The nexus between ethnic conflict and violence: the case of Crimean Tatars

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This paper aims to shed light on the murky situation regarding interethnic tensions in Crimean Peninsula. Geopolitical shift in Ukraine and secession of Crimea met different attitudes among Crimean ethnic groups with an almost uniform support of annexation by Crimean Slavs, while many Crimean Tatars opposed it. Tensions between Crimean Tatars and Slavic people have a long history dating back to Tsarist Russia, later - Ukrainian-Russian relations. Since 2014 numerous reports emerged which pointed on considerable violations of human rights predominantly tackling Crimean Tatar minority. However, any mass protests took place except of few activists, mostly associated with Mejlis, a representative body of Crimean Tatars which acknowledges the Ukrainian sovereignty on Crimea. In fact, Crimean Tatars show a variety of political views and attitudes towards Mejlis, annexation and Russian policies. The research is based on the concept of the triangle of violence (Johan Haltung, 1969), which involves direct, cultural and structural violence. The first category includes manifestations of overt, mostly physical violence. The category of structural violence is associated with socioeconomic aspects of human rights violations and is amended with political representation issues. Cultural violence considers the facts of restriction to Crimean Tatar culture, language, religion and media. The paper analyses manifestations of all three types of violence comparing pre-annexation (1991-2014) and post-annexation periods. The research finds support for the fact of an ethnic asymmetry not favoring Crimean Tatars and indicates different concern of violations depending on particular area. The study identifies a slight overall decrease of all three types of violence and stresses the highest concern for structural violence.
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