After the annexation of the Crimea, Russia established on the peninsula “a hard, semi-bandit, totalitarian regime, which, by some of its features, is even worse than the Soviet one," as stated by the leader of the Crimean people, Mustafa Dzhemilev, at a conference in Bratislava, Radio Liberty reports.
“The struggle of Crimean Tatars was long and persistent, but ultimately successful. Hundreds of people passed through prisons and camps. Some of them ended their lives in prison chambers and many people who fought for return to their homeland never saw it and were buried in a foreign land,” he said.
Dzhemilev also stressed that Crimean Tatars returned to their homeland “without spilling a single drop of someone else's blood.”
"The people, who after a half century of exile finally returned to their homeland, are again gradually forced to leave the Crimea under the onslaught of repression and to move to the mainland of Ukraine," he summed up.
Russia annexed the Crimea in March 2014. The so-called "governor" of Sevastopol, Sergei Menyaylo, said that Ukraine inhabited the Crimea with Crimean Tatars "in opposition to the Russian-speaking population” and advised them to develop territories “high in the mountains”.
In November 2015, the Verkhovna Rada recognized the deportation of Crimean Tatars as genocide. Also in Ukraine, May 18, the day of the deportation, was proclaimed as the Day of Struggle for the Rights of Crimean Tatars.