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The following article by Refat Chubarov is a slightly edited version of the "Preface" to Krimski Studii, No. 5-6 (September-November), 2000, published by the Center of Information and Documentation of Crimean Tatars, Kiev, Ukraine. This issue of Krimski Studii includes a compilation of sections relating to Crimean Tatars from "The Chronicle of Current Events," published between 1968 and 1983 by dissident human rights activists in the former Soviet Union. While Krimski Studii is published in Ukrainian and English, the excerpts from "The Chronicle of Current Events" are in Russian. In the "Preface," Mr. Chubarov describes the repressive policies of the Communist regime, deportations of millions of people, including the Crimean Tatars, and the beginnings of the Crimean Tatar national movement in places of exile. We are pleased to make the "Preface" available to a wider audience on the Web.— Ed.


 

PREFACE

The Honorable Refat Chubarov
People's Deputy of Ukraine

The outgoing twentieth century will go down in the history of human civilization not only for its epochal scientific discoveries and achievements, which cardinally changed the conditions of human life, but for the great humanitarian catastrophes in which hundreds of millions of human lives were destroyed.

On the threshold of a new millennium, an understanding of our past development can help us avoid a repeat of the devilish social experiments of the past, in the process of which many peoples and their territories were thrown aside on the path of world development, discord and hate among peoples were sowed, a succession of generations was razed, and original traditions were destroyed.

Ukraine, to the great disappointment of its people, was at the epicenter of all the catastrophes of the twentieth century, which were brought to its land by the bearers and leaders of misanthropic communist and fascist ideologies. The scale of tragedy in our history was so huge that in order to understand it, society had to introduce special definitions that could express the nature of the human catastrophes that had transpired: famine, holocaust, and deportations....

For all the seeming outward differences, the fascist and communist ideologies share antihuman tendencies. Both of these ideologies deny common values and morals, replacing them in the first case with the idea of domination of one race over others, and in the other case with the domination of a chosen class over others.

In estimating the observance of human rights and people's rights, the communist regime of the USSR proceeded from the principle of class expedience, all the rest was declared alien and was liable to extermination. In spite of the fact that it officially proclaimed internationalism as a basic principle for gaining "victory of the world proletariat," communist ideology, in contradistinction to fascist ideology, in reality created the opportunity for the communist elite, which usurped power, commiting genocide against peoples unlike fascists, because its threat impended over all peoples. At the same time, one should note that the scale of repression and forms of genocide against particular peoples depended solely on the estimation of the communist regime, and their ascription to the category "reliable" or "suspect."

The total repression against its own citizens and entire peoples, including the execution of tens of millions of people and forcible assimilation, cannot be justified either by "cult of personality" or by "wrench of communist principles," as the ideological followers of yesterday's executioners have tried to present recent events of the past up to now.

In reality, the VKP (b) with Ulyanov-Lenin at the head and later his successors understood that only by using mass terror and repression against peoples, who were overcome by violence, against their will, could they achieve absolute power over them and their territories. From the first day of establishing their power over a certain territory, the Bolsheviks, first of all, took hostages, who were referred to "social alien elements" by authorities, and were subject to mass execution. Numerous archival documents of the first years of Soviet power, which have become available in the last decade, show that the beginning of mass terror was established directly by the founder of the Soviet state—Ulyanov-Lenin. One can cite only a fragment from the correspondence of Lenin from that period: On 11 August 1918, in a letter to "friends" of Penza he insists: It is necessary to use full repression against the rebellion of 5 kulak districts.... It is necessary that this punishment became the lesson for everybody. 1) Bring no less than 100 kulaks—the rich, bloodsuckers.... 2) Publish their surnames. 3) Take all their corn. 4) Take hostages according to yesterday's telegram. Take all efforts that people would see and palpitate, and shepherd them for a lot of versts around.... P.S. Look for the firm people. Lenin.

