Received the certificate of rehabilitation, giving the right to supplement the pension in the amount of as much as 500 (!!) rubles.
“Repressed as evictions on a national basis (date not specified). Based on the Decree of the State Defense Committee of the USSR No. 5859 ss of May 11, 1944, from Karasubazar district of the Crimea region for a special settlement in the Namangan city of the Namangan region, registered with the special settlement of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs until May 23, 1956 and rehabilitated on the basis of clause “c” of Article 3 of the Law of the Russian Federation of October 18, 1991 No. 1761-1 “On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression …” ”.
The certificate does not contain the word “deportation”, there is no mention of May 18, 1944, and the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, abolished, as is known, just over a year later, is already called the Crimean region. But the word “repressed”, and for political reasons (nationality), is highlighted and even emphasised. A citizen of the name is recognised as subjected to political repression and rehabilitated. What more do you want?
It is said unequivocally, quite definitely: repressed – rehabilitated. Being told it was cut off: must be interpreted it in no way different than they unambiguously made it clear that “deportation” is not the term to be used in legal qualification of what was done against an entire nation, today called a malicious crime against it.
The focus is dramatically shifted. And I believe that in the right direction, closer to an objective assessment of the phenomenon, closer to calling things by their proper names. To refer to the motivation (national attribute), we could interpret what was done on May 18, 1944, as an act of deliberately committed genocide over the Crimean Tatars.
Genocide is defined as actions aimed at the physical, spiritual, cultural extinction of a people as an ethnic group. But in this case, it’s not just the ethnic group, not the diaspora, but the indigenous people of Crimea, formed on the peninsula, the people with their pronounced national identity, their own language, history, culture, mentality.
It is about the people who have the right to self-determination in the territory of their origin, i.e. about the state- forming people. But is the one needed on the strategic territory, on which the USSR leadership had special plans? The thesis “will be blessed the day and the hour when not a single Crimean Tatar will remain in Crimea”, which was heard during the time of Empress Catherine II, was realised after a century and a half later.
The people were evicted from their native land without exception, overnight, without any means of livelihood, deprived of the support of men who were at the frontline or in the labour army – a variety of gulags. They dealt with old men, women and children who were not able to offer any resistance and who humbly accepted their fate – to die in a foreign land. Only on the way, in unbearable conditions, in cattle cars, in stuffiness, crowding, lack of basic sanitation, every tenth died, and in the place of special settlements for two years – every third.
Genocide over the people was carried out deliberately. This crime can not be attributed only to Stalinism. It is the product of the entire Soviet communist system and flowed from the ideology of the regime, which became entrenched in the country on the eve of World War II. The society in this system was represented as a barracks in which the individuality of a person, group, national, collective, social features are levelled.
Political repressions on a national basis were aimed, among other things, to speed up the assimilation processes in the country, to accelerate progress towards the so-called non-national society. The Leninist concept of communism, which presupposed the disappearance of nations as a condition for building a new society, pushed for this goal, but for some reason, they did not want to disappear.
Under special settlements, the word “Crimea” becomes forbidden. The Crimean Tatars as a nationality are deleted from the list of peoples of the USSR. There are simply “Tatars” – “ Golden Horde ”, who brought the “Tatar-Mongolian yoke”. There is no Crimean Tatar language; there are no studies in it; there is no opportunity to get a secondary specialised or higher education because the limits of the settlement points cannot be left. Until the spring of 1956, the Crimean Tatar guys weren’t accepted into the army – they were not trusted.
Crimea turns into a provocative range of frantic chauvinism. Ethnic cleansing was carried out, and therefore, the spirit of the people of the Crimean Tatars should not be here. National-territorial autonomy is eliminated, settlements with Crimean-Tatar names are renamed (toponymic genocide), many villages are completely erased from the face of the earth, cemeteries go under the bulldozer.
On the bones of the Crimean Tatars erected residential and communal buildings, mosques rather being demolished or turned into warehouses. And all this under the drumbeat of misanthropic propaganda with the story of the indigenous people to anathema, labelling of the type “bandit nation”, “parasite nation”, “traitor nation”, etc.
Almost three-quarters of a century has passed since the May 1944 tragedy. And now the Crimean Tatars were told that they are rehabilitated. They have been forgiven the “guilt” and now offered to forget the offence. The consequences of the genocide, they say, are being corrected. But all this already after the people had survived and, at the cost of a stunning, selfless struggle, returned to their historic homeland, practically settled themselves by their own strength, and recovered in civil rights, but not in national.
Their right to statehood, their right to self-determination as an indigenous people of this territory has not yet been recognised. It is replaced by self-determination of the population of the Crimea. It turns out that someone self-determined twice, and someone-never.
The territory in which its indigenous people are included in the category of a certain diaspora, in the category of a segmental minority, has been self-identified. He is offered equality under legalised inequality, is offered to live like everyone else without complaint, not to mention about any priority rights out there, in fact, aimed at guaranteed protection of his own identity, ethnic survival, national revival.
But back to the question in the title of the article. Do the notions of “deportation”, “deported” reflect the whole scale of the tragedy, the fullness of the crime committed against the indigenous people, all the heinousness of the goal pursued by forced eviction? No, does not reflect. The concept of “deportation” carries a much softer content, it hides a target, it carries some kind of collective guilt complex, saying: you are a newcomer in Crimea, you are strangers on this earth, if you don’t like it, you are free to leave peninsula…
The concept of “deportation” began to be used (in our case) somewhere in the late 1980s. It carried in itself a shade of injustice committed over the people and, it is necessary to pay tribute, it created the prerequisites for return. The Crimean Tatars, inspired by this opportunity, didn’t really understand the meaning of the term and adopted it. It took root both in the mass consciousness and in the scientific revolution.
Is it correct? I believe that is wrong. To be convinced of this, it is enough to answer the questions: why did the concept of “repatriation” not take root? Why did the return to the historical homeland not become organised, undertaken by the will of the state? Why did the repatriation turn into a painful one, coupled with a desperate struggle for ethnic survival, self- return, why did it turn into something natural, into a forced self-return of the native land? There are many such “why”. And this process, which lasts more than a quarter of a century, has not yet been completed.
That’s why I raise the question: “deportation”, “deported” or “repressed”? We need to catch the difference. The atrocity committed over our people should be perceived precisely as repression, as a conscious genocide. The act of genocide must be branded, never to be forgiven, to remain not only in historical memory but also in genetic memory.
And it is. As the Jewish people cannot forget and forgive the Holocaust, the Crimean Tatars cannot forget and forgive the act of genocide committed over them and performed over them only because they are indigenous people.
I repeat: the genocide took place and must be branded. It is necessary for the history of mankind to never experience this again.
Currently, in coordination with the UN Standing Committee on Indigenous Peoples, together with the OSCE, the atrocity committed against the Crimean Tatar people is being documented to officially recognise this crime as genocide. Living witnesses give testimony under strict legal procedures to certain officials operating under international law.
Request to compatriots: seek contacts, find an opportunity to participate in this process. One should not allow oblivion of what was, one cannot carry what one experienced with oneself into the grave. This is not for the dead. This is for the living.
… Therefore, I was and still remain a victim of political repression. Our memory of the victims of genocide will never fade. It is in our blood and flesh as long as we feel like an established identity with a strong national identity.