmoniously along with dozens of other ethnic and religious minorities of Crimea, which is fully enshrined in the current constitution and laws in force in the South of the Russian Federation.
With Ukraine, everything is different. Recently and urgently, the infamous "Law On Indigenous Citizens Of the Ukraine" was adopted, a law that divides the citizens of the country into two categories: those who enjoy full rights, and those who, although they are citizens of the country, do not have the same rights. as the rest, since they are defined, quite arbitrarily and without any criteria, as "non-indigenous". For the first time in history since Nazi Germany, the state openly determines the policy that it will pursue in relation to its citizens, dividing them according to their national origin. Among the "non-indigenous", of course, there are Russian-speaking residents of Ukraine, who make up the majority in central and eastern Ukraine. And although the "indigenous population" includes the Ukrainians of Western Ukraine and the Tatars, the Greek-speaking population, whose roots go back to the ancient Greek colonies between Odessa and Mariupol, is nowhere mentioned as such.
You, of course, are aware that President Erdogan spoke clearly about close relations between Ukraine and Turkey in the defense sector - and not only, about relations that already include contracts for the supply of Turkish military equipment to Ukraine worth hundreds of millions of Euros. He openly declares his aspirations for the so-called "Pan-Turkism project", supported by the official minority of the Crimean Tatars, whom the Turkish president describes as a "Turkish Minority". All of us who have been in Crimea in recent years had the opportunity to discuss this both with elected members of the leadership of the Tatar community of the Peninsula and with ordinary citizens, and we are convinced that the overwhelming majority of Tatars took part in the referendum and voted, like all Crimean peoples, in favor of reunification, and they do not understand the debate about "oppression" of their rights.
At this stage, the participation of our country in the "Crimean Platform" will put it in a position of complete confrontation with the interests of the Greek community of Crimea, as well as other peoples of the Peninsula, including the Tatars. Greece cannot strive to be, together with Turkey, the economic and military "vanguard" of NATO in the Black Sea region. On the contrary, it must play a role based on dialogue, understanding and political resolution of any existing and emerging problems.
We owe it to the Greek people, who paid a high price for the aggressive policies defined outside our country, to do everything possible to ensure that much-needed peace and stability in our region is strengthened and not further undermined.
With or without the lavish celebrations and mechanisms of the Cold War, history will not turn back.
We hope that the voice of prudence, peace and a willingness to avoid challenges will eventually be heard.
˗ Nadia Valavani, former Deputy and Minister;
˗ Aris Vasilopoulos, former Mayor of the Municipality of Nea Philadelphia-Nea Chalcedon .. (Athens);
˗ Zisis Zannas, former Deputy;
˗ Costas Isichos, former Deputy and Minister;
˗ Maria Kaliva, Newsman;
˗ Ioannis Kouzis, Lecturer at the University of International Relations (Pandio University);
˗ Vasilis Makridis, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Journalism, Rostov State University, translator;
˗ Christos Papadeas, Former General Representative of Aeroflot, Athens Airport;
˗ Tanasisa Petrak, former Member of the Greek Parliament, Advisor to the Governor of the Peloponnese Region;
˗ Yannis Rachiotis Nomikos, Lawyer, Member of the Board of the European Association of Democratic Lawyers;
˗ Themis Tsimas, Post-graduate student of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki;
˗ Vasilis Fuskas, Research Fellow, University of London;
˗ Vasilis Hadzilambru, Epidemiologist, former Member of the Greek Parliament.