The ethnic cleansing of the forties brought about a chain of irreversible processes and, as a result, of consequences, the domino principle worked. But even the authors of the idea of deportation of an entire nation did not foresee how events would develop later, for example, in half a century. Then it seemed to them that henceforth the Crimea was once and for all cleared of the indigenous people who were causing a lot of inconveniences, and thus the question of the “epochal value” was resolved. This ideological installation triumphed in the Crimea for almost fifty years – the age of two generations.
Today we know how the empty Crimea was settled,
and we know that the government of that time was guided by only one motive: to
fulfil the historical task of Slavicization of the peninsula. The end
justified the means. If at first migrants were forcibly
brought in by entire
villages, and many
migrants in the first years ran
back, then later graduates of higher educational institutions and technical
schools were sent to work to the peninsula. Then, as a reward to retirees
of the armed forces, the KGB, well-known artists in resort places were provided
with registration and housing. They even came up with a saying: a
person’s life is given once, and it must be lived in the blessed Crimea. But the
main thing is that the idea that they are here now the masters were intensively
implanted in the consciousness of all these people. They talked
and wrote about the Crimean-Tatars without a
twinge of conscience, as about
a hostile nation to the existing power and Slavs, and therefore forever removed
from the Crimea.
And what happened in the minds of the exiled people? The Crimean-Tatars having barely recovered from the nightmare of forced relocation, miraculously surviving after the famine and losing almost half of its number. The Crimean-Tatars first thought that a terrible mistake had been made against them, and Moscow would surely restore justice. However, these illusions were not allowed to exist for a long time. To someone, it became clear that there was no mistake, it’s just that another nation longed for the Crimea, and there is no place for Crimean-Tatars there.
Those who were at the origin of the national movement, of course, understood the status quo. This became especially clear after the other deported nations returned to their historic homeland. For Crimean-Tatars, there was no place. In those years, the only possible action was taken: the collection of signatures under appeals to the highest party structures.
At that historical period, the Crimean Tatars were, perhaps, the only nation who strongly and in an organized manner raised the question of the restoration of their rights. The authorities responded with repressions, ideological lies, slander. In the minds of several generations of our people lived the idea that the Soviet system strongly opposes the return of the Crimean-Tatars to their native lands, to the land of their ancestors.
I am sure that there was not one of our compatriots who was not upset by the glaring injustice against an entire nation. And if the explosion of protest of the Crimean-Tatars in the second half of the eighties for many in Soviet society came as a surprise,but we knew then that the source had been smouldering for decades. This was the first defeat of the political system. It did not expect such a turn of events. In other words, the system did not take into account the logic of the protest mentality and underestimated its power.
“ We have to decide our national question ourselves, and no one here will help us” – this is the main result that the people have determined for themselves. We decided our fate unequivocally. Could there be a different course of events? Probably not. Let us recall how the participants in the regional set of executives of party structures and economic enterprises met the words of the chairman of the state commission, that the Crimean-Tatars would still return to their homeland. Indignation, whistling, trampling. “Only through my dead body!” – Repatriates, as a rule, heard from the chairmen of collective farms, directors of state farms, chiefs of the passport offices to hire, register, allocate a plot for building a house.
Today we can say that peace in Crimea has triumphed, but the real content of the content of autonomy lies in giving it a national form.
All this is remembered to understand the atmosphere prevailing in those years. An atmosphere that is oppressive in some hopelessness in the Crimea is very familiar and very alien. Against this background, the mass return of the Crimean-Tatars with its resources contributed to the emergence of new problems that the local authorities had not previously encountered. Not being able, but more often not wanting to resolve these issues, the local authorities aggravated the problems and exacerbated the social and political situation. At the same time, the problems of an economic, organizational nature in the Russian-language media, in the speeches of politicians were presented as inter-ethnic. Raised in the anti-Crimean spirit, confronted with a wave of return of repatriates, having seen what is called, near organized protest actions, the “ Crimean ” was in a state of shock. Its first, natural reactions were fear and distrust, turning into hostility.
These sentiments created additional problems for returnees. In a society where there is no contact between opposing ethnic groups, there is a temptation for the authorities to act on the principle of divide and conquer. Subsequently, several politicians did so. True, outwardly, the actions were directed not against the long-suffering Crimean Tatar people, but their “bad” and “unnecessary Mejlis”. It took a decade to somehow remove the urgency of the issue. The Russian-speaking population is gradually beginning to understand: coexistence in the Crimean society is possible with mutual respect.
