Russian TV channel NTV (“National Television”) is known for its colorful logos, its occasionally tabloid qualities, and its sometimes provocative political exposes. Hated in the West for their “pro-Kremlin” ties, this time around, they have done a big expose of the “Crimea-Blockade” activists – those are the guys who committed the sabotage which put the lights out in Crimea. The NTV report accuses these so-called “Crimean Tatar” activists of being on the payroll of Western special forces, not to mention speculating on expected produce shortages.
Before taking the time to watch and summarize this TV broadcast, I checked around on the internet; if somebody else has done an English translation or dubbing. I didn’t see one, so I will provide an English-language summary of the main points/accusations made in the TV show.
Here is the video on the NTV website, and here is the youtube version:
SUMMARY AND PARTIAL TRANSLATION
Title of Video:
“Investigation of Emergency Situation – Blackmail of the Highest Degree”
dated 27 November 2015
Opening music and images.
Backstory about the “activists” calling themselves “Crimea Blockade”, who brought down the pylons in Ukraine’s Kherson oblast. Narrator makes fun of the law enforcement types who only pretend to oppose the activists.
:32 seconds in – there is much vaudeville comedy surrounding the scene of the little runty “Tatar” guy who brings down a row of beefy Keystone-cop types soldiers.
:53 seconds in – we see the villain of this piece, the leader of the “Crimea Blockade” movement, Lenur Islyamov, a well-known businessman, owner of the Ukrainian TV channel ATR. When Islyamov shows up, the Ukrainian Internal Police troops have to retreat.
1:18 minutes in – the pylons come down and Crimea is plunged into darkness. Residents of the peninsula have a state of emergency on their hands. Children get a day off from school.
1:34 – activists of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis rejoice at their victory. They had been threatening to cut off power to Crimea as early as 2 months ago.
1:50 – the NTV correspondent strolls along the border between Ukraine (Kherson Oblast) and Crimea. He talks about the coalition of the Right Sektor, Islyamov and Chubarov, which succeeded in cutting the peninsula off from electricity. After previously cutting off the water.
2:24 – Islyamov again.
2:30 – Kherson Oblast is like a teeming war zone. Tents, men in uniforms, checkpoints everywhere, people and cars stopped and searched. But not by official Ukrainian border police. No, by banned-in-Russia Right Sektor [in all Russian media and TV, any mention of the words “Right Sektor” is ALWAYS followed by a disclaimer that the organization is banned and illegal within the Russian Federation – I believe this verbiage is enforced legally].
2:47 – shows images of Right Sektor searching trunks of people’s cars. Their goal is to stop anything such as foodstuffs from being brought into Crimea. Trucks carrying goods are either turned back, or allowed to proceed. For a tariff of $500.
3:00 – Shevket Khamzin, a Deputy of the Bakhchisarai local Council, talks to the camera. “It is no secret that people can get through the blockade – for a certain price. It’s just business.”
3:10 – Lenur Islyamov works to keep up the warlike spirits of his followers. He is full of big words. The blockade of foodstuffs and electrical energy is just the beginning. His ultimate goal is to organize a “Crimean Maidan”, which will overthrow the current government on the peninsula.
3:26 – Delving into Islyamov’s past. He wasn’t always like this. Not that long ago, he was one of the supporters of Crimea’s reintegration into the Russian Federation. Showing a past interview where he supported Russia. Modern Russian isn’t a bad guy, unlike Soviet Union which deported Tatars.
3:50 – But then his views underwent a 180 degree turn.
3:57 – interview with Ruslan Balbek, Deputy Chairperson of the Soviet of Ministers, Crimean Republic. “This is a group [referring to Islyamov] which, during the Ukrainian period, speculated on the Crimean Tatar issue.”
4:06 – Mustafa Dzhemilev is the guy who is behind all of this. He makes his money by being the leader of the so-called “Crimean Tatar Mejlis”.
4:30 – Shows a photo of Islyamov, accompanied by a woman named Amina Akuyeva, who is the common-law wife of the terrorist Adam Osmaev, both are Chechen “Caliphate jihadists” wanted in Russia for criminal extradition. Osmaev distinguished himself in the “Dudaev” brigade in the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” (ATO) against Donbass residents. Now this duo are obviously connected in some way with Islyamov.
4:58 – after the blockade of Crimea, Islyamov returned to his own TV channel ATR and launched a broad propaganda campaign about his and others feats of the blockade movement.
5:25 – Islyamov is still a wealthy businessman, he owns banks, TV stations, automobile factories, electronics firms, etc. After the reintegration with Russia, he was given a political post in the new government and supported Russia at first.
6:00 – But this didn’t last long. Islyamov’s career in the Crimean government didn’t last more than a month and a half. He was fired from his position, due to a feeling of “no confidence” in him. He was suspected of using his position for selfish ends.
6:20 – Ruslan Balbek again. Claims that Islyamov tried to siphon budget money into his (Islyamov’s) privately owned bank.
6:36 – After he was fired from the government, Islyamov suddenly switched sides and became pro-Ukrainian. He joined forces with Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov who were already tapped into traditional sources of Western funding. Images of John McCain, Poroshenko, etc.
7:13 – Islyamov turned his TV channel into a backbone of anti-Russian propaganda. When his channel was threatened with closure, he started a huge campaign to “Save ATR”. Western funding was the only way to save his channel.
