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06 December 2017, 17:00

Chairman’s statement on 100th anniversary of Kurultai

( Information Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Secretariat )

Statement by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy at the solemn meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine devoted to the 100th anniversary of the first Kurultai of the Crimean Tatars

Statement on the solemn meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine devoted to the 100th anniversary of the first Kurultai of the Crimean Tatars

Dear participants of the solemn meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine!

Highly Honorable Presidents of Ukraine!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister of Ukraine!

Highly Honorable leaders of the Crimean Tatar people!

Dear members of the Ukrainian Parliament!

Honoured Muftii!

Dear representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations!

Dear compatriots!

“Nowhere throughout Ukraine have Ukraine's troops been met with such enthusiasm, with such applause and with such enthusiasm as the Simferopol population did. All streets were decorated with flowers and crowded with the public ... “- this is a quote from the memories of the centurion of the Army of the UPR Borys Monkevych about the entry of the Ukrainian Army headed by Colonel Petro Bolbochan in Simferopol, who completed the liberation of Crimea from the Russian occupation on 24 April 1918.

In January 1918, the Crimean People's Republic, proclaimed Kurultai in December 1917, was destroyed, and the Crimea was occupied by Russian-Bolshevik aggressors. A terrible terror began in Crimea. Russian occupiers shot the leader of the Crimean Tatars, Noman Chelebidzhikhan, who tried to agree with them on the cessation of hostilities.

But in April 1918, the Ukrainian Army returned peace and tranquility to the Crimean peninsula, and returned the will to all indigenous people.

Parallels between the centuries-old and modern events impress.

Russian occupation of the Crimea in 1918 and modern occupation do not have any differences. The current and present occupation is fear, terror and intimidation. Ukrainian and Crimean Tatars are being persecuted. At that time, the invaders immediately cruelly deployed the Crimean Tatars Kurultai. And in today's Crimea, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars was declared an extremist organization by Russian invaders and banned. Then, and now the Russian aggressor in Crimea forbids the activities of Ukrainian patriotic organizations, Tatar national associations,  believers of Ukrainian Christian churches and Muslims are under the oppression.

But I am convinced that as Ukrainian soldiers released the Crimea then, in April 1918, so we will liberate the Crimea now.

We also remember that our Verkhovna Rada on 12 May 2016 also conducted de-communization in the Crimea. Historical names were returned to 75 settlements and areas of the peninsula. And I know how proud you are of this decision, and I am proud of this important state decision of the Ukrainian Parliament.

Decommunization in the Crimea is also a step towards its de-occupation.

Dear Crimeans! We are with you! We do not forget about you, and I'm sure – Crimea will return home, to a large Ukrainian family. Because Crimea is Ukraine!

Historical destinies of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar people are inextricably linked and similar in many ways.

Our people are united by the eternal thirst for freedom, the indomitable will to preserve and develop their own national identity, as well as the exhausting struggle for the right to live freely and dignity on their own land.

On 17 March of the same year, the solemn meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921 and the creation of the first Ukrainian Parliament – the Ukrainian Central Rada took place in the same hall.

It was during the Ukrainian Revolution that the possibility of a civilized democratic association of territories into a single sovereign state was demonstrated, and the independence of Ukraine was proclaimed.

This day became the peak of the national liberation struggle, the revival of the Ukrainian nation and one of the most difficult periods in the history of the Ukrainian people in the twentieth century.

We remember about another historical event, which also took place a hundred years ago, in 1917, within the limits of modern borders of Ukraine, is national revival of the Crimean Tatar people.

In April 1917, the All-Crimean Muslim Congress convened in Simferopol, which elected the Provisional Crimean-Muslim Executive Committee headed by Noman Chelebidzhikhan.

“The delegation of Muslims visited the Ukrainian Rada and asked to support their aspirations to establish Crimean autonomy. Muslims express their wish for the territorial joining of the Crimea to Ukraine” – this is a quote from the July issue of the newspaper “Holos Tatar” in 1917.

