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SIMFEROPOL, May 18. /TASS/. The first stage of a memorial complex dedicated to the victims of the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars was inaugurated in the Bakhchysaraisky district of Crimea on Wednesday.
The memorial complex is located near the Syren railway station that the Soviet authorities used to deport the indigenous ethnic group from Crimea on May 18, 1944 as punishment for alleged collaboration with Nazis.
"Such a place should be immortalized and people should have a possibility to come and remember about their relatives who died during the deportation. We made a decision to create a memorial at that station from where people were sent," Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov told reporters ahead of the ceremony.
A stepping stone and a railway car made in the 1940s have been installed at the place of the future memorial. The construction of the complex is expected to be completed in 2019, by the 75th anniversary of the deportation. A mosque and an Orthodox church will be built nearby.
Aksyonov said the construction project is estimated at 400 mln rubles ($6.1 mln). "There will be a memorial here, about which not only Crimean Tatars but also all Crimeans dreamt. Crimea will show the best example of how to live peacefully under one sky," he said.
Crimea’s authorities earlier said they would be glad to see Ukrainian singer Jamala who won this year’s Eurovision song contest with a controversial song about the deportation of Crimean Tatars at the opening ceremony of the memorial.
More than 200,000 Crimean Tatars, Germans, Greeks, Bulgarians and Armenians were deported from Crimea in 1941-1944. In 1989, the Supreme Council of the USSR acknowledged that the repression against peoples subjected to forceful deportation was illegal and criminal. In 1991, Russia adopted a law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples. May 18 is marked as a Day of remembrance of deportation victims in Crimea.