From ‘Sürgün’ to Russian Annexation: The Crimean Tatar Question and the Return of the ‘Old Demons’

From ‘Sürgün’ to Russian Annexation: The Crimean Tatar Question and the Return of the ‘Old Demons’


This article aims to establish the general context in Crimean politics before the Russian invasion of Crimea in order to better understand the ‘Crimean Tatar question’ from the Crimean Tatar perspective, which has been largely neglected in Eurocentric academic circles. Although there are important affinities between them, Crimean Tatars should not be confused with Kazan and Volga Tatars who live in the Russian Semi-autonomous Republic called ‘Tatarstan.’ “Crimean” is not solely a geographical connotation; it is an inseparable part of the Crimean Tatar ethnic identity (Kırımlı 2014).[i] Crimean Tatars are an ‘indigenous nation’ of Crimea with a Turkic and Muslim identity. After the Second World War, Crimean Tatars were deported by Stalin (the deportation is called ‘Sürgün’ in Tatar). Around 300,000 of them were able to return to Crimea only after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, the Russian invasion of Crimea meant the return of the ‘old demons’ for Crimean Tatars. Crimean Tatars are an ‘indigenous nation,’ not a minority group.

Note: This article benefits from my forthcoming book chapter ‘Religion as Identity Marker: The Dilemma of Crimean Tatars’, in: Nation-Building and Identity in the post-Soviet Space: New tools and approaches, Ashgate (edited by Rico Isaacs and Abel Polese). I thank TÜBİTAK, anonymous reviewers of Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey) and Ümit Sönmez.


Crimean Tatars are an ‘Indigenous Nation’, not a Minority Group

Crimean Tatars do not accept the status of national minority. They rather are an ‘indigenous nation’ of Crimea in the sense that they do not have a ‘kin state’ or ‘Motherland’ other than Crimea (Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), 2013)[ii], They are the offspring nation of the Crimean Khanate that was founded in the mid-15th century and lived under strong influence of the Ottoman Empire before Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 1783. Turkic presence in Crimea dates back to the sixth century while the historical Crimean Khanate –successor to the Golden Horde– was founded in the 15th century. Its status as an Ottoman protectorate ended in 1774 (Küçük Kaynarca Treaty); and it was later annexed to Russia in 1783.[iii] Crimean Tatars were the majority of the Crimean population before 1783. Many Crimean Tatars emigrated due to the wars and Russia’s repressive policies in the 1850s.

Crimean Tatars founded the Crimean People’s Republic in December 1917 but the Bolshevik forces invaded it in January 1918. A Crimean Tatar leader, Veli Ibrahimov founded the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921. The Soviet regime reacted harshly by repressing Ibrahimov (executed by the Soviets in 1928) and the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia accusing them of ‘bourgeois-nationalism’ (Fisher, 1978: 141-142). Hence, Crimean Tatars’ economic, social, and political activities, culture, language and religion were severely undermined by the radical processes of Sovietisation.

During the Second World War, Crimean Tatars faced a serious dilemma: some of them chose to ally with the Nazi Germany due to Hitler’s promise to grant them greater autonomy after the War, while others continued to fight on the side of Stalin. At the end of the War, Stalin denounced all Crimean Tatars as guilty of “mass treason,” and deported them from Crimea in May 1944 (Fisher, 1978: 166). Even the Crimean Tatars who had fought heroically on the Soviet side and had been rewarded with Soviet medals were forcibly deported (ibid.). There is a widespread belief among the Crimean Tatar population that in addition to the harsh conditions of forced deportation that cost a significant number of Crimean Tatar lives, the Soviets had also deliberately sunk some ships carrying Crimean Tatars in order to eliminate the “Crimean Tatar problem” once-and-for-all. Many Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia, in particular to Uzbekistan. Soviets’ anti-Tatar propaganda (an image spread by the Soviets was that Crimean Tatars were barbarians, cannibals, inhuman, etc.) had reached those countries before the deported Crimean Tatars and this significantly delayed Crimean Tatar integration into their host societies.

During the exile, Crimean Tatars were systematically dissuaded from asserting their national and cultural distinctiveness (Kırımlı, 1989). In May 1954, Crimea populated by a Russian majority, was annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic through a unilateral Soviet decision. Some Ukrainians considered this as a Russian plot to undermine the Ukrainian nation-building and an effort to export the “Crimean Tatar question” to Ukraine (íbid.). When their return to Crimea became officially allowed in the 1990s (at the end of the Cold War), some Crimean Tatars decided not to return to Crimea because, in the words of a Crimean Tatar repatriate, ‘their life had already been cut off into two and they did not want to start from zero again.’

