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Presented at the 9th Annual Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, Columbia University, New York, 17 April 2004. A revised and expanded version appears in Dr. Pohl's doctoral dissertation, "Shallow Roots: The Exile Experiences of Russian-Germans, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks in Comparative Perspective," completed at the University of London in November 2004.

"And this Must be Remembered!"
Stalin’s Ethnic Cleansing of the Crimean Tatars
and their Struggle for Rehabilitation, 1944-1985.

By J. Otto Pohl*

“As a result of the crime of 1944, I lost thousands upon thousands of my brothers and sisters. And this must be remembered! Remembered just like the crematoria of Auschwitz and Dachau.”[1]

     The Crimean Tatars are a nationality whose collective consciousness is defined by their attachment to the land of the Crimean peninsula and its traumatic loss in 1944. The deportation of virtually the entire Crimean Tatar population from their ancestral homeland to the harsh climates of the Urals and Uzbekistan is the single most important event in their collective memory. Generations of Crimean Tatars have handed down stories of the idyllic nature of the Crimean peninsula and the horrors of the deportation and early years of exile from parents to child. These stories stress the importance of the Crimean peninsula as the sole homeland of the Crimean Tatars and the great suffering its loss entailed. The massive mortality suffered during the deportation and forced exile have played a role in sustaining Crimean Tatar national consciousness similar to the Shoah for Jews or Ageh for Armenians. Along with a romanticized memory of life in the Crimea and the heroic role of the Crimean Tatars in fighting against Nazi Germany, the deportations form part of a Crimean Tatar national narrative. This national narrative fueled a mass movement among the Crimean Tatars for the right to return to their homeland and reclaim their former rights. During the mid to late 1960s, this movement actively involved almost the entire adult Crimean Tatar population on one level or another. Finally, in 1988 after more than thirty years of agitation, the Soviet government finally acceded to the foremost demand of the Crimean Tatar national movement. During the 1990s over half of the exiled Crimean Tatar population of the USSR returned to the Crimea.  Their memory of homeland and its tragic loss sustained them as a nation in exile until such time as they could return.

Deportation: Kara Gun (Black Day)

      The deportation of virtually the entire Crimean Tatar population from their native lands to Uzbekistan and the Urals marks the most important event in their national history. The start of the deportations, 18 May 1944, is publicly commemorated by Crimean Tatars both in Crimea and in the diaspora every year. It is collectively remembered by the Crimean Tatars as the Kara Gun (Black Day).  Stories of the deportation and the subsequent exile (Surgun) in special settlements have been handed down from parents to child for over three generations now. Every Crimean Tatar is familiar with these events in the same way that Jews are aware of the Shoah, Armenians with the Ageh and Palestinians with the Nakbah.

     The horror of the deportations in train echelons and mass death in the special settlements of Uzbekistan and the Urals are a central motif in Crimean Tatar literature, music and art.  The famous Crimean Tatar poetess, Lilia Bujurova expresses the trans-generational nature of the national narrative regarding the deportations in her poem, “Govori(Speak).[2] She writes, “Again lose your relatives on the wagons. Again count who remains among the living! I want to know about everything, So that I can tell it to your grandchildren.” Crimean Tatar artists Rustem Eminov and Seit Xalil Osmanov depict the expulsion of their people from their homeland to desolate wastes in many of their works. “Ressam” by Eminov and “Facia” by Osmanov both depict the experience of deportation in packed cattle cars.[3] The faces in these paintings are those of women, children and the elderly, the people who made up the overwhelming majority of the deportees. Osmanov’s “Malaria” depicts dying Crimean Tatars in the deserts of Uzbekistan.[4] Likewise the only men depicted in this picture are either old or crippled. Eminov’s “Nursing Death” shows the haunting image of an infant attempting to nurse at the breast of his dead mother.[5] This particular image appears in many Crimean Tatar accounts of exile.[6] Eminov himself is an example of the memory of deportation and exile being passed from one generation to the next. He himself was born in 1950. His paintings are depictions of stories told to him by his mother about the deportation and exile.[7]  The depiction of the Surgun in Crimean Tatar writing and painting is indicative of the central role it plays in Crimean Tatar national identification. The collective memory of the deportation and exile form the basic national grievance that has driven the Crimean Tatar national movement since it emerged in the mid-1950s.

      The Stalin regime began planning the deportation of the entire Crimean Tatar population to special settlements in Uzbekistan immediately after the retreat of the German Wehrmacht from the Crimea. On 11 May 1944, the Soviet army recaptured the last pockets of the peninsula. The very same day the GKO (State Defense Committee) issued resolution 5859ss, “On Crimean Tatars” signed by Joseph Stalin.[8] This decree accused the Crimean Tatars of massive collaboration with the German occupiers of the Crimea and collective treason against the USSR.

In the period of the Fatherland War many Crimean Tatars betrayed the Motherland, deserted from units of the Red Army defending the Crimea, and turned over the country to the enemy, joined German formed voluntary Tatar military units to fight against the Red Army in the period of the occupation of the Crimea by German-Fascist troops and participated in German punitive detachments. Crimean Tatars were particularly noted for their brutal reprisals towards Soviet partisans, and also assisted the German occupiers in organizing the forcible sending of Soviet people to German slavery and mass destruction.

Crimean Tatars actively collaborated with the German occupying powers, participating in the so called “Tatar National Committees” organized by German intelligence and were extensively used by the Germans to infiltrate the rear of the Red Army with spies and diversionists. “Tatar National Committees,” in which the leading role was played by White Guard-Tatar émigrés, with the support of the Crimean Tatars directed their activity at the persecution and oppression of the non-Tatar population of the Crimea and conducted work in preparation for the forcible separation of the Crimea from the Soviet Union with the assistance of the German armed forces.

These improbable charges formed the basis for the punishment of the entire Crimean Tatar population. The decree’s first operative clause reads, “All Tatars are to be exiled from the territory of the Crimea and settled permanently as special settlers in regions of the Uzbek SSR.”  Thus the decree not only punished members of German formed self-defense battalions, but women, children, the elderly and invalids as well. It made no exceptions for veterans of the Red Army, members of the Communist Party, Komsomolists or even NKVD agents.  In March 1949, the special settlements contained 8,995 Crimean Tatar veterans of the Red Army including 534 officers and 1,392 sergeants.[9] The special settlements also held 742 Crimean Tatar Communist Party members and 1,225 Komsomolists.[10] GKO decree 5859ss condemned the entire Crimean Tatar population to permanent exile under the restrictions of the special settlement regime. The Stalin regime banished the Crimean Tatars not for what they did, but for who they were.