7:35 – Balbek again. $25 million was awarded to ATR for carrying out anti-Russian propaganda on the air.
7:51 – ATR now broadcasts out of Kiev.
8:00 – angry lady at border between Kherson and Crimea. Images of trucks and cars stopped at border during blockade. Chubarov yelling at angry people.
8:37 – The blockade was done in the name of Crimean Tatars. Ironically, the real Tatars suffer most from the blockade. For generations they have made a living trucking produce back and forth across the border. The blockade is destroying the livelihoods of ordinary people, both Ukrainians and Tatars.
9:00 – And now we get to the juicy stuff. There are rumors that Dzhemilev and Islyamov were told to blockade the peninsula, on the orders of Turkish businessmen. According to this theory: By blockading produce, they opened up the Crimean market to Turkish goods (fruits and vegetables). Word on the street (=taxi driver) has it Dzhemilev is helping Turkish business.
9:35 – Dzhemilev has long been known to have ties with Turkish secret services, they even gave him a medal. After the blockade started, Turkish produce flooded Crimean markets. To the detriment of Ukrainian farmers.
10:00 – NTV correspondent approaches Dzhemilev’s luxury house in Crimea, where he doesn’t live any more. He knocks on the door, and Dzhemilev’s brother opens the door. The brother’s name is Asan.
11:17 – Expose of Mustafa Dzhemilev’s criminal record. Balbek alleges that Mustafa and Chubarov use their extensional “operational” experience and now serve as Western “secret agents”.
12:03 – In the 1990’s, as Tatars flocked back to Crimea on a massive scale; and while he was bucking for the job as “Leader of Crimean Tatars”, Dzhemilev’s major competition was a guy named Yury Osmanov, the editor of a Crimean newspaper.
12:08 – interview with Murat Yazydzhiev, member of the Tatar ethnic movement “Kyrym”. Alleges that Dzhemilev had Osmanov murdered. Dzhemilev doesn’t like having competition.
12:18 – After clawing his way to power, in 1991, Dzhemilev became the Chairperson of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis. In this capacity, he controlled the purse-strings that financed the re-patriation of Tatars via bank loans, housing loans, etc.
12:30 – Ruslan Balbek again. Alleges that 90% of the money budgeted for re-patriation of Tatars, was stolen by Dzhemilev. Dzhemilev then went on to found a criminal mafia-type organization called “Bank Imdat“. By the mid-90’s , using typical 90’s methods, Dzhemilev had become a wealthy businessman.
13:00 – Interview with Ali Khochashev, Chairperson of the Belogorsky branch of the “Kyrym” movement. Discusses Dzhemilev’s wealth and influence during the 90’s. Alleges that Dzhemilev never paid a dime in taxes for any of his businesses.
13:25 – images of Dzhemilev being honored and awarded in nations such as Poland. Last May, Poles gave him a million Euros to help out Tatar diaspora; but the ordinary Tatars never saw a penny of it. Interview with a very angry Iskander Umerov who claims that most of the money went to ATO “punishers” and to Yarosh.
14:00 – Two years ago, Dzhemilev resigned from his post and handed over leadership of Mejlis to Chubarov. According to Balbek, Chubarov is a complete and total agent of Western forces, his daughter works in the American consulate.
14:26 – American Senator John McCain provides financial assistance, via a fund, to the Mejlis. Mejlis even on their own website admits they get their money from this fund. On paper, this fund owns the Mejlis HQ. De facto, this building became the private property of Dzhemilev. Mejlis building has now been closed. Russian government is considering a move to declare the Mejlis an “extremist organization” and ban its activities on Russian territory.
15:12 – After Mejlis organized blockade of Crimea: Acts of protests against Mejlis, burning American flag, etc. At the recent Congress of Crimean Tatar delegates, a resolution was adopted condemning the blockade. Balbek: Crimean Tatars condemn the actions of Dzhemilev/Chubarov/Islyamov as criminal and anti-Crimean.
15:58 – Crimean Blockade already in its third month. The initiators speculated that just after a few weeks of blockade, there would be such a produce deficit, and price inflation, and eventually even famine.
16:30 – Correspondent visits local bazaar in Bakhchisarai. It’s a working day, there aren’t too many shoppers. There are no long lines. Lady shopkeeper shows him that there is plenty of produce. But it not Ukrainian fruits and vegetables any more, mainly this is local produce, and also from Krasnodar. Other shop-keeper affirms that all this stuff has been brought in from Russia. But what about the prices, and how do they compare with Moscow’s? Prices not bad. Nobody has really suffered, except for Ukrainian farmers and exporters.
17:25 – Tatar shopkeeper curses out Dzhemilev. Other shopkeeper says that Dzhemilev is hurting his own people.
18:12 – Russian police searching Islyamov’s offices. During one of the searches, they uncovered some guns. Searches were conducted in Moscow as well, in Islyamov’s luxury house which is all bedecked in gold and marble.
18:33 – Accused of stealing wads of cash via his bank, Islyamov tries to explain it all away as “politically motivated”, and even whines that he is being persecuted for his Tatar ethnicity. An attack against him is an attack against every Crimean Tatar. Meanwhile, Mejlis continues to try to stir up ethnic conflict. Things have gotten to the point where Islyamov has organized his own radically-minded militia. This militia has formed alliance with Ukrainian nationalists, and thus created a terrorist force capable of carrying out sabotage and diversions. The proof of the pudding being their attack against the electricity pylons.