Stets: "All Ukrainians Perceive the Tragedy of Crimean Tatar People as Their Own One"
"Today is the 71st anniversary of deportation of Crimean Tatars — the indigenous people of Crimea — by totalitarian Soviet regime. While men were defending their Homeland in the fields of the World War II, NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs in the USSR) troops forced their women, children, elderly and disabled Crimean Tatars to leave their homes in a hurry. Locked in freight wagons enduring inhuman conditions they were taken to the steppes of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and the Ural. As the war ended the front line soldiers were also forced to leave for places of deportation.
In the early days and years of deportation about half of 200,000 people perished. A large number of victims were children.
To erase the memory of Crimean people for ever, the Soviet authorities forbade them to return home, excluded the ethnonym "Crimean Tatars", and renamed those settlements of peninsula, which reminded of their previous inhabitants.
The deportation was actually an act of genocide against the indigenous people of Crimea, like Holodomor genocide against the Ukrainians.
Ukrainian people, who experienced the same suffering because of the totalitarian Soviet regime, will never allow the date of May 18, 1944 to be forgotten. Moreover, all Ukrainians perceive and experience the tragedy of the Crimean Tatars as their own one. This day we are all Crimean Tatars.
We — Ukrainian and Crimean peoples — have a common history, a common destiny, a common country, and common Maidan.
We remember and honor the memory about not only the victims of the deportation — the genocide — of Crimean Tatars; we remember those suffered from the Russian occupation taken place last year. Thus, the first victim of the invaders was Reshat Ametov who should be awarded posthumously with the title of the Hero of Ukraine.
Ukrainian government will make every effort to release the victims of the FSB: Akhtem Chiyhoza, Ali Asanova, as well as Mustafa Dehermendzhi and Ernest Nebiiev who have been thrown to jail a year ago, on February 26, just because they joined Crimean Maidan to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine together with thousands of their fellow countrymen.
Ukrainian government will not only make every effort to protect its citizens, its patriots, but will also create all necessary conditions to preserve the culture of Crimean Tatars and further develop their institutions: national self-government bodies, national education, and the media.
We will return Crimea. We will return to Crimea. And the Crimea will never have anything in common with the totalitarian Soviet past and the occupants.
Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!"
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