      The deportation of the Crimean Tatars began on 17th May at 5 pm. At that time Deputy Chief of the NKVD, Bogdan Kobulov read decree 5859ss out to the leadership of the Crimean ASSR and informed them of their fate as Crimean Tatars.[11] The next day the NKVD began the systematic deportation of the Crimean Tatar population from their historical homeland.  The NKVD conducted the deportations in a military manner. Armed with the experience of deporting the Russian-Germans, Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush and Balkars, the NKVD operated ruthlessly and efficiently.  A total of 23,000 officers and soldiers of the NKVD internal troops and 9,000 NKVD-NKGB operatives participated in the operation.[12] These 32,000 men completed the task begun by Kobulov.

      The NKVD surrounded the villages and informed each household of their fate and told them to pack for the journey. Loud knocks and Russian shouting awoke the Crimean Tatars in the first hours of 18 May 1944. The startled Crimean Tatars only had between 5 and 30 minutes to gather up a few possessions to take with them into exile. Many could not manage to take anything at all with them.  Tenzile Ibraimova recalls that she and her children were one of those families.

We were expelled from the village of Adzhiatmak in Fraidorf district on 18 May 1944.  The expulsion took place very cruelly; at three o’clock in the morning, when the children were still asleep. Some soldiers came in and said that we should get ready and be out of the house in five minutes. We were not allowed to take with us either possessions or food. They treated us so roughly that we thought they were taking us to be shot…My husband was fighting at the front; I was alone with three children.[13]

Armed NKVD guards then escorted them and loaded them onto cars and trucks. The NKVD then drove the Crimean Tatar women, children and old men to rail stations to await deportation. Most of the young men still remained at the front in the Red Army fighting against the Germans.[14] The collection of the Crimean Tatar population at railheads by the NKVD thus saw little resistance. The NKVD quickly rounded up the Crimean Tatars and loaded them on to trains for deportation to Uzbekistan.

      The NKVD worked fast to load the disorientated Crimean Tatars into cattle cars. They stuffed as many as they could into each wagon as quickly as possible. As a result many families became separated.  According to NKVD records a total of 2,444 Crimean Tatar families became separated during the deportations.[15] On 20 May 1944, the NKVD finished the operation.  They initially counted exiling 180,014 Crimean Tatars in 67 echelons.[16] A recount on 4 July 1944, revised this figure up to 183,155.[17] Finally, a review of the archival documents in the 1950s for First Secretary of the Communist Party Ukraine, Shelest, arrived at the figure of 188,626 deported Crimean Tatars.[18] In addition to the exiles sent to special settlements, the Soviet regime separated out 11,000 Crimean Tatar men to serve in forced labor brigades.[19] The Soviet army inducted 6,000 of these men for construction work in Gur’ev, Rybinsk and Kubishev. The remaining 5,000 formed part of an 8,000 man special contingent of the labor army sent to work in the mines of the Moscow coal basin. In the course of three days, the Stalin regime expelled a total of 199,626 Crimean Tatars from their historic homeland. It still remains to this day one of the fastest and most thorough cases of ethnic cleansing in world history.

      Only a few Crimean Tatar fishing villages on the Arabat strip managed to avoid the deportations. Upon learning of this oversight on 19 July 1944, Kobulov ordered these villagers killed.[20] The following day the NKVD rounded up the Arabat villagers and placed them on a boat in the Azov Sea. The NKVD then sunk the boat and finished the passengers off with machine gun fire. In this manner the Stalin regime eliminated the last remaining Crimean Tatar settlements in the Crimea.

      The NKVD crammed the Crimean Tatars into cattle cars. Each wagon held an average of 50 deportees.[21] The carriages had only a hole or bucket to serve as a latrine and no other improvements to make them suitable for the transport of humans. The crowded and unsanitary conditions led to the spread of lice infestations and outbreaks of typhus. The trains occasionally stopped and the NKVD removed the dead and sick. Survivors of the deportation almost universally remember the unceremonious tossing of corpses out of the train during stops. One woman who was 13 at the time of the deportations described the train journey as follows.

On our way, there was a time on the road still, when everyone became infested with lice and you know the fleas just consumed us. When you sat on a shelf, lice would fall right from above, to that extent people were full of lice. It’s hot. No one washes. There isn’t any water or anything and that’s how we arrived. Many people died along the way. They would be taken and thrown out from the wagon and we would go on.[22]

The train journey lasted weeks. In some cases the echelons took over six weeks to reach their destinations.[23] Officially, however, the NKVD only recorded a total of 191 dead Crimean Tatars during transit.[24] This is certainly an undercount. An NKVD report of 6 June 1944 showed a shortfall of 6,409 Crimean Tatars between those deported and those arriving in special settlements.[25]  A tabulation of presumed deaths based upon NKVD documents by Radio Liberty calculated that 7,889 (5%) of the deported Crimean Tatars presumably died during transit.[26] A much larger percentage died in the first years of exile after arriving in Uzbekistan.

Exile: Surgun

       The original plan to resettle all the deported Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan embodied in GKO resolution 5859ss underwent modification soon after the completion of the deportation. On 21 May 1944, Stalin issued GKO resolution 5937ss in response to requests by Beria.[27] This decree diverted 10,000 deported Crimean Tatar families on their way to Uzbekistan to the lumber preparation and cellulose-paper industries in the Urals. The Soviet regime redirected 31,551 Crimean Tatars headed east to Uzbekistan north to the Urals.[28] These Crimean Tatars felled trees in special settlements in the snowy forests of the Urals. These “wet forests” resembled the early kulak exile settlements.

      The Crimean Tatars sent to the coal pits of Moscow and Tula oblasts came under a different legal regime than those exiled to the lumber industry in the Urals. The Stalin regime condemned the 5,000 Crimean Tatar men sent to work in the Moscow coal basin to forced labor under the restrictions of the labor army.  On 29 May 1944, Chernyshov reported to Beria that Crimean Tatars arriving in the Moscow coal basin were being organized into labor army detachments on the same basis as mobilized Germans.[29] They were to engage in deep shaft mining and be placed under armed guard in their barracks, the mines and on the route between the two. The hard labor and poor material conditions of the labor army took a heavy toll on the Crimean Tatars. Many perished or had to be sent to special settlements as invalids during 1944 to 1946.

      The Crimean Tatars sent to the forests and mines of Russia represented less than a fifth of the total population. More than eighty percent of the Crimean Tatar population found itself expelled to the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan.  By 1 July 1944, 37,750 Crimean Tatar families with 151,424 members had arrived in Uzbekistan.[30] Still traumatized from the long train ride from the Crimea they received no succor. Instead a hostile climate and population met them. The NKVD had deliberately spread slanders and rumors against the Crimean Tatars among the Uzbeks prior to the deportations.[31] These rumors ranged from the claim that the Crimean Tatars betrayed the USSR to the Nazis while Uzbek men fought and died in the Red Army against the Germans to the truly fantastic. Among the more outlandish rumors was that the Crimean Tatars were not human, but rather horned beasts or demons.[32] The Uzbeks thus initially did nothing to help the destitute Crimean Tatars and even threw stones at them on occasion. Uzbekistan represented a massive penal colony for the Crimean Tatars.

