Crimean Tatars during the annexation

Crimean Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Crimean Peninsula, which constituted the largest population in the peninsula from the time of its ethnogenesis in the 15th century until 1864, and the relative largest ethnic population until the end of 19th century. In 1944 Crimean Tatars were targeted for mass deportation under Soviet ruleIn the late 1980s they were allowed to return to their motherland, where they constitute a 12% minority today. There remains a large diaspora of Crimean Tatars in Turkey and Uzbekistan.

In March 2014, Russia absorbed the peninsula after staging a military intervention in the Autonomus Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, administrative divisions of Ukraine, during which time the Supreme Council of Crimea declared Crimea's independance and held a disputed referendu. The process caused much controversy and was viewed by many world leaders, as well as NATO, as an illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory. After the annexation, on May 16 the new Russian authorities of Crimea issued a ban on the annual commemorations of the anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin in 1944, citing "possibility of provocation by extremists" as a reason. Previously, when Crimea was controlled by Ukraine, these commemorations had taken place every year.The pro-Russian Crimean authorities also banned Mustafa Jemilev, a human rights activist, Soviet dissent, member of the Ukrainian parliament, and former Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars from entering Crimea. Additionally, Mejlis reported, that officers of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) raided Tatar homes in the same week, on the pretense of "suspicion of terrorist activity". Outside the center of Bakhchysaray, mainly in the so called "`Microregion" groups of Tatar men are volunteering in thr neighborhood watches. They are patrolling Tatar areas throughout nine posts and they stay on guard on three-hour shifts between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The tensions increased after finding a body of Reshat Ametov a 38-year-old Crimean Tatar who took part in a meeting to support EuroMaidan Revolution. Many people believe he was the first victim of Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula. Just after the annexation, first rumors of resettlement plans came to light. Some of the families fled the country but for rest of the Crimean Tatars the future is still uncertain. 





Souvenir stands in the center street of Bakhchysaray.
A young Tatar boy talking on his cellphone near the mountains in Bakhchysaray.
Children playing by a closed 5D Cinema in the center of Bakhchysaray.
A man parying in the "Orta Cuma Cami" mosque in Bakhchysaray.
Tatar cemetary in Simferopol.
A Tatar woman burning leaves beside her house in the "Microregion" in Bakhchysaray.
A woman at the Tatar cemetary in Simferopol, puts flowers on the grave of Reshat Ametov. A 38-year-old human rights activist who disappeared on March 3rd in Simferopol. His body, showing signs of torture, was found two weeks later.
Kids playing football beside the "Green Mosque" in the center of the "Microregion" in Bakhchysaray.
Evening in the Tatar district in Simferopol.
Imam at the "Green Mosque" prepers for the evening prayer.
Tatar night patrol checkpoint at the entrance oto the "Microregion" in Bakhchysaray.
Evening prayer at the "Green Mosque".
Volunteers gather at the meeting point for the Tatar night patrols with them Tatar flag hanging at the door in the "Microregion" in Bakhchysaray.
A man wiating for his shift of the neighborhood watch at the meeting point in the "Microregion" in Bakhchysaray.
Man during the night patrol of the "Microregion".
A driver waits for the patrolmen to gather for the night patrol of the "Microregion"
A view of the center of Bakhchysaray during a blackout caused by the Ukrainian government in Kiev. Cutting electricity supplied from the mainland as a sign against Russia’s occupation and annexation of the peninsula.
A Tatar night patrol somewhere across the "Microregion" of Bakhchysaray.