31.12 Appeal to the 24th Party Congress (March 1971)

No 31 : 17 May 1974

An appeal by the Crimean Tatar people
to the 24th Party Congress, to the Soviet Press, and to all Communists
(March 1971, 5 pages)

The Party Central Committee is well acquainted with the existence in the USSR of the movement of the Crimean Tatar nation for a return to their homeland in the Crimea and for restoration of the Leninist decree on the Crimea’s autonomy. Hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens are taking part in this movement. The nation has sent thousands of their representatives as the nation’s petitioners to Moscow, and to the central organs of government. The Party Central Committee alone has received hundreds of thousands of individual letters and 163 volumes of different documents on which are collected, in all, more than 3 million signatures. And all to no effect.

The nation appealed to the 23rd Party Congress [1966]. An appeal signed by more than 130,000 people (this issue, CCE 31.11) was then handed to the Presidium yet our question was not raised at the Congress.

Our position as a nation is intolerable. Yet we are not asking for anything exceptional. We believe that the Party will solve this question. It is this deep belief in the Party of Lenin that makes us appeal to the 24th Congress of the Party, to this great forum of the communists of our country, whose loyal sons we are…

It was of enormous significance for the victory and strengthening of the gains of the 1917 October Revolution when an address was adopted at a session of the Council of People’s Commissars, “To all working Moslems of Russia and the East”…

“Moslems of Russia, Tatars of the Volga and the Crimea, Kirghiz and Sartians of Siberia and Turkestan, Turks and Tatars of Transcaucasia, Chechens and highlanders of the Caucasus!

Henceforth …your beliefs and customs, your national and cultural institutions are pronounced free and inviolable. Organize your national life freely and without hindrance. You have a right to this. Know that your rights, like the rights of all the peoples of Russia, are preserved by the full might of the revolution and its organs – the soviets of workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ deputies.”

18 October 1921 will remain in the memory of the Crimean Tatar people forever. On that unforgettable day the leader of the revolution, mighty Lenin… signed the decree on the formation of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic…

The Crimean Republic was one of the first fraternal republics to be awarded the lofty decoration of the Order of Lenin for the successes it had achieved.

The years of enemy occupation brought the Crimean Tatar people fascist enslavement, political repression, economic dislocation, ruin, impoverishment, the gallows, the execution of its finest people…

A terrible national tragedy befell the Crimean Tatar people on the night of 17-18 May 1944.

While the majority of battle-fit Crimean Tatars were fighting at the front in the Great Fatherland War, their families in the rear (old people, children, women, partisans, members of the government of the Crimean Autonomous Republic, and deputies of the USSR Supreme Soviet) were all without exception flung out of their homes, herded into //trains and taken off to remote parts of the country. In order to disguise the essence of the barbarous act of deporting the Crimean Tatars from their homeland the enemies of the Leninist national policy and of friendship between peoples viciously ascribed to them the completely unfounded charge of “betrayal” of their homeland…

Fulfilling the decisions of the 20th Party Congress, the Central Committee of the Party and the Soviet government adopted the necessary measures to exculpate most of the suppressed nationalities and restore their national autonomy. However, the tyranny performed in relation to the Crimean Tatars has still not been liquidated and their legal rights have not been restored.

The decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet of 5 September 1967, although it recognizes in legislation the groundlessness of the charge of betrayal ascribed to the people as a whole, does not satisfy the basic demands of the people. Immediately after its publication all possible measures began to be taken forcibly to anchor and “implant” the Crimean Tatars [where they were], and our very existence as an independent people, as a nation, was denied …

The argument that the majority of Crimean Tatars have “put down roots” and do not desire to return to their homeland has been disproved by the tens of thousands of signatures under appeals of the people to the Party Central Committee, by the mass exodus of Crimean Tatars, and by the results of an especially conducted partial referendum of the population. Thus, in the Tashkent Region alone, out of 18,000 adults polled only nine Crimean Tatars were against a return to the homeland and the restoration of Leninist autonomy, and 11 people refrained from answering these questions. After this, what worth can be attached to talk about the people having put down roots in these parts, about a small group of nationalists stirring up the whole people?

… Our question has turned from one that needs the scrutiny and decision of Party and legislative organs into one that involves action by the organs of State security and of internal affairs… One might think that our national movement in some measure “threatens” the security of the country and contradicts the interests of the Party and State… Even on cursory appraisal of the documents appended, you, comrade delegates to the 24th Congress, will be convinced that today in the Crimea a terrible crime is being perpetrated against a small Soviet people… And there is so much empty space in the Crimea!

We are not asking that anyone should be deported from there. We have lived and shall live in friendship and peace with all peoples.

Today our whole people is again directing its gaze towards the mighty Party of Lenin, to the 24th Congress … Appealing to the great forum of the communists of our country, we ask:

1)         That you decide on an organized return of the Crimean Tatars to their native home – the Crimea, having created conditions for their prosperous development as a people and as a nation.

2)         That you restore validity to the Leninist decree of 18 October 1921 on the creation of the Crimean Autonomous Republic.

3)         That you restore all those expelled from the Party for participating in our national movement to its ranks.

4)         That you free and exculpate all our representatives convicted for participating in our national movement.

5)         You call to account the falsifiers of the history of the Crimean Tatar people.

A positive resolution of the question of the return to the homeland of the small Crimean Tatar people, and the restoration of its equal rights on the territory of its forefathers, will once again demonstrate the Party’s allegiance to the victorious flag of proletarian internationalism, to the flag of Marxism-Leninism!