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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Crimean Tatars in Ukraine

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Date(s) Item
1917 Economic and political collapse brings about the downfall of Czarist Russia and the establishment of the Soviet Union.
Nov 22, 1917 The Central Rada of Kiev (the council of the main Ukrainian national organization) issues decree establishing the Ukrainian Republic which is to work towards a federation of other nations of the former Russian Empire.
Dec 1917 Competing claims of statehood are issued by the Ukrainian Bolsheviks and Russian Bolshevik troops invade.
Feb 1918 The Central Rada signs an agreement with the Germans to gain German and Austrian protection from the Bolsheviks. This leads to a major loss of support from Ukrainian nationalists. As the Germans lose the war, the Central Rada is removed from power by December. In April, a "Hetmanate" is established which gets support from the Russian Bolsheviks.
Mar 13, 1918 The Ukraine (the Central Rada) declares the Black Sea Fleet, Ukrainian. By the end of April, the fleet sails under the Ukrainian flag.
1919 - 1921 Anarchy reigns throughout the eastern part of Ukraine. The Russian Bolsheviks attempt two more unsuccessful invasions. Finally in late 1921, the Bolsheviks defeat the Ukrainian nationalists and it is absorbed into the Soviet Union.
Oct 18, 1921 The Soviet Union establishes the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Russian SFSR. The autonomous republic is run as a Tatar enclave.
May 18, 1944 Stalin begins mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea for collaborating with the Germans during World War II. Most are settled in Uzbekistan. It is estimated that as many as 46.2% of Crimean Tatars perished in the aftermath (Allworth 1988). (The low end of estimates put the number around 20%.) A policy of removing Crimean Tatar from national identity followed.
Jun 30, 1945 The Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic is stripped of its autonomous status. It becomes merely an oblast of the Russian SFSR.
Apr 29, 1954 Under Khrushchev, the Soviet Union transfers the Crimea from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR. This move is done in marking the 300th anniversary of the Pereiaslav Agreement which in large part marked the beginning of Ukrainian subjugation to Muscovite Empire. The official party line has declared this the beginning of the long Russo-Ukrainian friendship.
Feb 1, 1957 - Oct 31, 1961 A series of petition drives gather between 6,000 and 25,000 signatures on petitions to Party and government bodies asking for the full rehabilitation of Crimean rights and repatriation to Crimea for Crimean Tatars.
1962 The league of Crimean Tatar Youth forms in Tashkent and begins to lobby on behalf of their community. The KGB quickly ends the group's activities.
1966 130,000 Crimean Tatars sign an appeal to the Central Committee to protest the treatment they have received since 1945.
1967 The Supreme Soviet of Soviet Union and of Ukraine both remove the condemnation of the Crimean Tatar people clearing the way for very limited migration of Crimean Tatars to Crimea.
Apr 1968 Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan hold a rally celebrating their national reawakening, but Soviet officials break up the rally.
Jul 31, 1987 Representatives of the Crimean Tatar community meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Gromyko to air grievances. Gromyko agrees to the meeting after some 300 Tatars held an unprecedented 24-hour demonstration near Red Square.
Aug 1987 Police in Uzbekistan reportedly prevent 5,000 Crimean Tatar demonstrators from holding a rally outside Tashkent. Other reports claim that the 5,000 people assembled anyway and were not dispersed.
Jan 1988 Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan hold a series of protests in Tashkent as well as other Uzbek cities.
Mar 1988 Demonstrations and rallies are held in Simferopol in Crimea, in towns in Uzbekistan, and in Moscow. Rallies vary between symbolic protests of a dozen or so people to 2,000 marchers.
Jun 1988 Police violently disperse a Crimean Tatar demonstration in Tashkent (of 5,000 people). In response, Crimean Tatar newspaper staffers in Uzbekistan go on a political strike.
Sep 1988 Several hundred Crimean Tatars hold demonstrations calling for their return in the Crimean town of Lenino. There are reports that the demonstration was dispersed with violence by the police.
1989 The National Movement of Crimean Tatars (NMCT) forms with the goals of removing restrictions on Crimean Tatars from returning to the Crimea from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian republics.
Jan 12, 1989 About a dozen Crimean Tatars unfurl a protest banner in Red Square in Moscow. They are pushing for the right to return to Crimea. It is granted in 1990.
May 2, 1989 The National Movement of Crimean Tatars is formed by Mustafa Dhzemilev (Cemioglu).
Jul 16, 1990 The Ukrainian SSR declares its state sovereignty.
Sep 1990 The Crimean Supreme Soviet calls upon the Supreme Soviets of the Soviet Union and Russian SFSR to nullify the decisions to strip Crimea of its autonomous status.
Jan 20, 1991 A referendum is held in the Crimea on restoring autonomy to the region. Over 80% of the electorate participate, of which 93.26% supported the "restoration of the Crimean ASSR as a subject of the USSR and as a party to the Union Treaty."
Feb 12, 1991 The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet restores the Crimea as an autonomous republic within the borders of the Ukraine.
Jun 26, 1991 The first all-union Congress of Crimean Tatars begins in Simferopol. The congress declares the Crimea to be "the national territory of the Crimean Tatar nation, on which it alone has the right to self-determination" (Keesings' 38302).
Aug 1991 An attempted coup against Gorbachev fails on the 21st. On the 24th, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet declares the Ukraine's independence and on the same day, the Republican Movement of Crimea (which later becomes the Republican Party of Crimea) is established by Yurii Meshkov. The movement is officially registered as a movement in November.
