Today, on May 18, 2021, Ukraine marks the "Remembrance Day for the Victims of the Crimean Tatar People Genocide" and honours the memory of more than two hundred innocent victims of the Stalinist regime.
In 1944, Crimean Tatars were forcefully thrown into freight wagons and deported to the remote regions of Central Asia and Siberia. Per various estimates, more than 46% of Crimean Tatars perished during the first years of deportation due to starvation, mass diseases, physical abuse and hard labour at special settlements.
During the deportation years, Crimean Tatars were held in special settlements under harsh conditions of a curfew regime. They were forced to hard labor, worked at coalmines, fell forest trees and constructed irrigation systems. These losses notwithstanding, Crimean Tatars continued their decades-long political fight for the right to return to their Motherland.
In 2014, seventy years after the 1944 deportation, the Russian Federation occupied Crimea and renewed repressions against Crimean Tatars. Systemic political persecution, physical and psychological pressure, annihilation of the independent media, discrimination on the basis of religion, violation of ownership and language rights forced more than 48,000 Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians to leave the occupied peninsula.
On 29 September 2016, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the decision to ban the Mejlis on the Crimean Tatar people labelling it as an extremist organization.
Hundreds of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea became victims of political repressions on fabricated charges. Dozens remain detained either in Crimea or in Russia for politically motivated reasons or on trumped-up charges.
In November 2015, Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) recognized the 1944 deportation as genocide of the Crimean Tatar people, and May 18 was designated as Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Crimean Tatar People's Genocide.