The Russian Federation has involved its secret services in ensuring the participation of Crimean Tatars in voting during the Russian presidential election scheduled for March 18, 2018, as indicated by the Chairperson of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov, during an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America.
According to Chubarov, the pro-Russian authorities in the Crimea are trying by all means to raise the turnout at the presidential election, including attracting Crimean Tatars.
"Particular attention is given to the Crimean Tatar segment of voters and now it seems that the occupants' want to take revenge for the once absolute unwillingness of Crimean Tatars to take part in the so-called referendum in 2014 [for the annexation of Crimea]," said Chubarov.
"The authorities are trying to exert pressure on all aspects of the Crimean Tatar public and social life. The FSB summons Imams whose stance is somewhat different from the position of Russian Muslims, they carefully warn them about possible expulsion from their communities as well as denying the possobility to continue preaching," the Mejlis head said.
In addition, Chubarov said that the leadership of the Crimean Industrial and Teachers University exerted considerable pressure on its students "threatening them with difficulties in their future studies."
Chubarov also said that teachers are made to make lists of children and their parents and to talk to them.
"Potential voters are also being recruited via Crimean Tatar entrepreneurs… Putin and his team are interested in a huge turnout, one probably even larger than in Russia itself, especially among Crimean Tatars," Chubarov said.
The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 18th, the fourth anniversary of Crimea's annexation. Russian media report that Putin will vote for himself in Crimea in an effort to raise the turnout there.