Saturday, March 15, 2014

Comments on Reuters report on the Crimean Tatar

Andrew Osborn, a reporter for the Reuters, has an article on the Crimean Tatars - In Crimea, Russian return evokes Soviet ghosts for Tatar minority. Except for a small uninformed statement, it provides the latest information about the uneasy feeling that many Tatars have towards the Russian takeover of the region, once home to millions of Tatar Muslims before the region was colonized by Imperial Russia. I sent a comment to Reuters. Here below is what I wrote, commenting on the article:

"The Reuters report is faulty on one issue. It circulates Russian propaganda about the Tatars. There is no truth to the allegations that Tatars supported Nazi Germany. The same propaganda was circulated for every Muslim then living under Soviet rule, whether they lived in Chechnya, Daghestan, Crimea or wherever. During Nikita Khrushchev's time, all such allegations were found to be untrue and were deliberate attempts by Josef Stalin to exile Muslims and settle ethnic Russians in Muslim territories. Khrushchev later allowed Muslims to return to their homeland, who unfortunately by then found that their homes have been occupied by ethnic Russians, who won't move out to vacate the home for its legitimate owner.

Many Tatars fought side by side the Soviet Army during the war. The forced exodus of the Tatars have left bad feelings between the Russians and the Tatars."

For Chechnya, see the info below, courtesy of the US Army's Foreign Military Studies Office:
"Joseph Stalin, the Bolshevik Commissar of Nationalities and a Georgian, adapted the class struggle to the traditional policy of divide and rule. Soviet federalism provided a national veneer to a centralized state, controlled by the Communist Party, where Russians staffed the key party posts within the various republics. The Chechens proved a difficult people to subdue. In 1929 they revolted against collectivization, leading to a decade-long struggle. Russians arrived to manage the oil industry with the development of Chechen oil fields.
 
During World War II, when the German Army advanced into the Caucasus, there were more signs of Chechen unrest... In late February 1944, Lavrenti Beria’s NKVD carried out Stalin’s “solution” to the Chechen Question—the mass deportation of Chechens to Central Asia. Over 70,000 Chechens of the 450,000 expelled died during transit or on arrival. Chechnya ceased to exist. The exile became the defining event for succeeding generations of Chechens. In 1957 Nikita Khrushchev decreed that the Chechens could return to their ancestral homelands. Chechnya and Ingushetia were joined administratively into the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic. This arrangement joined the rebellious Chechens with the traditionally loyal Ingush in a clear continuation of Moscow’s policy of divide and rule."

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