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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tatars Recall Exile

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine () -- About 15,000 Crimean Tatars massed Saturday to recall their mass deportation by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin 52 years ago and voice support for rebels fighting Russian troops in Chechnya.


Small children from the 250,000-strong Tatar community who have returned to Crimea since the late 1980s carried small portraits of dead Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev through the dusty streets of Simferopol.


The entire Crimean Tatar community of 180,000 was deported on Stalin's orders beginning May 18, 1944.


Like fellow Moslem Chechens in the Transcaucasus, most Crimean Tatars were taken to Uzbekistan and other regions in and around Soviet Central Asia. Tens of thousands died.