November 14, 2019

On May 18, it is 75 years from deportation of the Crimean Tatars – the act of genocide and one of the dark pages of Stalin’s era. For the Crimean Tatars it is the day of memory and grieve for thousands of the dead, the destroyed families and the broken destinies as practically each family suffered from Stalin’s repressions.

And in this day and age – in the 21st century, indigenous inhabitants of the Crimea are exposed to persecutions and repressions already again by the present Russian power which once again tries to deprive the Crimean Tatars of their homeland. Difference is only in a pretext which both then – in 1944, and now – is farfetched and false.

75 years ago a charge of all (!) the Crimean Tatars of high treason, “mass destruction of the Soviet people and a collaboration” was the cause of deportation of the Crimean Tatars. The resolution of the Ministry of defense of the USSR contains one important detail on this – transportation of those deported was carried out at a tariff of prisoner’s transportation. Thus the whole nation was condemned for absurd charge and deported without trial.

Though it is not clear how it is possible to find guilt of the whole nation?! After all it is obvious that collaborators were, both among Russians, and among representatives of other nations of the USSR of that time. Nevertheless, the fault of certain people or groups of persons was shifted to the whole nation, including pregnant women, newborns, and elderly people. Moreover, right after their families, the Crimean Tatars (soldiers and officers) who were in the ranks of the Soviet army and came back from the front to their native land – to the Crimea, were forcibly deported. Transportation of the Crimean Tatars to special settlements may be considered as a separate crime – the crowded freight cars, shortage of water, total absence of medical care, a ban to bury the dead on the way, violence from escorts-officers of People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs.

The fact of popularity in post-war years of Stalin’s toast said in May, 1945 in honor of the victory in the WWII, a toast for the Russian people who “happened to assume the main burden of fight against Hitlerites, and the Russian nation played this great historical role with honor” is also significant. So, the Soviet leader called the winner only one nation who, in his opinion, deserved infinite admiration, thus a contribution to the victory over fascism of other nations – simply not counted. Among them the Crimean Tatars who were deported beyond the Urals and to the former republics of the USSR (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan), doomed to life in the extremely severe conditions (shortage of the food, fresh water, etc.), forced to work at hazardous employment. Since 1948, the Crimean Tatars were considered as lifelong settlers, in 1957 the ban of any publications in the Crimean Tatar language was imposed, and the nationality was forbidden to be written in a passport.

In 1989 after recognition of deportation by the Supreme Council of the USSR as illegal and outlawed, the Crimean Tatars started coming back to the historical homeland and building their life anew. Ukraine supported repatriation and, actually, assumed financial burden of arrangement of the Crimean Tatars on the historical homeland. It is then the Crimea saw schools and higher educational institution providing teaching in the Crimean Tatar language, construction of mosques, publication of press, opening of a television channel, activity development of self-government institutions of the Crimean Tatars – Majlis and Kurultai.

In 2014 annexation of the Crimea destroyed life of the Crimean Tatars again. Russia was not ready to accept the pro-Ukrainian and pro-European position of the vast majority of the Crimean Tatar population. It is for this reason the Crimean Tatars are exposed to cruel discrimination by bodies of the local and federal authority today, the Russian intelligence services carry out mass detentions of civic activists, bringing them far-fetched charges of extremism and terrorism, throw in jail without any proofs of fault. Seeking to break resistance, to intimidate and expel the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea, authorities even steal and murder civic activists.

The fact that in Russia it was started extolling a role of Stalin in the history, “his wisdom and will of the statesman” characterizes a situation on the occupied peninsula in the best way possible. For the Crimean Tatars it is a serious signal of what may be their future as a part of Russia. Actually, it is a direct hint that the history may recur…

However, difference of a present situation that today the world is globalized and therefore it will not be possible to hide scales of repressions, the world community will lean about what is occurring in the Crimea and crimes of present Russian regime will not remain unpunished.

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