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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

The rediscovered history

The Security Service of Ukraine has handed documents about the Crimean Tatar relocation to the Mejlis representatives
3 June, 2014 - 11:46

“The scheme was always the same – they called at your door at about 4-5 a.m. and said: ‘Assemble your belongings, you have got 15 minutes to do it, you are being deported,’” Mustafa Dzhemilev recalled a tragic page of his people’s history. He received four volumes of declassified documents relating to the history of the Crimean Tatars at the press center of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from the service’s head Valentyn Nalyvaichenko. The event was timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of this people’s deportation from Crimea.

The archivists started to process the documents just two months ago, when the security agency’s new leadership made the archive to resume its public activity. This is just a small part of relevant documents, as most of them remain in Moscow and Crimea. Most of the materials concern the eviction of the Crimean Tatars from their homes and their relocation to remote regions of the USSR.

“Lack of secrets is one of the hallmarks of democracy, so the documents of previous totalitarian regimes should be published,” Dzhemilev maintained. “Back in 2009, we received secret protocols of the 1917-18 Kurultai, the national parliament of the Crimean Tatar people, as well as materials covering the repressions against our politicians and intellectuals. I believe that our cooperation with the SBU will continue, and hope in particular that we will soon receive the materials dealing with subversive activities launched by the Yanukovych regime together with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) with the aim of splitting the Crimean Tatar people and destroying the Mejlis. Such an initiative would be particularly relevant in view of the fact that the FSB is now continuing its activities in the occupied territory of Ukraine.”

The documents are to be published as a separate volume soon, being developed now by the SBU Special State Archive and leading central archives of Ukraine. “It is dealing with materials that describe the ethnic cleansings in Crimea, which the Soviets started during World War II,” researcher from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine’s Institute of Ukrainian History Oleh Bazhan told The Day. “Besides the Crimean Tatars, the deportations also affected the Germans, Italians, Greeks, Armenians, and Turks.” In addition, the documents to be published cover the struggle of the Crimean Tatars from the 1950s through the 1980s for a right of return to their homeland and all the repressions that the regime resorted to as it tried to prevent it from happening. Moreover, it will include materials that reflect the circumstances of Crimea’s transfer to the Soviet Ukraine, including the catastrophic state of the peninsula’s economy in 1954. In total, the book will make public about 300 documents, most of which will be published for the first time. Let us recall that the Soviet secret police archives still remain largely unexploited. The SBU plans to open access to these documents to researchers soon.

By Roman HRYVINSKY, photo by Artem SLIPACHUK, The Day