Turkey is the “second home” for many Crimean Tatars. An important number of Crimean Tatars (more than 2 million Tatars) migrated to Turkey both before and after the “Sürgün.” [iv] Hakan Kırımlı’s 2012 book entitled “Türkiye’deki Kırım Tatar ve Nogay Köy Yerleşimleri[v]sheds light on the continuing existence of around 300 Crimean Tatar villages in Turkey –mostly, in central Anatolia.

‘The Crimean Tatar Problem:’ Small in Number, Big in Impact

‘Tell me whom Crimea belongs to, and I’ll tell you who you are.’

(Russian journalist, Aider Muzhdabayev)

Although the Crimean Tatar problem is big in the eyes of the Crimean authorities, the number of Crimean Tatar population who returned to Crimea is not very significant. The last Ukrainian census dating back to 2001 revealed that the total number of Crimean population was 2 million and “more than 125 nationalities and ethnic groups live on the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”[vi] The biggest three ethnic groups of Crimea were: ethnic Russians (58 per cent of the Crimean population), Ukrainians (24 per cent), and Crimean Tatars (12 per cent, equal to 240,000 people). The OSCE estimated that Tatar population had risen to 13.7 per cent of the Crimean population by May 2013 but it should be noted that the majority in Crimea has always been ethnic Russian, especially after the ‘Sürgün’.

Other communities who had been deported by Stalin –such as Chechens, Ingush, Karachais, Balkars, Kalmyks, and Koreans– were allowed to return to Crimea during the era of de-Stalinisation in the 1950s. However, Crimean Tatars were only able to return after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the 1990s, around 300,000 Tatars have returned to Crimea only to find that Soviets had removed almost all signs of Crimean Tatar identity and legacy. Soviet authorities had destroyed Crimean Tatar cultural and historical monuments, mosques and graveyards; altered the street names; and revised the history textbooks in order to delete Crimean Tatars from the past of Crimea (Fisher, 1978: 171).

Crimean Tatars have often been considered as a threat to prevailing Russian interests in the Black Sea region. This is not only based on nationalism or identity differences with the Russian-speaking majority. It also derives from the Crimean Tatar leaders’ frequent criticisms against the deployment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol (leased from Ukraine until 2042 and which had played an important role in defeating the Ottomans in the war of 1769-1774 and was used against Georgia in 2008).

Even though Crimean Tatars have never resorted to violence in their nationalist campaigns, Crimean official authorities openly accused the Crimean Tatar leadership of provoking tension in the region. For instance, the former head of the Crimean police forces (who was later appointed as the Crimean Prime Minister) published an op-ed accusing the Crimean Tatars of ‘playing the victims:’

[A] conflict is brewing in the Crimea; you’d have to be blind not to see it. And it’s being artificially provoked by specific forces and using specific funds… Our Slavonic brotherhood is like a thorn in the side of Western civilisation… So that the conflict in the Crimea does not subside, it is periodically stimulated, both ideologically and financially. Here the roles are clearly delineated: the ‘aggrieved’ side, the Crimean Tatars headed by the Mejlis; the ‘oppressors’, state authorities and the ‘occupiers’, that is, the rest of the population of the peninsula” (Mogilev quoted in Coynash, 2011).

Crimean local election campaigns highlighted the big impact of such a small community (or the great fear the Crimean Tatar question instilled). A popular theme among Crimean politicians running for election was the necessity to fight against the ‘Tatarisation of Crimea.’ It should be noted that such discourse was usually accompanied with the proclaimed motivation to “protect Russian interests” (Dzhemilev, 2010). Such campaigns have been particularly supported by the Crimeans of Russian origin. According to the Crimean Tatar leadership, more than 70 per cent of the Crimean Russians are apologist in terms of finding ‘Sürgün’ as justified. Apologists are mostly post-War settlers who were indoctrinated through the Soviet/Russian education and they therefore assume that Crimean Tatars were “Nazi collaborators” and had deserved Stalin’s harsh punishment (Dzhemilev, 2010).

It is necessary to grasp how the Crimean nationalist movement has evolved and the Crimean Tatar leadership succeeded to mobilise the Crimean Tatar community under a Crimean Tatar flag, anthem, and Mejlis (Crimean Tatar Parliament). The following section provides a brief summary of the Crimean nationalist movement and its uneasy relationship with official authorities in Crimea and Ukraine.

Nationalist Mobilisation:
Crimean Tatars between Internal Divisions and External Hostilities

When their individual attempts to return to their Motherland failed –they were denied residency and work permit and faced imprisonment–, Crimean Tatars launched nationalist campaigns in the 1950s by sending out petitions and letters to Russian authorities and the representatives of the international community. In particular, the 1987 demonstrations in Moscow helped the National Movement of Crimean Tatars to attract international attention to the question of Crimean Tatar repatriation. However, the Crimean Tatar nationalist movement suffered from serious divisions. Under the leadership of Yuri Osmanov, some Crimean Tatars established ‘the Organisation of the Crimean Tatar National Movement’ in 1989, which was denounced by some as ‘radical.’ After the assassination of Osmanov in 1993, the movement led by Mustafa Dzhemilev (known as ‘Cemiloğlu’ in Turkey) who advocates non-violence started to gain ground. The first Crimean Tatar Congress (Qurultay in Tatar) was held in June 1991 in the Crimean capital city, Simferopol (Akmescit in Tatar). It established the Tatar Mejlis, a political body representing the Crimean Tatar sovereignty, and elected Dzhemilev as its President. A Crimean Tatar poem entitled ‘Ant Etkemen’ (‘I have pledged’ in English) authored by Numan Celebicihan (the first president of the independent Crimean People’s Republic of 1917) was adopted as the Crimean Tatar national anthem, and the Mejlis adopted a national flag (Tarak tamgha/Trident-shaped seal).

Crimean Tatar Mejlis consisted of 33 members elected by the Qurultay’s 250 delegates who were the elected representatives of local Crimean Tatar communities. Although the Ukrainian government considered the Crimean Tatar Mejlis as an ordinary non-governmental organisation (NGO), Dzhemilev refused to register for NGO status and claimed legal recognition as representing the Crimean Tatar community. In 1999, the Ukrainian Presidency established an official channel for Tatar-Ukrainian dialogue without granting legal recognition to the Mejlis; the new institution was called the “Council of Representatives of Crimean Tatar People” and consisted of 33 Crimean Tatar members of the Mejlis (Izmirli, 2013). However, Crimean Tatar participation to the Ukrainian parliamentary elections remained generally limited due to the electoral threshold of five per cent and the ban on electoral blocs (ibid.). Consequently, Crimean Tatar leaders had to form alliances with nation-wide parties such as the Rukh party in 1998, Our Ukraine in 2002, 2006 and 2007, and Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchina (All-Ukrainian Union ‘Fatherland’) in 2010 in order to get represented in the Ukrainian Parliament. During an interview with the author at the Mejlis premises in 2013, Dzhemilev said that power dynamics change so fast in Ukraine that it is always difficult to predict who will be in power in the following years: ‘It is a common thing that those in jail will replace those in power and vice versa.’

Ukraine’s Presidential elections in 2010 highlighted political divisions within the Crimean Tatar national movement. Even before the elections, the divisions were clear. When Dzhemilev was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, rival groups including Sebat, Vatandash and Milli Firka objected by accusing Dzhemilev of authoritarianism and corruption as well as of ‘disrupting the peaceful relations’ between Crimean Tatars and other nations in Crimea. Those groups also criticised the convening of the World Crimean Tatar Congress in Crimea in May 2009 that aimed to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Tatar deportation from Crimea. In their opinion, a world congress of Crimean Tatars –led by Dzhemilev– would only serve Dzhemilev’s entourage and would polarise Crimean Tatars. They claimed that the invited delegates were not representative of Crimean Tatars and that the world congress would not be able to solve any problems (Kırım Bülteni, 2009: 3). The World Crimean Tatar Congress was attended by 450 Crimean Tatar delegates from 12 countries, including Turkey, Romania, United States, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan (Kalkay, 2009: 4). The developments since the 2010 Presidential elections in Ukraine pointed to a rise of anti-Tatar campaigns in Crimea.

