Monday, May 24, 2010

Crimean Tartars

Ukraine is well off the path of my usual commentary, but I hadn't realized that the Crimean Tartars were the center of so much controversy:
"Oleg Rodivilov, a member of the Crimean parliament and the leader of Crimea's Russian bloc, told RFE/RL today that he considers the Crimean Tatars' Mejlis (parliament) and its Kurultai (congress) to be organized criminal groups and said their activities are unconstitutional...

"Other pro-Russia groups in Crimea, including the Russian Community of Crimea and the Tavria Union, have also sent open letters to Yanukovych urging him to ban the Mejlis and the Kurultai.

"The Crimean Tatars first established their own Mejlis and Kurultai in 1917. But they were abolished by Soviet leader Josef Stalin, who ordered the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars to Central Asia in May 1944.

"In 1991, the Crimean Tatars received official permission to return to Crimea and the Mejlis-Kurultai structure was revived."

The Crimean Tartars tend to be staunchly opposed to Russian influence in Ukraine, which is probably especially important since I've learned that many in Russia don't believe Crimea should be part of Ukraine at all.



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