Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Russian Occupier of Crimea Threatens to Repeat One of Stalin’s Most Barbaric Acts in 1944

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 14 – Natalya Kryzhko, a member of the Russian-organized and imposed “parliament” in occupied Crimea, who is upset by Crimea Tatar efforts to restore historic place names, has threatened to “load them on barges and drown them in the Black Sea,” thus repeating one of the most barbaric actions carried out by Stalin’s henchmen in 1944.

            Crimean Tatar outlets have called attention to this latest horrific example of Russian state continuity (  and

            On July 19, 1944, after the Soviet NKVD had deported most of the Crimean Tatars, its officers discovered that villages on Crimea’s Arab Spit had somehow escaped that fate.  The residents were then locked up, put on a boat, taken out into the Azov Sea, and killed by machine-gun fire before being drowned.

            Obviously, the Soviet authorities did not celebrate this “heroic” action, and when emigres reported it in the mid-1950s, even many anti-communist experts in the West were convinced that this couldn’t be true. But at the very end of Soviet times, Moscow ethnographers published a chronology that acknowledged it was true.

            Since that time, Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian historians like Gulnara Abdulayeva have documented this event more fully, even taking the testimony of one former NKVD major who told them that the Soviet secret police had acted in this way because “we didn’t have a lot of time.”

            Crimean Tatars have commemorated this event (  and, and it is discussed in Lily Hyde’s remarkable novel, Dream Land  (in English, 2008; in Ukrainian, 2014) (

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