Mark Lenin's words— Take all efforts that people would see, are scared, and shepherd them for a lot of versts around..., because they specifically will determine the context of governing by their successors, and above all, Stalin, who was the General Secretary of the Communist Party from 1922. As a pupil, Stalin in his maniacal fixation to doom a lot of people to suffering and death exceeded his teacher Lenin many times over. Not even attempting to find out all of his crimes (the hundreds of fundamental researches by different authors are dedicated to this theme), we refer only to writer Vasiliy Grossman on the repercussions of famine that was artificially unleashed in Ukraine, in which about 7 million people died: Do you see ever in newspapers the photos of children in German camps? That's what they looked like: heads-as if heavy balls on thinnest as stork necks ...the whole skeleton, which was not covered by skin, but some kind of yellow cheese-cloth...And in spring, they already had no look at all. Instead of them—they had bird's heads with nibs or hop-toad heads with thinnest white mouth, and some of them looked like a fish out of water with gaped mouth...Those were Soviet children, and Soviet people brought them to death.

By the end of the 1930s, the Soviet regime, at the head of VKP (b), was not satisfied by only domestic repression. Communist ideology required expansion outside the USSR—in this connection, the occupation of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia....Hundreds of thousands of new human lives from the occupied territories were pulled into the communist hasher.

According to research on the Soviet regime by Roy Medvedev and Robert Conquest, in Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union between 1917-1953 (excluding military victims) the following groups of people were executed:


  Minimum   Maximum
 
Civil War and famine in the Volga region (1918-1922s) 3,000,000   5,000,000
Political repressions in the 1920s   tens of thousands  
Forcible collectivization and "dispossession of
the kulaks" after 1929
10,000,000   14,000,000
Ukrainian famine (1932-1933) 6,000,000   7,000,000
The great terror (1934-1939) and cleansing   1,000,000  
Deportations to GULAG (before 1937)   10,000,000  
Fusillades and capital punishments (1937-1939)   1,000,000  
Deportation from the western Ukraine, including
the Baltic States and Romania (1939-1940)
  2,000,000  
Foreign prisoners: the Poles, the Finn,
the Germans, the Romanians, and the Jap
  1,000,000  
Deportations to GULAG (1939-1945)   7,000,000  
Deportations of peoples: the Germans from the Volga
region, Chechens, Ingushes, and Crimean Tatars
  1,000,000  
Postwar control of repatriates and inhabitants
of territories, which were occupied by the Fascists
5,000,000   6,000,000
TOTAL (under average estimations)   about 54,000,000  

Reflecting on the real reasons of deportation of the Crimean Tatar people and other peoples from their territories, part of the answer can be found even in those arguments, which were given by the Soviet regime in adopted documents, on the basis of which they realized deportations. The Communist regime used such a large specter of accusations and calumnies, including indiscriminate deportations of peoples, which as a special instrument allowed to maintain a criminal power over enslaved peoples. In one case, they deported tens and hundreds of thousands of persons as "politically suspect" (15,000 Polish and German farmers were exiled from Ukraine to Karagandiyskaya oblast of Kazakhskaya SSR in 1936). Another case involved the necessity of the "ethnic unloading" of the territory (exile of "citizens of other nationalities" from Murmansk and Murmansk oblast to Altai region and Karelo—Finnish SSR in 1940). The third group included the kulaks, former industrialists, the landed classes, members of "bourgeois" governments (deportations from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in 1941, 1948-1949). The fourth category of deportations aimed at strengthening the state boundary of the USSR (exile of Kurds from boundary line of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan to the middle of the country in 1937, deportation of Koreans from Far East), and the fifth resulting from the anxiety created by the Germans from Volga region and European part of the USSR.

The Crimean Tatar people, like other deported peoples, were accused of collaboration with the fascists after the liberation of their territories. On 10 May 1944, Beria wrote in a special report for Stalin: Taking into account the betrayal of the Crimean Tatars against the Soviet people, and based on the principle that the continued presence of Crimean Tatars near the boundary of the USSR is undesirable, the NKVD of the USSR introduces the project of GKO of the deportation of all Crimean Tatars from Crimea. We think that it is expedient to resettle Crimean Tatars as special settlers in regions of Uzbek SSR for work in agriculture—collective-farms, state farms, as in industry and building....

