18 May 2020 12:20

Victims of Stalin's deportation commemorated in Crimea

SIMFEROPOL. May 18 (Interfax) - The deportation of several peoples from the territory of Crimea in the years of WWII is one of the biggest crimes, and such tragedies should not happen again, Sergei Aksyonov, the head of Crimea, said on Monday.

"Today is the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Deportation. This memorable date unites all people of Crimea regardless of nationality. We condemn the deportation of peoples as one of the biggest crimes. We mourn those who did not live to their return to their Motherland and we express deep compassion to all our fellow countrymen, as well as their relatives and loved ones, who were subjected to repression," Aksyonov said on his Vkontakte page.

"We will continue drastically and toughly resisting the attempts made by enemies of Crimea to use the tragedy of deportation to fuel hatred and feud," he said.

Crimean Tatars were deported on the orders of Joseph Stalin, the head of the Soviet state, on May 18-20, 1944. More than 190,000 people were resettled from Crimea to Central Asia, Siberia and the Urals, having been accused of mass cooperation with Nazis and killing Soviet guerrillas.

Local Germans were also deported from Crimea in August 1941, Italians were deported in February 1942, and Armenians, Bulgarians and Greeks were deported in June 1944.

The Soviet authorities in the late 1980s rehabilitated Crimean Tatars, and their return to the peninsula began. The rights of other peoples were restored as well, May 18 has been celebrated in Crimea as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Deportation since 1994.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2014 signed a decree on the rehabilitation of the peoples hurt by Stalin's repression.

Crimea now has a population of 1.9 million people, of which some 15% are Crimean Tatars.

Traditional memorial events will be held in Crimea this year in a special format due to the high alert regime, which was put in place in the region in mid March due to the coronavirus spread.