Thursday, 29 May 2014

70 +

Anniversaries are sometimes difficult to forget, eleven days ago (May 18th ), outside the Crimea's capital, Simferopol, 10,000 people participated in a rally, carrying placards calling for "self-determination" and commemorated the 70th anniversary of Stalin’s 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tartars. Many of the 200,000 deportees suffered and perhaps 25% died - some during deportation and others in exile. The Mejlis, the Crimean Tatars' main representative body, has adopted a resolution calling for "territorial autonomy" for the community, Tatar representatives in the Crimean government, and "an end to discrimination against and the repression of the Tatars of Crimea." 

There was a heavy police presence in Simferopol, and military helicopters flying low over the rally. Earlier dozens of people gathered at a memorial near Simferopol’s railway station, the deportation point for thousands of Tatars sent into internal exile. President Putin (who is admired by Nigel Farage) met with Crimean Tartar representatives in Sochi (on May 17th) and stated that Russia would improve the lives of Crimean Tartars. Simultaneously several hundred people also marched in support and remember the deportations in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. Incidentally the rally had been banned by the pro Moscow Crimean authorities.

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