Sep 4, 1991 The Crimean parliament declares the state sovereignty of Crimea as a constituent part of the Ukraine.
Oct 1991 The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet removes restrictions on the return of Crimean Tatars to Crimea and officially invites Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan to return. This may be seen as a strategic move to head off potential problems for the Ukrainian government with the Russian majority in Crimea and with the Russian Federation. As a result of this move and growing financial support from Kiev, Crimean Tatars mainly support the Ukrainian central government in Crimea against the Russian majority there.
Dec 1, 1991 A referendum is held in the Ukraine on independence simultaneously with presidential elections. Leonid Kravchuk is elected the first president of the Ukraine, and the independence of the Ukraine is supported by the referendum. However, Crimean support for Ukrainian independence was lowest (only 54% in favor) with very low turnout (65%).
Jan 1992 The Russian Foreign Ministry and parliament condemn the transfer of Crimea to the Ukraine in 1954.
1992 The Organization of the Crimean Tatar National Movement (OCNM) forms out of the National Movement of Crimean Tatars (NMCT) largely with the same goals. The group's charter claims it will adopt "more organized forms of political struggle" (Stewart 5/94).
Feb 26, 1992 The Crimean parliament changes the name of the region from the Crimean ASSR to the Crimean Republic.
Mar 19, 1992 Crimean Tatars (several hundred) hold a protest to air their desire to have the exclusive right to determine the future status of Crimea. They believe they should have this right as they are the only indigenous peoples in the Crimea.
Apr 1992 In a visit to Crimea, Russian Vice President Rutskoi calls for the secession of Crimea from the Ukraine.
May 5, 1992 Crimea's parliament declares total independence subject to approval in a referendum to be held in August 1992.
May 13, 1992 The Ukrainian parliament declares the Crimean parliament's independence declaration unconstitutional and gives them until May 20 to rescind it. They also give President Kravchuk the power to use all necessary means to halt Crimean independence.
May 18, 1992 Nikolai Bagrov bans all demonstrations in observance of the anniversary of the mass deportations. Cemioglu complains to the media about the condition for returning Crimean Tatars. A lack of roads, electricity, running water, and schools has led to the highest infant mortality rate and one of the highest epidemic rates in the country.
May 20, 1992 In reaction to the Ukrainian ultimatum, the Crimean parliament rescinds its declaration of independence, but only suspends the referendum on independence. They also suggest that Kiev suspend its law on Crimean autonomy and begin negotiating a new delineation of power between Kiev and Simferopol.
May 21, 1992 The Russian parliament passes a resolution declaring the 1954 transfer of Crimea illegal and calling for negotiations on the future of Crimea.
Jun 1, 1992 Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments agree to a compromise where Crimea is granted greater autonomy and special economic status. Crimean Tatars condemn the agreement as they were not a party to the negotiations.
Jun 30, 1992 Kiev passes a law granting Crimea greater autonomy as they agreed to, but made its enactment contingent on (1) Crimea's amendment of its constitution to bring into line with the Ukraine's, and (2) the complete annulment of the independence referendum. Crimea later imposes a moratorium on the referendum.
Jul 1992 A group of local (most likely Russian) residents support the eviction by Crimean militiamen of Tatars squatting on some land near Bachissaray (ancient capital of Haci Giray Khan). The clash turns violent with some 20 people reportedly being seriously wounded.
Sep 1992 Crimea revises its constitution to meet the Ukraine's requirements.
Dec 17, 1992 The Ukrainian parliament passes the Law on the Representation of the President of Ukraine in the Republic of Crimea.
Jan 18 - 20, 1993 Anti-Ukrainian demonstrations again take place in Sevastopol and Simferopol. This time they are organized by the All Crimean Movement of Electors for a Crimean Republic, the Republican Movement of Crimea, Edinstvo, and the Union of Communists (all ethnic-Russian groups). Demands include the transfer of Crimea back to Russian jurisdiction and early elections be held for all government bodies. The Simferopol demonstration numbers about 1,000 and is led by Meshkov; the demonstration goes past the parliament building and is unauthorized.
Apr 14, 1993 The Presidium of the Crimean parliament calls for the creation of the post of president. The issue is to be on the upcoming sessions agenda.
May 5, 1993 President Kravchuk meets with Crimean Chairman Bahrov. They discuss an amendment to the Ukrainian Constitution concerning the division of powers between Kiev and Sevastopol, the establishment of committees to decide the division of property in Crimea, and the allowance of dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship for Crimean residents.
Jun 8, 1993 The Ukrainian Defense Ministry issues statement renouncing plans to lease Sevastopol to Russia.
Jun 25, 1993 Kravchuk declares Crimea a free economic zone. The following day, protests are held against the agreement by officers of the fleet and workers' unions.
Jul 16, 1993 The anti-Ukrainian Popular Assembly declares that only Russian laws should be valid in the city of Sevastopol, fresh elections to the city council should be held, Sevastopol deputies in Kiev should be dismissed and new elections for deputies to be sent to Russia should be held, the Ukrainian naval headquarters should be removed forcibly from Sevastopol, and Russia should cut off oil deliveries to Ukraine. Meshkov makes a statement that once Sevastopol is reunited with Russia, the rest of Crimea would soon follow.
Sep 17, 1993 The Crimean parliament passes a law providing for the election of a president of the Crimean Republic.
Sep 28, 1993 Bahrov, speaker of the Crimean parliament threatens to resign in protest the parliament's refusal to guarantee Crimean Tatars representation. The parliament refuses to accept the resignation.