After becoming the President of Ukraine, Yanukovych adopted a presidential decree (dated 26 August 2010) that unilaterally amended the composition of the Council of Representatives of Crimean Tatar People (the official body representing the Crimean Tatars which was established by the previous President). Hence, the overall number of the Council members was reduced to 19, and the Ukrainian President endowed himself with the discretion to select the members of the Crimean Tatars who would be affiliated with the council, taking that power away from the Qurultay and Mejlis. Following Yanukovych’s new appointment policies, Crimean Tatars who were critical of Dzhemilev’s leadership and the Mejlis, (e.g. the leaders of the banned Party of Muslims and the Sebat association of land squatters) started to constitute the majority in the Council (Kuzio, 2013). Since then, the Mejlis leadership boycotted the Council claiming that the latter lacked popular support (Dzhemilev, 2010).

In November 2011, Anatoli Mogilev, former head of Crimean police known for his anti-Tatar stance, was appointed as the head of the Crimean government (Kuzio 2013). Following his appointment, Mogilev denounced the Tatar Mejlis as “illegal” and refused to attend the commemoration ceremony of Crimean Tatar deportation (ibid.). In his address to the 5th Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People on 28 August 2010, Dzhemilev condemned the rise of anti-Tatar discourse and policies at the governmental level: not only a proposal to investigate Soviet crimes against Crimean Tatars was rejected but also the Foreign Ministry’s projects about improving relations with the Turkic and Islamic world in order to gather support for Crimean Tatar socio-economic development were quickly abandoned. During my interviews in April 2013 with representatives of Crimean Tatar cultural revival, a hesitant emphasis was put on the European Union’s potential capacity to strengthen the Crimean Tatars’ hand by imposing political and diplomatic pressures on Ukrainian and Crimean authorities. However, they were hesitant because previous letters they sent to the European Union asking for support in order to fight against discriminatory policies had only received a delayed, brief answer: the European Union did not have any such information about any discrimination Crimean Tatar community claims to suffer from. Another actor they think may have been influential is Turkey. Turkish diplomatic support helped Crimean Tatar leaders to get invited to official meetings organised by the Ukrainian governments. However, Turkey’s diplomatic and financial support was not sufficient. A Crimean Tatar leader was openly critical of Turkey’s humanitarian aid policy that targeted Africa and distant locales for it overlooked the plight of Crimean Tatar community ‘with whom Turkey has so much in common in terms of culture, history, language, religion, and so on.’

Turkey’s influence on the Crimea was very high at the beginning of the 1990s as a major contributor to the ‘Islamic revival’ in the region, consolidating the Crimean Tatar identity. Although Crimean Tatar nation is not very religious, anti-Tatar groups in Crimea frequently attack mosques and shrines, seeing the latter as an important symbol of Crimean Tatar identity (İzmirli, 2013: 1). Turkish state actors (such as the Directorate of Religious Affairs known as the Diyanet İşleri Bakanlığı and the Türk İşbirliği ve Koordinasyon Ajansı Başkanlığı (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency Directorate) (TİKA), and Turkish private entrepreneurs (such as the Gülen movement/ZAMAN and Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Foundation) built 17 mosques and 4 madrassahs in Crimea and the Crimean Tatar leadership left most of the education of imams to Turkish sponsors who decided the curricula, the tutor or the student body in Crimea (Muratova, 2009: 274). Yet, the Turkish monopoly over the Islamic revival in Crimea was challenged in 1997 by the arrival of Arab sponsors such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, the Islamic Bank of Development, the World Islamic League and the World Association of Islamic Youth.

The Return of the ‘Old Demons’ and the Crimean Tatar Disillusionment

During the Research Turkey panel of 6 March 2015, Rory Finnin remarked that the Russian invasion of Crimea following the Ukrainian protests and revolution –known as ‘Euromaidan’– had caught many off guard. In fact, as early as 17 March 2010, during his speech at the European Parliament, Dzhemilev had already warned against the possible implications of the Russian doctrine of ‘protecting Russian interests abroad’ in the region. Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea were aided by both Russian groups from Moscow –allegedly disguised as Ukrainian soldiers– and Ukrainian groups of Russian origin. Some believe the Russian referendum was illegitimate because it was under the threat of “Kalashnikovs” but others think that without domestic support, Russian invasion would not be possible (Simpson, 2014).

