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Daily News Analysis

Crimea Tatars caught between Russian-Ukrainian conflict

Crescent International

The Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of the peninsula who are Muslims, have been completely ignored in the gladiatorial tussle between the Western-backed neo-Nazis that have grabbed power in Kiev and the Kremlin bosses led by Vladimir Putin.

Toronto, Crescent-online
Tuesday March 04, 2014, 16:51 EST

While media outlets in the West are full of stories about the standoff between Western-backed neo-Nazis that have taken over in Ukraine and Russia’s moves in the Crimea to protect its interests in the region, particularly its Black Sea fleet, the plight of the Crimean Tatars has been completely ignored.

They are the original inhabitants of this land and are descendants of the great Mongol warrior Gengiz Khan whose troops arrived in this land and ruled the Dutchy of Moscovy for more than 200 years. This was the only time in Russian history that any outside force had ruler parts of Russia.

This ended in 1562 when Ivan the Terrible sacked the Tatar capital of Kazan. Since then, the Tatars who are Muslims, have led a precarious existence.

During the Second World War, German troops occupied the Crimean Peninsula. When Germany lost and Russian troops returned, all the Crimean Tatars were loaded onto train carriages and deported en masse from the Crimea.

Many died on the way and those that survived end at labor camps in the Ural. This was Josef Stalin’s way to punish the Tatars for “collaborating” with the Germans even though many Tatars had served in the Red Army.

The Tatars were not allowed to return to their homeland until the mid-eighties. When they came back, they found that their homes and properties had been taken over by Russians and Ukrainians. Today, the population of Crimea is 60 percent Russian, 24 percent Ukrainian and only 12 percent Crimean Tatars.

Their plight is not very different from that of the Palestinians that have also been ethnically cleansed from their homeland by the Zionists.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991-1992, the Crimean Tatars started to return to their land and started the struggle to regain their rights.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly stated, as recently as Saturday March 1 in a telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama, that “… in case of any further spread of violence to eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas.”

While Western governments are prattling about the rights of their neo-Nazi allies in Kiev that have grabbed power, there is nobody talking about the rights of the Crimean Tatars, the original inhabitants of the land.

As far as Muslim governments are concerned, the less said the better. They are slaves to the West and dare not raise the issue of the rights of suffering Muslims anywhere.


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