Crimean Tatars: Lithuanian Parliament Recognises Soviet Crimes as Genocide
Under Stalin’s rule, in 1944 Crimean Tatars were deported from their ancestral homeland on the Black Sea to the Urals, Siberia and to Uzbekistan. The hardships suffered along the journey and the dire living conditions led to the death of 45% their total population. Today, in light of Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian Crimea in 2014 and its crackdown on civilians, Baltic states are showing solidarity with the Crimean people by condemning their century-long persecution and bringing the memory of those tragic events to the attention of the international community.
The article below was published by The Baltic Times:
The Lithuanian parliamentary voted on Thursday [June 6th, 2019] to recognize Soviet crimes against Crimean Tatars as genocide.
The resolution was passed by 77 votes in favor, none against and one abstention.
"On the basis of the concept of genocide as enshrined in international law, the Seimas recognizes the crimes committed by the Soviet Union against the Crimean Tatar people in 1944 as genocide," the document reads.
The Parliament also "draws attention to and condemns the illegal occupation and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014 and the discrimination against civilians and the Crimean Tatar people on the grounds of language, culture, religion and nationality, (and) the abolition of the Crimean Tatar self-government (bodies)".
The document calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with the Crimean Tartar people and maintain the policy of non-recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
A similar resolution was passed in Latvia in early May.
Stalin's mass deportation of Crimean Tatars began on May 18, 1944. Over 230,000 people, or almost all of the peninsula's Tatar population, were deported from their homeland to Central Asia.
Almost half of the Tatars, mostly exiled to Uzbekistan, died of hunger and disease. It was not until the perestroika that the remaining Tartars were allowed to return to their native Crimea.
In the wake of Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula in 2014, the Crimean Tatars' assembly and TV channel were outlawed and hundreds of activists were detained and jailed.
Over 10,000 Tatars were forced to move to Ukraine because of persecution and repression.
Photo courtesy of The Baltic Times