In 1944, during World War II, Stalin ordered the deportation of more than 200,000 Tatars originating from the Crimean peninsula. The Soviet leader considered the men, women and children of this ethnic minority some traitors who had collaborated with the Nazi occupation, so he decided forcibly drive them into exile in Siberia and Uzbekistan. Without water and without food, many died along the way. Others did so upon arrival, victims of the disease. Those who survived, on the other hand, were decades without being able to return to set foot on his native land.
Now, echoes of that exodus are echoing again in Crimea, where many Tatars are fleeing to Kazakhstan to escape the “partial mobilization” of 300,000 reservists (which could reach a million) announced last Wednesday by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to reinforce his army in Ukraine.
In recent days, they have tried to dodge the summons to be sent to the front thousands of citizens from all parts of Russia. However, there are reports that appeals have focused on poor regions inhabited by ethnic minoritiessuch as the Republic of Buryatia or the North Caucasus.
The NGO CrimeaSos, for example, points out that 90% of citations made in the Crimean peninsula they have been received by Tatars. Another human rights organization, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, indicates that in a specific region that it does not specify by name, 46 of the 48 people who received recruitment notices were ethnic Tatars.
Faced with these figures, in his late-night speech, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, accused Russia of pointing to this Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in Crimea and assured that Moscow’s policy is to “physically exterminate men, representatives of indigenous peoples”.
90% of summonses made on the Crimean peninsula have been received by Tatars, according to CrimeaSOS
Along these lines, Myjailo Podolyak, Zelenski’s adviser, has denounced that “the massive forced recruitment of Tartars is a real ethnic genocide and a huge tragedy for the entire nation.” “Forcing citizens into a war in the occupied regions is nothing more than Moscow’s attempt to cleanse the territory of a disloyal population,” he added.
Unfair because the Crimean Tatars, who currently represent between 13% and 15% of the population of the peninsulastrongly opposed Russian annexation in 2014.
[Ucrania frena su avance sobre el Donbás en Limán mientras espera la llegada de las tropas rusas]
Since then, this community has been the victim of persecution and harassment by the Russian authorities. So much so that numerous Tatar leaders have been arrested and charged with “terrorism” and “extremism”.
Without going any further, just a few days ago, the Supreme Court of Crimea, under Russian control, sentenced to 17 years in prison Nariman Dzhelyal, one of the leaders of the Tatar minority arrested a year ago. Just as he was returning to the peninsula after participating in the inaugural summit of the Crimean platformthe initiative of the Ukrainian State to gather international support for the return of that territory.
Likewise, last month, after the mysterious explosions on the peninsula that reduced an air base and an ammunition warehouse to rubble, Moscow singled out the Tatar minority. As announced then by the Russian state agency Tass, the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested six “Russian citizens” of Tatar origin whom he accused of belonging to “a clandestine cell of the terrorist organization Hizb ut Tahrir al Islami”.