Deportation of Crimean Tatars began on May 18, 1944 at 3 a.m. in the morning and lasted until early June. The first and biggest wave of the deportation ended on May 20, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform.
The official reason for the deportation was the secret order of the State Defense Committee No 5859 "On Crimean Tatars" dated May 11, 1944, which blamed Crimean Tatars of alleged massive treason and collaborationism during Crimea's occupation by Nazis. It was undoubtedly an act of genocide and ethnocide.
Officially, 183,144 Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea; according to Tatar sources, the number reached 228,500, and during the first year and a half, 110,000 of them died. 32,000 NKVD officers took part in the operation. People were given several to 30 minutes for packing up.
Most of those deported were sent to special settlements in Uzbekistan, some of them - to GULAG.
The deportation was also a means to 'de-Tatar' the peninsula. Other means included destruction of cultural and historical monuments and replacement of historic names with new ones, like 'Soviet,' 'Pervomaisk,' 'Krasnogvardeysk,' and other. Citizens from Russia and other republics were moving to Crimea. In post-war years, the population of the peninsula increased by almost 10 times.
Mass return of Crimean Tatars to their homeland began in late 1980s. It seemed that despite household difficulties, the peace has come and they could live freely on their own land. However, the Crimean land again became an object of Russian aggression in 2014, and Crimean Tatars are currently being repressed in a Stalin-like manner.
Crimean Tatars in special settlements after 1944: