Behind the Headlines: Who Are the Crimean Tatars?
Could the Tatars face the nightmare of repression from Russia again?
For Crimea's Tatars, history is not just something in books—it is a guiding and often painful undercurrent of everyday life. The eldest of them still remember the 1944 deportation of their entire population under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. They were given 30 minutes' notice, and most would never see their homes again.
Nearly half of the 200,000 exiled men, women, and children loaded onto cattle cars died en route or shortly after their arrival in the Urals, Siberia, and Central Asia. Exile from their homes was punishment for their alleged "massive collaboration" with the Nazis who had occupied the peninsula. They, and their children and grandchildren who have been able to return over the past 20 years, are loath to