Sep 30, 1993 Crimean Tatars hold unsanctioned rallies in two Crimean settlements. In all, about 150 people participate and make demands for 22 Tatar-electoral districts to the Crimean Supreme Council, official recognition of Majlis, and increased assistance to Tatars resettling to Crimea.
Oct 14, 1993 The Crimean parliament sets presidential elections for January 16, 1994. In a separate vote, they agreed to allocate 14 seats to Crimean Tatars (out of 96) in the new parliament, though the agreement is valid for one term only. Mejlis (the assembly for the OCNM) had called for 22 seats and NMCT had called for 36, though the deal apparently satisfied Mejlis as it cancelled planned protests.
Nov 17, 1993 The leader of the National Movement of Crimean Tatars, Yurii Osmanov is murdered. Other Crimean Tatars leaders speculate that the murder was carried out by Crimean Tatar youths becoming impatient and taking a more violent path. Vasvi Abduraimov who holds a position in the Crimean Ministry of Education) takes over as the leader of NMCT.
Dec 7, 1993 The offices of the Mejlis, the ruling council of the OCNM are torched. There is little information as to who is responsible, but it appears likely that a more radical Tatar group is responsible.
Dec 16, 1993 A bomb does minor damage to the home of Eskander Memetov, economic advisor to Bahrov, speaker of the Crimean parliament.
Jan 1994 The Ukrainian government increases tenfold its allocation for construction projects to house Crimean Tatars in Crimea. This is seen by Mejlis as an attempt to strength support from the Crimean Tatars for the continuation of Crimea as a part of Ukraine (Stewart 5/94). Mejlis leader, Mustafa Cemioglu, also presses Ukrainian President Kravchuk to begin dispersing the housing funds through banking structures set up by Mejlis in order to bypass the committee set up by the Crimean Council of Ministers to use the money. Most Crimean Tatar groups claim this money is being misused and wasted.
Jan 10, 1994 Supporters of the pro-Russian nationalist, Meshkov disrupt a speech by Bahrov. Charges are leveled at Meshkov of waging a "pathological terror campaign." Candidate Meshokov makes inflamatory statements against the Tatars, promising to revoke the set-aside of 14 parliamentary seats for Tatars.
Jan 15, 1994 Meshkov is attacked at a bus stop on the eve of the elections by an individual with a metal rod.
Jan 16, 1994 Over 80% of registered voters vote in the presidential elections. No winner emerges; the top two candidates are Mehkov with 38.2% of the vote, and Bahrov with 17.6% of the vote. The run-offs are scheduled for January 30. With Meshkov of the Russia-bloc the leading candidate, Tatar groups come out in support of Bahrov who is seen as more open to Tatar demands and much less nationalistic. Previously, Cemioglu refused to support any candidate as he maintained that having two presidents in the state of Ukraine would be illegal.
Jan 19, 1994 Memetov is again attacked along with 14 companions. Eleven people are wounded, three killed. Memetov dies two days later due to his injuries.
Jan 20, 1994 Kiev's parliament votes to allow the president to nullify any acts by either central agencies or Crimean authorities which violate the constitution.
Jan 25, 1994 Kravchuk meets with advisors of Meshkov and Bahrov. He assures them that he does not intend to intervene against the Republican Movement. He also reiterated his opposition to dual citizenship.
Jan 30, 1994 The presidential run-offs are held. Meshkov wins with 75% of the vote and Bahrov resigns from parliament - although the resignation was rejected again by the parliament. In this aftermath, ties between Tatars and the Ukrainian government tighten considerably as the government sees the Tatars as a possible bulwark against future secession and the election of Meshkov points to a loss of influence for moderates in the Crimea.
Feb 4, 1994 Meshkov is sworn in as president. He praises Ukraine and President Kravchuk, and in meetings with him works on economic agreements.
Feb 24, 1994 The Ukrainian parliament finds that Crimea did not have the right to have independent defense and monetary policies and they rejected the idea of a separate Crimean citizenship. They also placed a deadline on the Crimean parliament to get Crimean law into line with Ukrainian.
Mar 2, 1994 Bahrov denounces the resolution by the Ukrainian parliament in a meeting with Kravchuk and the chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet.
Mar 4, 1994 The Rossiya electoral bloc urges Crimeans to boycott the upcoming Ukrainian parliamentary elections (set for March 27).
Mar 11, 1994 The Crimean parliament appoints a former Russian minister of economics as deputy prime minister. The Crimean branch of the Ukrainian Republican Party and the Ukrainian Civic Congress adopt a resolution denouncing the Crimean decree on holding a referendum on independence. They also demanded that Kravchuk abolish the Crimean presidency.
Mar 14, 1994 Crimean parliament adopts a budget which calls for taxes and tariffs to be appropriated in Simferopol instead of Kiev. The Central Election Commission of Ukraine declares Meshkov's referendum on independence illegal. Two days later, Kravchuk follows suit declaring the referendum null and void; he states that Meshkov has exceeded his authority. Meshkov vows to go ahead with the referendum anyway.
Mar 21, 1994 Meshkov sets up a special commission to conduct a nonbinding referendum on the status of the Crimea.
Mar 25, 1994 The Ukrainian Defense Ministry declares illegal a decree by Meshkov requiring that Crimean citizens may only perform military service on Crimean soil.
Mar 27, 1994 The Crimea holds the referendum 1.3 million voted, 78.4% of whom supported greater autonomy from Ukraine, 82.8% supported allowing dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship, and 77.9% favored giving Crimean presidential decrees the force of law. The first round of both Crimean and Ukrainian elections also take place. In the Crimea, the Rossiya bloc gets 67% of the vote, the Communist Party 11%, and the Party of Economic Rebirth 7%.