      In addition to this hostility the Crimean Tatars also suffered from extreme material deprivation in Uzbekistan. Despite written orders to provide the Crimean Tatars with shelter and food in exile, they received little of either and what they did receive was of poor quality. The lack of food represented the most immediate problem faced by the new exiles. They arrived with virtually no foodstuffs and no way to quickly acquire any.  The lack of food quickly led to the spread of malnutrition related maladies. Yusuf Suleymenov recalls being dumped in Uzbekistan without food.

They took us and unloaded us in Urta-Aul like cattle for slaughter. Nobody paid any attention to us. We were hungry and ill. People became even more ill, and started to swell from hunger and began to die in families.[33]

In order to stave off the total starvation of this recently transplanted workforce the GKO ordered the distribution of 10 kg of grain per a person in the form of state loans.[34]  NKVD reports, however, note that much of this food did not reach the Crimean Tatars as a result of being misappropriated by local authorities. On 25 September 1944, the GKO allocated 172 tons of flour and 100 tons of potatoes for Crimean Tatar exiles.[35] The entire shipment of 100 tons of potatoes sent on orders from Moscow to feed Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan disappeared in transit before arriving.[36] Corruption, misappropriation and theft by various local authorities plagued the entire Soviet system. In particular it consumed much of the meager supplies of food and other necessities destined for special settlers.

      Housing conditions for the Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan remained primitive during the first few years of exile. The Soviet authorities housed them in barracks, earth huts, shacks and dilapidated houses.[37] Nearly a fifth of the Crimean Tatar special settlers in Uzbekistan still had inadequate shelter in the fall of 1944 according to the NKVD.[38] At this time, a total of 25,372 (5,246 families) out of 134,742 (36,568 families) or 18.8% of Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan lived in structures that required major repairs. According to NKVD reports a large number of these buildings were in fact totally unfit for human habitation. Initially, many of the Crimean Tatar special settlers had to construct adobe cottages out of sun dried bricks for shelter. By spring 1945, there still remained 9,131 (2,051 families) Crimean Tatars living in structures in need of significant renovation. Multiple families often shared a single dwelling. Crimean Tatar activist, Ayshe Seytmuratova describes the domiciles she grew up in the vicinity of the Lyangar mine in Samarkand Oblast.

The living conditions were terrible at first. We lived in earthen huts or in barns with the cattle.

Later barracks were built, where each family was allotted one room (no matter the size of the family).

We seven children and my mother lived in one small room.[39]

The makeshift and overcrowded structures housing the Crimean Tatars barely qualified as shelter.  They offered little protection from the elements and provided insufficient space to maintain a proper household.

      Crimean Tatars continued to filter into the special settlements in Uzbekistan after the initial deportation. These later exiles included prisoners completing their sentences, repatriated Ostarbeiters and demobilized Red Army soldiers.[40]  This last category of special settler plays an important role in the collective memory of the Crimean Tatars. They represent the counter evidence to the Soviet charge of mass treason by the Crimean Tatars.

      The Stalin regime placed the Crimean Tatars under the restrictions of the special settlement regime. They could not leave their assigned places of settlement without special permission and had to regularly register with the special commandant’s office. They had no freedom of movement or choice in work assignment. Violation of these restrictions carried hefty punishments. On 21 November 1947, the Council of Ministers passed a resolution “On Criminal Sentences for Flight from Places of Special Settlement for Citizens of Crimean Tatar Nationality for Terms of 20 Years of Hard Labor.”[41] This decree preceded the extension of this same sentence for escape to the other contingents of deported nationalities by a year and five days. These movement and labor restrictions made the Crimean Tatars a captive labor source for Uzbekistan’s newly developing industrial infrastructure. No other labor force existed in the republic that could be compelled to perform this demanding and undesirable work.

      The semi-tropical climate in Uzbekistan combined with a lack of clean water and unhygienic conditions led to epidemics of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dysentery and other gastro-intestinal diseases.  The Crimean Tatars largely lacked immunity to these diseases since they were rare in Crimea. Bukhara, Namagan and Samarakand oblasts had especially high rates of infection.  Malaria proved to be the single greatest killer of Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan.[42] The Stalin regime deported the Crimean Tatars to Uzbekistan during the height of malaria season with the full knowledge that the republic had no extra prophylactic drugs to administer to the arriving deportees. The result was an easily foreseeable and preventable epidemic that killed thousands and infected tens of thousands.  By 17 of July 1944 around 40% of the Crimean Tatar population of Namagan Oblast suffered from malaria or gastro-intestinal illnesses.[43] Malnutrition and exhaustion weakened the physical constitutions of the Crimean Tatars and made them both more susceptible to catching and perishing from such diseases. Exile to Uzbekistan meant poverty, hunger, illness and ultimately death for the Crimean Tatars.

      Determining the exact losses of the Crimean Tatars due to Soviet policy during the late 1940s is difficult. That these losses were huge and constituted over a fifth of the population, however, is indisputable. Official NKVD records on the total number of deaths on deportees from Crimea in special settlements combine the Crimean Tatars with Greeks, Armenians and Bulgarians exiled from the peninsula. The recorded number of deaths among exiles from Crimea is 44,887 (19.6%) as of 1 July 1948.[44] Another NKVD report recorded 32,107 deaths among Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Armenians and Bulgarians in special settlements from 1945 to 1950.[45] The Crimean State Committee has estimated the number of Crimean Tatars to die in exile between 1944 and 1948 at 45,000.[46] An official NKVD report estimated the loss at 27%.[47] None of these numbers include those who perished in transit to special settlements or in the labor army. In total the number of Crimean Tatars to perish as a result of Soviet deportations, exile and forced labor from 1944 to 1949 may have numbered as high as 30% (nearly 60,000 people) of the Crimean Tatar population including over 40,000 deaths in Uzbekistan.[48] This massive loss of life has seared itself into the national consciousness of the Crimean Tatar people. It is collectively remembered in the same manner that the Jews remember the Shoah and the Armenians remember the Ageh.

      After Stalin’s death on 5 March 1953, the Soviet government began dismantling the special settlement regime. On 28 April 1956, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no. 136/142 releasing all remaining Crimean Tatars from the special settlement regime.[49] This decree, however, prohibited the freed Crimean Tatars from returning to the Crimean peninsula or receiving compensation for property confiscated during the deportation. The Crimean Tatars remained exiled in Uzbekistan and the Urals far from their ancestral homeland.

