Crimean Tatars Admit Reality, but Keep Distance from Russian Annexation
Crimean Tatars are reluctantly embracing Russia’s takeover of the peninsula. But in a clear sign that they remain wary of the Kremlin, Tatars are seeking autonomy, even as they profess allegiance to Crimea’s new order.
For most of the post-Soviet era, Tatars and Ukrainian nationalist elements were allies in efforts to bolster Kyiv’s authority in Crimea, and foster a greater sense of identification among ethnic Russians on the peninsula for Ukrainian statehood. It is no surprise, then, that Tatars were outspoken opponents of Russia’s land grab, and, subsequently, sat out the referendum that paved the way for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Tatars comprise approximately 300,000 of Crimea’s 2 million population.
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