Apr 1994 Crimean President Meshkov removes the chief of internal affairs ministry (the police) who was appointed by Kiev and replaces him with a Crimean, Valerii Kuznetsov.
Apr 22, 1994 13 Crimean political parties sign an "Accord for Rebirth." The accord is not signed by Communist Party of Crimea, Ukrainian Republican Movement, Ukrainian Civic Congress of Crimea, nor the Mejlis. The signing came after a week of pro-Russian demonstrations in front of the local parliament.
May 1994 Kravchuk orders the removal of Kuznetsov as chief of the internal affairs ministry, but he is unable to enforce the order. Compromise is later reached between the offices of the two presidents; there is to be both a Ukrainian and Crimean internal affairs ministry presence.
Jun 2 - 9, 1994 A group of Tatars who have returned to Crimea over the past 2 years illegally move into two newly built apartment buildings and refuse to vacate. Their move is in protest of the housing shortage for returning Crimean Tatars. They threaten to blow up the houses with stored natural gas if they are not given alternative housing. Cemioglu, a believer in non-violent protest, warns that if the government continues to demolish Tatar refugee settlements (a practice they adopted in 1992), violence will erupt.
Jun 28, 1994 The Ukrainian parliament attempts to assert Ukrainian control over all police units in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Crimean parliament counters by repealing all Ukrainian laws which contradict Crimean law.
Jul 1, 1994 The Crimean parliament votes to assume full powers on the territory of Crimea except for those which it voluntarily delegates to Kiev. They also condemn the Ukrainian leadership for violating the Crimean Constitution and law.
Jul 6, 1994 The Crimean parliament passes a resolution invalidating a decree from Kiev placing the Crimean militia under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
Jul 19, 1994 Leonid Kuchma is sworn in as president of Ukraine. He won the election with 52.14% of the vote. Mejlis leader Mustafa Cemioglu warns that this could make the situation for his group (the Tatars) worse. Cemioglu has developed a close relationship with Kravchuk and his party, Ruhk which has tended to support Tatar claims for land and better treatment.
Jul 21, 1994 A law allowing dual citizenship in the peninsula passes its first reading in the Crimean parliament. The parliament is also said to be considering charging both the Russians and Ukrainians for use of Crimean land for their military installations. Russia has paid only irregularly for use of its naval bases and Ukraine has not paid at all.
Aug 3, 1994 The Crimean minister of economics reports that Crimea is becoming more and more dependent on Ukraine for trade and less so on Russia. He reported that 80% of Crimean manufactures are sold in Ukraine.
Aug 4, 1994 It is revealed that on July 18 Meshkov created the Service of the President of the Republic of Crimea for Security and International Affairs. The new service answers only to the president and is headed by a former Russian special services operative. This is the third special services office to operate in Crimea; the other two are operated by Ukraine and parliament.
Aug 6, 1994 Kuchma issues two decrees which place the government under his direct control and subordinates all local and regional councils to his authority. This move is not challenged by the parliament which has ten days to do so (otherwise the decrees become law).
Sep 11, 1994 Crimean President Meshkov suspends the Crimean parliament and all local councils, and has assumed all political powers within the republic. Meshkov's decree states that a draft constitution is to be drawn up December 9 and voted on in a referndum by April 9. Within three months of the approval of a new constitution, new elections are to be held and new local bodies to be created. This move follows the parliament's vote to curtail his powers 4 days earlier. Later, Meshkov offers to begin talks with parliament only if they rescinded the amendments curtailing his powers.
Sep 22, 1994 Meshokov suspends his decree dissolving parliament in order to begin talks with the parliament. Meanwhile, the position of the central government in Kiev has been low-keyed and non-intrusive. Kuchma has called on both sides to resolve the dispute peacefully, saying that the central authority would only intervene if "disorder" broke out. Kuchma also proposed a compromise of both sides canceling their decrees. Both sides rejected the proposal. In the wake of this, he has declared that if they do not resolve the dispute peacefully, he will rescind Crimea's autonomous status. A poll is reported showing only 23% of Crimeans support Meshkov. The report which gave this statistic also reported that leader of the Tatar (Kuraltai) faction of parliament has said that it would be better to live as an oblast of Ukraine than under Meshkov.
Sep 29, 1994 The parliament moves to strip Meshkov and the presidency of all powers, making the prime minister the chief executive (the vote was 68 in favor, 11 against, and 14 abstained). A week later, the parliament votes Anatoly Franchuk the new prime minister. Franchuk is a close friend of Kuchma.
Jan 1995 500 Crimean Tatars rally in Simferopol against the Crimean parliament.
Feb 1995 Cemioglu sends an open letter to the Ukrainian parliament calling for a parliamentary quota in the Crimean parliament for Ukrainians in Crimea. The quota for Crimean Tatars was designed to overcome their highly dispersed demographics in gaining representation. Crimean Ukrainians suffer from no such problem. The regional branch of the Mejlis in Sevastopol responds to calls by Russians to form Russian cossack units by warning that Crimean Tatars would then be forced to form their own self-defense units, thus heightening tensions on the peninsula for everyone.
Apr 6, 1995 A new election law is passed in Kiev on local elections which effectively bars all Crimean Tatars who have returned since November 11, 1991 from voting. Mejlis leaders sharply criticize Kiev for the move and call on Crimean Tatars not to participate in the elections since nearly half of Crimean Tatars would not be allowed. Mejlis portrays the move not as a protest, but as a move to maintain equality among Crimean Tatars. NMCT criticizes the law as well, but their leader, Vasvi Abduraimov, claims that Mejlis suggested this law to Kiev in the hope to limit NMCT's support in the upcoming elections.