National Identification and Culture in Exile

      The Crimean Tatars maintained and even nurtured a strong sense of Crimean Tatar national identification based upon an emotional attachment to the territory of the Crimea while in exile. The Crimean peninsula remained the only imagined homeland of the Crimean Tatars. Crimean Tatar Mejlis (Crimean Tatar parliament) representative Sevir Kerimov has stated, “Crimea is our homeland; we have no other.”[50] This concept had already become thoroughly rooted in the consciousness of the Crimean Tatar people prior to their deportation. Attempts to replace this psychological connection to the Crimean peninsula with other territories such as the USSR, Uzbekistan or the “Mubarek Republic” all failed.[51]  Rather attempts to suppress this strongly held identification between the Crimean Tatars and the territory of the Crimea only reinforced the emotional connection between the people and their lost land.

      The Crimean Tatars passed down a communal memory of the Crimean peninsula from generation to generation. Crimean Tatar children grew up on stories about their ancestral homeland told by their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts.[52]  These stories formed a link between those born in the Crimea and those born in exile of having a common national homeland in Crimea that linked all Crimean Tatars regardless of where or when they were born.[53]  This connection to the land of their ancestors remained as strong among those born in exile as among those who survived the deportation. One Crimean Tatar born in Uzbekistan in 1953 expressed this opinion in the following words, “Where my ancestors were born is my homeland. Where I came from is the homeland of the Uzbeks.”[54]  The connection to the land where their ancestors, were born, lived, died and were buried became impressed into each subsequent Crimean Tatar generation during exile.

      Ironically, the retention of a strong national consciousness based upon an emotional connection to the Crimea by Crimean Tatars occurred at the same time that conditions in exile eroded important elements of their traditional culture. As Robert Kaiser has noted, “national self-consciousness may actually rise with the loss of the nation’s objective characteristics, particularly when this acculturation is viewed as an attack on the nation by ‘foreigners.’”[55] The Crimean Tatars experienced a considerable loss in native language competency in the decades following their deportation. Many of the stories of the Crimean peninsula and the deportations passed down from one Crimean Tatar generation to the next were told in Russian not Crimean Tatar. The Forced Migration Project of the Open Society Institute estimated in 1994 that 50% of Crimean Tatars had a good spoken command of the Crimean Tatar language.[56] Thus in half a century of exile nearly half of the population had lost spoken fluency in their native language. The retention of literacy was even poorer. Already by the 1970s, Crimean Tatar scholars estimated that less than 30% of the Crimean Tatar population could read and write in the Crimean Tatar language.[57] The Crimean Tatar language skills of the Crimean Tatar population greatly eroded during the years of exile.

      The return to the Crimea and restoration of the CASSR (Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) always dominated the Crimean Tatar national agenda. The preservation of Crimean Tatar culture took a back seat to this goal. Crimean Tatar activists and leaders believed that the Crimean Tatar language and culture could only be revived in the Crimea within the institutional frame- work of an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Hence, the Crimean Tatars mobilized a mass national movement based upon a strong connection to a specific territory and state-formation even as the cultural signifiers that marked them as natives of that land dissipated.

Crimean Tatar National Movement

      Soon after their release from the special settlement restrictions, the Crimean Tatars began to agitate for the right to return to the Crimea and a restoration of the CASSR. The first Crimean Tatar activists to petition the Uzbek and central authorities for redress were members of the Communist Party who had been active in running the CASSR. They had been the leaders of what they and most Crimean Tatars viewed as the legitimate territorial state-formation of the Crimean Tatar people. They had also been recognized as the leaders of the state of the Crimean Tatar people by the Soviet government prior to the deportation. Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin’s deportations and verbal reaffirmation of Leninist nationality policies led the Crimean Tatar members of the Communist Party to believe that the post-Stalin regime would restore their former statehood. This view received encouragement from the Soviet restoration of territorial autonomy for the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush and Balkars.  The early leaders of the rehabilitation movement sought to capitalize on their status as members of the Communist Party, former Soviet workers, veterans of the Red Army and partisans to prove their loyalty to the Soviet system. They thought they could persuade the Soviet leadership that the charges of treason against the Crimean Tatars were false and that the deportations had been a mistake.[58] In this manner they hoped the Soviet government would extend the same rehabilitation it had granted to the deported Kalmyks and North Caucasians to the Crimean Tatars.

      Petitions and delegations became the foremost instruments in the early struggle for Crimean Tatar rehabilitation. In July 1957, the Crimean Tatars submitted a petition with 6,000 signatures to the Soviet leadership.[59] This petition became the first of dozens of mass appeals sent by the Crimean Tatars to the Soviet leadership. It succeeded in securing a meeting between a delegation of Crimean Tatars with Communist Party membership and Mikoyan on 17 March 1958.[60] Here they presented him with a petition signed by 16,000 Crimean Tatars. Between July 1957 and May 1969, the Crimean Tatars sent 32 such petitions with between 350 and 131,000 signatures to Moscow.[61] The petition became one of the principle instruments in the Crimean Tatar national movement in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

      Soviet repression of the Crimean Tatar national movement began in the early 1960s. The first political trial of Crimean Tatar activists occurred on 10-11 October 1961.[62]  The Soviet authorities tried two Crimean Tatar activists, Seferov and Abduramanov in Tashkent under the charges of engaging in “anti-Soviet” propaganda and agitation. Seferov received seven years imprisonment and Abduramanov five in strict regime camps. They became the first of hundreds of Crimean Tatar activists to serve years in labor camps for involvement with the national movement.

      The Crimean Tatar national movement became much more energized during the 1960s than it had been during the 1950s. The main activists ceased to be former functionaries of the CASSR and veterans of the Red Army and partisans. Instead, Crimean Tatars who had spent most of their life in exile came to lead the movement for a full rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars. This new generation had been radicalized by the experience of exile and discrimination that contrasted greatly with their parent’s description of life in the CASSR. They took a very different tone towards the Soviet government than the activists of the 1950s. They did not view the deportations and failure to rehabilitate the Crimean Tatars as “mistakes”, but rather crimes. Aydin Shemi-Zade one of the activists to emerge in the 1960s explains the differences between the two generations in the following manner, “That things, which communists named as ‘mistakes towards Crimean Tatars’, we named racism and genocide.”[63] The activists of the 1950s had politely asked for rehabilitation as a reward for their proven loyalty to the Soviet state. The activists of the 1960s demanded the restoration of the CASSR and a rectification of the damage done to them by Stalin as their collective national right under both Soviet and international law.

