UBC Lectures, Seminars, and Symposia

The Crimean Tatars : The Situation of the Indigenous People of Crimea from the Occupation of Crimea in 2014 to the Occupation of Ukraine in 2022 Aydin, Filiz Tutku


As Russia continues to occupy Crimea since 2014, we would like to examine the situation of Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea. The Crimean Tatars are a Turkic-Muslim people who emerged in Crimea in the Middle Ages as a result of an amalgam of autochthonous and settler ethnic communities of the peninsula that took place within the framework of the Crimean Khanate. The Khanate was a descendent of the Chingizid Golden Horde Empire and in time developed a strong alliance and cooperation with the Ottoman Empire. The Khanate came to an end with the Russian annexation of Crimea in 1783, and Russia colonized the peninsula in the 19th century, leading to the exodus of indigenous Crimean Tatars towards the Ottoman territories in the Balkans and Anatolia. The remaining Tatars who developed nationalism in the beginning of the 20th century obtained their autonomous republic in the Soviet Union, but Russian de-Tatarization of the peninsula culminated in the deportation of all the indigenous population under Stalin’s orders on 18 May 1944. The Crimean Tatars managed to return to their homeland by the early 1990s, and obtained de facto recognition from independent Ukraine, where Crimea belonged in the post-Soviet period. The fate of Crimean Tatars deteriorated grossly with the Russian occupation and so-called “annexation” of Crimea in 2014, and Crimean Tatars had to suffer again under a new phase of colonialism. While a minority of Crimean Tatars were exiled to mainland Ukraine and joined the Ukrainian struggle to take back Crimea in a newly achieved political cooperation with Ukraine, the Crimean Tatar diaspora rejuvenated to support this effort. With the occupation of Ukraine in 2022, the Crimean Tatars in Crimea and occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were further persecuted. We would like trace the diverse trajectories of Crimean Tatars throughout these events and evaluate the condition of national identity and national movement of Crimean Tatars today.

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