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To the 71st Anniversary of Crimean Tatars deportation

15 May 2015, 08:31

Deportation of  the Crimean Tatars in 1944 and measures taken by the Government of Ukraine for the purpose of settlement and integration into Ukrainian society formerly deported Crimean Tatars.

The state-organized and forcible deportation of the Crimean Tatars from the Crimean Peninsula by the Soviet Union in 1944 was ordered by J.Stalin as a form of collective punishment for alleged collaboration with the Nazi occupation regime during 1942-1943. The event is also known asSürgünlik in Crimean Tatar (meaning "exile").

A total of more than 230,000 people were deported, mostly to the Uzbekistan. This included the entire ethnic Crimean Tatar population, at the time about a fifth of the total population of the Crimean Peninsula, besides smaller number of ethnic  Greeks and Bulgarians. A large number of deportees (more than 100,000 according to a 1960s survey by Crimean Tatar activists) died from starvation or disease as a direct result of deportation.

In 1944, under the pretext of alleged collaboration between the Crimean Tatars and the Nazis during the Nazi occupation of the Crimea in 1941–1944, the Soviet government evicted the Crimean Tatar people from Crimea on orders of J.Stalin and L. Beria.  A total of 238,500 people were deported.

The deportation began on 18 May 1944 in all Crimean inhabited localities More than 32,000  NKVD troops participated in this action. The forced deportees were given only 30 minutes to gather personal belongings, after which they were loaded onto cattle trains and moved out of Crimea. 193,865 Crimean Tatars were deported, 151,136 of them to  Uzbek SSR, 8,597 to  Mari ASSR, 4,286 to Kazakh SSR, the rest 29,846 to the various pegions of  RSFSR. At the same moment, most of the Crimean Tatar men who were fighting in the ranks of the Red Army were demobilized and sent into forced labor camps in Siberia and in the Ural mountain region. The deportation was poorly planned and executed; local authorities in the destination areas were not properly informed about the scale of the matter and did not receive enough resources to accommodate the deportees. The lack of accommodation and food, the failure to adapt to new climatic conditions and the rapid spread of diseases had a heavy demographic impact during the first years of exile.

From May to November 10,105 Crimean Tatars died of starvation in Uzbekistan (7% of those deported to the Uzbek SSR). Nearly 30,000 (20%) died in exile during the year and a half by the NKVD data. According to Soviet dissident information, many Crimean Tatars were made to work in the large-scale projects conducted by the Soviet GULAG system.

Crimean Tatar activists tried to evaluate the demographic consequences of the deportation. They carried out a census in all the scattered Tatar communities in the middle of the 1960s. The results of this inquiry show that 109,956 (46.2%) Crimean Tatars of the 238,500 deportees died between July 1, 1944 and January 1, 1947 due to starvation and disease.

Although a 1967 Soviet decree removed the charges against Crimean Tatars, the Soviet government did nothing to facilitate their resettlement in Crimea and to make reparations for lost lives and confiscated property. Crimean Tatars, having definite tradition of non-communist political dissent, succeeded in creating a truly independent network of activists, values and political experience. Crimean Tatars, led by Crimean Tatar National Movement Organization, were not allowed to return to Crimea from exile until the beginning of the  Perestroika in the mid-1980s. On March 11, 2014 the Crimean parliament recognized the deportation of Crimean Tatars as a tragic fate. Crimean activists call for the recognition of the Sürgünlik as genocide.

Ukraine since independence has assumed full responsibility for the fate of all its citizens , including those returning to its territory from deportation .

In 1992-2013 the repatriation process in Ukraine formerly deported people on ethnic grounds was part of the Agreement on matters relating to the restoration of the rights of deported persons, minorities and people, which was concluded in 1992 in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States ( the so-called Bishkek agreement ) and prolonged in 2003 in St.Petersburg for the next ten years .

The legal basis for the implementation of state policy in the sphere of protection of the rights of formerly deported persons of ethnic grounds who have returned to live permanently in Ukraine, is the Declaration of Rights of Nationalities of Ukraine and Laws of Ukraine "On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression in Ukraine", "On national minorities in Ukraine" and others.