      During the early 1960s, the Crimean Tatar activists continued to send petitions to Moscow. In March and October 1961 they sent petitions with 18,000 and 8,000 signatures.[64] They also began to expand their movement into other directions. In December 1961, a group of Crimean Tatars formed the “Union of Crimean Tatar Youth” in Tashkent.[65] Soviet authorities took quick action to prevent this organization from spreading among Crimean Tatar youth. They tried two of them on 10-13 April 1962. Marat Omerov received a four-year term of imprisonment and Seit-Amza Umerov three years for “anti-Soviet agitation” and forming an “anti-Soviet” organization.  Both the Crimean Tatar strategy of expanding its activist base to the younger generation and the Soviet response of arrest and imprisonment grew as the 1960s progressed.

      The removal of Khrushchev from power in 1964 initially gave the Crimean Tatar national movement new hope. It was falsely hoped that the new leadership would be more amenable to providing a just solution to the outstanding national grievances of the Crimean Tatars. In 1964, the Crimean Tatars established a permanent lobby in Moscow in an attempt to persuade this new leadership to allow them to return to a reformed CASSR.[66] The regular information bulletin of this group became the first samizdat periodical in the USSR.[67] This group succeeded in arranging a second meeting with Mikoyan for the Crimean Tatars on 4 August 1965. The Soviet government categorically rejected the Crimean Tatars’ demands. This rejection spurred the Crimean Tatar movement into even greater activity on behalf of restoring their national rights. The Crimean Tatar national movement assumed a mass character in the mid-1960s not seen by any other nationality inside the USSR and few outside it.

       Shortly after the rejection of their demands in Moscow, the Crimean Tatars held the first large scale open air demonstration against Soviet policy. On 27 August 1965, Crimean Tatars held a demonstration outside the City Committee of the Communist Party in Bekabad Uzbekistan during a visit by Uzbek party leader, Rashidov.[68] Police violently broke up the demonstration. In the next few years, large demonstrations by the Crimean Tatars would become common in Bekabad and other cities throughout Uzbekistan.

      The Crimean Tatar national movement reached new heights in 1966. During this year they submitted their largest petition ever, staged a series of large demonstrations throughout Uzbekistan and began to use political trials as opportunities to condemn Soviet treatment of the Crimean Tatars.  The Crimean Tatar national movement took on a mass character unmatched in the USSR during 1966. The majority of the adult Crimean Tatar population actively participated in the national movement during this year.

      The Crimean Tatars had targeted the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in its petition campaign. They correctly understood that decisions on nationality policy ultimately resided in the hands of the Communist Party.[69] They thus began to send petitions to the leadership of the Communist Party. In particular they targeted the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during its periodical congresses. They delivered a petition with 25,000 signatures to the 22nd Party Congress in October 1961.[70] On 28 March 1966, 65 Crimean Tatar delegates delivered a 33-page petition with over 130,000 signatures to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[71]  The overwhelming majority of the adult Crimean Tatar population signed this document.

      The year 1966 also marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the CASSR. In order to commemorate this event, the Crimean Tatars held a series of public meetings and demonstrations throughout Uzbekistan. Between 8 and 18 October, most of the major cities of Uzbekistan saw large Crimean Tatar gatherings for the purpose of marking the CASSR’s founding by Lenin.[72]  They held demonstrations in Andijan, Fergana, Margilan, Yangiyul, Tashkent, Angren and Bekabad.  Throughout the 1960s public demonstrations would continue to be used by Crimean Tatars to mark the formation of the CASSR, Lenin’s birthday and their deportation from their homeland.

      The year 1966 also saw the first political trial of Mustafa Jemilev, a man destined to personify the Crimean Tatar struggle for full rehabilitation, return to their homeland and restoration of their previous autonomy. Jemilev provided a charismatic and uncompromising moral leadership for the Crimean Tatar national movement, despite spending much of his adult life in Soviet labor camps.  His unbending support of the Crimean Tatar struggle in the face of severe persecution made him a powerful symbol for the movement.[73] The closest parallel to Jemilev in recent history is the role played by Nelson Mandela in the struggle against South African apartheid. Jemilev came to the forefront of the Crimean Tatar movement in the late 1960s. His trial in 1966 marked the beginning of this ascent.

      The large-scale demonstrations that erupted in Uzbekistan during October 1966 greatly worried the Soviet leadership. They feared that such open political demonstrations could spread to other nationalities and other regions of the USSR, especially Moscow with its large number of resident foreign diplomats and journalists.  In 1967, large demonstrations by the Crimean Tatars continued. On 22 April 1967, Crimean Tatars publicly gathered in Andijan to lay flowers and wreaths at the feet of the city’s statue of Lenin to observe the founder of the CASSR’s 97th birthday.[74]  The Soviet leadership worried that the Crimean Tatar national movement would engage in similar activities during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.[75] In order to deal with Crimean Tatar activism, the authorities adopted a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand they continued to arrest and imprison Crimean Tatar activists. During 1966 and 1967, Uzbek courts tried 59 Crimean Tatars for acts related to the national movement.[76] The Soviet regime’s other strategy consisted of solving the Crimean Tatar problem by partially appeasing the Crimean Tatar national movement. Moscow hoped that by offering the Crimean Tatars formal rehabilitation and symbolic equality that they could deflate the popular support of the Crimean Tatar national movement for a return to a restored CASSR. Both these strategies failed to end the Crimean Tatar drive for repatriation to their homeland.

      The pressure from Crimean Tatar activists and the threat of demonstrations in Moscow itself convinced the Soviet leadership to seek a meeting with the leadership of the national movement. On 21 July 1967, four members of the politburo received a delegation of 20 Crimean Tatars to discuss their national problems.[77]  Chairman of the KGB, Andropov, Chief Procurator Rudenko, Minister of Internal Affairs Shchelokov and Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Georgadze formed the Soviet government’s side of this meeting.  The discussions during this meeting resulted in the Soviet government partially rehabilitating the Crimean Tatars.

      The Soviet government repealed the charges of treason against the Crimean Tatars without effectively reversing the punishment of exile and loss of autonomy. On 5 September 1967 when the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued decree 493 “On Citizens of Tatar Nationality Formerly Living in Crimea.”[78] This decree recognized that the charge of treason against the entire Crimean Tatar population had no factual basis. It admitted that the Soviet regime had wrongly accused the entire population of collaboration with the Germans on the basis of the actions of only a part of the population. Furthermore, an entire generation of Crimean Tatars had reached adulthood that had been born after the deportations. They too had suffered from the blanket charge of treason and its stigma despite lacking any possible opportunity to have collaborated with the already defeated Germans. The decree thus resolved to annul the charges of treason and collaboration leveled against the Crimean Tatars in 1944.

