18 May – Remembrance Day for the Victims of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars
During these days in May during 1944, at Stalin’s direct order, the entire Crimean Tatar people were deported from the Crimea. It is believed that around 190 thousand men, women and children were forced to leave. Almost half perished on the way to their places of banishment in Siberia and Central Asia.
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.
The official excuse for Stalin’s crime was that the Crimean Tatars had collaborated with the Nazis. Although this was officially refuted, and the Crimean Tatars exonerated in the 1960s, the lies continue to be spread, especially by those intent on destabilizing the situation in the Crimea. It is quite incredible that the man chosen as Minister of Internal Affairs in the new government, Anatoly Mohylev, in January 2008 had an article published under his name which is not only rabidly xenophobic, but also repeats as fact this old lie. The outrage expressed by the Crimean Tatar community and others over his appointment had no effect on the government.