SOCHI, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday a decree on the rehabilitation of Crimea's Tatars, who suffered during the repression of the Stalin era, will lay a foundation for improving the lives of the Tatar people.
The work on the further rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars will be carried out in the framework of the government’s ambitious program aimed at meeting the needs of the peninsula's citizens, the Russian president said at a meeting with Crimean Tatars.
Although the Russian Federation adopted a law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union Crimean Tatars were not included on the list as Crimea became part of Ukraine, Putin said.
“But today the situation has changed and as you know, I signed a decree on April 21 to rehabilitate Crimean Tatars and I expect that it will become the basis for system events linked to cultural rehabilitation, political rehabilitation to normalize life activity and create conditions for gradual development of the Crimean Tatar people on their native land,” Putin said.
Future development will involve questions of property rights and land plots, the Russian president said, adding that the work on economic rehabilitation should be coordinated with the republic’s authorities and support for Crimean Tatars should be significant.
The Crimean Tatars, a historic people of the region, were deported en masse to Central Asia by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin 70 years ago. Although many of them returned in the early 1990s, they were unable to reclaim the land they had possessed before their deportation.
Many Crimean Tatars have taken over unclaimed land as squatters by building houses, farms and mosques. Ukrainian authorities have in the past failed to settle the land disputes.
Crimea, formerly a part of Ukraine, held a referendum on reunification with Russia on March 16 in reaction to dangerous nationalist rhetoric from the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev. Over 96 percent of voters in the region supported integration into the Russian Federation, and a treaty providing for reunification was signed on March 18.