       The decree, however, did not reverse the punishment for these groundless charges. Instead the decree noted that the Crimean Tatars had “taken root” in Uzbekistan and other areas of exile. In reality these roots remained extremely shallow. The Crimean Tatars remained emotionally rooted deeply in the land of the Crimean peninsula. When it finally became possible to leave Uzbekistan for the Crimea, most did despite considerable economic hardship. The resolution also falsely claimed that the Crimean Tatars enjoyed equal rights with all other Soviet citizens. In support of this allegation it pointed to Crimean Tatar representatives in various soviets, economic enterprises and the Communist Party. It also mentioned the few cultural concessions made to the Crimean Tatars in exile. This claim of national equality neglected the fact that the Crimean Tatars unlike the Uzbeks, Volga Tatars and even Chechens by this time lacked the right to live in their historic homeland and remained deprived of their previous national state-formation and the rights this autonomy entailed. The existence of a single Crimean Tatar language newspaper and some radio broadcasts hardly compensated for the lack of territorially based cultural autonomy. The decree completely failed to address the issues of return to the Crimea and restoration of the Crimean ASSR.

      At the same time the Soviet government repealed the indiscriminate charge of treason against all Crimean Tatars it also formally lifted the wholesale prohibition on Crimean Tatars returning to Crimea. Resolution 494 of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet granted the Crimean Tatars the right to live anywhere in the USSR in accordance to existing labor and passport laws.[79] This resolution, however, did nothing to facilitate the return of the Crimean Tatars to their homeland the way the Soviet government had assisted the deported North Caucasians and Kalmyks. Instead it provided the local Crimean authorities with the means to prevent the Crimean Tatars from returning to their homeland. It merely had to declare that they did meet the regulations regarding employment and passport control. In fact the local Crimean authorities with the approval of the central government used this means to deny residency permits to almost all Crimean Tatars returning to the peninsula prior to 1988. Persons without residency permits in the Crimea could not work in most jobs, register house purchases, send their children to school and were subject to deportation from the territory. Despite receiving the dejure right to live anywhere in the USSR this decree thus defacto still prevented the Crimean Tatars from living in their ancestral homeland.

      The partial and largely symbolic rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars in 1967 did not have the desired effect of deflating the Crimean Tatar national movement. Instead the Crimean Tatars adopted new strategies in the pursuit of their national struggle.  During this time the Crimean Tatar national movement established contacts with the Moscow based dissidents pushing for greater democracy and respect for human rights in the USSR. They also began to appeal to world opinion both through the Moscow based dissidents and on their own as a means of embarrassing the Soviet regime into restoring their national rights. Mustafa Jemilev personally established a strong working relationship between the Crimean Tatar national movement and dissidents in Moscow such as Aleksei Kosterin, Piotr Grigorenko, Il’ia Gabai, Aleksander Lavut and Andrei Sakharov.[80] The small movement for human rights based in Moscow took up the cause of the Crimean Tatars at this time.

      The Russian writer Aleksei Kosterin had long been a supporter of full rehabilitation for the deported peoples, especially the Crimean Tatars. He exposed other dissidents such as General Piotr Grigorenko to the issue and became a national hero among the Crimean Tatars.[81] In early 1968 under the influence of Kosterin, Moscow based dissidents began to actively champion the Crimean Tatar cause. Grigorenko in particular became a fierce advocate of the Crimean Tatars, making their cause his primary occupation.[82]  Grigorenko replaced Kosterin after his death in November 1968 as the Crimean Tatar’s foremost defender and supporter among the larger Soviet population.

      The Crimean Tatars also attracted the attention of the Soviet Union’s most famous dissident. During the 1970s, Andrei Sakharov appealed to both the United Nations and Soviet leadership on behalf of the Crimean Tatars several times.  In January 1974, Sakharov sent an appeal to UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim asking him to provide UN support for the Crimean Tatar struggle to return to their homeland.[83] On 4 July 1978 and 31 January 1979, Sakharov sent letters to Brezhnev protesting continued discrimination against the Crimean Tatars.[84] In March 1979, he passed a letter from the Crimean Tatars to the French Embassy to give to President Giscard d’Estaing during his upcoming visit to the USSR.[85]  Along with the denial of the right to emigrate to Jews and Germans, Sakharov considered the Soviet government’s policy towards the Crimean Tatars to be among the USSR’s greatest civil rights problems. 

      The Moscow Helsinki Group, formed by dissidents in May 1976 to monitor Soviet compliance with the Helsinki Accords also took up the cause of the Crimean Tatars.  On 10 November 1976 and 4 November 1977, the Moscow Helsinki Group issued reports on Soviet discrimination against the Crimean Tatars.[86] The second report condemned the Soviet treatment of the Crimean Tatars in especially harsh terms. It focused on the deportations and accused the Soviet regime of attempting to eliminate the Crimean Tatars as a distinct people. An effort the report labeled repeatedly as “genocide.” The report consistently stressed the racist and discriminatory nature of Soviet policy towards the Crimean Tatars. The refusal to allow them to return to their homeland is explicitly compared to South African apartheid. Unlike South Africa, however, the Crimean Tatar struggle gathered little popular support among the international community.

      After the 1967 decree, the Soviet government increased its repression of the Crimean Tatar national movement. It had made all the concessions it dared to the Crimean Tatars and it now sought to decapitate the movement by imprisoning its leadership.  Between 1966 and 1972, Soviet courts tried and sentenced over 200 Crimean Tatar activists to terms in labor camps.[87]  From 1972 to 1986, the Soviet legal system condemned dozens more activists to imprisonment.[88] Many of the most prominent activists such as Mustafa Jemilev, Reshat Jemilev and Mamedi Chobanov served multiple prison terms during this decade and a half. The Crimean Tatars suffered a higher rate of political imprisonment than any other nationality in the USSR during the post-Stalin period.[89] This high rate of incarceration deprived the Crimean Tatar national movement of much of its leadership. The 1970s thus saw far less effective activism than the mass movement organized during the 1960s.

      The imprisonment of their most able activists, political exhaustion and the frustration of making no progress towards restoring the CASSR greatly sapped the Crimean Tatar national movement in the 1970s. This can most clearly be seen in the decreasing number of signatures gathered in the petition campaigns during this decade. In 1966 the appeal to the 23rd Party Congress collected 130,000 signatures, the appeal to the 24th Party Congress in 1971 had 60,000 signatures, the appeal to the 25th Party Congress 20,000 in 1975 and the 1979, All Peoples Protest only 4,000 signatures.[90] The Crimean Tatar national movement suffered a crisis during the 1970s that progressively got worse into the 1980s. Only in 1985 with the ascent of Gorbachev to power and the subsequent change in Soviet nationality policies could the Crimean Tatars reverse this decline.