On 11 May 1944, Stalin signed Decree #5859 "On Crimean Tatars." Consequently, the destiny of the entire people was foredoomed by a stroke of a pen of the Communist leader of the USSR for the next 50 years.

We call your attention to one of the arguments of Beria defending the necessity of deporting the Crimean Tatar people— "on the principle that the continued presence of the Crimean Tatars on the boundary of the USSR is undesirable...." These words in particular reveal one of the real reasons: Soviet power already long ascribed the Crimean Tatar people to the category of politically suspect. All of the rest of the arguments, including the "betrayal" of Crimean Tatars in the period of the fascist occupation of Crimea, played the role of a curtain of propaganda to cover the realization of the long-term goal of the Communists—to cleanse Crimea of its indigenous people.

According to eyewitnesses, on 10 May 1944 (the same day Beria sent a memorandum on the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to Stalin) the inhabitants of many of the foothill and mountainous regions of Crimea, mainly women and teenagers, were taken to repair roads. The military authorities gave the explanation that the repair was necessary to the supply of promised building materials for the repair of villages, which were destroyed by war. Actually, when a general census of Crimean Tatars began immediately after the liberation of Crimea, the authorities' answer to the worrisome question of why they make lists of only Crimean Tatars was "to provode the destroyed houses with construction materials."

The deportation of Crimean Tatars was started in the early morning of 18 May 1944. Crimean Tatars were given only 15-20 minutes for packing. Today one cannot read the numerous accounts of eyewitnesses of that terrible May Day without chills. The eye-witness accounts tell of the shouting and bawdry of the military, children's cries, and blows to the aged and women with clubs. Below we give some written testimony from the personal archive of the historian V. Vozgrin:

They shepherded people to the cemetery, which was surrounded by guns. They began to isolate children from parents, and said that the elders will be shot, and the children given to children's communities. Thus, they kept them (isolated) for 3-3.5 hours. For this time some mothers became mad. One woman, who had three children (elder of them was 11 years old), took a lashing and bound them so that they would go to one children's community, and wouldn't be separated.

Frequently, women fainted during the preparation for departure from a particular kind of mockery over children and the aged. In that period, the young boy soldiers drew the young and the aged Crimean Tatars along streets, then swung them, clutching their hands and legs, and cackling threw their bodies—it was like that not only in the Uzundzhi of Balaklavskyi region ....

In Uskut, one of the aged, Kurtseit Ibraim, who was 70 years old, asked: "What do you want to do with us? I have four sons fighting in the Red Army, but you whip us as fascists and want to execute. I won't go anywhere!.". At this moment, a gun was fired, and the old man fell on the ground. His corpse was buried in dung.

By 4:00 pm on 20 May 1944, all Crimean Tatars were under the guard of the troops of NKVD, loaded into 67 echelons and sent to places of deportation. Pasha Halid testifies, who was 8 years old at the time, how they accomplished the loading of Crimean Tatars: During loading, they separated families. All of those, which were in wagon, were knocked by happened, nobody understood. They tried to divine their destiny: if train turn to the left—to blow and death, but if to the right—will survive. There were mostly women, the aged and children in wagon. In Saratov, we were taken in cargo barges. We had no food for 5 days—until they brought us to Mariyskaya SSR.

The Deputy of National Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR I. Serov and National Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Uzbek SSR A. Kobulov managed this criminal operation directly. In addition, according to official information on operations in the "cleansing of Crimea, 23,000 soldiers and officers of NKVD and about 9,000 persons of operative personnel of the bodies of NKVD-NKGB" took part. It is unnecessary to say that the overwhelming majority of them were awarded afterwards for their participation in these criminal actions with medals and decorations of the USSR.

