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Leonid Kravchuk,  Member of Ukrainian Parliament  First President of Ukraine

The first issue of a new magazine called "ÊÐÈÌÑÜʲ ÑÒÓIJ¯" has been published.

It is designed to familiarize readers both in Ukraine and abroad with the lives, problems, hopes and aspirations of the Crimean Tatars, a people with a hard and tragic lot, who are attempting to rebuild their lives on ancestral lands in an independent Ukraine…

Unofficial translation

Decree of President of Ukraine

On Council of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People

In order to solve the political – legal, social-economical, cultural issues connected with adaptation and integration of the former deported Crimean Tatar People into Ukrainian community, the uncertainty of a legal status of Mejlis, elected by Kuryltay of Crimean Tatar People, under item 28 of article 106 of the Constitution of Ukraine decrees to:…


           Explanatory memorandum

of a Decree of the Parliament of Ukraine ”On recommendations of parliamentary hearings”, ”The issues of legislative regulation and realization of a public policy on providing the rights of Crimean Tatar People and other national minorities, which were deported, and for a voluntary return to Ukraine”



Decree of the  Parliament of Ukraine

 Move by members of  Parliament of Ukraine Udovenko G.Y.  Chubarov R.A. Dzhemilev M.

On recommendation of a parliamentary hearing on ”The legislative regulation and realization of a public policy for the provision of rights for Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities who were deported and have voluntary returned to Ukraine”

The Parliament of Ukraine decrees to:

1. Approve the recommendations of the parliamentary hearing ”The legislative regulation and realization of a public policy for the provision of rights for Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities who were deported and have voluntary returned to Ukraine”

2. The Council of Ministers jointly with the committees of the Ukrainian Parliament on human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations, legal reforms, public building, local government and committees, social policy and work, international relations and relations with CIS, science and education, culture and spirituality, takes the necessary measures for their realization.

3. Hear the information on the realization of the recommendations on November 2000 (Day of Government).


Analytical information on the issues of return and resettlement of  deported peoples in Ukraine

Yuri Beluha, Deputy of Head of State Committee on Nationalities and Migration of Ukraine

During the last 10 years, former deported peoples Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, and Germans, after half a century of exile, have begun returning to their Homeland – Crimea. Currently, over 250 000 deported Crimean Tatars, and about 12 000 persons of other nationalities have returned to Crimea, consisting of about 12 per cent of the population of autonomy.





Borys Parakhonsky, Doctor of Philosophic Science

   Crimea is a strategically important region of the south-eastern foreign policy orientations of Ukraine and a key juncture of the pathways to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Losing control over Crimea would greatly jeopardize the Ukrainian State’s national security and national interests. The Crimean problem gains in importance far beyond the frames of the domestic situation in Ukraine. As to the restoration of Crimea’s autonomy, Ukraine has given up its own interests to a considerable extent, in favor of external forces, but at the same time it continues to bear responsibility for the region’s stability and security.



Crimean Tatar People’s Integration Into Ukrainian Society: Modern Problems of Political-Legal Regulation

Oleksandr Piskun, Center for Migration Studies, editor-in-chief, Problems of Migration magazine

The process of the ex-deportees’ return and integration comprises at least four major dimensions:

support for and facilitation of the ex-deportees’ return to their ancestral homeland;

facilitating the returnees’ bid for solving their social and economic problems;

evolving necessary legal environments for the returnees’ rehabilitation (restitution of their civil rights), both on the individual and ethnic entity levels;

defining the legal status of the Crimean Tatar people in Ukraine…





Natalya Belitser, Pylyp Orlyk Institute For Democracy

Ukraine is known to be home to some 130 nationalities in addition to the title people. This fact cannot but cause certain problems and tensions in interethnic relationships, particularly under the transition period from totalitarianism to democracy and the conditions of a systemic social-economic crisis, when fight is acerbated among various clans for control over the national budget’s scarce resources and distribution levers toward benefiting particular ethnic groups, clans, political groupings, and so on.






Leonid Kravchuk

Member of Ukrainian Parliament

First President of Ukraine




The first issue of a new magazine called "ÊÐÈÌÑÜʲ ÑÒÓIJ¯" has been published.

It is designed to familiarize readers both in Ukraine and abroad with the lives, problems, hopes and aspirations of the Crimean Tatars, a people with a hard and tragic lot, who are attempting to rebuild their lives on ancestral lands in an independent Ukraine.

Only a person who has himself experienced the violence, abuse, and indignity of the Crimean Tatars can understand their feelings in full measure.

The historical destinies of the Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar peoples have a lot in common. For many centuries, both peoples were suffering under the Russian Crown. In the 1930s and 40s, during the period of Soviet power, both suffered the loss of their intellectuals and the destruction of their national shrines in the Soviet fight against so-called "nationalism".

Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars should remember their joint history, both the good and the bad.

For many centuries the Crimean Tatars had close contacts with Ukrainians. However, Soviet histories kept this shared history secret and presented a false picture of those contacts. All bright aspects of the relationship were thoroughly suppressed, highlighting the worst: raids, devastation, pillaging, and slavery.

However, the historical fact remains that during the struggle for the liberation of the Ukrainian people, headed by Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Crimean Tatars fought jointly with Cossacks in many battles against Polish troops. Bohdan Khmelnytsky spent his younger years in Crimea, spoke the Crimean Tatar language fluently, and was considered a blood brother of a Crimean Khan's son. The correspondence of Bohdan Khmelnytsky with the Crimean Khan, written in the Crimean Tatar language, are still kept in the London Library. Perhaps these historical documents will return to Ukraine some day, and become a shared legacy of our peoples.

There is no guilt on the part of the new Ukrainian nation or the Ukrainian people in the Crimean Tatar's tragedy. The Communist rulers of former USSR are responsible for these atrocities. In May 1944, the lie of Lenin’s so-called national policy became apparent when the total deportation of Crimean Tatars from their historical homeland was carried out in three days to live in exile "forever and with no right to return to the former residence" as described in CPSU documents.

To justify this outrageous crime, the entire Crimean Tatar people were branded as "traitors and the collaborators with the Nazi invaders". The Tatars, whose daughters and sons bravely fought against the Nazis, were insulted and humbled. Many who were deported had been awarded the title "Hero of USSR".

It would be good if today's Communists, as inheritors of the history of the CPSU, would have the bravery to take responsibility for the Communist insults and violations of the rights of the Crimean Tatars, or even better, to apologize for this injustice.

Over the deportation years, every trace of the Crimean Tatar people was destroyed in Crimea; cemeteries, mosques, religious schools, etc.  Many towns and villages were renamed.

Only with Ukrainian independence was started a new page in the history of the Crimean Tatars. Ukraine has, and continues to strive to do everything possible to somehow compensate the Crimean Tatars for the moral anguish caused by the actions of the Communist regime. The Crimean Tatars have returned to their ancestral land to stay forever. They live and work in the Ukrainian State as citizens, enjoying full rights. It is possible to state unequivocally that the Crimean Tatars have been reinstituted within the Ukrainian State.

In the beginning of our independence we believed that we could promptly overcome all difficulties.  In that period, we were enthusiastic and a little bit naive.  We wanted to do everything to speed up the process of the Crimean Tatars’ return and resettlement in their homeland. However, reality proved to be greatly more complicated. The issues we face in the areas of socio-economic and cultural-educational areas are complicated. Much work must still be done to provide people with opportunities in the way of jobs, wages, and pensions. Ukraine is in a very complicated economic condition; in connection with this, the solution of many of the issues faced by the Crimean Tatars depends on the resources available to the State.

However, there are a number of important issues facing the Crimean Tatars whose resolution doesn't require financing, only good will and understanding. In particular, an important step has been made toward the restitution of the Crimean Tatars' Ukrainian citizenship. As a result of negotiations between the Presidents of Ukraine and Uzbekistan, a protocol agreement on simplifying the procedure for Crimean Tatars' to give up their Uzbek citizenship was signed.

I think that the issue of proportional representation of Crimean Tatars in the Crimean Parliament will be solved. It is necessary to study these issues, taking into account relevant international experience. Everything must be done on a legal, constitutional basis, without infringing on the rights of any National Minorities.

There is very complicated ethnic situation in Crimea, in which live a lot of nationalities. Currently, Crimean Tatars constitute about 11 percent of the population of Crimea. Recognizing the necessity for historical justice, a solution must be found which does not create new injustices new opposition forces.

If radical solutions to this complicated issue were pursued, it would be hard to predict the future situation in the peninsula, and its impact on Crimean Tatars.

All of us - Ukrainians, Russians, Crimean Tatars and other nationalities living in Crimea, must take into account the conflicts in Caucasus, Balkans and other regions in the world, and demonstrate wisdom in recognizing the fact that inter-ethnic problems require a patient and well thought out solution.

We should keep in mind the significance of the Ukrainian language for Crimean Tatars as well.  In Ukraine, Crimean Tatars who do not know the Ukrainian language cannot see themselves as citizens enjoying full rights in future. In Crimea, the situation regarding the teaching of the Ukrainian language is well known. In this case, the Ukrainian Government must pursue a clear and well-articulated policy. The Constitution of Ukraine must be observed, which says that the official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian and its teaching must be dynamically implemented.

I am convinced that Crimean Tatars rely on Ukraine to give them hope for the solution of their issues. At one recent meeting was said: "We believe Ukraine fought for many centuries for freedom and independence, and at last, has achieved this goal. We are sure that such a freedom-loving nation, which has sacrificed millions of its sons and daughters for freedom, will not prevent the national self-determination of other peoples".

Crimean Tatars are a people indigenous to Ukraine, and occupy a rightful place both in Crimea and in Ukraine as a whole.

I, as the first President of Ukraine and a person participating in the adoption of important decisions on the return of Crimean Tatars to their historical Homeland as well as the establishment of Crimean autonomy, and relations of independent Ukraine with Russia and other members of the CIS, must note, that in that difficult time we acted wisely and without straying from a carefully planned course.

Upholding the principles of liberty, independence, and democracy with an eye towards Europe, I would like to appeal to the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars that it is necessary to examine the current state of affairs on the peninsula, and to look for the ways and means to improvement the situation.

Though the Constitutions of Ukraine and Crimea are not perfect, we cannot attempt to live under other laws. It is necessary to improve these foundations, rather than disregard them. We must rectify the admitted mistakes jointly, along with the entire world.

These desires cannot be satisfied, however, without the appropriate preconditions. The most important thing at this stage is to prevent unnecessary clashes and social discord. We have started creating Ukraine's statehood in a prudent and tolerant way, and must keep to this path in the future.






Unofficial translation


Decree of

President of Ukraine

On Council of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People


In order to solve the political – legal, social-economical, cultural issues connected with adaptation and integration of the former deported Crimean Tatar People into Ukrainian community, the uncertainty of a legal status of Mejlis, elected by Kuryltay of Crimean Tatar People, under item 28 of article 106 of the Constitution of Ukraine decrees to:

1                       Establish the Council of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People as consultative body attached to President of Ukraine

2                        Appoint Dzhemilev Mustafa as Head of the Council of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People. Confirm a personnel of the Council of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People (attached)

3                        The Head of the Council M. Dzhemilev to give a draft of status of the Council of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People for month.



President of Ukraine                                                                                      L.Kuchma




18 May 1999






Approved by

Decree of President of Ukraine

from 18 May 1999




Personnel of the Council
of the representatives of the Crimean Tatar People


Dzhemilev Mustafa                                                                           head of the Council


Chubarov Refat                                                                                deputy of a head of the Council


Bekirov Nadir                                                                                                                  secretary of the Council


Members of the Council

Abdulayev Kurtseit

Ablayev Remzi

Ablyamitov Dzhulvern

Adelseitv Refat

Alibeyev Enver

Alchikov Arsen

Asanov Kurtegen

Asanov Shevket

Belyalov Musa

Dzhepparov Abdureshit

Izetdinov Server

Kadirov Sinaver

Kaybulayev Shevket

Karayev Emirasan

Kenzhaliyev Refat

Kurtbedinov Zevri

Kurtumerov Dzhevdet

Mambetov Dilyaver

Mamutov Bekir

Mustafayev Halil

Ozenbashli Meryem

Seitbekirov Eldar

Seitvapov Ebazer

Suleymanov Abmedzhit

Umerov Ilmi

Fazilov Nadir

Hamzin Ali

Chobanov Mamedi

Shevkiyev Riza



The Head of Administration of

President of Ukraine                                                                                      M. Biloblodskii








Explanatory memorandum

of a Decree of the Parliament of Ukraine ”On recommendations of parliamentary hearings”, ”The issues of legislative regulation and realization of a public policy on providing the rights of Crimean Tatar People and other national minorities, which were deported, and for a voluntary return to Ukraine”


For period of time under Stalinist repression, the forced mass deportation of peoples according to national sign from Ukraine in its present boundaries was made.

On May 1944, the Crimean Tatar People suffered a total deportation to back lands of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tadzhikistan and Russian Federation. According to formal information of that time, approximately 200 000 Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported. In the summer of 1944, similar actions were committed against 38 000 Armenians, Bulgarians and Greeks, who were residents of Crimea. Already, in 1994, about 450 000 Germans from Ukraine, including 51 000 from Crimea were deported. In addition, thousands of Hungarians, Poles, Romanians and other nationalities were forcibly deported from Ukraine.

All population deportations were carried out in accordance with decisions made by the bodies of the government of the former USSR. The ill – founded charges and the principle of collective responsibility were used as justifications for these decisions. A transfer of these populations – in an oppressive manner –  took place; thousands people died, and those who survived were forced to live, for long periods of time, in special settlements, where there was no rule of law, and decisions were made by  military commandant’s offices.

