A mourning rally took place in Kyiv on May 18, the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars Memorial Day.
“All the memorial events are forbidden this year in Crimea. They [Russian authorities] have only permitted those in which they themselves take part and those events are just for the TV. For example, they lay flowers together with some quislings (traitors) of ours”, spoke Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People who has been forbidden entry into Crimea since its illegal annexation by Russian military forces.
The day marks the anniversary of Josef Stalin’s forced removal of Crimean Tatars from the peninsula as collective punishment for alleged collaboration with German forces during the Second World War. In 1944 over 200,000 ethnic Tatars were forcibly relocated, many to modern day Uzbekistan. Many have returned to their homeland with the fall of the Soviet Union but the occupation and repression by Russia has left many Tatars feeling helpless in their own land.
// Video by Anastasiia Kanariova and Oleksandr Nazarov. Filmed 05.18.2015.