77 years ago, on May 18, 1944, the deportation of the indigenous people of Crimea from their historical homeland, the Crimean Peninsula, began. The entire civilian population was deported, and more than 10,000 Crimean Tatars were killed. Those were soldiers, officers who were recalled from the front, disarmed and sent to the so-called labor army camps. Most of them died there. They were just killed. The emptied peninsula in the following years began to be inhabited intensively by migrants from the Russian Federation.
The crime of the Soviet regime, which caused the death of more than 46 percent of Crimean Tatars, was rightly qualified by the resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of November 12, 2015 as a crime, genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.
To justify this crime as well as the deportation in those years of another thirteen ethnic groups and peoples of the Crimea, the North Caucasus and the Germans of the Volga region, a they have concocted a myth was about their disloyalty to the Soviet regime. The actual goal, as it was later written in the post-war Crimean press, was the desire of the Soviet Communist Party to make Crimea a purely Russian region for strategic defence purposes. Today, this tragic date could have ceased to be so acute after tree quarters of a century. But the events of the last seven years show that the Russian rulers have not changed their attitude to the people, who refuse to bend under their dictate. They still want to transform both their own people and the peoples of the occupied territories into submissive slaves.
For more than half a century, the Crimean Tatar people waged a nonviolent struggle against the Soviet regime for the right to return to their homeland and restore the autonomy abolished after deportation. The mass national movement of the Crimean Tatars, unprecedented for the Soviet period, became a powerful wing of the general democratic dissident movement in the USSR against totalitarianism. Hundreds of people passed through Soviet prisons, camps and mental hospitals. Only the last years of Soviet perestroika made the return to our own homeland possible, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence. And again – the Russian occupation, repressions, forcing the natives off their own homeland. And again, the mass settlement of the peninsula by migrants from modern Russia, again a terrorist regime, in many respects not dissimilar to the Soviet regime in its harshest periods.
I do believe that the occupier will sooner or later be expelled from our territory. The hands encroaching on the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine will be broken. How soon this will happen depends on many factors, first of all from the determination of Ukraine and its highest representative legislative body – the Verkhovna Rada.
I hope that our parliament will support all bills aimed at deoccupation of the territory and determining its status after deoccupation, strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities, as well as restoring the legal rights of the indigenous peoples of Crimea, that will be submitted in the near future.