Apr 12, 1995 The Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, Council of Ministers and Office of the President in a joint meeting decided to formally abrogate the Crimean constitution and abolish the office of the Crimean President. The move is supported by Mejlis leaders. Reports have indicated that presumably Kiev will recognize the Mejlis as the representative body of the Crimean Tatar people, a move which Crimean authorities have refused to do and which likely will rile the NMCT.
Apr 17, 1995 Ukrainian Cossacks and Crimean Tatars attempt to raise a Ukrainian flag in Simferopol near the city council, but a large group of Russians blocks their way. No overt violence was reported.
Jun 1995 According to the US State Department "interethnic tensions aggravated by persuasive organized crime problems, erupted into violence, leaving four Tatars dead" (US Department of State)
Jun 1995 Special purpose detachments from Poltava fired at unarmed people during the unrest near Sudak (BBC)
Jun 25, 1995 Crimean Tatars turned down the services of the law-enforcement bodies to protect their settlements and appealed instead to the representatives of Ukraine's National Guard. The streets of their settlements near Feodosiya were being patrolled by locals together with foot soldiers from the Ukrainian Navy (BBC)
Jun 25, 1995 The Majlis of the Crimean Tatar [self-styled parliament of the Crimean Tatars] people called on its supporters to boycott the elections to protest the local elections at Ukraine's election law which it believes discriminated against deported peoples. (TASS)
Jun 26, 1995 Deputy head of Crimean Majlis, Refat Chubarov, said that the unrest in Crimea is a prelude to a new civil war and calls for the imposition of emergency regulations (Interfax)
Jul 19, 1995 The commission of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers for investigating the causes and consequences of the Crimean Tatar unrest in eastern Ukraine in June concluded that the repartition process " has transformed into a spontaneous return process under difficult economic conditions, with great difficulties in getting the deported people settled and integrated into society" . For housing only those Crimean Tatars who have already returned to the peninsula, 108,000bn karbovantsi are required, whereas this year just 1,000bn is intended to be allocated for this. Under such funding, it will take 100 years to implement the programme of settling the deported people. "The Crimean Tatars are much worse off than the rest of the population," the commission's documents say. Many jobless Crimean Tatars "are forced to commit petty theft from the fields of collective farms" . This promotes crime-generating tendencies among the deported peoples. (TASS)
Jul 24, 1995 The Chairman of the Majlis, Mustafa Dzhemilev, stated that Crimea "is the only territory where Tatars can revive their culture and their language and they have the right for self-determination...[Tatars] view Crimea as a national-territorial autonomy within the framework of the Ukrainian state" (BBC).
Nov 1, 1995 The Crimean parliament approves, in principle, the autonomy's draft constitution (BBC).
Nov 1 - 12, 1995 The Crimean Supreme Council's Kurultay faction went on hunger strike. Their statement said that the constitution adopted by the Crimean parliament on November 1st "does not reflect the legitimate interests of the Crimean Tatar people." They demanded that the constitution be amended to guarantee the representation of the Tatars in the Supreme Council and local government bodies, as well as equal status to all state languages in Crimea Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean-Tatar." (BBC)
Nov 13, 1995 Kuchma held meetings with leaders of Greek, Bulgarian, Gypsy, Russian, Crimean Tatar, Slovak, Polish, Romanian and German ethnic associations. A commission to deal with ethnic problems in Crimea, especially those concerning Crimean Tatars, was to be established. The commission would include Ukrainian and Crimean government officials and Crimean Tatars representatives. Speaking at the meeting, Chubarov called for the constitutional definition of such terms as the people of Ukraine, ethnic minority, and native people, for national rather than regional solutions to ethnic problems. (BBC)
Nov 15, 1995 The Crimean parliament failed to reach a decision on proposed amendments to the constitutional provision on languages. About 1,200 Tatars protest outside of parliament against the "chauvinist constitution." (BBC)
Nov 27, 1995 The State Independence of Ukraine SIU, a right-wing organization with a membership of 1,800, is to represent the interests of Crimean Tatars in Kiev according to the agreement between the SIU and the Majlis of the Crimean Tator people. The Majlis intend to prepare a draft document "On the status of the Crimean Tatars" which would set out the vision for Crimean Tatar representation in the executive and legislative bodies of power in the autonomous republic. Representatives of SIU will help to take the document through the various departments (BBC).
Jan 11, 1996 According to a study by the United Nations Development Program, more than half of the 250,000 Crimean Tatar returnees to Ukraine "have no water or electricity in their homes and no paved roads" in their communities. (International Herald Tribune)
Mar 1996 Various political forces in Ukraine, including President Kuchma and Crimean Tatar leader, Dzhemilev, criticized the decision of the Russian Duma to revoke the Belavezhskaya Puchsha accords of December 1991, which created the CIS (TASS).