For the Crimean Tatar community, the Russian invasion means the ‘return of the old demons’ to Crimea. The referendum about Crimea’s annexation to Russia was merely a ‘window-dressing’ as ethnic Russians had already outnumbered all other ethnic groups of Crimea. The Ukrainian Parliament was nearly divided into two halves, between a segment that emphasises autonomy and healthy dialogue with Russia, while the other part was in favour of Ukraine’s EU membership and Westernisation.[vii] Crimean Tatar leadership traditionally sided with the pro-EU segments of the Ukrainian society and believed that the EU could help the Crimean Tatar community to get greater recognition and rights within the Ukrainian state. However, the Russian invasion has completely changed the ‘rules of the game’ for the worse from the Crimean Tatar national perspective. Crimean Tatar Mejlis and its supporters boycotted the referendum claiming that the choices of the Russian majority of Crimea did not represent their interests; and announced their intention to organise a referendum on Crimean Tatar’s self-determination (Salem, 2014). De facto authorities in Crimea have restricted public meetings, including the Crimean Tatar commemoration of “Sürgün” (Kylimenko, 2015).

Following the Russian annexation, Dzhemilev’s entry (along with other leaders such as Refat Chubarov) to Crimea was de facto restricted for five years despite his appointment as ‘the Ukrainian President’s envoy on Crimean Tatar affairs,’ and the Mejlis and Crimean Tatar cultural centres were forced to stop their activities with official threats of penalisation based on Russia’s anti-extremism law (Amnesty International, 2014).[viii] During her speech at the Research Turkey panel on 6 March 2015, Melek Maksudoglu emphasised that since the annexation of Crimea, a number of Crimean Tatar activists suddenly “disappeared,” and Crimean Tatar families were deported or under risk of deportation.[ix]

As Balkan Devlen (2014) argued, Turkey –to the dismay of Crimean Tatars– has chosen to turn a blind eye to the Russian invasion of Crimea and its implications for Crimean Tatars in order not to “poke the Russian bear.”[x] Russia is an important trade partner for Turkey; Turkey remains largely dependent on Russia in terms of energy (ibid.). Turkey refused to abide by the European Union’s restrictions on Russia penalising Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by annexing Crimea.[xi]

Disappointed with the international community’s ineffective response to Russian invasion of Crimea, Crimean Tatar future seems to remain at the hands of the Russian regime. Although Putin promised to consider the interests of the non-Russian ethnic communities in Crimea, collective memory about Russian approach to Crimean Tatars generally undermines Crimean Tatar hopes for a better future under the Russian government. Freedom House reports the increasing violation of human rights targeting those who are critical of the Russian annexation, including well-known Crimean Tatar politicians and journalists (Kylimenko 2015).

Crimean Tatar anxieties about isolation and marginalisation within the Crimean society increase as Crimean Tatars started to lose their jobs, their representation channels like the Mejlis, and cultural institutes. This was apparent in the last census in Crimea conducted by Russia in December 2014, which found ‘that the Crimean Federal District’ had a population of 2,284,400 people: 1,889,400 of them were counted as residing in ‘the Republic of Crimea’ while 889,400 people were living in Sevastopol. Crimean Tatars did not officially boycott the 2014 census but according to media reports, there were individual attempts to conceal one’s ethnic affiliation due to the widespread fear of discrimination and deportation. Therefore, during the census some people asked to be registered as “simply Crimean” or even under certain mythological categories such as “forest elves.”[xii]

Overall, this article aimed to introduce the general context explaining the historical developments associated with the Crimean Tatar nationalism before the Russian invasion of Crimea. It provided a Crimean Tatar perspective that remains largely neglected even after the Russian annexation of Crimea. The Crimean Tatar question provides a litmus test for the international community not only about the protection of human rights but also regional stability and security. The increasing marginalisation of the Crimean Tatar nation is likely to contribute to the political instability and the risk of perpetuated conflict in the Black Sea region (Gvozdeva, 2014).

Dr. Didem Buhari-Gülmez, Visiting Fellow, LSE

Please cite this publication as follows:

Buhari-Gülmez, D. (June, 2015), “From ‘Sürgün’ to Russian Annexation: The Crimean Tatar Question and the Return of the ‘Old Demons’”, Vol. IV, Issue 6, pp.82-95, Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey), London, Research Turkey. (


Amnesty International (2014) [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Coynash, Halya (2011) “Volatile appointment for the Crimea,” KyivPost, 9 November. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Devlen, Balkan (2014) ‘“Don’t poke the Russian bear:” Turkish policy in the Ukrainian crisis,’ NOREF, 6 June. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Dzhemilev, Mustafa (2010) “Crimean Tatars: Problems and Prospects,” speech at the European Parliament, 17 March.

