Monday, 3 March 2014
Things don't look good for the Tatars
The huge swathe of land that we now know as the Republic of Ukraine has a long and complex history. Ukrainians, Greeks, Mongols, Ottomans, Russians, Poles, Bolsheviks, Anarchists, Cossacks, Anarcho-Cossacks, Nazi Cossacks, all have had a role to play. No part of the country is more difficult to understand than the semi-autonomous region of Crimea; now the scene of what the pundits of international relations tell us is the most dangerous scenario since the cold war. The people that I feel sorry for are the Crimean Tatars. Starved and purged by Stalin during the 30's the Tatars were expelled to Siberia en mass after the Second World War only being able to return to their homeland in the early 90's. Given their past it's hardly surprising that the Tatars would prefer to be a part of Ukraine rather than Russia but the choice is unlikely to be theirs for the choosing, History has an unpleasant way of dealing with minority peoples who back the losing side in conflicts between powerful neighbours. All the Muslim Tatars need now is to have the wannabe jihadist international riding to their rescue. That really would be the final straw.