International Committee for Crimea
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News of Interest

Honoring Victims of Communism

A wreath-laying ceremony was held on June 10 to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Victims of Communism Memorial, New Jersey and Massachusetts Avenues, NW, in Washington, DC. The program included several speakers, including Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Hon. Goran Lindblad, Member of the Swedish Parliament; and Hon. Thaddeus McCotter, US House of Representatives (R-Michigan). Dr. Edwards spoke of the horror of communism by naming various historical events of the 20th century: The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 (Holodomor), Stalin's reign of terror and deportations in the 1930s and 1940s, Katyn Massacre of Polish officers in 1940, Budapest Uprising of 1956, the Killing fields of Cambodia, 1975-79 and Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989 in the People's Republic of China. All speakers pointed out that people are still suffering in countries who claim to be not communists but pursue the same repressive policies.

Flowers presented by Crimean Tatars

Flowers presented by Crimean Tatars

The ceremony ended with the presentation of wreaths and flowers from 14 foreign embassies and 18 organizations, honoring more than 100,000 victims of communism. Crimean Tatars were represented at the ceremony by Ali Chabuk of Crimea, a Fulbright Fellow from New York, and Dr. Inci Bowman of the International Committee for Crimea. Ali Chabuk laid a basket of flowers, marked "Crimean Tatars — Entire nation deported, May 1944." Photographs relating to the event are available at ICC's FLICKR Web site as well as the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation site.

Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial

Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial in Lithuania

Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial honoring Tatars

The Tatar, Bashkir and Crimean Tatar Associations of Germany issued a formal letter of appreciation to their friends and representatives of Tatars in Lithuania for erecting a monument honoring the Tatars. The Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial recognizes the support and involvement of Tatars in the Battle of Grunwald which was fought on 15 July 1410. It is located in the Tatar village of Raizhiu, Alytus County, Lithuania. The inclusion of Tatars among the Lithuanians and Polish forces, who fought against the Teutonic Knights in that well-known battle, indicates that by 1410 the Tatar people were settled and a part of the Eastern European society. Recently, the historic event has been getting a great deal of attention in the Lithuanian, Polish and German media because of the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. A delegation from Crimea, including Refat Chubarov and Ali Hamzin, attended the unveiling of the Memorial on 26 June. The letter of appreciation, written in seven different languages (but not in English) is available online, at the Website of Tamga, the Tatar Association in Berlin. We thank Mieste Hotopp-Riecke for bringing this interesting piece of news to our attention. Photo Credit: Ali Hamzin.

66th Anniversary of Deportation

Crimean Tatars throughout the world marked the 66th Anniversary of their deportation from homeland Crimea on 18 May. The tragic event was commemorated in Simferopol as well as in various diaspora communities in Turkey, Romania, Germany, United States and Tatarstan (Russia.)

Speakers at 2010 Memorial Meeting, Simferopol

Speakers at 2010 Memorial Meeting, Simferopol

The large commemorative meeting in Simferopol was relatively subdued in comparison to previous years, as Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev noted that the gathering was intended not as a protest but an act of mourning. Nevertheless, he expressed his disappointment in the downhill trend in the repatriation of his people: "Today we are still far from the complete restoration of the rights of our people. The Crimean Tatars have been almost completely removed from the management of the autonomy," he said. Although the state of Ukraine recocnizes the deportation of Crimean Tatars as a crime against humanity and the Ukrainian flag flies half staff on the 18th of May, the government has been reluctant to pass a law relating the indigenous people and their rights. And, Jemilev added, about 150,000 Crimean Tatars still live in exile, unable to return to their homeland.

See also: ICC President Dr. Idil Izmirli's statement on the occasion of the 66th anniversary of deportation as well as photographs from the Simferopol meeting at ICC's FLICKR Web site.

Falls Charges against Crimean Tatars

On the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars (18 May 1944), the International Committee for Crimea posted an important paper by J. Otto Pohl, "The False Charges of Treason against the Crimean Tatars." An Associate Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Dr. Pohl shows that the charges of mass treason brought against the Tatars were based on erroneous reports by Beria and his associates.

For more information about the paper, see our summary, "Stalin's Order to Deport Crimean Tatars Was Based on False Reports." Otto Pohl's paper, "The False Charges of Treason" is available here in PDF format. We thank Prof. Pohl for letting us publish his paper.

The Nowruz Celebration at the Library of Congress

ICC members Inci Bowman and Ayla Bakkalli were invited to attend an event celebrating the arrival of spring at the Library of Congress on March 17. Organized by the newly formed Nowruz Commission, the program featured a concert by Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Tajik musicians and singers and the Iranian popular singer Leila. The event was attended by representatives from embassies of Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, and invited guests from countries or ethnic groups who celebrate Nowruz (or Navrez, in Crimean Tatar). Nowruz, which falls on the 20th or 21st of March, is generally known as the beginning of the Persian new year, but is also a traditional Turkic holiday. For more information, see the article "Nowruz, a Turkic Holiday, and Crimean Tatars."

Ayla Bakkalli and Kazakh Musicians <br> Nowruz Celebration, Library of Congress
Ayla Bakkalli and Kazakh Musicians
Nowruz Celebration, Library of Congress

A New Journal for Crimean Tatar Women

We welcome the new journal for Crimean Tatar women, Arzy (Longing), which was launched on March 4. As the journal's Chief Editor Lentara Khalilova explained, this date is significant because on March 3, 1906, the first magazine for Crimean Tatar women, Alem-i Nisvan (Woman's World), was published by Shefika Gaspirali, the daughter of Ismail Bey Gaspirali, the well known reformist leader and publisher of Crimea. Just as Alem-i Nisvan did, the new journal aims to promote women's equality and freedom, and to unite not only the Crimean Tatar women but also women of the Turkic World. It will cover issues important to women such as family, cultural and religious practices and handcrafts. Initially, Arzy will be distributed only to schools and libraries but will be later available for subscription. For additional information, see the coverage on the Krym Alemi (Crimean World) Web site as well as Paul Goble's account of the new publication. We extend our congratulations to the editors and publisher of Arzy.

Crimean Tatar Embroidery

"A Study in Crimean Tatar Embroidery: The Asiye-Zeynep Collection" by Dr. Inci Bowman focuses on a small collection of embroidered textiles, dating from the 1870s to 1920. The study is intended to support the revival of the art of embroidery in Crimea by providing detailed description of each headscarf, decorated towel, sash and related item in the collection. Embroidery motifs and their meanings are also examined. The collection belonged to two women, Asiye and Zeynep, and their families, who lived in Crimean Tatar diaspora communities in Romania and Turkey. See: Crimean Tatar Embroidery.

Photographs relating to Crimean Tatars and Related Activities

Photographs relating to Crimean Tatars and related activities are now available at the FLICKR Web site:

Web site editor: Inci Bowman
Last Update: 4 July 2010


Wreath-laying ceremony in Washington, DC
Wreath-laying Ceremony,
Washington, DC, May 2010

Memorial Meeting in Simferopol
Memorial Meeting
Simferopol, 18 May 2010

Delegates and Mustafa Jemilev
Delegates and M. Jemilev
World Congress, Crimea

Kuresh: Indigenous People festivities, Simferopol
Kuresh Competion
Indigenous People Festivities
Simferopol, 8 August 2009

Crimean Tatar embroidery motif
Embroidery Motif

New Crimean Tatar journal for women
A New Journal for
Crimean Tatar Women