Already during the deportation, the executioners updated their initial plan on the special resettlement of Crimean Tatars. Other than the Uzbek SSR, half of the echelons were sent to Kazakhskaya SSR, Bashkirskaya SSR, Mariyskaya SSR, and oblasts of RSFSR, Gorkovskaya, Molotovskaya, Sverdlovskaya, Ivanovskaya and Kostromskaya. The slave labor of peoples who had no rights and who were forcibly exiled from their Motherland was also required there.

The situation with Crimean Tatars in places of deportation is a subject for separate research. Up until the 28th of April, 1956, the Crimean Tatars were under the strict control of the regime, when laws did not regulate practically any aspect of their life, but the special sub-legal acts of NKVD/MVD and NKGB/KGB of the USSR. Namely, in the first years of exile 46.2% of Crimean Tatars died from starvation, diseases and mockeries of the special kommandant's offices.

Some years passed. It would seem that after such catastrophe nobody could stand up for the rights and dignity of his or her own people. However, more and more often sounded the voices of those who called for unity and fight, and more and more people who escaped from the special settlements and tried to go back home. Among Crimean Tatars, different rumors spread, including one that soon permission would be given to return to Crimea. In response to these actions and hopes, the authorities made the regime tougher. The Decree of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR, "On criminal responsibility for escape from the place of obligatory and constant location of persons, who were deported to distant regions of the USSR in period of the Great Patriotic War," dated 26 November 1948, declared that "deportation was made forever and without a right to return to former places of residence," and for "departure (escape) without leave from places of the obligatory location, guilty persons are liable to criminal proceedings." The penalty for escape was set at 20 years of hard labor.

And it was only on 28 April 1956 (two years after Stalin's death) that the Decree of Supreme Soviet of the USSR removed "existing legal restrictions" for the Crimean Tatars, although this document established as well that "removing of restrictions on special settlements, fixed in the Article 1 of this Decree, does not entail a restitution of property confiscated during deportation, and they have no right to return to places, from which they were deported."

Later the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR reinforced this interdict by its own Decree "On the resettlement of Tatars, Germans, Bulgarians, Armenians and other persons who used to live in the Crimean oblast, and now return from the places of special settlements," dated 15 December 1956. At the same time, this Decree included a number of territories in which Crimean Tatars were prohibited to settle in the Hersonskaya, Zaporozhskaya, and Hikolaevskaya oblasts as well.

In the middle of the 1950s, the Crimean Tatar National Movement began in all the places of deportation of Crimean Tatars. The initiative groups constituted its base, which by the middle of the 1960s were active in practically all the large, inhabited localities where Crimean Tatars lived. The meetings were overall held, in which they approved the texts of appeals to Supreme Soviet and Party organs of the USSR, demanding the return and restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people and collected signatures. Thus, in 1966, under an appeal to XXIII conference of the KPSS they collected about 120,000 signatures. In that period, no other national, religious, or human rights movement in the USSR had such a mass support.

One should note that in this phase, the leaders of the Crimean Tatar National Movement were mostly veterans of war and the partisan movement in Crimea, former party and administrative workers of the Crimean ASSR, and they based their approach on the principle that the problem of the return of the Crimean Tatar people and restoration of autonomy can only be solved in the event that the leadership of the USSR will rest assured that Crimean Tatars are absolutely loyal to Soviet power and Communist Party.

It stands to reason that such an approach was in many respects necessary because, already beginning in 1961, the political processes against Crimean Tatar activists were started. However, the attempts to extenuate the crimes that were committed by the Soviet regime against the Crimean Tatar people prevented them from understanding the real reasons of their condition without rights. Soon a more radical wing of the Crimean Tatar National Movement began to stand out and play a leading role, which had another strategy and other hopes for the prospect of the restoration of the rights of people. Among activists of the Crimean Tatar National Movement an understanding developed that a fair solution of the Crimean Tatar issue can be expected only on the condition of a positive change in attitude of the State towards observing human rights.

Such a conception dictated the consolidation of the Crimean Tatar National Movement with all national human rights and religious movements in the USSR that opposed the Communist regime to a certain extent.

