Selenskyj exchanges – Crimean Tatars become the new defense minister

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Selenskyj exchanges – Crimean Tatars become the new defense minister

If President Volodymyr Zelensky has his way, the new Ukrainian Defense Minister should be named Rustem Umerov. But who is the new man to bring a breath of fresh air to the department that is important to warfare?

The 41-year-old entrepreneur and investor is of Crimean Tatar descent and has been campaigning for years for the liberation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. Umerow was born in 1982 near Samarkand in what was then the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Like many deported Crimean Tatars, he and his family returned to Crimea in the course of the political opening in the Soviet Union. According to Ukrainian media, he was a member of a US program for future leaders (FLEX) and is considered an expert in the financial field. After his time as a member of the right-liberal Holos party in the Ukrainian parliament from 2019 to 2022, he was appointed head of state asset management a year ago.

Conducted several negotiations with Russia
Umerow has been campaigning for years for the rights of the Crimean Tatars and their return to their ancestral homeland. He is also a vice-chairman of the Crimea Platform, an annual forum dedicated to the reintegration of the peninsula in Ukraine. After the annexation of Crimea and especially after the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, the 41-year-old Muslim campaigned again and again successfully in secret negotiations for the exchange of prisoners of war and for safe corridors from war zones. Umerov was also involved in the negotiations that led to the July 2022 Grain Agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

Good relations with Turkey
He is also said to have good relations with Turkey. Social networks are therefore speculating whether the timing of his appointment is related to the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next Monday in Sochi on the Black Sea.

Deported under Stalin
The Crimean Tatars are a Turkic-speaking, mainly Muslim ethnic group that made up the majority of the population in the south of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea until the 1940s. From the 15th century until the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Tsarist Empire in 1783, the Crimean Tatars had their own largely independent state in the form of the Crimean Khanate within the sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire. During the German occupation in World War II, some Crimean Tatars also joined the German Wehrmacht in the hope of greater independence. The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin saw this as an opportunity to have the entire Crimean Tatar population deported to Central Asia after the conquest of Crimea in 1944.

Source: Krone

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