BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) – The Mejlis, a Crimean Tatar organization – banned in Russia but supported by Berlin – has announced its plans to open official representative offices in Brussels and Washington this autumn, emphasizing particularly the importance of a seat in Brussels. The Mejlis, presented in the West as the only legitimate representative body of the Crimean Tatars, is actually only representing the pro-western tendency among them, while another tendency, with pro-Russian leanings, has for years explicitly rejected its policy. This split among Crimean Tatars hails back to the final years of the Cold War, when the long-time western ally – and subsequently Mejlis Chairman – Mustafa Jemilev supported radical demands for autonomy, while pursuing a tough anti-Russian course. When, in the 1960s, Jemilev began his campaign for Crimean Tatar autonomy in the Soviet-Union, he was given western support aimed at weakening the Soviet adversary from within. At the same time, Crimean Tatars, exiled in the Federal Republic of Germany, were pursuing the same objective – “Russia’s national decomposition” – as it was referred to at the time. A Crimean Tatar, who had served as a main liaison to the Nazis, subsequently continuing his collaborationist activities in the Federal Republic of Germany, assisted them and, began in the 1950s, to also work for CIA-financed organizations in Munich.
MINSK/BERLIN (Own report) – At Berlin’s insistence, the EU foreign ministers decided, Monday, to temporarily suspend EU sanctions on Belarus, at least for the next four months. Because of the Ukrainian conflict, Minsk is confronting grave economic and foreign policy difficulties. Because of Russia’s economic crisis, Belarusian imports have been drastically reduced and Minsk is forced to seek alternate markets. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is also worried that Russia’s overwhelming power could threaten Belarus’ independence and therefore, is actively intensifying his own foreign policy initiatives. To acquire alternate markets and maintain its independence, Minsk cannot avoid reinforcing its relations to the West. Berlin’s political establishment is closely monitoring these developments. There is an opportunity for “successfully implementing structural changes” in Belarus, as experts declared just before Sunday’s presidential elections. In the hope of weakening Minsk’s ties to Moscow and strengthening its bonds to the western hegemonic sphere, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a plea for suspending the sanctions. Berlin’s political PR is ill at ease with this year’s Nobel Literature Prize laureate, Svetlana Alexievich’s warning to maintain sanctions – in conformity with EU policy until now.