It is understandable that such an activization of the Crimean Tatar National Movement created a reaction among the Soviet authorities. The representatives of the punitive and party organs analyzed in detail the actions of the Crimean Tatar National Movement in order to develop measures of resistance. Thus, the chief of Department of KGB attached to the Council of Ministers of Ukrainian SSR on Crimean oblast, Mr. Fesenko, in his reference "On behavior of Crimean Tatars after removal of restrictions on special settlements from them" as sent to his senior brass noted:

The Decree of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR, beginning on 28 April 1956, removed restrictions on special settlement from Crimean Tatars. At the same time, one indicated that the removal of mentioned restrictions doesn't give a right to live in Crimea, and doesn't provide a right for restitution of property, which was confiscated during deportation.

When this Decree appeared, many Crimean Tatars refused to recognize it, and 233 Crimean Tatars signed a petition to protest this document, with demands for restitution for confiscated property and permission to go back to Crimea.

Later, a certain part of Crimean Tatars became support these moods and constantly developed by persons, which, in the past, held offices in Crimea: Mustafayev Refat, Selimov Mustafa, Murtazayev Velilulla, Alyadinov Shamil and others...they established the "initiative groups" in Tashkent.

... In February-April 1962, the students of Higher Educational Establishments in Uzbekistan conducted some illegal meetings, in which they defined the practical measures for creation of so-called "Union of the Crimean Tatar Youth."

... In Samarkand, "autonomists" established a peculiar staff in composition of Murtazayev Veli, Mustafayev Ilyas, Mukhteremov Shevket.

... According to available information, Selimov Mustafa, who is mentioned above, supports a constant contact with leaders of these groups. He is a member of the CPSS, former secretary of Yaltinskyi Public Committee of Party and commissar of the South part of Crimean partisans and who manages conspiratorially by activity of these groups.

The Secretary of Central Committee of the CPY, Mr. Shelest, who had founded on similar information and memos, looked for arguments for the prohibition of Crimean Tatars' return to their Motherland, and stated in his memo, dated 22 June 1966, to the CC CPSS:

The return of Crimean Tatars to their former place of residence and connected with it the necessity of emigration of most of the present population from Crimea, would be detrimental to the public interest, and at the same time, would be a great injustice to the hundreds of thousands of present citizens of Crimea.

It stands to reason that Mr. Shelest could only understood that his statement was complete nonsense, because beginning from first post-deportation years and up to the middle of 1980s, there was a chronic dearth of workmen in Crimea. During this period, there was implemented the planned emigration of inhabitants from regions of Russia and Ukraine to Crimea. Further in his memo, communist Shelest decided to show his own attitude towards Crimean Tatars: ...formerly (as in original document!-Ed.) Crimean Tatars, who live now in Uzbekistan, knitted closely with its economy and culture. There, as we think, one created all necessary conditions for work, education, improvement of material and cultural level. In this connection, the emigration of Crimean Tatars to Crimea would impact negatively on the economy of those regions, where they live now, including their own welfare.

On 5 September 1967, under the pressure of many thousands of Crimean Tatars meeting in Tashkent and other cities of Uzbek SSR, the Decree of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR, "On citizens of Tatar nationality, who lived in Crimea, " was issued.

However, the Decree didn't rehabilitate the Crimean Tatar people and did not restore its rights. In the document, the flat name of "citizens of Tatar's nationality living in Crimea" replaced even the name of the nationality "Crimean Tatars." Firstly, the communist regime had to recognize the weakness of sweeping accusations "towards citizens of Tatar nationality living in Crimea."

At the same time, the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued the Decree "On procedure of implementation of Article 2 of the Decree of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 28 April 1956," which explained that "citizens of Tatar nationality, who formerly resided in Crimea, and members of their families can use a right, equally with all citizens of the USSR, to live throughout the territory of the USSR under effective legislation relating to job placement and passport regime." Many of the Crimean Tatars believed once more in the Soviet power and immediately moved with their families, children, and aged parents to Crimea, their home. They didn't know that Moscow had sent completely different "explanations" to the Crimean authorities along with the Decree.

