Repatriated Bodies of Young Russian Tatars Has Revived Some Tatars' Desire for a Clean Break From the Russian Federation

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As the war in Ukraine waged by Russia continues, several young Tatars have allegedly been sent to fight on the front lines. Many have died while in Ukraine, resulting in the immediate return of their bodies to Russia. Watching as the number of casualties rises, many fellow Muslim Tatars "would like to see a complete break from the Russian Federation." [I]

These reports support a recent video from AJ+ indicating the discovery of mass graves of Ukrainian bodies has some Crimean Tatars revolting, in a sense, and fighting against Russian Soldiers in Ukraine as the Crimean Batallion. A video created by the Crimean Tatars has reportedly led to an increase in the numbers of Muslim Tatars fighting back after discovering mass graves of Ukrainian civilians. [i]

According to Minority Rights Group International, Tatars are the largest minority group in the Russian Federation. The Tatars descended from Turkic tribes and were once promised their own republic and "were involved in several revolts against Russian domination." Unfortunately, it is reported that when the borders for the Tatar republic were drawn, 75 percent of the Tatar population was left out of the proposed region. The video below details a brief history of Russia's Tatars. [ii]

In addition to the recent conflict, Russia is also alleged to have "been committing genocide against Crimean Tatars." Tatars were forced to leave their homes in Crimea, beginning with the Deportation of 1944. The Tatars oppose the war stating that Russia's treatment of Ukrainians parallel's their treatment of Tatars. [iii]

They also allege "systematic Russian oppression" has occurred against Tatars continuously. This includes detaining one individual for nearly twenty years on allegedly baseless charges of terrorism. According to the video below, many Crimean men have been arrested and separated from their families. [iv]

Many Tatars fighting against Russia have stated a desire to make their way back to Crimea. How will the Crimean Tatars' direct defiance of Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation affect the future of Tatars who remain in Russia?


[i] Vladimir Rozanskij, As young Tatars die in Ukraine, many others now want to split from Moscow, (Aug. 4, 2022)

[ii] Minority Rights Group International, Russian Federation: Tatars, (Dec. 2020)

[iii] UATV English, Russia has been committing genocide against Crimean Tatars since 1944 and it still goes on, (May 18, 2022)

[iv] Al Jazeera English, Crimea's Muslim Tatars allege systematic Russian oppression, (Aug. 20, 2017)

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Currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at Western State, writer Charnell Gilchrist is writing her way through law school.

Aliso Viejo, CA

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