Since 1991, the Government of Ukraine to make great efforts to provide the necessary resources for resettlement and integration into Ukrainian society returnees who were deported on ethnic grounds by Stalin's regime.

In order to address issues of integration of returnees the Government of Ukraine on January 25, 2002 approved the "Programme to promote social and adaptation of Crimean Tatar youth in 2002-2005" and May 11, 2006 approved the "Program of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine resettlement of deported Crimean Tatars and other nationalities, who returned to Ukraine for residence, their adaptation and integration into Ukrainian society for the period until 2010 ", which was extended to the appropriate Decree of the Government to 2015.

Prior to the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in February and March 2014 Ukraine actually using its own resources carried out extensive work aimed at solving social and economic problems of Crimean Tatars and other nationalities who returned permanently to the Crimea.

Since 1991, the State Budget of Ukraine has envisaged a separate line for resettlement of returnees. Budget funds are channeled mainly for housing , utilities , social and cultural purposes. The total amount of expenditure from the State Budget of Ukraine for the resettlement of formerly deported citizens on a national basis at the end of 2013 amounted to more than 1 270 million UHR. (more than 158 million. U.S.).

On the effectiveness of measures that were taken by the Government of Ukraine to ensure the repatriation process and the integration of formerly deported Crimean Tatars eloquent testimony to the following:

1.Stalin regime were deported from Crimea 200 thousand ethnic Crimean Tatars. At the beginning of 2013 for permanent residence in Ukraine , the Crimea, back about 266 thousand ethnic Crimean Tatars.

2. According to the results of the local elections in 2010, the share of Crimean Tatars in the work of self-government was 16 %, while the share of Crimean Tatars in Crimea overall ethnic composition was 13.7 %.

In 2013 in the Council of Ministers of Crimea Crimean Tatars held 8 executive positions . In the civil service and as local government officials there were more than 1 800 people from among the representatives of deported nationalities, representing 6.4% of the total number of employees.

3. According to the National Committee for Crimea Land Resources at the end of 2012 the share of lands allocated to the Crimean Tatars for housing (over 85 thousand plots of approximately 11 hectares) of total land allocated for this category Crimean population as a whole was 17.1 %.

4. In 2013 /2014 academic year in the Crimea  there were 15 secondary schools with Crimean Tatar (3092 pupils).

Teacher Training Crimean Tatar language and literature was carried out by the Republican high education institute "Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University " and philological faculty of the Tauride National University.

Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine created and published curricula of the Crimean Tatar language and reading for grades 1-4, 5-9 classes and textbooks in Crimean Tatar language, Ukrainian, Tatar and Crimean Tatar-Ukrainian school terminological dictionary of manuals for young school age "Tales of a large family " in Crimean Tatar.

Thus, in 2001-2013 only textbooks for secondary schools in Crimean Tatar published with total circulation of 103,207 copies, about 30 teaching aids on the Crimean Tatar language and literature for primary, secondary and higher education. With a budget of Crimea financed publication 63 types of training and educational materials and 60 kinds of literature in the amount of 3.748 million.

5. Number of religious buildings and premises to perform religious ceremonies for 12 years has increased for Muslim organizations - by 122 % (from 146 in 2000 to 324 - in 2012).

Ukrainian government, aware of the complexity of the integration of returnees into Ukrainian society, sought to ensure the religious needs of the Crimean Tatars and settle disputes between the government and religious organizations through constructive dialogue.

6. In 2013 to ensure that the information needs of the Crimean Tatar language newspaper published " Khyrym", " Maarif yshleri " and magazines "Tasyl" and "Kasevet". At the state of broadcasting company "Krym" worked Tatar Edition "Meydan" speech which was 7 % of the total broadcasting.

7. Prior to March 2014 under the state protection were dozens of monuments of the Crimean Tatar people.

Author: Посольство України в Королівстві Таїланд

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