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Crimean Karaites and Krymchacks as Indigenous Peoples of Crimea

We are pleased to publish an article about Crimean Karaites and Krymchacks, written by Borys Babin and Anna Prykhodko. Both Karaites (also Karaims) and Krymchacks lived side by side with the Crimean Tatars for centuries. The authors review the ethnic and historical origin of these two indigenous groups as well as the their legal status according to the laws of Ukraine and Russia. (Reprinted here with permission.)

Karaim Kenassa in Yevpatoria, Crimea

Crimean Karaites or Karaims speak a Turkic language, close to Crimean Tatar. There seems to be a disagreement as to their origin. While some regard the Karaites as descendants of Khazars or Cumans, others believe that they were Jews who settled in Crimea and adopted a form of Turkic language. Many Karaites deny their Semitic origins and accept an early version of Judaism, the Old Testament, and reject the Talmud. They escaped persecution during the Nazi occupation of Crimea in WW II, and today about 800 Karaites live in Crimea. Another small group, Crimean Krymchaks also speak a Turkic language but follow orthodox Judaism. They were targeted for annihilation by the Nazis and only a few hundred survived.

The article:Crimean Karaites and Krymchacks as Indigenous Peoples of Crimea in Modern Conditions by Borys Babin and Anna Prykhodko.

See also a related article, Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Program for Legal Regulation: Experience of Ukraine by Borys Babin and and Anna Prykhodko.

Photo Credit: Karaite house of worship in Yevpatoria, Crimea (Wikimedia Commons)

Posted: 8 August 2017; revised 18 August 2017

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