During a meeting with representatives of Crimean Tatars, Putin said that NKVD troops carried out an inhumane action to deport a whole nation from Crimea on May 18-24, 1944. Putin believes the Crimean Tatars suffered the most because they returned to Crimea later than other peoples.
“In 1991, the Russian Federation passed a law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples. Naturally, Crimean Tatars were not included in that document then for obvious reasons, namely, because Crimea was then part of Ukraine,” Putin said.
However, “the situation has now changed,” he said. “You know that I signed a decree on the rehabilitation of Crimean Tatars on April 21 and I really hope it will become a foundation for the systemic events associated with the cultural rehabilitation, political rehabilitation associated with building a normal life and creating conditions for the development of the Crimean Tatars in their homeland,” Putin said.
He reiterated that this issue is also related to the vital issue of property registration, including the registration of land sites. “I believe this work has to be done in cooperation with the republic’s administration and it can’t be otherwise,” Putin said.
“All work on the economic rehabilitation, let’s call it that, will take place on the basis of the federal program on the development of Crimea adopted by the government of the Russian Federation,” Putin said, adding that the part of the program dealing with the support of the Crimean Tatars should be significant and specific.
Putin said that few things were done in the past twenty years to support people returning to their permanent residence from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, etc. Putin also said that the president of Tatarstan had told him that people live in very difficult conditions and have no good roads or social establishments.
“For this reason, a lot of work will have to be done. Under the future program, all events associated with the true rehabilitation in all areas will be envisioned,” the president said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Crimean Tatars should be prevented from becoming a bargaining chip in disputes between Kiev and Moscow.
“There is one aspect I must definitely draw your attention to. We, the federal and regional and local authorities, are ready to work with all the people who sincerely – I want to stress that – aspire to ensure that people live a better life on their land,” Putin said at a meeting with Crimean Tatars.
“But in no way can we allow the Crimean Tatars to become a bargaining chip in some disputes, including inter-state ones, especially in those between Russia and Ukraine,” Putin said.
These people had already had their share of suffering in previous decades and “pushing them into some disputes now is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
Everyone should realize “that the interests of the Crimean Tatars today are closely linked with Russia,” Putin said.
“The other, third countries, must not be defend their interests by using the Crimean Tatar factor,” he said.
“This will only be detrimental to the people. On the other hand, Russia will do all it can to make people feel like the rightful owners of their lands,” President said.
“Certainly, we shall not be able to do so efficiently without the Crimean Tatars themselves, without the people who are interested in developing these territories, without the support of citizens living there. As a matter of fact, it concerns not only the Crimean Tatars, it also concerns representatives of all the nationalities residing in Crimea. It concerns both Russians and Ukrainians and it concerns the other repressed nations: the Greeks, Bulgarians, and Germans,” Putin said.