Already on 3 October 1967, the secretary of the Crimean Regional Committee of Communist Party of Ukraine, Mr. Kirychenko, informed the secretary of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Ukraine:

In the last few days, individual and collective arrivals of Tatars have increased in the oblast seeking opportunities and residence in Crimea.

During their visits they pressed for acceptance by responsible workers of regional executive committee, municipal committees and district committees of Communist Party, including municipal, regional executive committees, and visited the heads of enterprises, buildings, collective-farms, state farms, are interested and frequently insisting that they be given accommodations and jobs.

...According to available information, about 700 Crimean Tatars have now arrived in the oblast, they basically resettled in flats of their familiar people and hotels. They seek to get permission for residence and find a job by any possible methods. Currently, the party and soviet organs of Crimean oblast continue work, connected with the realization of the Decree of Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 5 September 1967.

How the party and Soviet organs carried out the methods of so-called explanatory work can be gleaned from documents of "The Chronicle of Current Events." In 1968 alone, it is estimated that over 10,000 Tatars who had already returned to Crimea were forcibly or under violent pressure of punitive measures exiled from Crimea. However, they continued to return, even though they knew the iniquity they could face in their Motherland. Some families incurred deportation several times, and they returned again and continued their struggle for the right to live in their own land.

The end of the 1960s and the middle of the 1980s were the most dramatic and difficult period for the Crimean Tatar National Movement. The ruling Communist regime in the USSR, which was afraid of people's insurrection in Czechoslovakia in 1968, increased its suppressive activity inside the USSR, which directly affected the leading representatives of national movements of enslaved peoples. In that period, hundreds of activists of the Crimean Tatar National Movement were again thrown into the Soviet camps and prisons. In these years practically every Crimean Tatar family in the USSR was under vigilant control of punitive organs, primarily the KGB. Already, nobody had any illusions that the objective point of regime was a factual execution of the Crimean Tatar nation by way of forcible detention outside its historical homeland.

The Crimean Tatar people accepted this challenge as well. In contempt of all fastidious attempts of authorities to demoralize the Crimean Tatar National Movement, and in spite of the victims who were lost in opposition with the totalitarian state, the Crimean Tatars kept their monolithic character and resolution to bring about a restoration of their rights. The Crimean Tatar National Movement was one of the first to use barely started processes of regrouping forces inside the ruling party of the USSR. The mass demonstration of Crimean Tatars was held in the Red Square in Moscow in summer of 1987, which initiated the numerous meetings of other national and democratic forces in different regions of the USSR.

There were still some years of severe opposition from Moscow and the Crimean authorities to the return of the Crimean Tatars to their Motherland, but it was already impossible to stop the mass repatriation of the entire people.

History was ordered in such way that the repatriation of the Crimean Tatar people coincided with collapse of the Soviet Empire and the establishment of independent states on its territory. The Ukrainian people realized its age-old aspiration as well. There is a logic in the confluence of events—the criminal thing is to die in moment of restoration of justice.

However, other problems remain such as the purification of society from the repercussions of the totalitarian regime, which in killing millions of people could not help but poison the souls and feelings of living people. Today, the unforgivable mistake that we made in the first years of independence of Ukraine is obvious. We did not conduct an International Court on the Communist ideology or it's strongest leaders, who overstepped human lives. We aren't speaking about the revenge of millions of people who were members of the Communist Party. The hope is that they have begun to see clearly and bear the penitence in their own souls. We are talking about those who in the present openly try to turn the society into the bloody past, the communist past. By giving those who are the ideological followers of Lenin and Stalin, an opportunity to sit in the Parliament, in local bodies of the government, or to hold appointments in bodies of executive power, the society risks not only its own future, but leaves without assuagement the souls of millions of people, who were executed by the criminal Communist regime.