In 1956, the repression and deportation – by governmental bodies of the USSR - of Balkarian, Ingushian, Kalmyk, Karachai and Chechen peoples from the Russian Federation was recognized as illegal, and they were permitted to return to their homeland. At the same time, a Decree of the Supreme Council of the USSR «On a removal of the restrictions on special settlements of Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Turks – citizens of USSR, Kurds, Hemshils and their families, deported during Great Patriotic War» prohibited to Crimean Tatars coming back to Crimea.

Until the end of 1989, a return of Crimean Tatars was practically impossible. Thousands of families, which returned to Crimea between 1960 – 1980s, suffered repeated exile. Hundreds of persons were convicted for ”violations” of the registration regime.

A process of rehabilitation of deported peoples by national sign, including Crimean Tatar People, began with the adoption, on 14 November 1989, of the Declaration ”On the recognition as illegal and criminally repressive measures against peoples who suffered a forcible transfer, and on the provision of their rights” by the Supreme Council of USSR.

Up until now, in Ukraine the legal rehabilitation of the victims of racial discrimination in Ukraine was not made, and the issues of the return, resettlement and restoration of the rights of deportees were not legally regulated.  Achieving a solution has thus been rendered difficult, and the reintegration of these peoples into the Ukraine made difficult. These circumstances, and the clearly insufficient financing of the process of resettlement of former deported peoples who have returned to Ukraine, are the source of socio–economical and political tension in various regions of Ukraine, particularly in Crimea.

Taking the extraordinary urgency of these issues into account, including the complexity of a definition of similar approaches for realization of the issues connected with mass violations of human rights and rights of peoples in the USSR, we propose to hold a parliamentary hearing on ”The problems of legislative regulation and the realization of a public policy providing for the rights of Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities who were deported and voluntary returned to Ukraine”.

The goal of such a parliamentary hearing would be: to attract attention to the necessity of a legislative solution to issues of the return, resettlement and restoration of the rights of deported Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities returning to Ukraine; define the basic approaches of appropriate bills; fix a date of consideration and adoption by Parliament of Ukraine; and make recommendations to bodies of the government.

We propose the consideration of a proposed draft of recommendations for a parliamentary hearing and their approval by Decree of the Parliament of Ukraine.








Move by members of Parliament of Ukraine Udovenko G.Y. Chubarov R.A.Dzhemilev M.

Decree of the  Parliament of Ukraine

On recommendation of a parliamentary hearing on ”The legislative regulation and realization of a public policy for the provision of rights for Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities who were deported and have voluntary returned to Ukraine”


The Parliament of Ukraine decrees to:


1. Approve the recommendations of the parliamentary hearing ”The legislative regulation and realization of a public policy for the provision of rights for Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities who were deported and have voluntary returned to Ukraine”

2. The Council of Ministers jointly with the committees of the Ukrainian Parliament on human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations, legal reforms, public building, local government and committees, social policy and work, international relations and relations with CIS, science and education, culture and spirituality, takes the necessary measures for their realization.

3. Hear the information on the realization of the recommendations on November 2000 (Day of Government).


The Chairman of

Parliament of Ukraine







of the participants of parliamentary hearing

”The legislative regulation and realization of a public policy

for the provision of rights for Crimean Tatar People and

National Minorities who were deported and have

voluntary returned to Ukraine”


The participants of the parliamentary hearing, who analysed a process for the return, resettlement and restoration of the rights of Crimean Tatar People and other national minorities, which were deported and have voluntary returned to Ukraine, noted that Ukraine unconditionally condemns the crimes against peoples and national minorities, which suffered a forcible deportation, and support their voluntary return to places of historical living.

At the same time, parliament-hearing participants expressed a keen dissatisfaction with the legal regulation of that process, which, in its turn, reduced the practical measures realized by bodies of executive power for the solution of issues connected with the return and resettlement of deported peoples in Ukraine.

In the social – political structures of the community, a profound understanding of that issue has not yet been reached for the importance of a solution for the further strengthening of interethnic harmony in Ukraine, for overcoming the tragic legacy of totalitarian policy, for the solidarity of different nationalities, and for restoration and development of a civil society in Ukraine. The lack of a precise complex public policy for the restoration of the rights of former deported Crimean Tatar people and national minorities, an ignorance of legal interests and rights of former deportees, including the adoption of new laws and other normative acts, lead to the discrediting of bodies of government and increase the social – economical and political tension in separate regions and in the country as a whole.

Parliamentary hearing witnesses noted that the Crimean Tatar issue is one of the most acute problems and requires an immediate solution. It is connected with 280 000 deportees returned to Ukraine, 270 000 of which are Crimean Tatars. In effect, in 1944, Crimean Tatars as a whole ethnos were deported.

During some years in minds of former USSR, Crimean Tatars actively struggled for a restoration of their rights as a complex of Indigenous People rights, forcibly deported from historical Homeland. It is obvious that Crimean Tatars don’t consider themselves as national minority in Ukraine, as acting legislative considers, if all non – Ukrainians are considered as national minorities. In this connection, it is necessary to understand that the historical homeland of Crimean Tatars where they as ethnos were formed, is under the jurisdiction of Ukraine, which first of all, is obliged to draw up a set of political-legal measures guaranteeing the preservation and development of Crimean Tatar ethnos in Ukraine and the equal participation in the political, economical and cultural life of state.

Parliamentary hearings once again demonstrated the fact that succeeding the issue of former deported Crimean Tatar People and national minorities, as a legacy of the former USSR. Currently, Ukraine is responsible for achieving a solution. In the period 1990 – 1998, a sum of assigned capital funds from state budget, for the financing of appropriate measures connected with the return and resettlement of deported peoples, constituted 415 mln., grivnas. This sum, however, is not sufficient for a solution of majority of the issues in this area. The repeated appeals of the bodies of government of Ukraine to other states – participants of CIS – concerning a financing of a resettlement of former deported peoples remained without an appropriate answer.

Inflationary and other processes in countries complicate the grave condition of former deported peoples, who have returned to Ukraine, as repatriates lose their personal savings in the return to Ukraine, they are unable to sell their own houses, and are forced to bear transport and other charges.

                In order to realize the immediate measures and cardinal reformation of a public policy on providing for the rights of Crimean Tatar People and national minorities who were deported and have voluntary returned to Ukraine, participants of parliamentary hearing advise:


The Parliament of Ukraine to:

1. Take measures for the elaboration and adoption of laws connected with determination of status and rights of indigenous peoples in Ukraine, and for the rehabilitation and restoration of the rights of deported Crimean Tatar People and national minorities.

2. Enforce a legal solution of the set of issues connected with the return, resettlement and integration of deported Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities.

3. The Committee on the human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations to:

   a) Speed up the consideration of a bill of Ukraine ”On Status of Crimean Tatar People of Ukraine”

   b) To subjects of law of legislative initiative jointly with Committee on legal reform and state construction, local government and councils prepare and move the bills oriented to establishment of legal conditions for providing of a guaranteed representation of Crimean Tatars in Supreme Council of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and local government.


The President of Ukraine to:

1. Take into account the ethno-political situation in Ukraine, President Ukraine as Head – of – Government, guarantee the observance of the Constitution of Ukraine, human rights and freedoms and citizens as well – work out and realize a set of measures for further harmony of interethnic relations, achievement of interethnic peace, including an understanding of the aspirations of Crimean Tatar People, national minorities who suffered forcible deportation, to return to historical places of living and a restoration of the rights violated by deportation.

2. Decree to finish a working and moving a bill of Ukraine ”On the Adoption of a public policy by Ukraine on Indigenous Peoples and National Minorities ”for consideration by Parliament of Ukraine.

3. Decree to study the issues and ratification of Convention of International Labour Organization # 169 ”On Indigenous Peoples in independent states”


The Council of Ministers of Ukraine to:

1. Provide a purposeful financing of State budget for measures regarding the return and resettlement of deported Crimean Tatar People and National Minorities, through a working of the bills of State budget and forming a normative budget relationship between the State budget and the budget of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. A financing from the budget of Crimea and local, add to state financing.

2. Initiate, within frames of the CIS, a holding of bilateral negotiations on the development of a co-operation of States, on issues regarding the return and resettlement of deported peoples and national minorities.

3. Take measures for the further assistance in the resettlement of deported peoples from other States, international organizations and foundations. Consider an opportunity to use the investment forms of assistance.

4. Consider a realization of Decree of the Council of Ministers of Ukraine #636 from 11 August 1995, ”On measures relating to solution of the political – legal, social – economical and ethnical issues of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea” and # 1191 from 27 October 1999 ”On realization of the orders of President of Ukraine and acts of Council of Ministers of Ukraine on solution of the issues of resettlement of deported Crimean Tatars and other nationalities”. Establish a normative basis for the resolution of issues connected with the return and resettlement of deportees, and the satisfaction of their social-economical and cultural – educational needs.

5. Include a nationality ”Crimean Tatar” in the list of nationalities used in the census.

6. Work out and realize, in collaboration with the Fund of State property of Ukraine, measures on the participation of repatriates in further privatisation.

7. Reconsider, jointly with Council of Ministers of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a situation of investment distribution for the resettlement of repatriates of different nationalities, in order to redirect them towards those persons who returned to Ukraine.










Yuri Beluha, Deputy of Head of State Committee on Nationalities and Migration of Ukraine


Analytical information on the issues of return and resettlement of

deported peoples in Ukraine


During the last 10 years, former deported peoples Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, and Germans, after half a century of exile, have begun returning to their Homeland – Crimea. Currently, over 250 000 deported Crimean Tatars, and about 12 000 persons of other nationalities have returned to Crimea, consisting of about 12 per cent of the population of autonomy.



On May 1944, about 200 000 Crimean Tatars were illegally deported from Crimea. In the following month, Crimean Bulgarians, Armenians, and Greeks suffered the same fate – a total 38 000 persons. Before, in 1941, over 50 000 Germans, who had lived in Crimea for 150 years, were deported.

The forcible transfer of peoples by national belonging, were carried out in a brutal manners; in no other State did analogous events occur. This exile of entire ethnic groups lasted for many decades. In fact, the last restrictions for their return were not removed until the late 1980s.

The total number of deported peoples, including other nationalities, is greater than in official figures. At the same time, during the totalitarian regime, many Poles from western regions of Ukraine were deported. In addition, in pre-war and war years, 600 000 Ukrainians from Western Ukraine were forcibly deported.

The ethnic existence of Crimean Tatars, who were subjected to a total deportation, was threatened.

On 14 November 1989, the Supreme Council of former USSR adopted a Declaration ”On the recognition as illegal and criminal, actions against peoples who suffered the forcible deportation, and providing their rights”. As a result of this Declaration, a number of normative acts regulating the processes connected with the return of deported peoples were adopted, and state financing was planned. In addition, in 1990 – 1991s, the state bodies of Ukraine and USSR adopted the primary measures connected with return of Crimean Tatars. Only in 1991, 210 mln., rubles on realization of them was planned, Ukraine only 10 mln., rubles out sum total. However Ukraine invested 70 mln., rubles already.

Since the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine alone bears the brunt of all expenses connected with the return and resettlement of deported peoples. Other States of CIS, the successors of USSR, are not taking any action.

Towards the end of 1991, the Ukrainian government adopted the normative acts regulating the return of Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Armenians, and Germans as well, deported from Ukraine.

In 1992, Ukraine assigned over 10 billion karbovans out of state budget of Ukraine for deported peoples, in 1993 – 110 billion karbovans, in 1994 – over 1 trillion karbovans, in 1995 – 2 trillion 478 billion karbovans.

Beginning in 1996, a tendency towards limiting of a budget allocation was emphasized, which as rule, allotting was not carried out in full measure. Thus, in 1996 out of a planned 28 mln., grivnas for investments, state budget allotted only 6,2 mln., grivnas, from 6 mln., grivnas (budget of Crimea) for social – cultural measures and assistance, only 3,3 mln., grivnas were financed.

In 1997, a situation of the financing was improved. Out of a planned 13, 3 billions grivnas, only 12, 85 billions grivnas were financed, constituted almost 97 per sent.

At the same time, according to the Program of the immediate steps for the settling and resettlement of deported Crimean Tatars and other nationalities, the total cost of works for the providing of needs of deported peoples constituted approximately 3,5 billions grivnas, and debt to contractors for executed phase – about 21,5 mln., grivnas.

In 1998, it was planned to allot 12 mln., grivnas for measures connected with resettlement of deported peoples, Autonomous Republic of Crimea (with Sevastopol). Factually assigned only 2,7 mln., grivnas, which constituted about 22 per cent of the original plan.

As is well known, the return and resettlement coincided with acute aggravation of economical relations in Ukraine. Despite the economical situation, the Government of Ukraine is now looking for the funds to support a resettlement of deported peoples. The realization of a set of measures connected with the solution of the marked issues concerning social-economical, political-legal and humanitarian areas.


Social – economical area


During 1992-1998s, assigned means corresponding to 300 mln., dollars for a capital construction, gave the opportunity to build 273 000 square meters of accommodation, 375 kilometers of water – supply, 851,4 kilometers of electric power lines, 84,3 kilometers of roads.

In 1999, it was planned to assign 20 mln., grivnas from the State budget for the resettlement of deported peoples, out of them 11 mln., grivnas – for capital construction, including 10 mln., grivnas of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and 9 mln., grivnas for keeping of additional set of social-cultural establishments and compensatory payments to deported peoples. Currently 11 633 grivnas out of the State budget were financed, which is much more than last year.

In 1999, a number of important public decisions relating to a solution of the social – economical needs of deportees were adopted. Besides,

by decisions of Council of Ministers from 15 March 1999 # 1447, the procedure of providing the deported peoples and their families, who returned to Ukraine by building or purchasing accommodation at the expense of special public investments was approved, and the procedure of giving of long – term, interest - free credit for individual houses or buildings to deported peoples returned for domicile.

