Latvian lawmakers label 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars as act of genocide – media
The Latvian parliament has recognized the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 by the government of the Soviet Union as an act of genocide.
The resolution on the issue, approved by Latvian lawmakers on May 9, says it was adopted to "commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Crimean Tatar deportations" and to support "the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea" by Russia in 2014, RFE/RL reported.
The document stressed that "a set of historical sources refers to the purposeful pursuit of genocide by the Soviet authorities against...Crimean Tatars as an ethnic group to destroy their cultural and social heritage and their historical affiliation with the Crimean Peninsula."
In May 1944, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the mass deportation of the entire Crimean Tatar population from the region to Central Asia, collectively accusing the community of collaborating with Nazi Germany.
Tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars died while being transported on cattle trains or during the first few months after they arrived in Central Asia.
Survivors and offspring of the survivors began unauthorized returns to Crimea in the late 1980s.
Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula was seized and illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. Since then, the Crimean Tatar community has been subjected to repression by the Russia-installed authorities for voicing opposition to the annexation.
On May 9, unknown vandals in Crimea desecrated a memorial to Crimean Tatar soldiers who died in combat against Nazi Germany during World War II.