May 18, 1996 Up to 20,000 Tatars took to the streets in Simferopol to mark the 52nd anniversary of their deportation by Stalin and to call for an autonomy within Ukraine. Their resolution addressed to President Kuchma, the parliament, the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that there is a “lack of will by the Ukrainian state to restore the rights of the Crimean Tatar people.” Reportedly, Crimean Tatars account for about 10% of Crimea’s nearly 3 million population (Agence France Press)
Jun 12, 1996 Reportedly since 1989 about 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to Crimea from Uzbekistan where they were sent in 1944 (Facts on File, World News Digest)
Aug 7, 1996 According to Russia’s NTV, the extremist ideology of Islamic fundamentalism "has taken root in Crimea." However, Crimean Tatar leaders called the idea of setting up an Islamic state "premature" and a "provocation by Turkey and Pakistan." Dzemilev said they "believe that the Chechens are waging a national liberation struggle for the independence of their territory." (BBC)
Nov 4, 1996 About 100 students and lecturers of the Simferopol State University's Department of Crimean Tatar Language and Literature held a rally to protest against cuts in student places at their department, calling it "discrimination against Crimean Tatar language." The rally was organized by the Adalet (Justice) Party, uniting Crimean Tatars. Demonstrators also protested against the filling of vacancies with Turkish and Arabic-language groups (Interfax).
Dec 5, 1996 The Russian Federation Council on Sevastopol stated the division of the Black Sea Fleet should be stopped, and claimed Russian ownership of Sevastopol. Ukrainian authorities protested against the statement (TASS).
Dec 7, 1996 The Majlis of the Crimean Tatar people stated that it regards the statement by the Russian Federation Council on Sevastopol as a territorial claim against Ukraine, and urged the Ukrainian leadership to take a decision without delay on the withdrawal of foreign troops from the state's territory. It also appealed to international organizations to apply sanctions against Russia (BBC).
Dec 21, 1996 Crimea’s Congress of Russian People sought registration in Russia. It also issued a statement supporting the Russian Federation’s decision on the status of Sevastopol and on the cessation of the division of the Black Sea Fleet (TASS)
Dec 21, 1996 Kuchma denounced Russia’s claim on Sevastopol (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
Dec 22, 1996 More than 1,000 residents of Sevastopol and members of the Black Sea Navy demonstrated for their city to be made part of Russia (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
Jan 13, 1997 The Crimean Tatars demanded recognition as an ethnic minority in a document that is to be presented to President Leonid Kuchma. The document, listing 40 other demands, is to be signed by 100,000 Tatars living on the Crimean peninsula (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).
Jan 21, 1997 Leaders of the Maklis issued an appeal to the president, prime minister and information minister of Ukraine, and the leadership of Crimea, protesting against the sharp cuts in air time allocated to the Krym (Crimea) State Television and Radio Company (BBC).
May 17, 1997 Crimean Tatars prepared an appeal over their lack of rights and demanded allocation of funds for their resettlement. The appeal was signed by 91,000 people (TASS)
May 18, 1997 About 10,000 Crimean Tatars staged a protest to mark the 53rd anniversary of their deportation and to call for their minority rights (BBC)
May 27, 1997 The first deputy chairman of the Ukrainian State Committee for Nationalities and Migration reported that 265,000 people who were deported from Ukraine have returned .The majority of them are Crimean Tatars. In the next year it is estimate that about 250,000 people will return. He said that it is necessary to allocate another 2bn US dollars for resettlement of deportees. So far only 129,000 (52%) of those who returned had been allocated housing. Over 50,000 Crimean Tatars had still not found jobs. 270 towns and villages had been built in Crimea for Crimean Tatars and 400,000 square metres of housing space and 42,000 land plots for the purpose of private house construction had been allocated. However, this amounted to only one-sixth of what is required. Between 1992 and 1996 Ukraine allocated 300 m dollars for the resettlement of deportees. In 1997-2000 the figure will not exceed 100 m dollars (BBC)
Jun 1997 Mustafa Dzhemilev presented details of his talks with the ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in Ukraine. According to Dzhemilev, they discussed the conditions that applied to Crimean Tatars giving up the citizenship of these countries so that, on their return to Crimea as repatriates, they could invoke the right to a simplified procedure for naturalization as Ukrainian citizens. Another subject discussed was a campaign by Crimean Tatars to launch an appeal to the international community calling for the right to full self-determination, refused to them by the Soviet regime, and other national rights (BBC).
Jun 19, 1997 The Crimean parliament passed a bill to amend the constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. It was compelled to amend its constitution, reducing republic's powers, by the Ukrainian SupremeCouncil. (BBC)
Jul 21, 1997 A draft law "On the use and development of languages in Ukraine,” drawn up by the cabinet and the presidential staff, has been passed to parliament for approval. The bill proclaims Ukrainian as the only official language and communication idiom in all social spheres throughout the country, the Crimean autonomy being no exception. All civil servants and other persons, speaking other languages in public offices, will be fined. This coercive promotion of the Ukrainian language boils down to " discrimination against citizens of many nationalities through the abuse of their language rights," Alekseyev, Ukrainian Parliament deputy, pointed out with respect to the Crimea, where Russian speakers account for 93 per cent of the population, including ethnic Ukrainians.(RIA News Agency)
Aug 5, 1997 The parliament of Crimea approved the 1997 budget and appealed to the Ukrainian government to grant Crimea the right to have a budget of its own (BBC).
Aug 15, 1997 Kuchma discussed with CIS countries their help for resettlement of the Crimean Tatars and promises more help from Ukraine (BBC).
Aug 17, 1997 Only the Kurultay faction of the Crimean parliament expressed its support for the Ukrainian-American Sea Breeze-97 exercise off the Crimean coast. Other members of the Crimean parliament opposed the exercise and the Crimean Supreme Council demanded the cancellation of the exercises.
Sep 4, 1997 Kuchma discussed the Crimean Tatar situation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadato Ogata, who confirmed that the UNHCR will continue funds for Tatar resettlement ($2.5 million allocated) (BBC).
