The following review was sent to CRIMEA-L by Alevtina Sedochenko on 21 January 1999.
Dear List members,
I would like to present some information/statistics on the Crimean Tatars. We could hardly use it for the tables presented here. Nevertheless, it may be interesting for researchers, especially those who do not have an access to sources in Russian and Ukrainian. The following information is taken from the article "Tatars in Ukraine" (Tatary v Ukraine) by V.D. Yaremchuk and V.B. Bezverkhyi, published in Ukrainian Historical Journal (Ukrainskyi Istorychnyi Journal), Vol. #5 (1994) : 18-29.
The article is based on a wide range of historical sources, and the oldest one is dated 1879. The authors mention that the materials should be analysed while keeping in mind that not all of them are totally reliable and comparable. For example, even some Russian officials and eyewitnesses admitted that the first Census of the population of the Russian Empire was not carried out properly, with an obvious tendency to increase the Russian share among the people living in different regions. The same is true especially for the Soviet time, when manipulation of data and falsification of information were used to a great extent. Anyway, I think the information presented below may still be interesting and helpful.
The authors mention that before the Crimea was captured by the Russian Empire, the total population of the peninsula was around 300,000, and the Crimean Tatars constituted an absolute majority of the peninsula's population at that time. (Pages 19-20).
For the first 20 years of presence of the Russian troops in the peninsula and even before the capture (1774-1796), the Tatars left 687 villages, 315 of which were totally deserted. By 1790 the indigenous population of the peninsula constituted about 140,000, but the figure for Crimean Tatars was not specified. (Page 20).
According to the data of 1879 (nearly 20 years before the first official census in the Russian Empire), the entire Tatar population of the Tavria region (Tavricheskaya gubernia) was about 276,000 including other smaller communities of Turkic peoples such as Nogays. (Page 20).
Following the data of the First Russian Census (1897), the authors mention that there were about 227,000 Tatars living in 9 Malorossia (Ukraine) regions (gubernia); 196.800 of them were the Tatars living in Tavria region (Tavricheskaya gubernia). The authors point out that the Tatars still constituted majority of the rural population on the peninsula (up to 71%). While keeping in mind that the first Census was not managed properly, one must note also that the data do not specify how many Tatars lived on the peninsula, which was a part of the Tavria region. It may also be assumed that by the Tatars, the Russian officials meant not only the Crimean Tatars but also the non-Slav and Muslim population of the region. (Page 21).
In 1920 the Tatars in Crimea made up 26% (186.000) of the total population of the peninsula; but the Tatars represented only 11.6 % of the urban population. (Page 23).