For the realization of the decision of the Council of Ministers of Crimea from 24 May 1999 #182 ”On measures relating to the solution of the issues of Crimean Tatar People”, in republican budget 2000, funds for the allotment of preferential credits for individual builders were allocated: 10 mln., grivnas for resettlement of deportees, and 1,5 mln., grivnas by separate line.

The established land reserves bank and emergency fund necessary for repatriates were not participating in land sharing.

The Council of Ministers of Crimea forms a reserve of a professional community for the replacement of vacant posts in bodies of executive power, paying special attention to the inclusion of Crimean Tatars specialists in the professional community.

On 27 November 1999, the Council of Ministers considered the course of a realization of commissions of the President of Ukraine, acts of Government of Ukraine relating to a solution of the issues of Crimean Tatar People and adopted the appropriate resolution # 1991.

The draft state budget of Ukraine on 2000, moved by a Council of Ministers of Ukraine for Verkhovna Rada, plans to allot for realization of the measures connected with return of Crimean Tatar People and other nationalities, at the rate 40 mln. grivnas, including 31 mln. grivnas for investment and 9 mln. grivnas for development of social-cultural area.

It should however be noted that, a number of social-economical factors remain, which require urgent solution:

- Unemployment – 46,9 % Crimean Tatars have an unemployment level three times as high as the general level of unemployment in Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The largest critical situation arises in Bakchisaray – 51% are the unemployed, Sakskii (60,3%) and Leninsky (56,6%) regions, Yalta – 59,4%, Feodosiya – 53,6%, Sudak – 58,8%.

- bad conditions of infrastructure in places of compact living – 48,8% Crimean Tatars have no private habitation, providing the localities with living of Crimean Tatars by electric power constitutes 75%, water-supply – 27%, level of gas doesn’t exceed 3%, sewer and heat systems are practically lacking, providing of roads and solid covering is about 10%;

- Problems of medical provision. Analysis of serious illnesses has demonstrated that Crimean Tatars are the basic ”group of risk” for most illnesses: sickness rate of nervous system bone-muscular system is three times the mid-index in the autonomous region, oncological illnesses are 1,5 times as high as the average.

Taking into account a present economical situation in country, the government of Ukraine defined the priority directions of resettlement of repatriates, namely:

1) the appropriate financing of measures connected with the return and resettlement of deportees; 2) finishing of the started construction of housing, social-cultural projects and appropriate engineering structures;, a higher degree of commission time (50% and more); 3) housing provided for the deportees, including its ransom and preferential credit for individual house-building; 4) participation of deportees in the privatization of the private enterprises; 5) the provision of land for deportees; 6) provision of employment for repatriates.

On level with adoption of the priorities, Government of Ukraine realized a significant work connected with a search of funds from alternative sources, including from donor states, international organizations and foundations that in conditions of the reduction of a financing out of the State budget take on particular actuality.

Sum total of international assistance to deportees returned and living in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, for the last 3 years, constitutes over 10 mln., dollars (U.S.)


First of all, assistance of UNHCR (over 4 mln., dollars U.S.), UNPI (over 4 mln., dollars U.S.), Turkish Agency of International Development (TIKA) (about 1 mln., dollars U.S.), International Foundation ”Renaissance” (about 1,2 mln., dollars U.S.) and so on.

However this is not enough and it is thus necessary to find new donor states and international organizations and to set the appropriate contacts on bilateral base. Currently, about 50 drafts of a total sum about 10 mln. grivnas on attraction of the funds from international organizations and donors – states for defined goals under the orders of a Council of Ministers of Ukraine # 1991 from 27 October 1999, were prepared by the bodies of government jointly with NGOs. It is planned, to conduct in Kyiv II International donor conference on assistance to deported persons in Ukraine.


Political – legal area.


The most important issue in the political – legal area is an obtaining citizenship of Ukraine by deported peoples. After the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted the Law ”On Making changes and additions into Law of Ukraine” ”On citizenship of Ukraine” on 16 April 1997, which came into force from 20 May 1997, the procedure of obtaining citizenship was significantly simplified for a considerable number of deportees.

Another step in this direction became the Agreement ”On simplified procedure of giving citizenship of Uzbekistan up for Crimean Tatars” between Ukraine and Uzbekistan from 4 September 1998, under which the deportees and their progeny were exempted from obligatory duties necessary for affirmation of a belonging to citizenship of Ukraine.




The realization of this agreement jointly with local authorities promoted the increase of addresses of deported Crimean Tatars relating to the recognition of citizenship of Ukraine. Thus, if from 13 November 1991 till 1 September 1998, 7 500 deportees applied for a confirmation of their citizenship of Ukraine to bodies of Internal Affairs, from 1 September 1998 until 1 September 2000, 53 647 deportees and their progeny applied for that period of Agreement between Ukraine and Uzbekistan, or 86, 2 % of all deportees returned to Crimea from Uzbekistan after adoption the Law on citizenship by Republic of Uzbekistan.


However, in spite of the actual violations of the rights of repatriates to obtain a citizenship of Ukraine, a significant number of deported persons returned to Ukraine didn’t become citizens, because of an onerous procedure of relinquishment of citizenship of state of departure. Therefore the defined directions will be in permanent attention of the bodies of government.

Humanitarian area


The problem of a rebirth and development of education and culture of the former deported Crimean Tatars coming back for domicile to Ukraine is important as well. It is necessary to recognize that the appropriate consideration of the solution of urgent social issues has not been given. However, the present situation in the educational-cultural area of former deported peoples is gradually changing for the better.


”The Program of establishment and development of educational institutions, classes in Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar, schools and classes with two languages education” regulates the process of development of a national education (approved by resolution of Council of Ministers of Autonomous Republic of Crimea from 27.08.97 #260) that envisages the opening of 40 schools for Crimean Tatars to 2000. Currently there are 6 schools in Crimean Tatar, 2 – with two languages education, 53 classes in Crimean Tatar and 8 ones with two languages education.

For the realization of the Program of special training for national specialists, the Republican Commission (ARC) on the distribution of special directives, in 1999, gave 96 assignments of 15 professions to 15 Institutions of higher learning, including 88 ones for Crimean Tatars.

The Crimean State Industrial-Pedagogical Institution, Simferopol State University trains national specialists, which have the faculties of study the Crimean Tatar language and literatures, Turkish and Greek philology as well. Future teachers of the Crimean Tatar language study at the Simferopol Pedagogical Institute.

State Educational Institutions of the Ministry of Culture and Art train actors and producers, employers of clubhouses and libraries of number of Crimean Tatar young people. 40% pupils of Crimean Art College are Crimean Tatars.

The national editorial offices of telecast for Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks and Germans by State tele-radio company ”Krim” were established.

The religious life of Moslems of peninsula quickened and develops, in legal area of Ukraine, for years of independence. However, a sore issue in activity of majority of them staying a providing of religious buildings. The appropriate buildings for a providing of religious needs of believers lesser than half of them are Moslems. In Autonomous Republic of Crimea, for realization of decrees and directions of President of Ukraine, instructions of Council of Ministers, from 1995, passed to property or for using 54 mosques and built 15 new ones. Among them are the noble monuments of architecture and culture of Crimean Tatar People, as Khan-Dzhami in Evpatoriya and mosque of Uzbek in Starii Krim. According to recovery schedule of religious buildings which not using or besides the purpose, was made for realization of the direction of Council of Ministers of Ukraine from 7 May 1998, #290, in current year 11 mosques will be transmitted and still one in 2000. The allotment of lands for Moslem cemeteries will be regulated and controlled by local authorities


However a number of issues in humanitarian area not find the practical realization. Besides, forming a social-economical situation doesn’t allow finding an opportunity for restoration of the material and technical base of national schools, medical programs, books and other literature in Crimean Tatar lost during deportation or construction of new one.

                The Crimean Tatar music – dramatic theatre enjoying wide popularity among Crimean Tatars is required a financing, because is a dangerous structure, all works on its reconstruction because of lack of funds was stopped. It is required a solution of issues relating to stable financing of State budget and partially Republican for program of restoration and development of the monuments of history, culture and architecture of Crimean Tatars.

Taking into account aforesaid, should admit, that didn’t make a legal rehabilitation of the victims of national sign, the issues connected with return, resettlement and restoration of the rights of deported peoples legally were not regulated, that for one’s turn, complicate a solution of their integration into Ukraine. Existing conditions, and not sufficient financing of a resettlement of former deported peoples, who returned to Ukraine, are a reason of a social – economical and political tension in separate regions of Ukraine, including Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In this connection, a constant attention and solution of general, urgent issues of former deported peoples by Council of Ministers, and Parliament of Ukraine is a security of peace and harmony in our state.







Borys Parakhonsky, Doctor of Philosophic Science





            Crimea is a strategically important region of the south-eastern foreign policy orientations of Ukraine and a key juncture of the pathways to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Losing control over Crimea would greatly jeopardize the Ukrainian State’s national security and national interests. The Crimean problem gains in importance far beyond the frames of the domestic situation in Ukraine. As to the restoration of Crimea’s autonomy, Ukraine has given up its own interests to a considerable extent, in favor of external forces, but at the same time it continues to bear responsibility for the region’s stability and security.

                Since 1745, Crimea belonged to the Ottoman Empire, and since 1772 it was formally independent. Empress Katherine II’s Manifesto of April 8, 1783 finally joined Crimea to the Russian Empire. In the period 1917-1920 revolutionary events, the Bolsheviks' government established the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in the membership of the Russian Federation, which existed until 1945. In 1954, Crimea was transferred to Ukraine as an ordinary oblast; for reasons of economic management. The later claims of the Russians on Crimea have no legal basis because the act of transfer was in compliance with the laws of the USSR.

                Equally, the calls of Crimean separatists to create an independent sovereignty do not also have enough substantial reasons, as the “Russian-speaking” population does not form a separate ethnic community. The presence of a large number of ethnic Russians in Crimea also cannot be a sufficient ground for creation of a local statehood, as in that case one should speak about the entire South-Eastern region, and other regions of Ukraine, where many Russians live as well. Thus, it concerns the identity of the Ukrainian state as a whole: should it be Ukrainian or should it belong to Russia? But such a question is out of place and would be impertinent here.

                The Crimean Tatar factor should be recognized as the single legal grounds for the creation of Crimean autonomy. The long history of the Crimean Khanate contributed to ethnic consolidation and led to the formation of the particular Crimean Tatars’ ethnic entity. However, its historical destiny under the conditions of the Russian – Soviet Empire was rather tragic, and its right for self-determination was not duly taken into account during the great upheavals of the 20th century. The growing number of the migrants from Ukraine and Russia, and, on the other hand, the Crimean Tatars’ migration to Turkey in the 18th-19th centuries created a situation where an exclusively ethnic statehood might turn into a tool for suppressing new migrants, who constituted the main part of the population in Crimean towns and significantly contributed to the economic modernization of the peninsula.

                Therefore, when in 1918-1920 a real opportunity for the creation of Crimean autonomy emerged, the presence of the Crimean Tatar ethnic entity, with certain state and cultural traditions, was the main justification for it. But the nature of such autonomy could not be entirely ethnic. Crimea’s autonomy can only exist as a means for co-ordination of the interests of the Crimean Tatars and other ethnic groups of the population of the peninsula. As soon as the Crimean Tatars were deported, the necessity for such autonomy had fallen away and Crimea turned into an ordinary region. However, with the Crimean Tatars' return, the objective need for autonomy is again emerging, as the situation of 1918-1920 is being replicated.

The creation of an entirely ethnic autonomy in Crimea is virtually impossible, no matter how much some Crimean Tatar politicians wished to obtain it. Existence of Crimean autonomy without the Crimean Tatars is impossible at all, no matter how much some "Russian-speaking" politicians long for it. Thus, an appropriate consolidating ideology of co-existence is required, which reflects the interests of the different strata of the population of Crimea. And such ideology can be formed only proceeding from the appropriate comprehension of the objective nature of the Crimean statehood paradigm.

                A system of local self-government should have been built, as a matter of fact, proceeding from an understanding of the character of Crimean autonomy; i.e., to provide the Crimean Tatar ethnic group with significant rights within the republican structures. As we know, this has not taken place owing to the local political elite’s aspirations for unlimited autonomy, and on account of insufficient attention to Crimean problems on the part of Kyiv. Although opportunities for certain amendments to the status of Crimea still remain, and are conditioned upon the appropriate approach of Kyiv towards the adoption of a new Constitution for the Crimean Republic.

The new constitution complies with the interests of Ukraine and with the interests of the stability and security in the whole Black Sea region to keep to the strategy of forming a legitimate Crimean autonomy.

                No matter how many myths are created around “Khrushchev’s gift”, the transfer of Crimea from the Russian Federation to Ukraine in 1954, but within the contemporary context it should be recognized that such a state of affairs turned out to be safer and more acceptable for the post-Soviet period. If Crimea had continued to be under Moscow’s guardianship, the Crimean Tatars’ resettlement, which started on the eve of the collapse of the USSR, would have had the same spontaneous and disorderly nature; and the Moscow power establishment, engaged in domestic affairs and disposed to solving conflicts by force, undoubtedly would have provoked another Chechnya, which would have brought to destruction all the economy of the peninsula as well as caused a considerable outflow of the “Russian-speaking” population to the South of Ukraine.

As a consequence, the Crimean Tatar people would have been either completely exterminated or established an Islamic fundamentalist state, because this type of national consolidation is capable of withstanding a great power’s military interference, as can be seen in Afghanistan or Chechnya.

Such a state would have obviously found itself in geopolitical isolation and be a center of international terrorism and the drug business, a center for criminal elements from the whole territory of the former USSR. Thus, a much greater danger to both Ukrainian and Russian national security would have been generated. In such conditions, even the joining of Crimea to Turkey would have been a lesser evil, because, at least, a certain order would exist in Crimea.