Sep 29, 1997 An OSCE delegation arrived in Kiev to discuss the political situation in Crimea and the settlement of the Crimean Tatars (BBC)
Nov 1997 The People's movement of Ukraine (Rukh) and Majlis agreed to cooperate in the parliamentary election.
Dec 17, 1997 The Crimean parliament adopted a resolution on urgent measures to resettle and support the return of, aid the national development of, and safeguard the rights of citizens deported from Crimea because of their nationality. The Crimean Tatar faction, Kurultay, has been pressing for the whole year for the adoption of this resolution. (BBC)
Feb 1998 The law on the elections to the autonomy's parliament was passed by the Ukrainian parliament and signed by the President. Under the law, which introduced a majority voting system, Crimean Tatars may not get representation in the new Crimean parliament. According to the Majlis leader, Refat Chubarov, who is also a deputy speaker of the current parliament, 167,485 of the Crimean Tatars currently resident in Crimea are over 18, but only 97,000 of them (58%) are Ukrainian citizens. (BBC)
Feb 1 - Mar 31, 1998 Crimean Tatars were picketing the office of the Ukrainian president's representative in Crimea, demanding that Ukrainian citizenship should be granted to 70,000 Crimean Tatars who otherwise will not be able to take part in the election to the Ukrainian or Crimean parliaments on 29th March. The 70,000 Tatars came to Crimea from Uzbekistan, where they had already been made citizens of that country. In order to get Ukrainian citizenship, Tatars have to go back to Uzbekistan, pay a duty and renounce their Uzbek citizenship (BBC).
Mar 1998 The OSCE asked Kuchma to address the problem of Crimean Tatar participation in the election and also asked Crimean Tatars to act within the law (BBC).
Mar 5, 1998 The Ukrainian parliament, the Ukrainian Supreme Council, did not adopt Kuchma's proposals to ensure Crimean Tatar representation (BBC).
Mar 24, 1998 Ukrainian parliament again voted not to amend the elections legislation. Police clashed with nearly 6,000 Crimean Tatars who blocked the railway to protest the vote in the Ukrainian parliament (Interfax).
Mar 27, 1998 Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of Majlis, ruled out the Chechen model for developments in Crimea. However, he warned that the issue of Crimean Tatar representation in Crimean bodies of authority should be resolved if widespread protests and bloodshed are to be avoided. He reasserted the Crimean Tatar aspiration to have an ethnic autonomy within Ukraine (BBC).
Mar 28, 1998 About 10,000 Crimean Tatars organized a rally in Simferopol demanding quotas and guaranteed Tatar participation in all ruling bodies and alien's right to come to polls in March 29th elections. Kuchma condemned the Tatar rallies in Crimea (RIA New Agency).
Mar 29, 1998 Elections to the Ukrainian and Crimean parliaments. The newly elected Supreme Council (parliament) of Crimea is to begin work on 28th of April.
Apr 15, 1998 In its last session, the Crimean parliament approved the initiative of the Slavic Unity faction on introducing a new holiday on 19th of April, a Day of Russia in Crimea, marking 215th anniversary of the signing by Empress Catherine the Great of the manifesto joining Crimea to Russia. The Kurultay faction of the Crimean Tatars objected, claiming that they regard Russia's annexation of Crimea as an occupation ((BBC).
Dec 21, 1998 The first day of the holy month of Ramadan was marked in Crimea by massive demonstrations by Crimean Tatars. About 3,000 supporters of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People picketed the building of the Crimean Supreme Council voicing protests against the constitution of the Crimean autonomous area, which they claimed consolidated the lack of rights affecting Crimea's indigenous nation. The Crimean Tatars are insisting on a guaranteed quota of deputies in the local parliament and also on the use of the Crimean Tatar language on a par with the state language of Ukrainian (BBC).
Dec 23, 1998 The Ukrainian Supreme Council adopted the constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) with 230 supporting it and 67 rejecting it. According to the constitution, the ARC is an inalienable part of Ukraine. The ARC's powers are defined by the Ukrainian constitution and Ukrainian laws as well as by the ARC constitution. The main guarantees envisaged by the constitution are the legal, administrative, financial, property and resource independence of the ARC. General taxes and duties are transferred in full to the Crimean budget, which guarantees the ARC's financial independence. The ARC has its own symbols -coat of arms, flag and anthem. Along with the state language [Ukrainian], the functioning, development, use and protection of the Russian and Crimean Tatar languages and the languages of other nationalities are guaranteed in Crimea. Official documents on the status of citizens are issued in Ukrainian, Russian, and at the request of the citizens, in Crimean Tatar (BBC).
Mar 30, 1999 Leonid Hrach, Crimean speaker denied violations of Crimean Tatars' rights commenting on the address by several non-governmental organizations of Crimean Tatars to the Council of Europe (in connection with alleged discrimination against the Crimean Tatar people) (BBC).
Apr 8, 1999 Crimean Tatars began protests in Simferopol, which will continue until 17th May, the day of the deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea [in 1944]. Today's rally on the square opposite the Supreme Council [parliament] of the [Crimean] autonomy is dedicated to the 216th anniversary of the manifesto of Catherine the Second on annexation of Crimea by Russia. The deputy chairman of the Majlis [ Crimean Tatar parliament], Nadir Bekirov, said that since then the ethnic annihilation of Crimean Tatars has been continuing. The current Crimean leadership is the direct heir of the colonial policy of both tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. Despite the Simferopol city authorities ban on Crimean Tatars conducting the rally on the square opposite the Crimean Supreme Council, around 3,000 Crimean Tatars gathered to say that nothing has changed in the attitude to their nation since the manifest of Catherine the Second on annexation of Crimea by Russia. Crimean Tatars define their current status as colonial, because neither the Crimean nor the Ukrainian constitution take into account the interests of the Crimean Tatars as the indigenous nation of Ukraine. The Majlis leaders believe that efficient representation in all organs of the state power on the [Crimean] peninsula is needed to solve the problems of the repatriates. To achieve this, the Crimean Supreme Council should consist of one third Crimean Tatars who will have the right to veto decisions trespassing on the rights of the indigenous people. Another draft proposes that the legislature in Crimea should be formed in proportion to the ethnic composition of the population.
