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19.05.2010

The Crimea honours Victims of the Deportation

   

On 18 May between 10 and 20 thousand people gathered in the central square in Simferopol to mark the 66th anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars to Siberia, the Urals and Central Asia.  As reported here, the deportation, of mainly the elderly, women and children was carried out by soldiers and the NKVD during the next three days. 18 May has been commemorated as Remembrance Day for the Victims of the Deportation since 1993.  The gathering was begun, as always, with a Muslim prayer for the dead, and with remembrance speeches.

There were also political speeches. In his address, the Leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemiliyev condemned attempts to rehabilitate Stalin and revive Stalinism. He said that there were presently some Stalinists in the Ukrainian government. He mentioned the Ministers of Education (Tabachnyk) and Internal Affairs (Mohylev) who have publicly attempted to justify the Deportation and denigrated the Crimean Tatars.

Mr Dzhemiliyev also sharply criticized the agreement prolonging the stationing in the Crimea of the Russian Black Sea Fleet without agreeing this with the native population of the peninsula.

He mentioned also, however, that under pressure from European structures the Ukrainian authorities were demonstrating readiness to resolve the problems of the Crimean Tatars.  Three of the leaders of the Autonomous Republic were present, perhaps for the first time, at the commemoration – the Speaker of the Crimean Parliament, the Prime Minister, Vasyl Dzharty and the President’s Representative. Only one of them, however – the Crimean Prime Minister named those guilty of the Deportation – Stalin and the “criminal regime”.  He also promised, on behalf of the President to draw the attention of the authorities to the problems of the Crimean Tatars whom he said he considered a part of the Ukrainian people.

From a report by Volodymyr Prytula at: http://www.radiosvoboda.org/content/article/2045988.html

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