            The belonging of Crimea to Ukraine effectively reduced the tension in the peninsula. Kyiv authorities, occupied by the problems of state-building, were not advocates of force. Therefore, they were compelled to agree with creation of Crimean autonomy, in such a way, as to localize the increasing internal conflict between the local population and Crimean Tatar returnees. On the other hand, it was a concession to the Crimean separatists, who were aiming at the return of Crimea back to Moscow's guardianship.

So to say, the mutual neutralization of the opposed parties took place, and the conflict did not take on a serious scale. At the same time, Kiev received a strategic benefit, because it occupied the position of an outside arbiter, to which the both parties apply and defer. And though this factor in no way facilitated  the solving of the peninsula’s problems, “the game of expectations” did its part in preventing conflict’s further escalation, by virtue of the time factor.

            Various sociological inquiries and the results of the elections to local bodies of the government of Crimea testify to the presence of certain separatist tendencies in this region. However, it rather indicates a dominant "pro-Union" mentality of the autonomy's population, rather than the population's desire for a separate nation. The population’s discontent, connected with the general economic crisis in Ukraine, also contributed to this. The population does not see realistic prospects for the improvement of its welfare, and has certain illusions that the situation can be improved as a result of changing the status of Crimea. In the light of the economic difficulties, the legal field is being destroyed; political and/or economic terrorism is increasing; the fight for political influence between different groups of local elite is escalating.

The ethnic-political aspect of the issue. Two opposite concepts of vision of the Crimean Tatar issue can be distinguished. The difference between them is rooted in the basic definition: are the Crimean Tatars a separate people, a nation, entitled to its own territory and its own political life with all the ensuing consequences, up to the right to establish an independent state, or should the Crimean Tatars be treated as an ethnic minority, an ethnic entity, along with other ethnic groups that live in Ukraine, and then their rights include only ensuring an ethnic-cultural autonomy and equal civil rights.

            Both concepts have their proponents and opponents, both are connected with rather serious arguments and substantiation, caused by the interests and goals of certain political forces. The ways to solve a problem are sorted out according to the accepted model of seeing a problem. In the former case, emphasis is placed on the people’s political rights, the latter approach focuses on social-economic issues.

            It is obvious that the Crimean Tatars consider themselves an individual nation which has the right for political self-determination. This concept is historically substantiated. For a long time there existed a feudal state ruled by the Crimean Tatar Khans, and though it was autonomous within the Ottoman Empire, nevertheless it molded rather durable experience of political and national life, with its memories still influencing modern Crimean Tatar politicians.

            At the First Kurultai (People’s Assembly) of the Crimean Tatar people on June 29, 1991 a list of the Crimean Tatar movement’s objectives was put forward. In addition to the tasks, related with elimination of the genocide consequences, with making steps towards the return and resettlement of the Crimean Tatars in their historical homeland, with rebirth of the ethnic culture, the task was set also to restore the Crimean Tatar people’s national and political rights and exercise their right for free national-statehood and self-determination on their national territory.

            In 1991 this formula appeared utopian enough and was meant rather to serve as a banner for a new consolidation of the Crimean Tatar people around it under the conditions which followed their political rehabilitation and the 1944 deportation act’s condemnation, with the onset of the full-scale process of the Crimean Tatars' return to Crimea. And though later, in order to prevent conflicts between local and Kyiv movers and shakers, this slogan was deleted as the final goal of the political strife.  Nonetheless, this formula revealed a rather high level of self-consciousness of the Crimea Tatar people and its political elite.

            The other position, which views the Crimean Tatars as an ethnic minority, is virtually fixed in Ukraine’s legal environment. It is held both by the local Crimean politicians and Kyiv authorities.  It is Ukraine’s official stance on the issue. Ukraine’s legislation on ethnic minorities is rather well developed and fully meets the ethnic minorities’ national and cultural rights. It is believed that there are no particular grounds to single out the Crimean Tatars from among other ethnic groups living in Ukraine. Moreover, it is stressed that Ukraine devotes much more attention to the Crimean Tatar people than other ethnic minorities, and carries, virtually single-handed, the entire burden of the Crimean Tatar returnees’ accommodation, though Ukraine is in no way responsible for the deportation act just for that simple reason that Crimea joined Ukraine several years later.

            Moscow’s political circles, that are oriented towards the local “Russian-speaking” population in Crimea, also advocate that position. The arsenal of arguments in its support is traced down to the denial of  the Crimean Tatars’ rights for Crimea’s territory and establishment of their own State, as historically unsubstantiated.

Appeals to the times of Crimean Tatar Khans are regarded as unjustified, the same as all similar historical arguments, for otherwise it would be necessary to change a lot on today’s map of the world, leading to great conflicts. So, it would be proper to proceed from those realities, which have developed. It is also noted that in addition to the Crimean Tatars, other peoples were also deported from Crimea in different times - Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians, Germans - who have rights to the territory, too. The Crimean Tatars’ cultural and ethnic identity is not questioned by anyone, however, they are recognized as just one of the ethnic minorities and nothing more.

            On the whole, notwithstanding the ideological background, this position is distinguished with a certain degree of pragmatism: it is necessary to deal with the accommodation process and economy, to seek a rise in people’s living standards to a level of decency, leaving apart political games of any kind. This model essentially denies that the seizure of power is the way to a better life.

            Between these two extreme stands one can find moderate ones, which are milder and based on compromise. One of them tends to the dominant position and is tied to the recognition of the Crimean Tatar’s right for ethnic-territorial autonomy. In this case it is possible to preserve the Ukrainian State’s integrity, while partly realizing the Crimean Tatar people’s right for self-determination.

            True, it should be admitted that the establishment of the Crimea’s autonomy in the 20s and 30s was scarcely substantiated without consideration of the Crimean Tatars, who had formed their rather influential national movement in the years of the Russian revolution.

Nevertheless, the real state of affairs is the “Russian-speaking” population’s dominance in Crimea, a weighty enough argument against making the Crimean Autonomous Republic ethnic-specific. Properly speaking, it is not a case of Russians or Ukrainians in Crimea, rather a “Russian-speaking” population, a specific extra-ethnic category, composed of the post-war migrants from all over the USSR.

This dominant stratum of  the Crimean population might be more aptly called with the former title “Soviet people,” because it is rather mixed and incorporates not only ethnic Russians or Ukrainians. It is hardly formed by ideas, raised upon either Russian or Ukrainian nationalism, and it is rather easy to cause a nostalgia for the former times of relative welfare and peace, which, by the way, is successfully exploited by the pro-Communist propaganda.

The Russian nationalist-patriots have been also increasing their efforts toward turning Crimea into a purely Russian national autonomy with the constant threat of separation. So far, their actions have not scored any significant success.

It may be assumed that the Crimean republic, in prospect, can assume the nature of an ethnic-territorial autonomy, given the demographic balance there radically changing in favor of the Crimean Tatars. It may be either as a result of this ethnic entity’s fast natural growth, or as a result of a new massive tide of migration, including also the Crimean Tatars from Turkey. In the former case the process would require a rather long time, several generations, and that would allow to fulfill the idea of the Crimean Tatars’ tolerant incorporation in the Ukrainian society. In the latter case a situation would appear, very much similar to the formation of the Israeli State, and that would be fraught with serious conflicts.

            Another intermediate position proceeds from defining the Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people. This notion is present in the Constitution of Ukraine. An indigenous people is viewed as a kind of ethnic minority, which demands special legal mechanisms for exercising its rights. The special laws and legal norms of the International Law determine its particular status and relationships with the State. This position is meant for reconciling the idea of the Crimean Tatar people’s special self-identity with its actual legal definition as an ethnic minority. Thus, it allows to partly meet the Crimean Tatars’ national ambitions without violating Ukraine’s current laws and legal norms.

            The documents, which were adopted by the all-people’s assembly of the Crimean Tatars (Kurultai) in 1997, among the basic guidelines of the newly elected ruling body of the Crimean Tatar movement, Mejlis, stated the task to press for the recognition of the Crimean Tatar people as the indigenous people, and to stand for Crimea’s status as a national-territorial autonomy within Ukraine, based on the Crimean Tatar people’s inalienable right to self-determination.

            It should be noted here that compromises are a good thing, but very often they serve as mere tactical tools to settle the most acute discrepancies. The dominant trend is toward favoring one of the two previous models, that is the right to statehood or an ethnic minority’s rights.

            By-and-large, the existent ethnic-political situation in Crimea may be described as a certain fluctuant movement around some neutral point, which is accepted by the majority: "the Crimean Tatars are an ethnic minority with the special historical and cultural rights in the Crimean context". And all other trends of conceptualization stem from this, according with political interests and priorities.

            In the domain of politics, the most burning issue is the official recognition of Mejlis as the authorized representative body of the Crimean Tatar people. The task of defining the Mejlis within Ukraine’s legal environment was set, in a clear-cut manner, by the 1996 Kurultai among the Crimean Tatar movement's’ topmost priorities.

            The Crimean Tatar political elite sees such recognition as a guarantee for further solving all other problems relating to the Crimean Tatars’ accommodation and development as a nation, while the opponents of the Mejlis's recognition notice here increasing efforts in the direction of forming an independent Crimean Tatar State in prospect. Thus, the very fact of raising the issue of the Mejlis’s recognition makes the two opposing stands clash about the alternative: are the Crimean Tatars a nation or an ethnic minority? In other words, is it worth to convey the Crimean Tatar problem into the political sphere or should the possibilities for its solution be restricted within the ethnic-cultural dimension?


The Ideology Notion of "Returning".

            As a result of the Crimean Tatars’ deportation on May 18-19, 1944, a total of 238,500 persons were evicted, 46 percent of whom perished in the deportation places. The basic underlying reason for the deportation was the entire people’s collective responsibility for “collaboration with the (German) invaders.”

Paradoxically, this fact indirectly testifies to recognition of the Crimean Tatars as a nation by the then USSR’s rulers. The act of genocide actually contributed to the Crimean Tatars’ greater consolidation, as a nation that is persecuted.

Under the forced exile conditions (most of them were deported to Uzbekistan), they were banned from leaving their places of settlement, and violations entailed criminal prosecution.

Even after the totalitarian regime somewhat weakened its tight grip with the 1956 Edict by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium “On Withdrawing the Restrictions in Regard to the Crimean Tatars’ Special Settlement,” declaring as “inexpedient” further detention of the Crimean Tatars’ in the special settlements, nevertheless, the ban remained in regard to their return to Crimea, and no compensation was provided for the loss of the property.

The restrictions themselves fixed the Crimean Tatars’ integrity as a people, preventing them from being eroded and naturally mixed with the local population.

            When an ethnic group is placed in exceptional conditions: either in a favored position (as, for instance, the Russians) or in a discriminated, in other words, when it is politically alienated out of the general environment, then the process of national consolidation inevitably intensifies. The ethnic entity starts searching for political mechanisms to safeguard its rights, and accordingly the national self-consciousness is being formed. In the '60-'80-s the Crimean Tatar national movement emerged, which triggered the persecutions on the part of the authorities, and thus a new strengthening of the consolidation processes.

            The first massive protest actions in all the areas where the Crimean Tatars resided were held during the celebrations, which marked the 45th anniversary of the Crimean Autonomous Republic’s establishment. In September 1967 activists of the Crimean Tatar movement convened a clandestine congress in Leninabad. The movement’s leaders established contacts with liberal intellectuals, who supported the movement of human rights advocacy (Ukrainian General P. Grygorenko’s role was significant in this process), and, through them, with the global community. As a result, the Edict was adopted by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium in 1967, which generally rehabilitated the Crimean Tatar people, though its right to return to Crimea was hushed down.

            In the so-called Perestroika years, when the totalitarian regime’s pressure significantly eased, a new tide of the Crimean Tatar movement came. The Crimean Tatars’ demonstration in Moscow on June 20, 1987 evoked compassion and caused wide resonance in the State. The Soviet State’s leaders started to deal with the Crimean Tatar problems as worrying about the Soviet Union’s international image.

            In November 1989 the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted the Declaration “On Recognizing As Illegal and Criminal the Reprisal Acts Against the Peoples Subjected to Forcible Deportation and On Securing Their Rights.” The Crimean Regional Soviet Executive Committee adopted a resolution to allot 8,400 land lots to the Crimean Tatars. It was from that moment that the massive, but poorly controlled, process of resettlement of thousands of Crimean Tatars returning to Ukraine’s Crimean Region.

            The demand for implementation of the Crimean Tatars’ right to return to Crimea has become the paramount consolidating idea that the emerging Crimean Tatar political elite was armed with. And the issue was raised in regard to the return of the people, not separate social groups who survived 1944 victimization and the subsequent period of exile. As a matter of fact, few of the deportees have survived a half a century. The problem more involved the victims’ descendants, who, after the repressive limitations were cancelled, could rather fully enjoy the civil rights on par with other population groups in the Central Asiatic republics.

            How genuine their desire to return to Crimea was, it is sometimes a dubious matter. For the moving process is always painful and it is connected with hardships in adjusting to new dwelling environments, with difficulties and losses. Moreover, the migrants could presume that they will not be warmly welcomed at all by the local population in a new place of living, and that their arrival will be met with suspicion by local authorities, unprepared to efficiently solve the problems which did not occur before.

            All these factors suggest that the idea of returning had to be appealing and potent enough to prompt large masses of people to leave their habitual places of living.

            In the typologically similar situation the “return” of Jews to their historical homeland was substantiated by the German Nazis’ massive reprisals, with millions of Jews having been exterminated and many having emigrated and seeing no reason to come back to the former places of living. The ideological seeds of “returning” in that case found a rather fertile soil, with the post-war international situation facilitating the idea’s materialization, too.

But what were the grounds that the idea of the Crimean Tatars’ return to Crimea could rely on ? Hopes for a better future could hardly be a strong enough motivation. Rather, the memories about the past reprisals played their instrumental role, along with hopes for the people’s statehood, historical and cultural memories of Crimea’s landscapes, and so on.

