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Opinion
Marc Champion

Why We Should Care About Crimea

Put aside for a moment the geopolitical issues that surround Russia’s ongoing annexation of Crimea: In human terms, Crimea’s Tatars are the reason to care.
Crimean Tatars cry during a demonstration in 2003 marking the 59th anniversary of their mass deportation by Stalin's regime during World War II. Photographer: Sergei Svetlitsky/Getty Images
Crimean Tatars cry during a demonstration in 2003 marking the 59th anniversary of their mass deportation by Stalin's regime during World War II. Photographer: Sergei Svetlitsky/Getty Images

Put aside for a moment the geopolitical issues and cries of "Munich" and "Sudetenland" that surround Russia's ongoing annexation of Crimea: In human terms, Crimea's Tatars are the reason to care.

The Muslim Tatars have suffered repeated persecutions since the Ottomans ceded their peninsula to the Russian Empire, including an attempted genocide under Stalin. In 1944, the entire population was deported to central Asia and Siberia, and as many as half were killed.