Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Crimean Tatars Launch Online Petition for Recognition as ‘Indigenous People of Crimea’

Paul Goble


            Staunton, November 19 – The Crimean Tatar Resistance Organization has launched an online petition drive to gain international recognition as the indigenous people of the peninsula, a step that Ukraine did not take earlier and that Russia has not taken since the Anschluss and one that the organizers say is necessary to preserve their national identity.



            Some may be put off by the fact that the petition criticizes Ukraine’s earlier failure to act, but the measure which is to be sent to the United Nations and world leaders clearly is directed primarily against the behavior of the Russian occupation forces, a group that has proven itself to be hostile to the Crimean Tatars.


            Indeed, today brings news of yet another action by the authorities there so appalling that even Russian Orthodox nationalists are upset: The Russian occupiers plan to put up a statue of Stalin along with Roosevelt and Church in Yalta as part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the summit there which divided Europe.


            In the words of the editors of “Russkaya liniya,” it seems that now “the ‘Sovietization’ of Crimea can begin with its ‘Stalinization’” (


            As the site points out, Stalin was “perhaps the bloodiest tyrant in human history.” But as it doesn’t, although others should, he was especially “bloody” with regard to the Crimean Tatars, deporting and murdering them en masse in 1944 and doing what he could to wipe off the map of Crimea any memory of them.


            For Crimean Tatars then in particular, the erection of a statue in honor of the Soviet dictator sends a signal about what is ahead, a signal that many of them are certain to view as an indication that their future is anything but assured as long as the Russian occupation of their homeland continues.


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