The idea of “returning” was, in fact, the Crimean Tatars’ response to the challenge to their historical existence as a people, a response to the act of genocide and subsequent reprisals, mirroring the people’s strife for preserving their dignity and significance, all of which could not be possible to materialize outside the Crimean context.

            The fact that the return motivation was based on the understandable feeling of protest against the 1944 genocide act may be attested by the fact that the migration drive did not at all involve the Crimean Tatars who live in Turkey. So, obviously more powerful motives were necessary than the “restitution of historical justice.” It could not altogether excluded that in a more distant future the idea of a strong Crimean Tatar State may become the propellant, and in that case the Crimean Tatar problem is certain to assume quite a new qualitative dimension.

            As of January 1, 1998, a total of 262,800 ex-deportees returned to the Crimean Autonomous Republic. According to the Crimean Interior Agency, the number included 259,000 Crimean Tatars and 3,800 Armenians, Bulgarians, Greeks and Germans. As figures by the Crimean State Committee for matters of nationalities and ex-deportees suggest, up to 220,000-250,000 Crimean Tatars remain outside Crimea, and the figures basically coincide with estimates by the Mejlis.

However, there are other estimations provided by experts at the Crimean sociological service Krym Sotsis who applied different survey techniques, which suggest that the aggregate number of Crimean Tatars within the CIS boundaries does not exceed 350,000. There is also an opinion about thousands of Crimean Tatars holding permanent or interim residence permits, living in Crimea, but having no Ukrainian citizenship (they are formally citizens of other countries, primarily Uzbekistan).

In some surveys the number of Crimean Tatars is calculated twice, based on the numbers of those holding residence permits and those who possess Ukrainian citizenship. A special term emerged, the so-called “seasonal Tatars,” as many of the Crimean Tatars appear in Crimea for periods, necessary to build dwellings. It is practically impossible to establish who of these Tatars are from Crimea or from among the deportees’ descendants. As of today, the legal notion of the “deported peoples” exists which effectively covers all individuals who belong to the listed nationalities living on the CIS territory....

As of today, the share of the deported citizens in the population of the Crimean Autonomous Republic (barring Sevastopol) has reached 11.9 percent. In the districts of Bakhchisarai, Kirovsk, Pervomaisk, Radyansky, Dzhankoi and Simferopol it ranges between 20 percent and 25 percent, while in the Bilogirsk district it is estimated at 33 percent of the total populace.

            Since 1991, funding of the measures, connected with the ex-deportees’ return and accommodation, has been almost exclusively made at the expense of the funds, allotted from  the national budget of Ukraine. Regrettably, the budget allotments for this purpose have been continuously shrinking. And even the scarce available means have not always been properly disposed of. This has resulted in sluggish rates of social infrastructure development, which has been slowing the housing construction effort.

The current legislation still imposes certain legal barriers, which impede the obtaining of Ukrainian citizenship by the Crimean Tatar returnees. At present, 64,000 Crimean Tatars do not have citizenship. Absence of citizenship, in its turn, bars the Crimean Tatar returnees from participation in privatization, elections, civil service, from joining queues for receipt of dwelling, education, etc.

            Crimea’s Autonomy and Prospects for Further Evolution of the Crimean Tatar Idea. The very existence of an autonomous territorial entity within the framework of a unitary national state is a paradox. Equally illusory are all opinions about the “multinational Crimean people’ which are obviously meant for a gullible public. Actually, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) is a Russian-speaking post-Union semi-state formation which resulted from an unfavorable to Ukraine compromise of interests of Moscow’s and Kyiv’s political elite.

The ARC’s existence cannot be explained by the great number of Russian residents, since in many other regions of Ukraine the proportions of ethnic Russians are greater, though no one seriously raises an issue of setting up new autonomies, say, in Donetsk or Lugansk.

            The sole justification of Crimean autonomy’s existence is precisely the Crimean Tatar factor. Yet the CAR’s was established neither as an ethnic-territorial autonomy nor to serve the Crimean Tatars’ interests. Rather, it should be recognized that it was established precisely for countering the migration movement under the conditions of the situation, when neither Moscow nor Kyiv, both preoccupied with their problems, could deal with the Crimean Tatars.

On the other hand, the CAR creation was a pre-emptive step to prevent the Crimean Tatar returnees from demanding their ethnic-territorial autonomy after their return. Viewed from this angle, the Crimean Autonomous Republic was a peculiar tool to strengthen the local power response to the expected results of the return.  Partly it was an instrument towards self-organization of the Crimean Russian-speaking population to safeguard their material and political interests.

            As can be seen, “historical justice” has its limits, too. Sometimes attempts to return to the past grow into new acts of “historical injustice” in regard of the current state of affairs.

            However historically justified the foundation of Israeli State may be, the coin’s other side is the extreme injustice towards the Palestinian people. A similar situation might have occurred, if a purely ethnic by its nature Crimean Tatar State had been established.

So, it would be much better to put aside all these arguments in support of historical justice. The Russophone population’s dominance in Crimea’s authority bodies cannot be accepted, either. The correct view of Crimea’s autonomy would be as a mechanism to solve conflicts and disputes and balance the interests of the Crimean Tatars and those of the local population, a tool towards the Crimean Tatars’ tolerant integration into the system of Ukraine’s civic society.

            Should the CAR be unable to perform this paramount function, the issue could be raised about the expediency of its further existence.

            Really, the Crimean Tatars’ ethnic rights as an ethnic minority can fully be met through the Kyiv central authority’s mechanisms. Based on the active mechanisms for adjusting interests of the Crimean population’s various strata, an ideology may be formed of co-existence of diverse ethnic entities, which will facilitate the situation’s stabilization and will reduce the probability of undesirable processes surfacing to jeopardize Ukraine’s national interests.

Regrettably, certain aspects of the situation’s analysis fail to give solid grounds for optimism with regard to the likelihood of such mechanisms shortly being created in Crimea. This is primarily connected with the conflict situations which have repeatedly developed over the past years between the Crimean Tatars and Crimea’s local authorities. Such conflicts but mirror Crimea’s profound inherent discrepancies.

            Certain processes in the Crimean Tatar society’s development cannot but cause apprehensions as inviting to dual interpretation of these as the natural processes of the Crimean Tatars’ ethnic-cultural revival and as the Crimean Tatars boosting their political potential. Risks are high of the Crimean society and the Crimean Tatar community embarking on parallel or non-convergent development modes, which may really result in a  major conflict.

            Vis-a-vis the deepening economic crisis and inability to solve elementary problems of survival, with proprietary rights fixed by active legislation not meaningfully enough, and the CAR’s citizens equally lacking adequate legal protection, the probability is high for extending the influence of the ideological postulate which specifies that the Crimean Tatar people is Crimea’s sole sovereign vested with the priority right to the peninsula’s riches, such as lands, water, mineral deposits, facilities, etc.

            While admitting the historical legality of the “Crimean Tatar idea,” which is focused on the “returning” concept, it would be too naive to think that, once the Crimean Tatars complete their return and settlement in Crimea, the idea will discontinue its evolution toward incorporating new dominants and values instead of the returning idea, which has materialized.

It would be very consistent on the part of the Crimean Tatars to make next step toward developing a national consolidation ideology, aimed at gradually forming a Crimean Tatar State, the ultimate mode of self-determination.

            And though, for the time being, the Crimean Tatar movement’s leaders a voice no such desire, Ukrainian analysts are strongly recommended to scrutinize this scenario, as well. And it is not the issue of whether such trends and intentions really exist, overtly or covertly, within the Crimean Tatar movement, among its leaders or allies abroad.

The present Crimean Tatar elite have been manifestly demonstrating their loyalty to the Ukrainian State. Rather, the issue should be raised as a question: is it create a Crimean Tatar State and under what conditions could this hypothetical idea be embodied in the politicians’ real slogans and actions ?

            If this is impossible, then suspicions and apprehensions which have been voiced by quite a few analysts, may be interpreted as a deliberately concocted myth behind which there are certain political forces, who are interested in provoking tensions in relations between Kyiv and Bakhchisarai, Kyiv and Ankara. Let us assume, though, that it is not a myth and attempt at scientifically modeling the hypothetical situation. And let us hope for the Crimean Tatars’ due understanding of the attempt.

            True enough, such an ideology is quite probable to be assumed by the Crimean Tatars, if they perceive themselves as a nation, rather than an ethnic minority. A nation’s political development quite logically leads to the need of securing the right to determine their destiny on their own. Besides, after some time, changes may be expected within the Crimean Tatar political elite, with a new generation of leaders surfacing, who were basically trained in schools and colleges of the southern limitrophe state and who may hold far more radical views and cherish freedom-loving aspirations, as is normally inherent in youth.

            Very often utterances have been made about the Mejlis as presently playing the role of the Crimean parallel government, the government of the Crimean Tatars, with all the necessary departments and divisions. It should be taken into account that the Crimean Tatar movement is something more than just a political party, though it would be not quite correct to appraise it in national-legal terms.

One may labor under a misapprehension that within Crimea’s self-government system some elements of the Crimean Tatar people’s statehood are being deliberately instilled. In reality, there is the Crimean Tatars’ autonomous self-government system with its vertical managerial structure: the Mejlis, district Mejlises and village Mejlises. This organisational mode allows the Mejlis to pursue its policies and exercise control over the Crimean Tatar movement. The Mejlis runs its own media, including radio and tv channels and the press. Another peculiarity of the Crimean Tatar societal organization is in facilitating and fostering multitudinous associations along professional and other lines.

            With the Ukrainian State’s ceding its ground, more favorable environments may evolve to feed such intentions and sentiments, particularly in the international context. And even with today’s demographic balance in Crimea, the Crimean Tatar radicals may well raise the issue of a new “restoration of historical justice,” styled after the year 1783. Should this happen, Ukraine, as usual, might find itself in total international isolation, with no external moral and material support, and very likely to be branded as the oppressor of other peoples. It might be assumed, as well, that to “rescue” the situation and defend the Russophone population in Crimea Russian “peacekeeping contingents” could be sent on a mission there to thus prologue Crimea’s incorporation in the Russian Federation.

            The region’s problems, if viewed from the geopolitical angle, make it necessary to pinpoint yet another subject who is not interested in the Crimean Tatar people’s integration into the Ukrainian society and in looking for ways to achieve understanding between Mejlis leaders and the Ukrainian state. The subject is the Russian vector of influence on the regional processes. Considering its own specific interests, this vector, though with certain reservations, may be divided into several components, that is, the Russian Federation (the leadership, special services, political parties, economic clans, etc.), the Black Sea Fleet and Crimea’s pro-Russian political forces.

            Retaining Russia’s control over Black Sea regional developments requires its consolidated footing in the Crimean peninsula (the paramount naval base in Sevastopol).. This problem assumes particular significance from the angle of promising projects for transportation of Caspian oil, particularly following Russia having to cede some ground in the South Caucasus. The need to consolidate Russia’s stand also stems from the ongoing process of NATO’s enlargement, as the “second wave” will most likely include some Black sea countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria.

            With the Crimean Tatars’ problems remaining unregulated, official Russia may feel entitled, if its relations with Ukraine worsen, to solve two intertwined problems, that is, supporting Crimea’s ethno-political situation as misbalanced as it is, in case Kiev raised the issue of the BSF or Sevastopol in too harsh a language, and creating an atmosphere of suspicions between Ukraine and Turkey with a view of objectively increasing Russia’s geopolitical weight in the Black Sea Region.

            Chechnya’s example shows how difficult, if not altogether impossible, is the task of coping with a people who are determined to fight to the last toward their national independence, and who receive sizeable material and moral support from abroad.

            However, under Crimea’s conditions a Chechen-style scenario might result in Crimea’s total secession, which would be economically inexpedient, or in forming enclaves of warring communities, such as those in Lebanon or Cyprus. However improbable this scenario may appear, even less probable ones have been witnessed by modern history.

            The big question is whether Ukraine is prepared to weather such historical contingencies. And should Ukraine step up its defense effort in the South? Or, maybe, it would be more appropriate to work out more favorable strategies.

            The Crimean Tatar problem is among those on which Ukraine’s domestic and foreign political situation hinges. This is connected with the Crimean Tatar factor’s may lead to the potential conflict. On the other hand, taking into account this factor may play an essential stabilizing role in the Crimean situation, which is very significant from the angle of Ukraine’s national security.

            The myths of the Islamic menace, the Mejlis as the shadow power of an extremist nature, a massive exodus of Crimean Tatars from Turkey looming on the horizon, harbor vast negative potential as influencing the Ukrainian political elite’s orientation. Ukraine has neglected its own national interests in virtually rejecting real support from and any dialogue with its natural ally in Crimea, the pro-Ukrainian Crimean Tatar political elite. Fears of the hypothetical and mythical Islamic threat may turn into the very real menace of totally losing Crimea.

The Crimean Tatar separatists’ vocal opposition to the Mejlis, attempts to exploit the “second power” myth, all these result from the Mejlis being viewed as a real and strong enemy, which prevents the separatists from materializing their intentions.

            Utterances about all nationalities in Crimea being equal and about this presupposing no grounds to single out some ethnic entity, and about Crimea having been historically populated by many of ethnic groups, etc., all these are but speculations, meant for exploiting ignorance and for virtually perpetuating the “Russophone” factor in Crimea.

            The Principles of the Problem’s Solution. New realities of modernity have highlighted the need for a more comprehensive approach to rethinking and understanding Ukraine’s developmental problems in the context of existent situations and in terms of likely strategies for the near future.

            A study into the balance of and interactions between the situations in Crimea and Ukraine as a whole allows to see a complex and controversial picture of diverse trends, which are deeply rooted in the past’s mentality patterns and which may be connected, as well, with hopes for renewal and aspirations toward being adequately involved in the global civilization processes.