The Crimean Tatar National Movement, its history and the current situation especially kindles researchers' interest. Although there is a lot of literature on the movement, many themes have not been touched upon until now, or barely illuminated. There is not very much information about activists of the Crimean Tatar National Movement, who sacrificed their youth, health, and professional career for the sake of restoring the rights and welfare of their people. The participation in the nationwide struggle was the only fitting way of life for thousands of Crimean Tatars. Many of these people are alive even now, but there are even more who didn't last until repatriation. The young generation of the Crimean Tatar people is to chronicle the name of every participant in the history of our own people.

Many documents of the movement have not been subjected to scientific review, neither systemized nor published, documents which were miraculously spared in numerous searches. In this connection, it is no wonder, that the appearance of any new publication, which aims to make a contribution to the understanding of the history of the Crimean Tatar people, becomes a miracle in the social life of the Crimean Tatars, because there is almost no family that was not concerned with the National Movement in some way.

 

We hope that our collection will be meet with interest. The materials relating to Crimean Tatars were published in the informational bulletin "The Chronicle of Current Events," a publication of dissident human rights activists, which was issued in 64 numbers between 1968-1983. It must be noted that the informational bulletins of the Crimean Tatars, according to the words of the well-known participant of the human rights movement Ludmila Alekseyeva, were distributed among Moscow dissidents in the latter half of the 1960s. The founders of "The Chronicle" were Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Ilya Gabay, and Anataliy Yakobson.

In telling about human rights violations in the USSR and actions of human rights activists, "The Chronicle," notes Ludmila Alekseyeva, "refrains principally from estimations." Evidently, this style, which does not impose an opinion of the editorial staff on the reader, offers a sharp contrast to the ideological Soviet publications and creates confidence in the authenticity of published facts. Another merit of "The Chronicle" is, doubtless, the facilitation of contact and cooperation between human rights groups and religious and national movements in the USSR. This process was mutual and many dissidents in that period and after justly noted the profound influence of the Crimean Tatar National Movement on oppositional forces in the former the USSR.

We would like to offer a few words about the creation of the collection "Crimean Tatars" in "The Chronicle of Current Events." As far back as the summer of 1998, the international project "The Dictionary of Dissidents," was started. The coordinator was the Polish research and development Center "Karta" (Warsaw). Within the scope of the project were bibliographical references on 1,000 activists of oppositional movements in territories of Eastern European countries during the period of 1956-1989. With this aim, initiative groups were created in all countries and quotas were defined for inclusion in bibliographical references. This work resulted in a special publication, "The Dictionary of Dissidents." With the participation of the Foundation "The Crimean Tatar Initiative," such a group was created in Crimea as well. The Foundation prepared 40 references on the most well-known participants of the Crimean Tatar National Movement for "The Dictionary of Dissidents." It continues this work even now, seeking to keep the names of people who fought for the return of the Motherland that was taken away from them. "The Chronicle of Current Events" was used as one of the sources in reference works. The group found a lot of documents on the Movement of the Crimean Tatars and decided to prepare the present collection, thinking that the compilation of these documents in a separate publication will make these available to a larger audience of readers.

The analytic article by Ludmila Alekseyeva, "The Crimean Tatar Movement for Return to Crimea" opens the "The Chronicle." In publishing the documents from "The Chronicle" we maximally tried to preserve the specifics of the original, indicating the number of "The Chronicle," the date and year of publication, including page numbers in each issue, which contains documents about Crimean Tatars. The index of names simplifies a search for information on individuals.

In working with the collection "Crimean Tatars" in "The Chronicle of Current Events," we were guided by a desire to offer information on one of the important periods in the Crimean Tatar struggle for the restoration of their rights, their permanent aspiration for freedom and their readiness to advocate human rights. We think that those who have not had the opportunity to know the Crimean Tatars, will gain a better understanding of them upon a familiarization with the events between 1968-1983 that marked the national movement of the Crimean Tatar people—one of the indigenous peoples of independent Ukraine.

After half a century of exile, the Crimean Tatars are returning to their Motherland. They return with unbroken spirit, belief and hope for future: a future that is to be built by all of us.


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