Almost daily news from Crimea about detentions, searches and trials over the Crimean Muslims and all those disloyal to the occupation authorities, unfortunately, have become usual for us. Still, the majority of Ukrainians regard events on the peninsula as something far off, which can not be said about the wives and children of political prisoners - for them this is today's reality.

It is especially difficult for children who unwittingly witnessed the raging of Russian special services during searches in their homes. Their fathers were beaten, and then taken to prison in front of them. Having lost their father's support in an instant and for indefinite time, the children of Crimean political prisoners today have to grow up much earlier than their peers on the mainland.

Wives of Crimean Muslims Emir-Usein Kuku, Muslim Aliyev and Vadim Siruk from the so-called "Yalta Six", accused by the occupiers in terrorism, told QHA how their children survived the detention of their fathers, how they grow without daddy’s attention and continue to wait ...

"This spring the courts were closed. We are not even allowed to enter the building with children"

The wife of Emir-Usein, Kuku Meriem, is forced to raise two children independently. Bekir and Safiy miss their daddy, who spent a lot of time with them. Now the children have been deprived of the last opportunity to see their father - relatives are no longer allowed to attend court.

“At first it was difficult, the children always waited and asked: "When is the court?!" And then, seeing that meeting after meeting father was not released, they stopped asking - they are growing up ... They went to the courts with joy, at least to see their father in the corridor. Meetings were not allowed.

They went on asking: How is it there, what are the cells, what is the food? They are interested in everything connected with the father. Emir is always very attentive to children, to their interests, so they are very sad.

Once, near the Yalta City Council, where the Emir works, our son Bekir said that he was walking here as a child.
One of the most difficult moments when I missed Emir, and Bekir missed his father, was when some "well-wisher" came to him to school, introduced himself as an FSB employee, and told my son where his father is now. Said, that mother, probably, told that he went to work in Turkey, but he is in prison, and for long time!

A year ago, Bekir drew a lion, and Safiye - a heart and a flower. We managed to pass the drawings through a lawyer. This spring the courts were closed, we are not allowed to enter the building even with children ...

Emir-Usein Kuku with his daughter Safie

During this time, the "Bizim Balalar" Foundation ("Our Children") initiated by Lilya-khanum Budzhurova and Elzar-khanum Islyamov, have been helping us. And we are supported by the whole Crimean Tatar people!”

"The eldest daughter, when eating sweets, saves some in a box, saying it's for daddy."

Since the detention of another Muslim from Yalta, Vadim Siruk, more than a year has passed. His still very small blue-eyed girls also grow up without their father. The elder Amira is her father's daughter, she ate with him and fell asleep with him. And the younger Hanifa was born after Vadim was imprisoned on false charges.

"He saw her only once, in court," says Vadim's wife Anna. - Now we live in three: My daughters and I. The eldest, Amira, is very fond of drawing. Sometimes she tries to draw a portrait of Dad. When she eats candies, when eating sweets, saves some in a box, saying it's for daddy. And in general over the last year she has grown up a lot, she already tries to help me, where she can.

Amira always waited for Dad from work, she ate normally only with him. Vadim often put her to bed, because with me she was capricious. He chose her clothes and taught her how to exercise. They usually played together too.

The younger Hanifa just started to crawl. She likes to listen to children's music.

Amira is the eldest daughter of Vadim Siruk

Anna says that in this difficult period her family receives a lot of help, in different forms and from different people.

“Relatives and local Muslims, the "Bizim Balalar" foundation are all very helpful. What I really like, "Bizim Balalar", apart from the things we need, also tries to provide us with something pleasant, arranges holidays for children, master classes, and mothers can have some rest.

I would like to speak separately about the lawyer Emil Kurbedinov. From the first day he defends my husband without taking any money from us. After the search, I rushed to Yalta, and until now the legal side of the problem is on him.

In general, we are not left without help. But we hope, of course, that this will not be for long and soon our family will be reunited ...”

"With longing in the eyes they are waiting to catch a glimpse of their father in the corridors of the court "

Another prisoner of the so-called "Yalta Six", Muslim Aliyev, has four children: two sons and two daughters, one of whom is a disabled child. It is not easy for his wife Najia to raise children on her own. And it is unbearably painful to see the longing of the children for their father - the woman says that the heart is torn, but she does not lose faith in the speedy return of her husband.

"It's very difficult for us – adults - to express what our children experience in the depths of their wounded souls," says Nadzhie. “With what trepidation they look at photos, where we are all together in the family circle ... When with longing and hope in the eyes filled with tears, they, having caught a glimpse of their father in the corridors of the court, expect that now he will be released ...

Our youngest son went to first grade this year. He stood in front of the mirror and said: "It's a pity that my dad does not see me, I am so handsome."

Fortunately there are relatives, friends who do not leave us without help and attention. But this, of course, will not replace father's love and care. We really hope that soon we will be together. We are very grateful to everyone who helps us to survive the difficult period in our life. For the hardships there is always a relief. We believe in this.”

Muslim Aliyev's family

As the wives of the political prisoners noted, the "Bizim Balalar" ("Our Children") foundation, created at the initiative of Lily Budzhurova and Elzara Islyamova, is helping them to overcome difficulties in this challenging period. The foundation establishment once again showed the solidarity of the Crimean Tatar people and the readiness to help each other, especially if it concerns children.

According to one of the members of the "Bizim balalar" board, Director General of Qaradeniz production Elzara Islyamova, today the fund helps 66 children of Crimean political prisoners under the age of 18 years. The "Our Children" list includes the kids of the first victim of the Russian occupation Reshat Ametov, as well as the children of Crimean filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in a strict-regime colony.

"These are all children who are deprived of their fathers, who just need material support to live normal lives. Basically, these are religious families where women do not work, and they lost their main breadwinners,” Islyamova said in a comment to QHA correspondent.

The Fund provides monthly assistance to families at a rate of 5 thousand rubles. In the period of preparing children for school this amount is increased to 8-12 thousand. The funds are transferred by compatriots and just not indifferent people. The fund also helps sick children who need help with medicines and examinations.

"Bizim balalar" organizes various events, where children can get distracted, talk and play with each other. What is important, the Foundation provides both children and adults with the services of a psychologist, and also solves problems with documents.

“Our women practically do not ask for help, they are so modest that we have to persuade some families to accept this help. Sometimes when we visited some families we saw that children badly needed psychological help. Because this huge stress led to bad consequences - the children became rather closed. We talked with mothers, and they agreed that such help is needed," Elzara-khanum says. “First the children came to us with eyes full of tears. For them it was a huge shock, because everything happened in front of their very eyes. They remembered those events. For us, adults, listening to all this was very difficult. When the young children talked about how their father was beaten, about shouting and knocked out glasses ...

It was terrible to hear from the children. Now, after a while, children play, sing, dance. Already a little bit different, a bit reviving. We try to bring them all together, carry away with various master classes, games with animators. It seems to me that children
kind of get warm in this situation.”

Today, several dozen children of Crimean political prisoners and victims of the occupation are waiting for their fathers and looking at adults with a question in their eyes. But still do net the answer, when they will see daddy at home again.

Olga Volynets

PHOTO: Internet, Anton Naumlyuk