Putin Signs Rehabilitation Act for Crimean Ethnic Minorities
MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the rehabilitation of ethnic minorities who suffered during the repression of the Stalin era.
"I would like to inform you that I have signed a decree on the rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea, the Armenian population, the Germans, the Greeks and all those who suffered during the Stalin repression," Putin said Monday during a meeting on priority national projects and demographic policy.
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.
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