Kurultai, whose centenary of the meeting we solemnly celebrate, began its first meeting on 9 December 1917, at 14:00, in the courtroom of the Khan's palace in Bakhchysarai, after the delegates performed prayer.

The First Ukrainian Parliament - Ukrainian Central Rada congratulated the start of the Kurultai with telegram.

Following the results of the first Kurultai of the Crimean Tatars, the Crimean People's Republic was proclaimed, its Government was formed, symbols were approved and “Crimean Tatars basic laws” – the first Crimean Constitution was approved.

Few people know, but the Crimean Tatars have become the first Muslim nation to give women the right to vote even before many Christian countries in Europe did so.

The first Kurultai, by electing the Crimean Tatar government – the Directorate, – underlined at the same time that they did not infringe on the rights of other people who inhabited the Crimea.

I will remind the words of one of the organizers of the first Kurultai, the first chairman of the Crimean Tatar national government – Noman Chelebidzhikhan: “Colorful roses, lilies, tulips grow on the Crimean peninsula. And each of these graceful flowers has its own special beauty, its special delicate aroma. These roses, these flowers are the people who live in the Crimea: Tatars, Russians, Armenians, Jews, Germans and others. The purpose of the Kurultayi – having gathered them together, makes a beautiful and sophisticated bouquet from them; establish a real civilized Switzerland on the beautiful island of Crimea. Kurultai thinks not only about the Crimean Tatars, but also about all the people who for centuries have been living in fraternal lives together with them. Kurultai invites them to work together, and will go with them side by side”.

Crimean People's Republic became the first Turkic republic in the world. All other Turkic republics, even modern Turkey, were founded after the Crimean People's Republic was proclaimed.

At the end of January 1918, the Bolsheviks seized the entire Crimea, announced the dissolution of the Kurultai and the Council of People's Representatives and arranged mass terror on the peninsula, which was accompanied by pogroms of Tatar villages.

However, the Crimean People's Republic, having lasted only a few weeks, remained in history as evidence that the Crimean Tatar people perceive themselves as the subject of history, an indigenous people of the peninsula, and Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine.

Terror started by Russian invaders in 1918, continued in the forty-fourth. Then in the illusion of the bloody dictator Stalin appeared the idea of ??deportation of the whole people.

The Ukrainians who survived the Holodomor, executed, repressed, deported, deeply understood and share the pain of the Crimean Tatars.

For several days, in May 1944, about two hundred thousand innocent Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimea.

Crimean Tatars began to return to their homeland only in the late 80s. But in reality, Crimean Tatars gained freedom on their own land only with the proclamation of Ukraine's Independence in 1991. It seemed that at last you can live freely and with dignity on your native land.

However, in 2014, the Crimean land again became the object of encroachment of the Russian invader. Again, the Crimean Tatars, along with Ukrainians, are persecuted and discriminated against on their native land.

Despite all the misfortunes and severe trials that fell on the Crimean Tatars, they were able not only to withstand, but also carried their sincere love for their native land, preserved their wonderful traditions, their native language through the years of deviousness and deportation. They preserved their own unique way of peace, goodness and development, which was followed by their ancestors.

As I have mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the complicated and largely tragic history of two peoples – Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars – has much in common. In both peoples, statehood and native land, culture and language were taken away, but the peoples survived. Together.

We are united. We are single Ukrainian people. We are citizens of a single independent and indivisible Ukraine.

And now in this difficult time for all of us, despite all the internal and external challenges facing our country, it is now extremely important to strengthen this unity, the internal unity of our people. Unity, which is the key to our victory and future prosperity of Ukraine – a powerful, democratic, legal, European state!

I congratulate you, friends, on the 100th anniversary of the first Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar people!

Glory to the Crimean Tatar people!

Glory to Ukraine!


The solemn meeting was attended by Presidents of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk (1991-1994) and Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010), officials, members of the   Ukrainian Parliament of various convocations, President of the Crimean Tatar People's Commissioner Mustafa Dzhemiliev, Chairman and members of the Mejlis, representatives of the diplomatic corps, international organizations, mass media.