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2019.05.21 09:05

Lithuanian MPs suggest recognizing Soviet persecution of Crimean Tatars as genocide

Ramūnas Jakubauskas, BNS2019.05.21 09:05

Two conservative members of the Lithuanian parliament, Audronius Ažubalis and Laurynas Kasčiūnas, registered a resolution to recognize Soviet crimes against Crimean Tartars as genocide.

A similar resolution was passed in Latvia in early May.

“Recalling the pain and suffering of the Crimean Tatars, we are seeking that the Lithuanian parliament recognize the crimes committed by the Soviet Union against the Crimean Tatar people in 1944 as genocide,” Kasčiūnas said in a statement.

“There is no statute of limitations for the crimes of the communist regime,” Ažubalis added.

The MPs also said that, in a repetition of history, Crimean Tatars are subjected to oppression, discrimination, and violence again after Russia's annexation of the peninsula five years ago.

“We must stand in solidarity with the Crimean Tatar people and maintain the policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014,” they said in a statement.

Stalin's mass deportation of Crimean Tatars began on May 18, 1944. Over 230,000 people, or almost all of the peninsula's Tatar population, were deported from their homeland to Central Asia.

Almost half of the Tatars, mostly exiled to Uzbekistan, died of hunger and disease. It was not until the Perestroika that the remaining Tatars were allowed to return to their native Crimea.

In the wake of Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula in 2014, the Crimean Tatars' assembly and TV channel were outlawed and hundreds of activists were detained and jailed.

Over 10,000 Tatars were forced to move to Ukraine because of persecution and repression.

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