At the present time, Crimean Tatars account for only 10 percent of the Crimean population. Just an ordinary ethnic minority, right? But considering historical and political context, Crimean Tatars play a crucial role in forming of the Crimea region. Crimean Tatars are indigenous people of Crimea which existence in the Crimean peninsula dates back to XIV century.1 This ethnic minority, which claims itself to be Ukrainian, have a long history connected to never-ending conflicts with Russia. The conflict that basically can be called a genocide of the Crimean Tatars was the nation's deportations from Crimea to Central Asia back in 1944. The consequences of this process were terrific: almost 200,000 innocent people, mostly women, children, elderly and disabled people, had to leave their homes without a right or possibility to come back and regain everything that they had to leave.2 Moreover, after the years in exile, Crimean Tatars had a major struggle to come back to their homeland and once they came back, they had to re-create their lives they had before from zero. When it seemed that the Crimean Tatars were settling down and their rights were starting to be protected, 2014 marked another tragical event in the Crimean Tatars history: Crimea has been annexed by Russia and ever since then, the violation of Tatar's rights began once again.
In this paper work, I will focus on Crimean Tatars as a nation that suffered numerous times from the Russian hegemony. To be exact, I will analyze the Crimean Tatars deportation which started in 1944 and the annexation of Crimea by Russia which was executed just recently, in 2014. In order to find out what consequences were brought to the nation by Russia and its monopolistic policy, firstly I will give a brief overview of the Eary History of the Tatars ethnic minority. Then I will move on to the most tragic event in the Crimean Tatars history – the deportations in 20th century. A few observations will be given on why this process by Soviet Russia was started and how it affected the Crimean Tatars. Moreover, the repatriation process after the deportation and issues the Crimean Tatars had to face since their return from exile to their homeland will be described. Finally, it is crucial to give an overview of the present situation of Crimean Tatars that are again facing the hegemony of Russia after the annexation in 2014. In this part I will relate the main political and economical Tatar issues to the annexation process.
The Early History
Crimean Tatars are a Turkic-Muslim people, strongly influenced by Turkish culture. The beginning of the Crimean Tatars presence dates to the XIV-XV centuries when the Turkic tribes, such as Hunua, Turkic-Bulgarian, Oguz, Kipchak and Pechenegs, merged with the population of coastal and mountainous Crimea, to be exact – descendants of Tavros, Scythians, Greeks, Goths, Alans, etc.3 The word „Crimea“ is of Turkic origin, which, probably, derived from from a word „kyrym“, meaning ditch or reinforcement.4 In the begining of XV century, The Golden Horde, which had Crimea as a part of their state, because of the multiple reasons got weak and the Crimean peninsula became virtually independent - but not for long. With a support from the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania, The Giray dynasty took over the Crimea and ruled the Khanate of Crimea up to the end of the XVIII century.5 But already in the second half of the XV century the Crimean Khanate, which at the time was one of the most powerful and important state of the Eastern Europe, was ruled by the authority of the Ottoman Empire. Not all, but the major parts of the Crimean peninsula, were directly controlled by the Sultanate. Until 1774 the Khanate existed as a Turkish vassal.After that, Crimea finally gained its independence following by the peace treaty between Russia and Turkey.
Unfortunately, independence lasted for a very short period of time: already in 1783 the Russian Empress Catherine II annexed the Crimean Khanate and its lands to the Russian Empire.6 According to the historians, the population of the annexed Crimean peninsula teritory amounted to about half a million people and about 92 percent of them were Crimean Tatars.7 Due to the Russian expansion, massive migration of Tatars started in the lands of Ottoman Empire and by the end of the eighteenth century there were only 100 thousand Tatars left in the Crimea. At the present time, Turkey is home for more than 5,5 million of Crimean Tatar descendants.
1 Nadiya Chushak, “Crimean Tatars: History, Present Situation and Perspectives of the Future”. <http://www.lnu.edu.ua/personal/mdlviv/roboty/crtatars.html>, [Žiūrėta 2015.05.23]
2 J. Otto Pohl, “The Deportation and Fate of the Crimean Tatars”, <https://www.academia.edu/5141504/The_Deportation_and_Fate_of_the_Crimean_Tatars> [Žiūrėta 2015.05.23]
3 Nadiya Chushak, “Crimean Tatars: History, Present Situation and Perspectives of the Future”. <http://www.lnu.edu.ua/personal/mdlviv/roboty/crtatars.html>, [Žiūrėta 2015.05.23]
4 Ten pat.
5 Ten pat.
6 Česlovas Iškauskas, “Krymo totoriai: istorinis bendrumas ir susitaikymo pavojai”, 2014. <http://www.iskauskas.lt/2014/05/01/krymo-totoriai-istorinis-bendrumas-ir-susitaikymo-pavojai/>, [Žiūrėta 2015.05.24]
7 Ten pat.
- Vas 7, 2017
- "Informacijos neturime"
- 11 psl.
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