SIMFEROPOL, April 30 /ITAR-TASS/. This year, there are plans to allocate $20 million on support and development of Crimea’s deported peoples, acting head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov said at a meeting with students of the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University on Wednesday.
“The Russian president’s decree to restore the rights of deportees focuses on support and development of repatriates who reside in Crimea,” Aksyonov said. “So we will try to find funds to implement these measures.”
“We also await proposals on development of the cultural and social spheres from all representatives of these peoples,” he said.
Aksyonov emphasized that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree on exoneration of the rights of Crimea’s deported peoples is a factor that reinstated historical justice, “a new degree in inter-ethnic relations on the peninsula”.
“We all have been waiting for this document for 70 years,” he said. “Hundreds and thousands of people, who experienced hardships and deprivations while expecting to return to their Motherland, have been awaiting it.”
Crimea is a former Ukrainian region that joined Russia in mid-March 2014.
On April 21, Putin signed a decree on exoneration of the Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean Tatar and German peoples deported from Crimea during the Great Patriotic War [a term used in Russia and other former Soviet republics to describe hostilities on the eastern fronts of World War II in 1941-1945] and measures of state support for their revival and development.
Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimean Peninsula in 1944 following a decision of the State Defense Committee of the USSR. Under the document, Crimean Tatars were supposed to be deported from Crimea and settled in the territory of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbekistan).
The key reasons behind the deportation that were mentioned were that Crimean Tatars massively deserted from the Red Army during WWII; fought in the German armed forces, served in the German police as well as in prisons and death camps. Meanwhile, 25,000-35,000 Crimean Tatars served in the Red Army in 1941-1945.
The deportation carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) took place on May 18-20, 1944. A total of 191,014 Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea to special settlements in Uzbekistan that existed until 1957.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities, who had come to power amid riots after a coup in Ukraine in February.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
As of late 2013, Russians accounted for 58.5%, Ukrainians for 24.3%, Crimean Tatars for 12.1%, Belarusians for 1.4% and Armenians for 1.1% of Crimea’s population.
Crimea became part of the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it joined Russia.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems is actively underway now that Crimea has become part of the Russian Federation.