            It would be important in this connection to outline certain points in the public’s vision of the situation which lead to realistic prospects for the future. Such an approach is particularly significant in view of the assumption that despite all the differences among the models of a desirable future, which are being supported by political forces in Crimea, there is still some commonly shared ground in the vast space of existent probabilities, with regard to values and contents, which it would be prudent to use as a nucleus for drafting strategies of further development.

            The parties may argue without finding some common understanding with regard to the past, but what concerns the future is need for a solution by seeking for common ground and agreement. Otherwise we would be compelled to sacrifice prudence for the sake of emotions and that would result in an impasse. The examples are within easy reach. The lasting Israeli-Arab conflict testifies to the fact that problems are easily generated by mutual reluctance to cede one’s ground and then are very hard to solve without resorting to radical means.

            The nature of the current situation in Ukraine and Crimea can hardly be explained through applying simple explanations to very complex and unique processes. Quite often, the causes are seen in the actions and motives of political leaders, parties, and movements. However, it is clear that difficult economic conditions could provide a footing for the regions’ succession, where ethic and cultural tensions could take the fore.

            Crimea’s autonomy emerged as a response to forces which were oriented toward preserving the former USSR’s structures, with heavy reliance on the Soviet individual’s mentality, yet partly in connection with the existent social-cultural situation, including its manifest polyethnic nature.


            In the present situation the old order’s restoration is possible only through the use of force. Equally unacceptable is the road which is proposed by radical nationalism and which, again, implies the use of force.  So, the most acceptable is the way of civilized and conflict-free progress toward the establishment of new realities, which are constructed in line with everlasting human values and rights.  That is life, freedom, prosperity for every individual whatever his/her nationality or confession may be. Here may be an area where various interests converge on some common points and where joint efforts may be applied. It would be good to part with the illusions that some outsiders may carry the burden of these problems, be they the Russians or the West, or the global community at large. The main burden of responsibility lies on the citizens themselves.

            Being aware of this fundamental thing may stimulate development of regional and national self-identity, focused primarily on understanding one’s own interests and formed through the process of searching for ways toward optimally achieving these. The role of culture is great, too, as it poses as a form of self-organization and an instrument of molding the people’s mentality, and in this capacity it serves as a basis for motivating the people’s behavior and making vital decisions. Under the conditions of a polycultural society the processes of deepened mutual understanding among various cultural environments assume particular significance, for, without relinquishing its own identity, each culture can be enriched through these interactions and share its own attainments with others.

            In today’s situation, Crimea is faced with the necessity of making a strategic choice from among three options:

a)      the restoration of mentality patterns of the past, and conservation of its specificity and self-identity, probably on a more modern level;

b)      the population’s maximal and full involvement in modern mass culture, which poses as a representative of modern mentality;

c)      forming new structures of identity which would focus on all-national interests.

These trends really exist in our life, interact with each other and will continue manifesting themselves, but the choice is in determining the mainstream dominant, on which, in the final analysis, will determine if an integrated society will or won’t exist in Ukraine.










Oleksandr Piskun, Center for Migration Studies, editor-in-chief, Problems of Migration magazine


Crimean Tatar People’s Integration Into Ukrainian Society: Modern Problems of Political-Legal Regulation




            In May 1944 the Stalin regime carried out a mass deportation of the entire Crimean Tatar people; about 200,000 people were deported to Uzbekistan, some areas in Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Tajikistan and Russia. In the summer of 1944 similar deportation actions involved Crimean Bulgarians, Armenians, and Greeks, with the total number of deportees estimated at roughly 38,000. Back in 1941 the ethnic German population was deported from Ukraine (over 450,000 ethnic Germans and non-German family members). Ethnic Ukrainians, particularly residents of West Ukraine, were repeatedly deported, too.

            All those deportation acts along ethnic identity lines were performed in keeping with decisions by state authority bodies at various levels, largely on the extra-judicial basis. The forms in which those deportation acts were carried out, were extremely cruel, resulting in massive loss of human lives, with those who survived having to eke, for many years, wretched and inhumane existence as outlaws and outcasts. However, over all those years the deportees were fighting for restitution of their rights, primarily the right to return to their ancestral homeland. In 1956, following the 20th congress of the CPSU, reprisals against the Balkars, Ingushes, Kalmyks, Karachaevs, Chechens were recognized as illegal, and the victims were allowed to come back home. The fight was forty-year long for the Crimean Tatars, though, who started coming in from the cold in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s.

                As official data suggest, about 270,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to Ukraine (Crimea). According to the latest (1989) census, only 47,000 Crimean Tatars resided in Ukraine. The process of the ex-deportees’ return and social accommodation has been a complex one for a number of political-legal and social-economic reasons, and as demanding sizeable financing. While before 1993 the annual inflow of the returnees averaged 30,000, more recently the process has been sluggish at best, if not altogether suspended, for the said reasons. Ukraine is the only nation from among the former USSR’s successors, that has been trying to do its utmost to facilitate the Crimean Tatar people’s repatriation and integration. However, the Ukrainian State cannot cope with the formidable task single-handed in view of the deep economic crisis and lacking experience with regard to solving problems of such magnitude. The repatriation process cannot be promptly and successfully completed by Ukraine without aid from other nations and the entire global community. The result has been deplorable, so far, with the Crimean Tatar people remaining split in two halves, one of which stay where the Stalin regime had brought them to, that is in Central Asiatic nations and the Russian Federation. A study of the Crimean Tatar repatriation process suggests that delays in solving pressing problems are fraught with the menace of adverse trends which may well jeopardize the society. To ignore these might lead to tragic consequences not only for Ukraine alone. The problem of returning (integrating) the Crimean Tatar people to Ukraine reaches beyond Ukraine’s and even other former USSR successors’ immediate concern, rather it pertains to the entire global community as a major humanitarian challenge.


                The process of the ex-deportees’ return and integration comprises at least four major dimensions:

1.        support for and facilitation of the ex-deportees’ return to their ancestral homeland;

2.        facilitating the returnees’ bid for solving their social and economic problems;

3.        evolving necessary legal environments for the returnees’ rehabilitation (restitution of their civil rights), both on the individual and ethnic entity levels;

4.        defining the legal status of the Crimean Tatar people in Ukraine.

                As to the first of the above listed, the many-year-long fight by the Crimean Tatar people has brought about the opportunity for them to come in from the cold. However, the self-repatriation process has not been duly supported, so far.

                When leaving their households in their deportation localities before heading for Ukraine, the ex-deportees get nothing to compensate for their expenses. Quite unseldom they have to abandon, being unable to sell, the dwellings that they had built with their own hands, taking along only those few belongings, which they can carry. Needless to say, there are no dwellings in Ukraine, waiting for them to move in, so they have to start from a scratch. In October 1992 Ukraine initiated an agreement which was signed by CIS Heads of State in the Kirghiz capital, Bishkek and which covered issues relating to the restitution of rights of the deported persons, ethnic minorities and peoples. As of today, the agreement has been ratified by Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Regrettably enough, the agreement, as is the case with many other CIS documents, has not been operative, and Ukraine, its Government’s well-nigh yearly resolutions on the returnees’ problems notwithstanding, has failed, so far, to make the process orderly.

                As regards the second point, following the Soviet Union’s disintegration, Ukraine has virtually single-handed been carrying the burden of expenses relating to the returnees.

                Government commissions have been set up to address problems of interdepartmental nature, manned/womanned by senior ministerial and departmental officials and headed by Ukraine’s Vice Premier in charge of humanitarian policies. In March 1996 the Government of Ukraine endorsed The Program of priority measures toward settling and accommodating the once deported Crimean Tatars and individuals belonging to other ethnic groups who have returned to Crimea and presently live there.

                Since Ukraine proclaimed its independent statehood, the National Budget has specifically provided for outlays, necessary for the ex-deportees’ accommodation. According to official estimates, about 3 bn dollars must be allocated to this end. However, over 1992-1999 the State was able to allocate just 300 million dollars. And it should be noted that the (thus allocated means were basically spent on construction of dwellings, infrastructure development, construction of communication lines and public utilities. About half of the Crimean Tatars have no dwelling. Places of the Crimean Tatars’ compact residence in Bilogorsk, Simferopol, and in districts of Bakhchisarai, Dzhankoi, Simferopolsky, Leninsky, Kirovsky are characteristic of very low employment rates, which average 23 percent. Also lacking there is the social infrastructure, that is, roads, water-electric power- and heat-supply systems, sewerage, etc. For lacking funds culture, education restoration of historical-cultural relics of the Crimean Tatar people have been largely neglected. And the problem remains acute of taking into account and regulating the Crimean Tatars’ rights to participation in the process of land plot privatization and sharing.

                The third point. Actually, the process of political rehabilitation of the deported persons along ethnic origin lines got under way on November 14, 1989 when the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted The Declaration on recognizing as illegal and criminal the repressive acts against the peoples, subjected to forcible deportation, and on ensuring their rights. In accordance with the said declaration, the Russian Federation passed a separate law on rehabilitating the victims of political reprisals, which extends to those repressed on grounds of their ethnic identify.

                There is no specific legislative act on the restitution of the Crimean Tatar people’s rights. Relevant provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Reprisals in Ukraine” (adopted on April 17, 1991, amended on May 15, 1992) 1   extend to individuals from among the deportees.

In keeping with Articles 1 and 4 of the Law, persons, who were subjected to repressions, exiled or deported by the totalitarian regime, as well as their family members, enjoy, among their other resituated rights, the right to live in those populated places and localities in which they had resided before the reprisals. However, regardless of provisions contained in the Laws “On Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Reprisals in Ukraine” and “On the Ukrainian Citizenship,” there long existed problems with regard to the Crimean Tatars assuming Ukrainian citizenship and settling. Such a state of affairs created certain tensions within the Ukrainian society and gave grounds to state from international rostrums certain infringements on human rights in Ukraine.

Relevant commentaries and recommendations on that score were articulated by the UN Committee for economic, social and cultural rights, and by High Commissioner for ethnic minorities Max Van Der Stoel.

Limitations incorporated in Clause 2 of Article 2 of the Law “On the Ukrainian Citizenship” of 1991, were among the major causes of the unsatisfactory situation with regard to assuming citizenship by the ex-deportees, as specifying that Ukrainian citizenship may be granted only to persons, “who work, on the State’s direction, are on active duty, take their studies beyond Ukraine’s boundaries, or left Ukraine on legal grounds for some other country to permanently reside there …”


1  See: The Law of the UkrSSR “on Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repressions”/Bills, resolutions and other acts adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR at its 3d session, February-July 1991; Part I, p.316; The Law Of Ukraine “On Making Amendments to the Law of the UkrSSR “On Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Reprisals in Ukraine”// Bills, resolutions and other acts adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR at its 5th session, January-July 1992; Part II, pp. 98-99

Naturally, such a definition could hardly be applicable to individuals who were deported from Ukraine in the extra judicial way. On April 16, 1997 the new redaction of the Law “On Citizenship” came into effect, with its provisions worded in such a way as to make the primary definition of Ukrainian citizenship extend to persons from among the deportees, to wit, “Persons, who were born or who permanently resided in Ukraine’s territory, as well as their descendants (children, grandchildren), if they lived, as of November 13, 1991, outside Ukraine, are not citizens of other countries, and who submitted, before December 31, 1999, following the procedures prescribed by this Law, applications for Ukrainian citizenship.” Those, who, for some reasons, fail to do so before the said deadline, shall be covered by Article 16 (assuming citizenship), without taking into consideration provisions of Clause 3, Part 2 of this Article (continuous residence, on legal grounds on the Ukrainian territory over the past five years). The adoption of the Law’s new redaction, considering the amendments, created better legal opportunities for solving the ex-deportees’ citizenship problems. And, at last, as a result of Ukrainian-Uzbek negotiations, in the summer of 1998 an agreement was reached on simplifying the procedure of relinquishment of Uzbek citizenship, with Uzbekistan still remaining home to the ex-deportees. 2

 The issue of juridically fixing the status of the Crimean Tatar people in Ukraine remains the most complicated and unregulated one, needing a political decision.

Back in 1991-1992 when the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the 12th convention was drafting the bill “On Ethnic Minorities in Ukraine” the issue arose of drafting a package of individual legislative acts toward regulating the status of the Crimean Tatar people and the process of their revival in Ukraine. Relevant instructions were issued and even draft documents drawn out; however, for sundry reasons, these were never submitted to the VR of Ukraine. So, it all could be boiled down to the Cabinet’s resolutions on social and economic issues …

The Ministry for matters of nationalities and migration submitted a draft law to the Cabinet “On rehabilitation and safeguarding the rights of persons from among ethnic minorities that were repressed and deported from Ukraine’s territory.” 3  Needless to say, the document does not provide for regulating the Crimean Tatar people’s status. Versions of the draft concept of Ukraine’s state policy with regard to autochthonous peoples and the draft Law “On the status of the Crimean Tatar people,” which a group of experts under the aegis of the Justice Ministry drew out, appear more promising and encouraging. The new Constitution of Ukraine adds to a more optimistic outlook, too, as for the first time it fixes the term “autochthonous peoples.” (Articles 11, 92, Clause 3, and 119). However, the solution to this legal problem has been groundlessly delayed, too.


So, what are the main reasons that could explain the delays in regulating the Crimean Tatar people’s status in Ukraine ?

