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Vol. 78/No. 6      February 17, 2014

Crimean Tatars join anti-Putin
actions in Ukraine


Supporters of the national rights of the Crimean Tatar people joined thousands in Simferopol, the capital of the Crimean province of Ukraine, Jan. 28, demanding resignation of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

With the exception of the early years of the Russian Revolution, the Crimean Tatars have been subjected to more than two centuries of Russian domination.

The Bolshevik Party, which brought workers and farmers to power in 1917, backed the national rights and self-determination of the Crimean Tatars and other oppressed people. Crimea joined the voluntary Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as an autonomous region in 1921.

But in 1927 — as part of a bloody counterrevolution led by Josef Stalin — the leaders of the Crimean Tatar republic were branded “bourgeois nationalists” and executed. Thousands of the largely peasant population were deported over the next decade and the land repopulated with Russians. The Tatars were placed in settlement camps and faced systematic discrimination by Moscow, which, for example, unilaterally changed their alphabet twice — in 1928 from Arabic script to Latin, and in 1938 to Russian Cyrillic.

During World War II, Stalin had the entire Tatar population rounded up and exiled to Uzbekistan, the Urals and Siberia, slandering an entire people as German agents. More than 46 percent of the population perished as a result.

In the 1960s Tatars began returning to the Crimea, where they found themselves landless and oppressed in their own homeland.

They returned in greater numbers following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin — which grew out of the old secret-police apparatus put together under the Stalinist regime before it — has continued the same Great Russian domination over the Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and many other nationalities.


Related articles:
Moscow, Kiev fail to stem mobilizations in Ukraine:
Protesters determined to throw off Russian boot
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