Crimean Tatars: Tatar Fury Over Yalta Monument to Stalin
Residents of Yalta, the city on the Crimean peninsula where the "big three" met in 1945 to map out the fate of the post-Second World War world, are split over the proposed statue.
Celebrations to mark the anniversary of the conference began yesterday but the region's Tatar people have dampened spirits by bitterly opposing any monument commemorating Stalin.
The Soviet leader was responsible for deporting the region's Crimean Tatars to Central Asia months before the conference, having blamed them for collaborating with the Nazis. Almost half of the deportees died of disease and malnutrition.
Mustafa Dzhemilev, of the Crimean Tatar community, said: "We do not mind Roosevelt or Churchill but we do not want to see Stalin on the territory of our motherland. He committed a crime not only against Crimean Tatars but against all people living on the territory of the Russian Empire. If you follow the same logic, there would be monuments to Hitler all over Germany."
Many locals – including communists and the Crimean Union of Soviet Officers – are in favour of the provocative monument to the wartime leaders.
The statue was to be put in front of the Livadia Palace, where the three leaders met overlooking the Black Sea, by next month.
Lyudmila Kovalyova, of the Livadia Museum, said yesterday: "I'm categorically against leaving Stalin's chair empty. These three great men decided the fate, the end of the war. It would be wrong, even unethical."
Installation of the statue has been indefinitely postponed because of the dispute.