Ukraine marks anniversary of 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars

Source : 112 Ukraine

The memorable date became of special importance since the 2014 occupation of Crimea
09:32, 18 May 2018

On May 18, Ukraine marks the 74th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet government. It has been the day of memory for Crimean Tatars and some Ukrainians ever since. Naturally, the problems of the Crimean Tatar population have received the second round after the Crimea occupation by Russia. 

Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea, their settlements appeared on the peninsula in the 13th century. In the early 18th century, there were an absolute majority of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula - 444 thousand, and two decades later, Crimean Tatars were the second largest population after the Slavs of the peninsula (in 1926 - 25.1% of the total population).

Related: Verdicts awaited in Russia’s most openly anti-Crimean Tatar ‘trial'

In 1922 the Soviet government officially recognized Crimean Tatars as the indigenous population of the Crimean Autonomous Republic. They were allowed to develop their culture: newspapers, magazines were issued in their language, educational institutions, museums, libraries and theaters used the native language too. Crimean Tatar language, along with the Russian was the official language of autonomy.

In 1944, the Crimean Tatar people were accused of treason and collaboration with Nazi occupiers. The deportation began at dawn on May 18, 1944. The employees of the NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) came to the Tatar houses and announced that they are being evicted from Crimea. They had to quickly pack up and go.  70 trains overflowing with people were sent to Central Asia. Many children and elderly people deceased during the relocation. All the assets remaining after the Tatars in Crimea, the state arrogated to itself. 238 500 people were deported from Crimea.

Related: One of detained Crimean Tatars released

A new challenge for the Crimean Tatars started after Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Some of them left the peninsula because of persecution, others suffering from raids, trials, and detentions. Some received a ban to the entry to Crimea, including the leaders of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov.

The struggle of the Tatar people for their land and their rights continues to this day.

Related: Critically ill Crimean Tatar political prisoner denied hospitalization

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