      Conditions for the Crimean Tatars changed radically near the end of the 80s. On 14 November 1989, the Supreme Soviet issued a decree “On Recognizing the Illegal and Criminal Repressive Acts against Peoples Subjected to Forcible Resettlement and Ensuring their Rights.”[91] This declaration accelerated the increasingly large number of Crimean Tatars returning to their ancestral homeland since the Soviet government ceased to physically prevent it in the previous year. It convinced the Crimean Tatars that they had a small window of opportunity to exploit to recover their national rights. They sought to replicate the success of the Chechens and Ingush after 1956 and Khrushchev’s denunciation of their deportations. Between 1989 and 1994, the Crimean Tatar population in Crimea increased from 38,000 to 260,000.[92] This latter number represented over half of the Crimean Tatar population of the USSR.[93] The stories of the Crimean homeland and its tragic loss in 1944, kept alive the deep territorial connection of the Crimean Tatars to their ancestral land. This connection fueled the decades long drive by the Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland. In the 1990s it convinced the majority of the Crimean Tatar population to move to a land they had never personally seen at great personal costs and risks.[94] Finally, after a half of century being exiled to Uzbekistan, the Crimean Tatars could return home. They took full advantage of this opportunity to reestablish their physical presence in the Crimean peninsula.

      Since this mass reversal of Stalin’s deportations, the Crimean Tatars have sought to assert their rights as the indigenous population of the Crimean peninsula. Based upon their aboriginal status the Crimean Tatars have argued for preferential access to land, political representation and protection similar to that granted to other native peoples such as the Sami in Scandinavia. They have, however, so far largely failed in this new struggle for their national rights.[95] Instead they currently occupy the position of being a minority in their homeland with no special protective status connected to their indigenous origins. They share this unenviable position with the Palestinians living inside Israel. In both cases racist attitudes by the majority have resulted in systematic discrimination in the division of land and political representation between the natives and the new settlers. A situation viewed as intolerable by the natives in light of the fact that all of the land had previously belonged to them before being forcibly seized by the people now constituting the majority population. The Crimean Tatars have relied upon the mobilization and organization they developed during the struggle to return home to fight for full implementation of their rights as the indigenous population of the peninsula. It remains to be seen if this phase of their national struggle succeeds.


[1] Mustafa Jemilev from his concluding statement at his 1966 trial. An English language translation of an excerpt from this testimony is reproduced in Alexeyeva, “Mustafa Jemiloglu: His Character and Convictions,” in Allworth ed., The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland 2nd edition (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), p. 214.

[2] Reproduced in Svetlana  Alieva, ed., Tak eto bylo: Natsional’nye repressi v SSR, 1919-1952 gody (Moscow: Insan, 1993), vol. III, p. 122. An English language translation is reproduced in Brian Williams, The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation, (Leiden, NL: Brill, 2001),  p. 415. I have used Williams’s translation.

[3] Paintings reproduced in Williams, The Crimean Tatars, plates 22 and 23.

[4] Reproduced in Williams, The Crimean Tatars, plate 24.

[5] Reproduced in  Greta Uehling, Having a Homeland: Recalling the Deportation, Exile, and Repatriation of the Crimean Tatars to their Historic Homeland (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2000), p. 445.

[6] Uehling, p. 239.

[7] Uehling, pp. 443-451.

[8] Document reproduced in Alieva, vol. III, pp. 62-64.

[9] N.F. Bugai,  Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii: “Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992), doc. 31, pp. 250-251.

[10] V.N. Zemskov, “Spetsposelentsy (po dokumentatsii NKVD-MVD SSSR),”  Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniia, no. 11, 1990, pp. 15-16.

[11] Gulnara Bekyrova, “Crimean Tatar National Movement in the 50s-60’s: formation, first victories and disappointments,” at, p. 1, downloaded on 7 November 2002.

[12] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 21, p. 144.

[13] Excerpt from Crimean Tatar Appeal to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, March 1966 reproduced in Chronicle of Current Events, no. 31, 17 May 1974 trans. Amnesty International (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1975), pp. 140-141.

[14] Uehling, pp. 219-229.

[15] Gulnara Bekyrova, “No Provision was Made to Supply the Special Settlers with Clothes and shoes, and were like Destitute Rejects though Many of them wore Orders and Medals,” doc. 7, pp. 18 found at downloaded on 23 July 2003.

[16] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 13, pp. 138-139.

[17] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 20, p. 144.

[18] Document reproduced in Yuri Zinchenko, Krimski Tatari: Istorichnii Naris (Kiev: Institute for Political and Ethnological Research of the National Academy of Sciences Ukraine, 1998), pp. 161-163.

[19] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 13, pp. 138-139.

[20] Cited in “New Facts about the Mass Deportation of the Crimean Tatars,” The Crimean Review: Voice of the Crimean Tatar Human Rights Movement, vol. v., no. 2 (31 December 1990), pp. 13-14.

[21] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 15, pp. 139-140.

[22] Cited in Uehling, p. 233.

[23] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 24, p. 146.

[24] English translation of document reproduced in Uehling, pp. 213-214.

[25] N.F. Bugai, L. BeriaI. Stalinu, “Soglasno vashemu ukazaniiu…” (Moscow, “AIRO XX,” 1995), p. 155.

[26] James Critchlow, “Punished Peoples” of the Soviet Union: The Continuing Legacy of Stalin’s Deportations, (Washington D.C..: Human Rights Watch, September 1991), p. 8.

[27] Document reproduced in Alieva, vol. III, p. 66.

[28] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 20, p. 144.

[29] Bugai, Soglasno, pp. 157-158.

[30] Document reproduced in Khronika tekushchikh sobytii (KTS), no. 31 (17 May 1974), pp. 148-149.

[31] Brian Williams,  “Hidden Ethnocide in the Soviet Muslim Borderlands: The Ethnic Cleansing of the Crimean Tatars,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 4, no. 3 (September 2002), pp. 361-362.

[32] Uehling, p. 232.

[33] Quoted in and Ann Sheehy and Bohdan Nahlyo, The Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans and Meskhetians: Soviet Treatment of Some National Minorities (London: Minority Rights Group, 1980), p. 8.

[34]  A.I. Kokurin, “Spetspereselentsy v SSSR v 1944, ili god bol’shovo pereseleniia,” Otechestvennye arkhivy, no. 5, 1993, doc. 3 p. 104.

[35] Document reproduced in A.K. Kekilbaev, Deportirovannye v Kazakhstan narody: Vremia I sud’by (Almaty: Arys-Qazaqstan, 1998), p. 302.

[36] Document reproduced in Kelkibaev, pp. 281-283.

[37] Kokurin, doc. 3, p. 104.

[38] Gulnara Bekyrova, “No Provision was Made,” doc. 7, pp. 13-14.

[39] Ayshe Seytmuratova, “The Elders of the National Movement: Recollections,” in Allworth ed., p. 156.

[40] Bugai, Soglasno, p. 157.

