Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Crimean Crisis in Ukraine

Ukraine is going through her Arab Spring - kind of uprising, and has succeeded in uprooting its pro-Moscow president who has fled to Russia. The events in Crimea with a sizeable Russian population is, however, quite different. Here the Russian forces have entered and are now occupying the region.

Crimea was once part of the Muslim world before the territory was lost to Imperial Russia in the mid-19th century when the Ottoman Empire became the 'sick man of Europe.' Many Tatars were killed then, and Russians moved in. 

In May 1944, the entire population of 200,000 Crimean Tatars was forcibly deported by Josef Stalin's Red Army to Russia and Central Asia. Nearly half of the population died within the first year of the deportation. Stalin then resettled the strategic peninsula with Russians, moving them into Tatar homes and handing over Tatar property to them.

The Tatars, however, never put down roots in their places of exile, and the dream of returning to Crimea never died for them. Currently, Tatar Muslims comprise nearly one-eighth of the population of Crimea. Many Tatars also live in other parts of Russia and Ukraine.

For a good report on the Crimean Crisis, click here.

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