Hundreds of candles lit in memory of deported Crimean Tatars
On Thursday evening activists of the Crimean Tatar Youth Centre organized and took part in a candle ceremony entitled ““Light a candle in your heart” in memory of the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from the Crimea in May 1944.
Around 500 mainly young participants and spectators gathered on the main square of Simferopol. The candle-lighting began around 8.00, with hundreds of small candles in the twilight illuminating the square.
The flames marked out the map of the Crimean Peninsula with the number 63 in the centre. 18 May marks the 63rd anniversary of the deportation.
The candles also carried the sign (in English): “No discrimination”, as well as the symbols of the flag of the Crimean Tatar people.
The ceremony was attended not only by young Crimean Tatars, but by members of other nationalities living in the Crimea.
In May 1944 Stalin signed a decision prepared by the NKVD “On the resettlement of the Crimean Tatars from the Crimean Autonomous SSR to the Uzbek SSR”. The deportation began on 18 May. According to different figures, the number of people deported was between 180 and 191 thousand.
The return to the Crimea began at the end of the 1980s – beginning of the 1990s. At the present time the population of the Crimea is over 1.9 million, with 260 thousand - Crimean Tatars.