European Union’s official website (n.d.). “EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis.” [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Finnin, Rory (2014) “A Divided Ukraine: Europe’s Most Dangerous Idea”, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, 27 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Fisher, Alan W. (1978) The Crimean Tatars. Stanford, California: Hoover Press.

Gabidullin, Ildar and Maxim Edwards (2014) “Crimea crisis: The Tatarstan factor: Why did politicians from Kazan pay frequent visits to Crimea recently?” Al Jazeera, 15 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Gvozdeva, Evgenia (2014) “Russia/Ukraine: Crimea as a New Hotbed of Radical Islam in Post-Soviet Space”, European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center Briefing, 22 May. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Izmirli, Idil P. (2013) “On Revitalization of the Language and Culture of the Crimean Tatars and Other Formerly Deported People in Crimea,” Ukraine: Assessment of Needs and Recommendations, OSCE, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague, Netherlands. 2013a. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Kalkay, Tuncer (2009) “Dünya Kırım Tatar Kongresi (Crimean Tatar World Congress),” Kırım Bülteni 18 (65):4-7.

Kırım Bülteni (2009) “Editorial,” no.18(65), April-December, Ankara.

Kırımlı, Hakan (2014) “The Ethnogenesis of the Crimean Tatars,” [Accessed date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Hakan Kırımlı (2012), Türkiye’deki Kırım Tatar ve Nogay Köy Yerleşimleri, Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, Ankara, 654.

Kırımlı, Hakan (1996) National movements and national identity among the Crimean Tatars: (1905-1916). Leiden; New York; Koln: Brill.

Kırımlı, Hakan (1989) “Soviet educational and cultural policies toward the Crimean Tatars in exile (1944-1987),” Central Asian Survey, 8(1):69-88.

Kuzio, Taras (2013) “Jamestown Foundation: Xenophobia and Desire for Monopoly of Power Dominate Kyiv’s New Approach to Crimea,” Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue:114, 17 June. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Kylimenko, Andrii (2015) “Human Rights Abuses in Russian-occupied Crimea,” The Atlantic Council of the United States and Freedom House, 6 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Muratova, Elmira (2009) ‘“He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune:” Muslim Sponsors of Islamic Revival in Crimea,’ Religion, State and Society 37 (3):263-276.

Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) 2013 [Accessed date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Salem, Harriet (2014) “Crimea’s Tatars fear the worst as it prepares for referendum,” The Guardian, 13 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Simpson, John (2014) “Russia’s Crimea plan detailed, secret and successful,” BBC News, 19 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

Sputnik International (2014) “Population Census in Crimea Finds Elf Family,” 18 December. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:


[i] Kırımlı, Hakan (2014) “The Ethnogenesis of the Crimean Tatars,” [Accessed date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[ii] Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), 2013. [Accessed date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[iii] For a detailed account of Crimean Tatar history, see Kırımlı, 1996.

[iv] Gabidullin, Ildar and Maxim Edwards (2014) “Crimea crisis: The Tatarstan factor: Why did politicians from Kazan pay frequent visits to Crimea recently?” Al Jazeera, 15 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[v] See Kırımlı, 2012.


[vii] It should be noted that Rory Finnin warns against the dualistic cliché of defining Ukraine as divided between pro-Russian and pro-EU segments. The reality is much more complex and Russian attempts to invade eastern Ukraine are likely to face resistance from the Russian residents of eastern Ukraine who identify themselves more with the ‘civic Ukrainian national identity’ than the Russian/ethno nationalist identity

Finnin, Rory (2014) “A Divided Ukraine: Europe’s Most Dangerous Idea,” Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, 27 March. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[viii] Amnesty International 2014. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[ix] See also Kylimenko, 2015.

[x] Devlen, Balkan (2014) ‘“Don’t poke the Russian bear:” Turkish policy in the Ukrainian crisis,’ NOREF, 6 June. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[xi] For a list of those sanctions, see following website: [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:

[xii] Sputnik International (2014) “Population Census in Crimea Finds Elf Family,” 18 December. [Accessed Date 17 March 2015], Available at:



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