Apr 19, 1999 The OSCE high commissioner on national minorities, Van der Stoel, studied the problems of the people of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Social problems are said to be most acute in Crimea as is the problem of accommodation of deported people (BBC).
Apr 22, 1999 Van der Stoel met with the Majlis leader, Dzhemilyov, to discuss the political and legal protection of Crimean Tatars, who are returning to peninsula by the thousands from Uzbekistan. He advised the Tatars to more actively pursue a dialog with the government (BBC).
May 10, 1999 A large-scale protest action organized by the Crimean Tatar Majlis began in Crimea, moving towards Simferopol. There the marchers intend to demand that the local parliament adopts a law on creating Crimean Tatar autonomy in the peninsula. The march is timed to coincide with the 55th anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars from the peninsula. The marchers present a list of demands, including recognition of the Crimean Tatars as a population native to the peninsula; reimbursement of the moral and material damage caused by the deportation; recognition of the Majlis as the official body of the Crimean Tatars; introduction of a 30 per cent quota of Tatar employment in all state bodies; and the establishment of a national Crimean Tatar autonomy. (BBC).
May 18, 1999 Crimean Tatars observed the day of deportation with march and building a tent city on Lenin square. Simferopol was reported to be paralyzed by Crimean Tatar protest action (BBC).
May 24, 1999 Tatars ended a protest in Simferopol after the prime minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Serhiy Kunitsyn signed a resolution on measures to settle the issues of Crimean Tatars. Dzhemilyov, Majlis head, thinks that the newly created Council of Representatives of the Crimean Tatar people within the Crimea is the main achievement (BBC)
Jun 3, 1999 Crimean authorities expressed concern that mass protest by Crimean Tatars have frightened off tourists, especially Russians (BBC).
Jan 9, 2004 Crimean Tatars and ethnic Russians in Crimea clashed over land, leaving several injured. (BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit, 1/21/2004, "Interethnic conflict threatens to grow over land in Ukraine's Crimea")
Feb 1, 2004 Crimean police fired warning shots to prevent Crimean Tatar rioters, who were demanding the release of Ismet Saliyev, from storming a police station. No injuries were reported. (TASS, 2/2/2004, "Police fired guns to stop raging crowd of Tatars in Crimea")
May 27, 2004 30,000 Crimean Tatars staged a peaceful demonstration in the capital city of Simferopol, commemorating the forced deportation of the Tatar population from Crimea in the 1940s and calling for more equitable land resettlement in Crimea. (Edmonton Journal, 5/29/2004, "Crimea: Old scars, new headaches")
Jun 28, 2004 Following the decision to relocate a market, which is located on a Muslim cemetery, approximately 800 ethnic Russians protested in the Crimean town of Bakhchysaray, citing local authorities' favoritism toward Tatars. (BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit, 6/28/2004, "Row flares over Tatar cemetery in Ukraine's Crimea")
Mar 15, 2005 Members of the Russian Community of Crimea demonstrated outside of the Crimean Court of Appeal, calling for the lengthening of the jail sentence for the radical Crimean Tatars' Majlis member, Kurtseyit Abdullayev. (BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit, 3/16/2005, "Ukraine: Crimean Tatars protest over imprisonment of radical leader")
May 18, 2005 20,000 Crimean Tatars staged a peaceful demonstration in the capital city of Simferopol, commemorating the forced deportation of the Tatar population from Crimea in the 1940s and calling for more equitable land resettlement in Crimea. (BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit, 5/18/2005, "Ukraine's 20,000 Crimean Tatars gather to commemorate deportation victims")
Jul 10, 2005 Crimean authorities sent troops to Koktebel after repatriated Crimean Tatars began to build houses at Tykha Bukhta Bay in defiance of a recent Crimean parliament decision to dub the area a nature reserve. (BBC Monitoring Kiev Unit, 7/13/2005, "Troops deployed to subdue possible interethnic clashes in Ukraine's Crimea")
May 2006 The Cabinet of Ministers approved a five-year, $130 million assistance program for returning Tatars. (US Department of State. 03/06/2007. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2006: Ukraine." Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.)
May 18, 2006 Tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars staged a peaceful demonstration in the capital city of Simferopol, commemorating the forced deportation of the Tatar population from Crimea in the 1940s and calling for more equitable land resettlement in Crimea. (Associated Press, 5/18/2006, "30,000 Crimean Tatars rally in Ukraine marking 62nd anniversary of deportation")
Jul 8, 2006 During protestations against the market on the Muslim cemetery in Bakhchisaray, Crimean Tatars clashed with Crimean Russians. (International Committee for Crimea. 2006. "Ethnic Conflict in Bakhchisaray." ICC News Digest No. 6.)
Aug 12, 2006 Several were injured after hundreds of Crimean Tatars and Crimean Russians clashed over the controversial Market on a Muslim cemetery in Bakhchysaray. (BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union - Political, 8/12/2006, "Ethnic Tatars, local traders clash over ancient Muslim site in Crimea")


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Information current as of July 16, 2010