Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Crimea is the Homeland of the Crimean Tatars not Russian Colonists
The indigenous people of Crimea are the Crimean Tatars not the Russian colonists settled there starting in the 19th century. Crimean Tatars were an overwhelming majority of the population of the territory as late as 1863. Indeed, the 1939 Soviet census still showed Russians as a minority of the population of the Crimean ASSR which was a multi-ethnic territory that functioned as the national-territorial formation of the Crimean Tatars. It was only after the NKVD managed to ethnically cleanse the peninsula of Germans, Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Armenians and settle their lands with ethnic Russians that Russians became a majority of the population of Crimea. In 1941, the NKVD deported the ethnic Germans who had lived in Crimea as long as the Russians to Kazakhstan. This was followed by the Nazi occupation and the murder of most of the peninsula's Jewish population including the indigenous Crimean Tatar speaking Krymchaks. Finally, in 1944 the Stalin regime deported the Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Armenians, and Bulgarians and settled Russians in their place afterwards. It is only as a result of this ethnic cleansing and colonization that Russians became a majority of the population of Crimea. So if Crimea belongs to any one national group it is certainly not the Russians. It is the Crimean Tatars and they have expressed an overwhelming desire to keep their homeland as part of the Ukrainian state.