Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar center, unique in its kind, will be opened in Vinnitsa in a short time. The public organization Vetan promoting the culture and traditions of the Crimean Tatars, took the initiative of the centre creation.

The activists said that the city council has allocated an area of 470 square meters in one of the remote areas of Vinnitsa to the center.

According to the project coordinator Taisa Gaida such a center is necessary to dispel myths about the Crimean Tatars.

“We intend to create a place where adults and children will be able to learn the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian culture. It includes culinary master classes, free courses of foreign languages and Saturday school for children. We plan to set up a world-popular youth forum Theatre as well. I want to say that we will be glad to welcome other minorities and prove to the world that Ukraine is a multicultural country. We would like to show that our peoples do not have any contradictions,” Taisa Gaida says.

Commander of the "Crimea" battalion Isa Akayev is directly engaged in the establishment of the center. He said that today the Crimean Tatars should seek for preserving their identity.

“Now we need to solve the funding issue to restore the room and the surrounding areas.  We managed to find some part of funds, but they are only enough to present the project. We count on the support of large diasporas in Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania. It is important to preserve our identity, and I believe that the cultural center will contribute to this greatly. Once I discovered what the Ukrainians are, and today I want Ukrainians to discover the Crimean Tatars. We must realize that, in spite of the different languages, cultures and religions, we are the indigenous peoples of equal value in Ukraine. We still have much to learn about each other and cooperate to build a new state. Ukraine could become an example for the whole world and show how Christians and Muslims interact and evolve. We can remember an interesting case, when the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches of the Kyiv Patriarchate were oppressed in Crimea. Then the Muslim Imam allowed the priests to conduct services in the mosque. The history has never known such a case,” Isa Akayev says.

The Chairman of the Crimean Tatar public organization “Vetan” Eskander Anafiyev is to run the cultural center

“As I moved to Vinnitsa I realized that I had never known Ukrainians. I did not have an opportunity to thank the citizens of Vinnitsa for their help on behalf of the Diaspora. Today we really want our children to learn and grow together,” Eskander said.

A military analyst Aleksey Arestovich attending the press conference says that he came to support and help his friends.

“I always say: What Ukraine can give to the world is a new form of social interaction. We must wake up from the Soviet sleeping, when everyone was unified. We need to understand that in fact, the Crimean Tatar nation resolves the same issues as the Ukrainian, like language and culture restoration. Another important factor is that many Muslims of Ukraine are ready to contribute to the national security of the state. They do not remain on the sidelines of a military conflict with Russia and fight for independence together with the others. Notably, the number of the Crimean Tatars is growing, and will grow even more each year. As their families may have ten children, not one or two. The huge layer of Crimean Tatar and Islamic culture is, in general, unknown to us. Few people know that the diaspora of Crimean Tatars in Turkey is 6.5 million people, and the country’s penultimate Prime Minister was a Crimean Tatar Ahmet Davutoğlu,” the military analyst said.

Creation of a unique cultural center in Ukraine will require about USD 100,000 and a year of hard work.

Vinnitsa authorities granted the premises for the center under the terms of long-term lease for a symbolic fee.

Galina Pankratyeva