May 31, 2017

Any Forced Deportation Is a Crime

Bohdan Sokolovskyi

Recently, on 18 May 2017, all Ukraine commemorated the 73rd anniversary of the forced deportation in 1944 of the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea. To a large extent this (and in other years) became possible due to the fact that the Crimean-Tatar activists together with the Ukrainian state have formed and made official objective information about those events.

No doubt, by this our state, among others, showed one more aspect of the civilized nation. Many in the world will be silent about this, but they will mentally once again mark the Ukrainian state with respect. After all, only humanly, we showed that we were imbued with the tragedy of the 180,000 Crimean Tatar ethnos that was, is and will be an integral part of the Ukrainian people. That is, we have once again demonstrated that we are a normal, civilized state that is guided by generally accepted human values, or, as we now call it, European values.

In Soviet times, mentioning this punishment of the whole ethnos aloud was not recommended.

Now, first of all, not only I. Stalin and L. Beria deserve angry condemnation, — the entire communist system does in which this criminal idea was conceived and realized. Stalin and Beria are certainly guilty and deserve condemnation. But not only they. After all, without the participation of others, they could not have come up with and implemented all those crimes committed by the regime. Therefore, it is necessary to identify all those involved and to condemn them (including — locally) and methods of their criminal actions, in order to prevent letting to power the holders of such ideas and methods of their “management”. In the conditions of the Soviet mentality, any such clarification would have been impossible. But in the conditions of the Ukrainian mentality — it is actual.

We should point out that the above-mentioned deportation was not the first or the last such crime of that system. It all was the matter of liquidation of a stratum of the population (a nation, a nationality, a family or a particular person, etc.). The communist system, for the most part, inherited these methods from other empires, in order to perfect and realize them during almost the entire period of its existence. During the “struggle against spies”, “populating uninhabited regions”, “dispossession of the kulaks” (defarming), “punishing peoples” or “leveling borders”, etc., criminal actions were carried out, with the help of which, for the most part, the Soviet system was implementing its dirty political schemes.

Deportations of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians by Communist regimes

In this context, illustrative is the forced intermigration of Ukrainians and Poles in Western Ukraine in 1945–1947, which was organized by the then communist systems in the USSR and Poland. This was also not mentioned officially in the USSR. While more than half a million of Ukrainians and Poles suffered from it. All those actions would come under all sorts of fancy names: simply a “resettlement”, and “Vistula”, and “exchange of territories,” etc. But they have always boiled down to one thing — elimination. At best — to uproot the people from those conditions that for centuries had been formed and were native to them (thus stopping their habitual livelihoods). At worst — one of the most terrible consequences of those forced relocations was that often the population paid with their lives for the crimes of others.

Unfortunately, many informed witnesses of 1945–1947 are no longer alive, and most of them had never found out about their forced resettlement. There are their children and grandchildren, some of whom are aware of the tragedy of those forced migrations from confidential stories of their relatives, that is, they are still carriers of objective information. But even under such circumstances, in our state, as in the case of the Crimean Tatars, it would be expedient to immediately study and objectively officially record those horrendous mass relocations in Western Ukraine and to annually properly remind of those horrific events.

So, it's the matter of honor for our state to remember all those who were forcibly uprooted from their homes by the communist system. They were Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and all other ethnic minorities, groups, families and individuals. At this, commemoration of Ukrainian immigrants should be no less significant than the commemoration of others.