However, the issue of the draw of the anti-Crimean-Tatar card from the agenda has not been completely removed. Several popular Russian-language newspapers actively provoke such sentiments among the Slavic population. The events of the last days are from this series.
But are there common interests among the Crimean and the rest of the population of Crimea? I can answer this question in the affirmative. For the most part, both of them are economically grave, subject to unemployment, bureaucratic lawlessness, exploited by their masters, deceived by their bosses, deprived of prospects for the future, disappointed by the quarrels among the political elite. The organised Crimean-Tatars and the fact that the authorities are forced to reckon with them can be a factor in the unification of the Slavs and our compatriots. The prospect of such a union scares many, especially those for whom our region is a source of fabulous profits. First, it is the “class” of the temporary. They seek to maximize profits. Money goes into foreign countries. They are not interested in investing their capital in the development of the Crimea; they long for quick profits. So, the mass media controlled by them actively promote the image of hostile forces led by the Mejlis of the Crimean people. This is all the same principle “Divide and conquer .”
At the same time, the government is experiencing an internal crisis due to the lack of basic reliance on people. The roots of this crisis are that the structure of regional power is artificial to a certain extent. Artificial to the same extent that autonomy itself was artificially created. At first, they talked about the restoration of pre-war autonomy, which was a purely Bolshevik brainchild. Naturally, at the new historical revolution, it could not be recreated as one. As the ancients said, it is impossible to enter into same waters of the exact same river twice. This was understood by the authors and creators of the autonomous education system. Therefore, we tried to introduce some kind of democratic scenery in the form of factions in the Supreme Council, commissions.
We took care of some attributes of
statehood – a hymn, a coat of arms, a flag. But this is a classic fiction. This can
be seen, including the example of the relationship between the central and
local authorities. The first one ignores the rights of
autonomy in every way (as it was, for example, when adopting a law on
elections). The second is protesting, but very timidly. Kyiv does
not pay any attention to this, which is understandable: we have created you; we
will solve everything for you. So the only achievements of autonomous
education are material ones: expensive cars, good melodious positions and other
privileges of the Crimean beau monde. And it is satisfying for those
in power. However, the main issue has not been resolved: the
national interests of the Crimean as a
nation that has been formed on this territory. The existing political
structure is not able to solve it. Let us say, is it possible to
imagine that the Supreme Council of Crimea upholds legitimate national (here
only Crimean-Tatars has it ) demands
in the Kyiv houses of power? Very hard. Thus, it
can be said that the government has no support among the Crimean population.
All this strengthens the conviction of the Crimean-Tatars for the need to establish, and in fact, revive their national statehood. In response, they hear about the multinational composition of the Crimean population. Yes, formally it is. But the truth is different – these ethnic groups outside Ukraine have national formations with all state institutions. They have no problem; for example, the preservation and development of the language on a national scale, there is no threat of assimilation and the problem of preserving the ethnic group. In practice, the policy of the Crimean government comes down to one way or another, to prevent the Crimean- Tatars from administering the territory. Of course, the response to this is adequate.
So, ahead is a dead end? Yes and at the same time no. If the existing tools of social management and influence on the political situation will continue to be used, then it is clear: everything will remain the same. In other words, a permanent state of opposition according to the formula “they and we.” This is a losing option for the Crimean society.
In another model of national statehood, where the interests and needs of all ethnic groups will be taken into account, the prospect of the most productive upholding of the interests of the Crimea as a whole is concluded. Now, most likely, this is unrealistic, given the fears and phobias of the Russian-speaking population, but the only way to strengthen autonomous power is when the centre will have to reckon with this administrative-territorial entity precisely because it has a people whose homeland is this land. In this model, the three leading ethnic groups jointly manage the territory, smoothing conflict situations. In the consciousness of society, the principle dominates: “We need, and they need.” At the same time, there is a national transformation of autonomous statehood: firstly, respect for the indigenous people and a guarantee of their preservation in their historic homeland, secondly, an argument in defending legal, social and political rights to the central government.
Probably, to realize all this, time is needed, which will put everything in its place, and the logic of the historical development of society. And the existing reality, unfortunately, does not and cannot provide a positive vision of the Crimea as a single community, united to preserve the Crimea for posterity.