Erased History of Crimean Tatars’ Deportation
Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea on the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin because of far-fetched accusations of supporting German occupation
In 1944, Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea on the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. All because of far-fetched accusations of supporting the German occupation.
Ukraine officially recognized this ethnic cleansing as genocide.
“Three soldiers. All of them were armed. They knocked on the door. Father was not home, so my mom opened the door,” deportation witness Rukhia Asanova said.
Asanova remembers the deportation of the Crimean Tatars well despite being only seven years of age at the time.
“Elderly people, kids, pregnant women — all of them were put into freight cars. I remember there were fleas. We had no way to bathe. We were starving. That is how we were transported for 22 days,” she said.
The ‘Crimean House’ is an online museum that collects data about the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.
“It is hard to talk to the elderly. Absolutely. Because when they remember all of this they cry. It is important for us to talk about it today because tomorrow we might not be able to preserve these memories for the future,” Crimean House Program Director Alim Aliev said.
Russia hates talking about the deportation of Crimean Tatars because it undermines the Soviet myth that the Red Army expelled traitors from their homes.
“Collaboration was the same in the Crimea as it was everywhere else in the Soviet Union. It was Russian. Because Russians were the dominant ethnic group. The main group. So we can see that the city heads were Russian. National committees existed for both Russians and Crimean Tatars. So saying that it was Crimean Tatars who collaborated with the regime more is wrong,” Candidate of Historical Sciences, Serhiy Hromenko said.
Russia is still trying to use collaborationism as an excuse for the deportation of Crimean Tatars. Recently a new history book was released called “The History of Crimea” where Crimean Tatars are called traitors outright.
“Indeed, Germans counted those who served with the German military in World War II and by 1943 it was a maximum of 15,000 people,” Hromenko said.
At the same time, there were many more Crimean Tatars serving in the Red Army or in guerilla units fighting against Nazis. At the start of the war they numbered at least 17,000 people. Historians also managed to count the number of the deceased of missing among those who fought on the side of the Soviet Union — 11-to-12,000 people.
“Stalin was acting on the basis of a very precise, I would even say concrete, plan. He wanted to clear all of the near front areas from populations he believed were not completely loyal. In 1943-1944, it was the Caucasus region. In 1944, it was Crimea. Even if there were no Crimean Tatar collaborators he would still have put them all in freight cars and sent them to Uzbekistan, because Stalin needed Crimea emptied,” Hromenko said.
“People would toss the dead off the train as it was moving. Locals would follow us horseback and beat us with sticks because they were told that we eat people alive and we are one-eyed,” said Asanova.
More than 190,000 Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimea. According to estimates, more than 40 percent of them died.