Made in Crimea


I want to start this story with a five-year-old girl. She was sitting on the parapet near the large Soviet House of Commerce, which were in almost every village. At that time that building seemed very, very-enormous

So, a five-year-old girl, surrounded by grannies over 70, summed up her story with the words “endless loop, it is the endless loop.” At the same time, she made a helpless gesture, demonstrating to the listeners all the hopelessness of the situation.

This girl is my sister. Moreover, all the action took place in the queue for bread, which at that time was issued for coupons. Well, and the endless loop is the story of my father, who were denied jobs because of the absence of residence permit and at the same time was not given registration because he was not employed. My sister, in her five years very accurately identified father’s problem: it was indeed an endless loop. Moreover, in this loop got trapped thousands of Crimean Tatar families.

However, it all started a little earlier – in 1988. Papa was 27 when the rumour went that now they are not only being allowed into the Crimea but also have the opportunity to settle down. In August of the 88th, he arrived at Albat. For several weeks I looked around the neighbourhood and eventually found a house in Zalankoye, which they sold to him. Small house with a wooden fence. And not a single Crimean Tatar in the whole village. They have not seen such here.

As it was set, dad had no friends here. Propaganda stereotypes, rooted in the brains of residents, forced them to look for the pope’s “horns and tail”. In the dining room, where he sometimes dined, no one sat down within a radius of 4-5 meters.

Once at the door of my father’s house knocked. On the threshold stood a young man, they exchanged common phrases, followed by a question:

– So how do you bath here? – asked the visitor.

“In the basin,” the dad answered.

– Every Saturday we heat the bathhouse, you are welcome to join in.

We are friends with the Rostovtsev family for 28 years already.

It was Uncle Petya who took the mother to the hospital in January 89th.

Mom arrived in Crimea on November 88th. On the seventh month of pregnancy carrying my three-year-old sister under her arm. Strange, but no one was troubled by the absence of living conditions, absence of basic jobs and resident registration, as well as a million other obstacles that were artificially created by local authorities. Nobody wanted for Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland. However, they were returning persistently

Yes, many, like my mother, worked for a penny salary in their area of speciality. True, her salary was not enough, even for linen. But, in general, they had to earn by hard physical labour: either greenhouses or work at a tobacco factory.

That was the second generation, whose task was to survive. The former generation survived the deportation and sought to return to their homeland, the latter survived and consolidated in their homeland so that their children no longer had to leave here.

At the age of five, my sister wrote letters to Gorbachev so that my father would be registered and taken to work. When I was five years old, I was preparing for school, stretching the second-hand clothes I had left over from her. My five-year-old brother was happier than all of us: he had for breakfast sandwiches with honey or cheese, childhood with toys, a bicycle and white shirts.

We’re back home, and I am immensely grateful to dad for that that I know about Central Asia only from hearsay, thankful for my birth certificate to have “p. Kholmovka, Bakhchisaray district” as birthplace. For that, when someone questions me “where you were born” I answer with pleasure – “I am of local production!”

We will never forget how difficult the path to home it was, and we will always be grateful to our parents because “made in Crimea” is expensive 🙂


The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the publisher.

Author: Редакция Avdet