[41] Document reproduced in Alieva, vol. III, p. 71.

[42] Bekyrova, “No Provision was Made,” p. 3.

[43] Bekyrova, “No Provision was Made,” doc. 1, p. 4.

[44] Bugai, Ikh, doc. 48, pp. 264-265.

[45] N.F.  Bugai, “40-50-e gody: Posledstviia deportatsii narodov (Svideteltsvuiut arkhivy NKVD-MVD SSSR),” Istoriia SSSR, no. 1, 1992, doc. 30, pp. 138-140.

[46] The Forced Migrations Projects of the Open Society Institute, Crimean Tatars: Repatriation and Conflict, p. 14.

[47] Uehling, p. 40.

[48] Williams, The Crimean Tatars, pp. 400-401.

[49]Bugai, Ikh, doc. 57, p. 273.

[50] Quoted in Urzula Dorszewska, “Crimea: Whose Country?” Uncaptive Minds, Fall 1992 reproduced in The Crimean Review, vol. VII, Special issue 1995, p. 61.

[51] Williams, The Crimean Tatars, pp. 430-432. The Mubarek Republic was a proposed autonomous Crimean Tatar territory in Uzbekistan planned by the Soviet government as a substitute for the CASSR (Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) in the 1980s that was never established.

[52] Mubeyyin Batu Altan, “Stuctures: The Importance of Family – A Personal Memoir,” in Allworth, ed. pp. 99-100.

[53] Uehling, pp. 52-53.

[54] Quoted in Henry Kamm, “Crimean Tatars, Exiled by Stalin, Return Home,” NYT, 8 February 1992.

[55] Robert Kaiser, The Geography of Nationalism in Russia and the USSR, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994),  p. 9.

[56] The Forced Migration Projects of the Open Society Institute, Crimean Tatars: Repatriation and Conflict Prevention (NY: The Open Society Institute, 1996), p. 62.

[57] Hakan Kirimli, “Soviet Educational and Cultural Policies Towards the Crimean Tatars in Exile (1944-1987), Central Asian Survey, vol. 8, no. 1 (1989), p. 82.

[58] Ludmila Alexeyeva, “Krymskotatarskoe dvizhenie za voszvrashchennie v krym,” in Krims’ki studii, no. 5-6, 2000, p. 5.

[59] Radio Liberty, Sobranie dokumentov samizdata (Materialy perepechatay iz Arkhiv Samizdata (hereafter AS), 630, vol. 12, pp. 2-4.

[60] Appeal of the Crimean Tatar People to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (March 1966) reproduced in Tashkentskii protsess (Amsterdam: Herzen Fund, 1976), p. 10.

[61] AS, 630, vol. 12,  pp.2-5.

[62] “All Peoples Protest: Review of the Crimean Tatar Movement 1956-1968 – to Beginning of 1969,” in Tashkentsii protsess, pp. 56-58.

[63] Cited in Bekyrova, “Crimean Tatar National Movement in 50-60’s,” fn. 31, p. 24.

[64] Appeal of the Crimean Tatar People to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in Tashkentskii protsess, p. 11.

[65] “All Peoples Protest: Review of the Crimean Tatar Movement 1956-1968- to beginning of 1969,” in Tashkentsii protsess, pp. 58-60.

[66] Bekyrova, “Crimean Tatar National Movement in 50-60s,” pp. 10-11.

[67] Mikhail Gublogo and Svetlana Chervonnaia, Krymsko-Tatarskoe natsional’noe dvizhenie: Istoriia, problemy, perspektivy (Moscow: RAN, 1992), vol. II, p. 288. 

[68] “All Peoples Protest: Review of the Crimean Tatar Movement 1956-1968- to Beginning of 1969,” in Tashkentsii protsess, pp. 60-62.

[69] Allworth, “Mass Exile, Ethnocide, Group Derogation: Anomaly or Norm in Soviet Nationality Policies?” in Allworth ed., p. 183.

[70] AS 630, vol. 12, p. 5.

[71] Appeal of the Crimean Tatar People to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union reproduced in Tashketnskii Protess , pp. 9-51.


[72] “All Peoples Protest: Review of the Crimean Tatar Movement: 1956-1968 – to the Beginning of 1969,” in Tashkentsii protsess, pp. 69-77.

[73] Ludmilla Alexeyeva, “Mustafa Jemiloglu, His Character and Convictions,” in Allworth ed. pp. 206-225.

[74] Gubolgo and Chervonnaia, vol. II, p. 290.

[75] Bekyrova, “The Crimean Tatar National Movement in the 50-60s,” p. 14.

[76] Bekyrova, “The Crimean Tatar National Movement in the 50-60s,” p. 13.

[77] Seytmuratova in Allworth, ed.., p. 164.

[78] Guboglo and Chervonnaia, vol. II, doc. 20, p. 51.

[79]Guboglo and Chervonnaia, vol. II, doc. 21, pp. 51-52.

[80] Alexeyeva, “Mustafa Jemiloglu,” in Allworth, ed. p. 215.

[81] AS, no. 76, vol. 1.

[82] Alexeyeva, “Krimskotatarskoe dvizhenie,” p. 9.

[83] Letter reproduced in Krims’ki studii, nos. 5-6, 2000, p. 67.

[84] KTS, no. 50.

[85] KTS, no. 53.

[86] Sbornik dokumentov, (New York: Khronika, 1977 and 1978), doc. 10, vol II, pp. 26-30 and doc. 24, vol. IV, pp. 12-26.

[87] Inquiry by the Crimean Tatar People to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1973.  Partially reproduced in Krims’ki studii, no. 5-6, 2000, pp. 62-63.

[88] Guboglo and Chervonnaia, vol. II, pp. 295-301.

[89] Alexander J. Motyl, Sovietology, Rationality, Nationality: Coming to Grips with Nationalism in the USSR, (NY: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 156.

[90] Alexeyeva, “Krymskotatarskoe dvizhenie,” p. 12.

[91] Document reproduced in Alieva, vol. III, p. 257.

[92] Andrew Wilson, “Politics in and around Crimea: A Difficult Homecoming,” in Allworth ed., pp. 282-283.

[93] The Forced Migration Project of the Open Society Institute, Crimean Tatars, p. 27.

[94] Uehling, pp. 479-480.

[95] Uehling, pp. 418-425.

© 2004 J. Otto Pohl

*J. Otto Pohl, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, is the author of two books, The Stalinist Penal System: A Statistical History of Soviet Repression and Terror, 1930-1953 (1997) and Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949 (1999), and numerous articles on related topics. His article, The Deportation and Fate of the Crimean Tatars, and the Timeline that he prepared for the 60th anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars are available at this Web site. E-mail:

Posted: April 2004
Revised: November 2005

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