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THREE ANSWERS TO THE SOVIET DECREE #5859ss
I find the "Decree No. 5859ss" to be an interesting document as it describes the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars as a totally humane event. It describes the Soviet government's version as to why, how and where the Crimean Tatars were to be deported. Besides falsely accusing the entire Crimean Tatar population for collaborating with the Nazi occupation forces, it states that each family is allowed to take 500 kg. of food, clothing and other belongings. It also states that each wagon will have a physician, two nurses and all sorts of medicines to ensure a safe "journey". The Uzbek authorities are carefully instructed to make sure the new settlers are given proper land, housing and employment. What happened to the Crimean Tatars in reality was completely different. The entire population of Crimean Tatars were deported under the most barbaric conditions, and when they arrived in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan and other areas, they were totally mistreated due to misinformation sent by the Soviet authorities to these areas before the deportees' arrival. I feel obligated to provide the internet users with the following documents in order to set the record straight.
First, part of an "Open Letter from the Russian friends of Crimean Tatars" and a brief statement from one of the survivors of the mass deportation; second, a part of one of multiple petitions sent by the Crimean Tatars to Communist Party Congress; and finally the decree promulgated by the Soviet authorities which partially exonerates the Crimean Tatar people. The last document is also an interesting one because it refuses to address Crimean Tatars with their proper name, and intentionally calls them " citizens of Tatar nationality formerly resident in the Crimea".
I hope these examples will help clarify how the Crimean Tatar people were really treated by the Soviet government.
Document # 1
Part of " Open Letter from the Russian friends of the Crimean Tatars" and a brief statement from one of the survivors of the mass deportation:
From The Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans and Meshketians (1971) by Ann Sheehy, p.10.
From "Crimean Tatars: Repatriation and Conflict Prevention" by Open Society Institute, p.13.
Document # 2
Petition sent to the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1966:
"...Let us do some summing up...Everything was done in order:
And when it was decided that all this had been accomplished, they announced that the Crimean Tatars were a non-existent nation. They struck us off the list of peoples of the USSR, combining us with the Kazan Tatars and Ufa Tatars, but to be on the safe side they left in every Crimean Tatar's internal passport a little mark by which the police can tell that you are not in fact from Kazan and so won't register you in the Crimea..."
(From the Chronicle of Current Events-#s 28-31/pp. 141-142).
Document # 3
Decree of September 5, 1967:
Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on citizens of Tatar nationality formerly resident in the Crimea
After the liberation of the Crimea from Fascist occupation in 1944, accusation of active collaboration of a section of the Tatars resident in the Crimea with the German usurpers were groundlessly levelled at the whole Tatar population of the Crimea. These indiscriminate accusations in respect of all the citizens of Tatar nationality who lived in the Crimea must be withdrawn, the more so since a new generation of people has entered on its working and political life.
The Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet decrees to:
Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, N. Podgorny
Moscow, the Kremlin, 5 September 1967.
From: The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (1970) by Robert Conquest, pp. 186-187.
Despite all the promises the Soviet authorities failed to totally rehabilitate the Crimean Tatars. Those who returned to their ancestral homeland, after they were supposedly exonerated, were once again severely punished and redeported. Most importantly, the mass deportation of May 18,1944 has not ended and majority of the Crimean Tatars still remain in exile awaiting for a government sponsored return, another words awaiting for justice to prevail. How long will the Crimean Tatars continue to be punished for a crime they have not committed? And how long will the civilized world remain silent and continue to ignore one of the most blatant violation of human rights?
Mubeyyin Batu Altan
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