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Senior Crimean Tatar figure says rejected $3m from Russia in 2014

"They said: 'Akhtem-aga, we need our own Ramzan Kadyrov in Crimea'."

A deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Majlis, Akhtem Chyyhoz, has said that the head of the Crimea's occupying administration, Sergey Aksenov, and Vladimir Putin's envoy to Crimea, Oleg Belaventsev, offered him 3m dollars for loyalty. 

"In the spring of 2014, Aksenov, Belaventsev and Temirgaliev invited me several times, said they were ready to work with me: they said that Mustafa Dzhemilyev will not change his position, but you have no less authority among the people ... In general, they made these petty, cheap contrasts. I was listening and waiting when they get to specifics. They said: Akhtem-aga, you are a bright, respected person among Crimean Tatars, a tough fighter, and we need our Ramzan Kadyrov in Crimea.' They wanted me to play this role. And offered me money. First time they offered me about 3m dollars. These were Aksenov and Belaventsev who annpinced this figure," Chyyhoz said in an interview with the Gordon website.

According to him, Remzi Ilyasov, who agreed to cooperate with the occupying authorities, was promised 300,000 dollars for loyalty, but eventually, he received 70,000 dollars only.

Later, Chyyhoz went on, he had more meetings with the occupying authorities where more money offers were made.

"The figure did not change, but the conditions did. For example, one day I was told: take Bakhchysaray District, we are giving you the green light, we will not interfere. I answered that I need all of Crimea. All and without them. It does not make sense to talk about dignity with such people," he said.

Chyyhoz was the main suspect in the most notorious criminal case in Russia-annexed Crimea. He was detained "on suspicion of organizing and participating in mass riots" on 26 February 2014. That day Crimean Tatars gathered outside the Crimean parliament in Simferopol trying to prevent it from convening a secession session but were confronted by pro-Russian activists.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison under Article 212 Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. In October 2017, with the mediation of Turkey, Chyyhoz and another Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov were released and came to Kyiv.

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