While not venturing an exhaustive explanation, major ones should be pinpointed, as we believe. Naturally, it would be expedient to focus on those of objective nature:

¨      lacking adequate experience in coping with such tremendous political-legal problems

¨      lacking relevant managerial bodies

¨      shortages of funds

Subjective reasons should be mentioned, too:

¨       lacking clear-cut, scientifically substantiated (approved and sealed) concept of Ukraine’s ethnic policies

¨       low awareness on the part of Ukraine’s (Crimea’s) authorities of the significance of solving the problem of the Crimean Tatar people’s revival

¨       low awareness of interactions between human rights and the need to democratically regulate legal relationships within a multiethnic society which is composed of the title nation, autochthonous peoples (the Crimean Tatars, Karaimes, Krymchaks, Gagauzes) and ethnic minority groups

¨       lacking political will, the authority’s fear of making unpopular, or incomprehensible in the public’s eye, decisions

¨       apprehensions with regard to the society’s likely destabilization

¨       appeasing anti-State political forces


2  See: The Agreement between Ukraine and the Republic of Uzbekistan on cooperation in solving citizenship problems of the deported persons and their descendants. Collection of Documents. – Kyiv, 1999, p. 206

3         Yu. Bilukha, Forming Ukraine’s Migration Legislation // Ukrainian Magazine on Human Rights, 1997, no. 1, p.g. 9


¨       conscious, deliberate (sometimes undisguised) actions by certain political forces, both inside Ukraine and beyond its boundaries, aimed at destabilizing the situation in Crimea and in Ukraine as a whole.


                However superficial and sketchy the analysis may be of causes underlying the delayed action toward solving the Crimean Tatar people’s problems, it testifies, nevertheless, to the State’s lacking scientifically-substantiated and endorsed concept of the nation’s ethnic policies (and the migration component of these) as being the biggest, major cause.

                So, the prime task is to see to it that such policies’ guidelines are developed and approved. And in tackling the task, it is of paramount importance to rely on international experience of solving such problems.

                In keeping with what an expert analysis of international and national legal norms suggests, the grounds for recognizing the Crimean Tatar people as autochthones in Ukraine are as follows:

¨       the Crimean Tatar people historically evolved to form a distinct ethnic entity precisely on Ukraine’s territory

¨       the Crimean Tatar people has preserved its cultural, language, religious, ethnic identify, making it different from the Ukrainian nation (the title ethnic entity) and ethnic minorities, and is striving to preserve and further develop its ethnic identity

¨       the Crimean Tatar people has no ethnically affinitive state or homeland outside Ukraine

¨       it self-identifies itself as Ukraine’s autochthonous people.

The global community possesses certain experience in dealing with problems, which involve regulation of autochthonous peoples’ political-legal status. The journal “Migration Problems” recently launched a new column, “Autochthonous Peoples,” requesting Ukrainian and foreign scientists, researchers, public figures to contribute to formulating both concept-related guidelines and practical steps with a view of regulating the political-legal status of the Crimean Tatar people in Ukraine.

While not attempting at a speedy and comprehensive solution to the said problem, we hope for facilitating the problem’s comprehensive study and its gradual and consistent regulation. 1  

The thesis, stating that the Crimean Tatar people is an autochthonous people, returning to its historical homeland, must be among the key provisions; also, it must be a subject of policies. A different thing, though, is in what form and when it may become a real political factor.

As studies attest, the young Ukrainian State’s priority steps should be toward drafting legal mechanisms to ensure the Crimean Tatar people’s representation to bodies of representative authority of both Crimea and Ukraine as a whole, toward legitimizing the status, fixing its functions involving the Crimean Tatar people’s representation, and toward legally fixing the Crimean Tatar people’s status in Ukraine.

In solving the Crimean Tatar people’s political-legal problems, bodies of state authority should rely on and take into consideration what Crimean Tatar representatives to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Crimean Supreme Soviet think on that score. Sure enough, in addition to these principal and top-priority problems there are a lot of other issues, which can be solved only if handled comprehensively. The Crimean Tatar people’s spokespersons should be involved in drafting a comprehensive program toward returning the deported people to their homeland and restituting their hitherto neglected rights, toward revival of their cultural-ethnic legacy.


2  See: Oleksandr Piskun. Editorial; Bill Bowring. The Rights of Autochthonous Peoples: International Experience Review; Valeriy Vozgin. The Crimean Tatars: Discrimination, Consequences of the Hushed Conflict/The Migration Problems. 1998, no. 2, pp. 21-43; Jeremy Webber. The Particular Situation of the Autochthones: Situation in Canada and Other Nations // The Migration Problems. 1998, no. 3, pp. 29-30; Nansen Award to Ukraine’s national; the speech by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees during a Nansen Medal awarding ceremony; the speech by Mustafa Dzhemilev at the award presentation ceremony; the address by the UN Secretary-General on the occasion of the Nansen Medal presentation: the address by Prime Minister of Ukraine Valeriy Pustovoitenko to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ms. Sadako Ogata; Yuriy Bilukha. The speech at the 49th session of the Executive Committee for the UN High Commissioner Agency’s program // The Migration Problems. 1998, no. 4, pp. 37-44; Nadir Bakirov. The Crimean Tatar Problem and Legislative Support of Ethnic Minorities’ Rights in Ukraine // The Migration Problems. 1999, no. 1, pp. 28-33; Tetyana Klynchenko, Olena Malynovska, Ihor Mingazutdinov, Oleg Shmashur. The Turk-Meskhetins in Ukraine: De Jure Citizens, De Facto Refugees // The Migration Problems, 1999, no. 2, pp. 37-48; Olena Braichevska. Repatriates in Ukraine: Ways to Integration // The Migration Problems, 1999, no. 3, pp. 34-39; Olena Malynovska. Repatriation to Ukraine // The Migration Problems. 1999, no. 4, pp. 17-29 

Now that the young Ukrainian state is in the process of being established, such approaches wil most certainly facilitate its independence and democratic order, will promote stability both in Ukraine and in Europe. Now the time for this is good also because the global community has developed an attentive and understanding stance on the Ukrainian society’s bid for a law-abiding and democratic state. So, there are good grounds to hope for not only moral support, but also a sizeable financial prop to this end.






Natalya Belitser,

Pylyp Orlyk Institute For Democracy




Ukraine is known to be home to some 130 nationalities in addition to the title people. This fact cannot but cause certain problems and tensions in interethnic relationships, particularly under the transition period from totalitarianism to democracy and the conditions of a systemic social-economic crisis, when fight is acerbated among various clans for control over the national budget’s scarce resources and distribution levers toward benefiting particular ethnic groups, clans, political groupings, and so on.

Parallel with this, in the modern world polycultural, multiethnic political nations enjoy certain advantages, compared with ethnically homogenous states, as being more dynamic in relations with other countries, more open to the outer world and better adapted to accept new trends through establishing most comprehensive and multifaceted contacts, thus making their spiritual life richer and more diversified. A notion which is widespread in everyday life is disproved about ethnic homogeneity allegedly facilitating a state’s internal stability. To find enough proof of this notion’s fallacy it might be worth while to look at the situation in Armenia, which, following the well-known developments, turned to be the most ethnically homogenous nation among the post-Union republics.

Interethnic problems exist in a number of Ukraine’s regions, e.g. in Transcarpathia and Bukovina. However, if we leave apart the highly controversial Rusin problem, the interethnic situation there has been evolving within the framework of what is more or less typical of the Central European Region, a certain system of relationships between the title ethnic entities and ethnic or religious minorities, which became such not as a result of migration processes, but just because of changes in state borderlines in the course of empires collapsing and disintegrating, wars, and Europe’s peoples materializing their right to self-determination.

In Crimea a far more complex situation has developed, as interethnic problems per se, particularly after Ukraine attained its independent statehood, have been aggravated by new factors, including those of internal and external politics, which significantly brakes finding solutions to problems that tend to mount. One of these factors is connected with a decade-long history of Crimean separatism, which has been significantly influencing not only interactions between Ukrainians and Russians, both making up Crimea’s majority, but also relations between Ukraine and Russia on the international level. A second, extremely important, factor is the problem of the Crimean Tatars’ successful repatriation and integration following the genocidal deportation act of 1944 and almost five decades in exile, which interrupted and almost totally destroyed opportunities for this ethnic entity’s normal development. The difficulties in solving the Crimean Tatar problems are connected not only and, maybe, not so much with shortages of material resources and lacking political will on the part of Ukraine’s and Crimea’s leaderships, but also with lacking profound awareness of this problem on the part of the society.

Thus, the echelons of power, same as before, tend to view the Crimean Tatar situation solely from the angle of the problem of the once deported persons and their descendants, who were subjected to repressions by virtue of their ethnic origin and who are coming in from the cold. All attempts to solve this problem proceeding from the said premise appear to be doomed to failure. On the other hand, spokespersons for other ethnic minorities, who were deported from Crimea, such as Germans, Armenians, Bulgarians, Greeks, unseldom try to reduce the problem of social accommodation and integration to just quantitative estimates, and, hence, to needs of repatriates, belonging to different ethnic groups, while insisting that there should not be any differences in approaches to solving problems of the Crimean Tatars and those of other ethnic entities which suffered from repressions. Though much has been said at countless seminars, round-tables, conferences and other public gatherings and fora about the Crimean Tatars’ very peculiar situation, which is different from what can be seen with regard to other ethnic groups of the once deported persons, there has been achieved neither clear nor full awareness of the difference as such that objectively exists.

Proceeding from this, I will allow myself to briefly reiterate one of the Crimean Tatar’s major demands, which consists in recognizing them as not just one of Ukraine’s multitudinous ethnic minorities, which basically resides in Crimea, but as an autochthonous people, with all the ensuing consequences, including the right to so-called internal self-determination, to establishment and legalization of special institutes and mechanisms, allowing them to really influence their people’s destiny. Over the past few years, particularly since the adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine in 1996, the public’s awareness has been growing of the Crimean Tatars being not just an ethnic minority, or an ethnic group, but really an integral people. Behold the rhetoric of public speeches at every level over several past years in which precisely the formula “Crimean Tatar people” prevails. Sure, this would not be enough because without a solid legal base, fixing all the rights and duties of the Crimean Tatars as a people, harmonious interethnic relations in Crimea cannot be attained. On the contrary, mounting disillusionment and dissatisfaction with regard to the existent approaches to this problems and the pace of its solution, may only lead to the Crimean Tatar movement’s radicalization toward the full restitution of the Crimean Tatars’ rights in their ancestral land, and that might be fraught with serious aggravation of interethnic tensions in Crimea and the emergence of a serious ethnic-political conflict in Ukraine. It should also be noted that, in this respect, the endorsement by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the latest version of the Crimean Autonomous Republican Constitution was a definite step backwards because, though many of its precarious provisions which contradict Ukraine’s Constitution and laws were deleted, the rights and interest of the Crimean autochthonous people are in no way taken into account, which has had and will continue to have its adverse effect on Crimea’s developments.

Yet, what is the gist of the Crimean Tatar problem’s specificity ? Rather, it might be marked as the people now going through the most critical period of its history, when the issue is at stake of whether it will be able to materialize a chance for its resurrection as a historically evolved specific ethnic-cultural commoness, that is precisely as a people, or as a minority which possesses no adequate levers of political and economic influence and which is doomed to gradual assimilation and extinction through dissolving among the peninsular population’s majority. Such an outcome would be the greatest tragedy not only for the Crimean Tatars themselves, not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire human race. And it should be noted here that the very probability of such a pessimistic forecast evokes a sharp response and rejection from the people of such manifestly expressed ethnic-cultural self-identification, whose existence has been placed in jeopardy. It might be said that under such circumstances the collective instinct for self-survival is sharply alerted, as attested by the developments in various regions of the globe over past few decades, which is applicable not only to individuals, but also to groups, united by common historical destiny, traditions, languages, religions and other factors, which influence their identity. The widespread phenomenon of large and particularly small peoples seeking to re-establish and secure their own self-identity and its development warrants viewing it as a determined trend, rather than a combination of chance coincidences, which, probably, emerges as a response to the challenges of the rapid globalization process, which may, among other things, result in excessive homogenization and unification, and that harbors a really menacing potential for the entire human race as a biological species. The menace lies not only in the loss of the entire rich diversity of cultural heritage, but also in the gradual extinction of genetically fixed differences, inherent in various races and ethnic groups, that have evolved in certain geographical regions, under strikingly different climatic conditions, since those times immemorial when factors of natural selection were causing their effects.

Incidentally, it might be noted that, proceeding from this operational hypothesis, tolerance in interethnic relations should be extended not only to individuals who wish to integrate with the established majority and accept their lifestyles and hence are willing to enter into interethnic marriages, but also to those who oppose such mixed marriages, viewing these, and not without certain grounds, as a means toward gradual assimilation, which eventually leads to a people’s extinction as an individual ethnic-cultural commonness. Such apprehensions are particularly typical of small ethnic entities, who are minorities in their historical habitats, in view of which fact similar sentiments on the part of some Crimean Tatars should in no way be interpreted as a manifestation of interethnic intolerance. This is worth thinking it over because sociological surveys to this effect are based, as a general rule, on sundry variations of the so-called Bohgardus Scale, which places readiness to accept interethnic marriages in the topmost position to appraise the degree of tolerance. If we take into account the fact that works by Bohgardus date back to 1924/1925, the time when “integration” implied non-violent assimilation of aboriginal peoples and some other peculiar ethnic groups as the most acceptable tool for adapting these peoples and groups to conditions of “modern civilization” ( that is, the Western, Euro Atlantic civilization model), we must admit that the thus obtained sociological survey returns should be treated with a certain degree of caution and necessary adjustments should be made, proceeding from the real situation, peculiar of a definite ethnic group and that group’s chances for survival and further development.  

Kyiv’s Crimean Tatars community may provide a graphic example of elderly and old people who feel permanent anguish and bitterness because their descendents take no interest in their own ethnic-cultural roots and actually have low, if any , awareness of them belonging to this ethnic entity. On the level of individuals, such a course of events appears normal and natural, and the individual’s right to choose his/her own road of development, world outlook and place in the contemporary society raises no doubts whatsoever, as a major component of liberal values. However, at the level of the entire people as a historically evolved commonness, actions should be viewed as just as natural which are aimed at its self-preservation as a particular ethnic entity, including its desire to form compact settlements, where ethnic environments prevail, let alone its strife for ethnic schools, restoration of an integral educational system based on the mother tongue, etc.

