The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a statistical update on the repatriation of Crimean Tatars to Ukraine yesterday. It said that nearly 250,000 Tatars have returned to Crimea from Uzbekistan, where most of this population had been deported in 1944 by the Soviet authorities. The UNHCR expects that some 60,000 Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan, currently seeking Ukrainian citizenship, should soon be able to receive it. Ukraine and Uzbekistan have recently agreed upon a simplified procedure to enable Crimean Tatars to be released from Uzbek citizenship in order to acquire Ukrainian citizenship (Itar-Tass, October 5).
High Commissioner Sadako Ogata meanwhile awarded the 1998 Nansen Medal to Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev (Jemiloglu) at a ceremony at the Palais des Nations in Geneva “in recognition of his outstanding efforts toward reintegrating Crimean Tatars in their native Ukraine.” A co-founder in 1969 with the late Andrei Sakharov and others of the Initiative Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR, Jemilev spent many years in Soviet prisons and labor camps. He was elected leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement in 1989, returned to Crimea in that year and has since 1991 headed the Crimean Tatars’ representative organization, the People’s Majlis (Eastern Economist Daily [Kyiv], October 6).–VS
COMMUNISM TOPPLED FROM PAMIRS’ PEAK.