Comparing the situation in which the Crimean Tatars have found themselves with the conditions in which Crimea’s other ethnic minorities live, which are not integral peoples, but just fractions of these, whose full-blooded existence is secured by the existence of national State of their own, such as Armenia, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Israel, Russia, and so on, we inevitably arrive at a conclusion that the Crimean Tatars’ problems, which are fraught with the danger of ethnic-political conflicts, cannot be solved solely within the framework of programs for the ex-deportees’ social accommodation and integration, nor can they be solved through Ukraine’s laws and legislative acts, and international agreements, designed to protect ethnic minorities’ rights. As a rule, ethnic minorities, including those from among Crimea’s deportees, on the whole are not given to frustration, fear and desperation, which arise with the emerging awareness of the particular ethnic entity facing the challenge to its very existence; besides they have far better developed mechanisms, including those fixed by the International Law, and real opportunities for maintaining and conserving their ethnic-cultural identities.

Proceeding from those premises, which might be elaborated on and presented in greater detail, the gist of the Crimean Tatar problem and its purport can be better comprehended as primarily the problems of safeguarding that people’s further existence precisely as a people. It should also be noted that the thus outlined problem cannot be solved, either, within the framework of purely liberal notions and views of human rights, which are based on absoluteness of the individual’s rights. A package of legislative acts and decisions at the State’s level must proceed from a different approach, the so-called “positive discrimination,” which might be more aptly put as an “affirmative action,” the rather widespread and more correct term, which is difficult to be rendered in Russian, but may be tantamount to “steps of resolute support.”

As far as the so-called “Islamic factor” is concerned, and what its role is in forming, molding interethnic relations in Crimea, it should be noted that this factor has been creating additional predicaments for the Crimean Tatars’ integration processes as being often used as an instrument of anti-Crimean Tatar propaganda, particularly by the mass communication media in Crimea, which has been stepped up of late, in view of the hostilities in Kosovo and particularly in connection with the second Chechen war. It should be admitted that neither Crimea nor Ukraine are exceptions in this respect, because this factor has played a major role in the entire modern world, including foreign and domestic political strategies pursued by various countries, with them forming sundry alliances, both formal and informal, thus influencing stability and developmental vectors of entire regions.

So, instead of speaking about the Islamic factor in Crimea proper and largely because of the repatriation problem and the Crimean Tatars' integration with their immediate environments with alien culture, alien languages and alien religion, and into the Ukrainian society as a whole, it appears more pertinent to view the problem in a broader way. Since no modern nation exists in isolation, apart from external regional and global influence, non-Moslems tend to perceive what is erroneously called the “Moslem world” (meaning by that some consolidated, integral commonness), relations between Moslem and Christian confessions and nations, as well as relations between Moslem minorities and non-Moslem majorities within individual nations, significantly influence the public opinion, political elites’ stands and different authority bodies’ attitudes, as well as the societal atmosphere as a whole. It might be briefly stated that in the modern world the “image of foe” has been effectively built in the form of the grave Moslem menace looming on the horizon to threaten the Christian-Judaic civilization.

Samuel Huntington’s renowned article “Clash of Civilizations,” which the Foreign Affairs magazine published in summer of 1993, played a major and highly controversial role in appraising the Islamic factor in the “new world order” the end of Cold War ushered in. The said article formulated an idea according to which the “civilizations,” practically identical with religions, are doomed to global wars among them, with Islam, as the old-standing enemy of the Christian, Western civilization playing the role of the aggressor and formidable menace, along with the “Yellow threat” to the Caucasian race, or in the form of the two threats’ combination. According to Huntington, it is precisely such “civilization clashes,” which have replaced the unmaterialized global catastrophe as a result of the two ideological system’s confrontation, that will be the sources for impending global turmoils.

Among those scholars who challenge the Huntingenton concept’s basic postulates and capital points Christian Scherrer, a researcher with the Copenhagen Institute for Studies of World Problems, should be mentioned. He took the trouble to thoroughly scrutinize all the conflicts which Huntington’s article had relied upon to portray the dismal picture of Islamic aggressiveness, which scrutiny resulted in a diametrically opposite conclusion. As it turned out, in the bulk of the stated 33 conflicts the Moslems were on the defensive, rather than on the offensive, and, as a matter of fact, they were the victims, rather than the aggressors. There were only six of the stated number of instances, which would allow to admit the role of the religious factor which Hungtington had attributed to it.

To dispel persistent stereotypes of this kind, regrettably, deep-rooted in popular consciousness, it might be pertinent to address history of the past, for example, the Crusades. As is known, during just one of those, the First Crusade in the late 11th Century lots of virtually unarmed Moslems, Arabs and Turks, were killed by the armor-clad Christian knights, and about half a million had to flee. At the same time, the Moslem States’ interethnic tolerance may be attested by the fact that Turkey, under the Ottoman Empire, accepted all Christians as its citizens, who were members of some sects, banned and persecuted in their countries. In particular Turkey gave shelter to the Russian Molokans, Baptists and followers of the Old Orthodox Rite, who settled there.

Regrettably, many WWII episodes remain largely unknown by the public, which are commensurate with the Danes’ effort to save Jewish compatriots, such as the story of the Bosnian town of Tusla, whose Moslem majority successfully defended the town’s Serbian and Jewish residents against the threat of extermination.

If one takes a look at today’s major global developments from the angle of that deep-rooted Christian-Moslem confrontation, it could be worth-while to pay close attention to the history of a small Christian people gaining independence in East Timor, the former Portuguese colony, seized by Indonesia, which for several decades was struggling toward realizing its right to political self-determination. It became possible only after on October 20, 1999 Abdurrahman Vakhid, the Democratic Islamic Party leader, who had received religious education in the Middle East and headed the Islamic political movement since 1984, was elected President of Indonesia. It should also be remembered that Indonesia is the biggest Moslem nation, populated by 210 million people, of whom about 90 percent are Moslems. Unlike the ex-dictator Sukharto, whose totalitarian regime had an iron grip on the nation, the new Islamic leader adheres to democracy, non-violence and maximal confessional tolerance. His words have been supported by his deeds; he has positioned the leader of the secular opposition, the daughter of Sukarno, Indonesia’s First President, as his deputy, Vice President; instead of punitive raids on the separatists, he met with the leader of the East Timorese Catholics, gave his consent to an independence referendum and agreed to recognize its returns. And all this was accomplished under the leadership of the gravely ill, almost blind, but profoundly authoritative Islamic leader, who has had to overcome the stubborn resistance on the part of champions of “integral and indivisible Indonesia,” including the military brass hats. Bloody skirmishes and terrorist attacks against the proponents of independence were bridled through the intervention of UN troops, invited to Indonesia. Could modern history provide any example of some so-called Christian nation giving its consent to granting independence to a little Moslem people who had been conquered as a result of an imperial expansion? There is no such example, I am afraid.

We might continue dwelling on the topic longer, citing specific multitudinous examples of ethnic injustice and the threat of spreading and/or fanning old and new anti-Moslem myths and stereotypes, deeply rooted in the public’s consciousness. To find ways toward overcoming this widespread phenomenon, based on some concrete example, it might be possible to attempt at rethinking, or at least altering the customary view of the problem which arouses concern on the part of the West’s liberal intellectuals. The issue in question is the world public’s unanimous condemnation of the death verdict on charges of blasphemy on the initiative of the Iranian ruler Ayatollah Homeini, to Salman Rushdi, the author of the “Satanic Verses,” which was published in the UK in 1988. And though the call for murdering a human being who made public his views and convictions in an artistic form, really reflects the degree of fundamentalism, not acceptable to any modern civilization, it would be proper to think twice about the “progressive mankind” raising its voice to defend the potential victim, while making Salman Rushdi sort of a hero and a symbol of fight not against Islamic extremism, or terrorism, or bellicose fundamentalism, but virtually against Islam per se, though formally it is recognized as one of the great , equal, monotheistic religions. And few from among his defenders pay attention to the real contents of the author’s works and to the underlying philosophical concept.

With a view of getting better familiarized with Rushdi’s system of world outlook, I will venture a quotation from Mr. Rushdi’s more recent essay of 1990, which he wrote to defend his Satanic Verses and which mirrors his stance of a person who views the outer world through a migrant’s eyes. The essay was written, proceeding on the author’s experience of having to abandon the roots, rupture customary bonds, of continuous changing (slowly or rapidly, painfully or in a pleasing way), which all is so typical of migrants and which, as I believe, are essentially metaphoric for the entire human race… The Satanic Verses glorify hybridism, non-cleanliness, ubiquitous mixing and those transformations which result from novel and unexpected combinations of individuals, cultures, ideas, politics, films, songs. The book glorifies unthoroughbredness, mongrelization and expresses fear of purity absoluteness… A mix, mess, a piece of that and a bit of this-only in this way novelty can emerge. And massive migration provides this golden opportunity. Born and bread in Bombay, India’s most cosmopolitan city, Rushdi, as he confesses, has always viewed himself as a mongrel, bastard of history, and London has added to this feeling.

As the above excerpt may attest, the author’s aim was not so much to ridicule Islam and its devotees, as to champion cosmopolitism as a crede, and such an approach is fully entitled to existence. True enough, in pursuing the task the author deemed it possible to speak profanely about those religious principles which are holy to any Moslem. So, may we so surely enthrone Salman Rushdi as a hero, while condemning his persecutors ? What would the Western societies’ approach have been, if Cristianity had been the object of such insults ? And though last year the new Iranian Government of liberal President. Mohammed Hatami formally refused to support the death sentence and called for refraining from this form of retaliation, the West still views Hatami as obeying the clergy’s orders, just because the Iranian president has repeatedly stated Rushdi’s guilt of blaspheming Islam... And it looks like nobody outside the Moslem communities ever bothers to thinks about the real moral responsibility of the person who has thus insulted the religious feelings of hundreds of millions of believers.

As to the attractiveness of cosmopolitan ideas in general, and particularly in the form they are worded in the above citation, it might be noted that their popularity, at least in Europe, has not been on the rise, rather it has been declining since the publication, same as hopes have been dwindling away for using non-violent assimilation, integration of minorities into ambient majorities as the main means of solving interethnic problems. Contrary to this, belonging to a definite ethnic-cultural and/or ethnic-religious community continues to be perceived as an essential component of the individual’s self-identification, in no way contradicting various individuals’ low or high self-awareness levels, such as individual awareness of being a "European" or even a “cosmopolitan.” It looks as though the course of most recent history tends to prove, rather than disprove, the idea put forth by German historian Johann Gottfried von Herder and formulated like this,” among man’s essential needs, such as food, shelter, rest and recreation, communication, etc., there is also a need to belong to a definite group, which is united by some common ties, particularly the language, collective memory, permanent residence on the same land, and maybe also race, blood, religion, feelings of common destiny, and so on.”

By way of conclusion, I would like to mention the necessity of not only tactical decisions and actions, which can facilitate the process of developing and establishing interethnic tolerance, but also of designing strategic approaches to interethnic and interconfessional relations in the upcoming millenium. As it appears in perspective in rearing the younger generation in the spirit of sole “tolerance,” with regard to individuals and groups of various ethnic origins, cultures, religions, may be not enough. As tolerance merely means the individual’s consent to tolerate the presence of some aliens as an undesirable phenomenon, which cannot be avoided. Instead, it would be better to seek to evolve such a culture of interethnic relations, which would view the presence of individuals, possessing different cultural qualities in the broadest sense, as undisputed and indisputable bliss, a precious gift, which makes every individual’s life richer, more meaningful and interesting.



The aged people still remember the cases, which became as incurable wounds in lives of many peoples of former Soviet Union was governed by Stalin.

The hundred thousands of the Ukrainians, Poles, Byelorussians, Germans, Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks as “traitors” from ancestral lands were deported. 250 000 Crimean Tatars weren’t avoided by hostile eye of “father of all peoples”. On 18 May 1944, they as “traitors and the Nazi invaders collaborators” during years of a fascist occupation, were deported from Crimea, mostly to Uzbekistan, where they lived in special settlements with dream to return to historical homeland up to 1956.

Currently they come back to Motherland. What kinds of problems do they encounter? The book “The return of Crimean Tatars. Chronicle of events” by Y. Tishenko and V.Pihovshik gives the answer for the questions, which was just published by Ukrainian Center of the political researches.

The book is dedicated to modern history of the Crimean Tatar People, processes of a return and resettlement in context of the social – political situation in Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Some aspects of a formation of Crimean autonomy, main phases of a development of the relations between Central Ukrainian government and local bodies of government in Crimea are investigated. The central part of book is dedicated to the development of Crimean Tatar Movement in that period. The authors analyze the processes of repatriation and resettlement of Crimean Tatars during 90s, issues and ways of the solution of them, which were arising in that process.

The laws and Government’s decrees on issues of a return and resettlement of former deported Crimean Tatars, official information concerning a financing of the process are published in the book.

We are all the children of a single country. One land gave us a life and reared as well. And as children of a single mother, we are obliged to help each other, live in a peace, mutual assent and welfare. The book by Y.Tishenko and V.Pihovshik can be named as interesting organic analysis of a modern life of the smallish people, but which deserve a lucky destiny, with whom we will live further. The destiny of Crimean Tatars – is a fate of all nationalities of Ukraine, including Ukrainians.

Thus, the work of named authors will be interested not only for persons concerning themselves in modern history of Crimean Tatar People and social-political processes in Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and those aren’t indifferent to fate of a state as a whole, its peace, welfare and prosperity in forthcoming century.

Alena Trembitska







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