Archival video of the 90s and a letter of recollection from a Crimean Tatar woman in November 2023

“It’s the year 1990.

I reminisce about our family’s return to our homeland, a time marked by hardship shrouded in the darkness of disbelief and injustice. I was young then, but even at that age, I already grasped that the world is far from always being fair.

In my memory, images of the cruelty of Russian occupiers in Crimea stand out. They infiltrated the homes of our grandparents, settling there like strangers in a foreign land. Upon returning to Crimea, our people didn’t abandon their fight for justice. We pleaded with the world to take notice, but it seemed we were still carried away by waves of indifference, reminiscent of the beastly gaze our ancestors faced when encountering Russians on their land two centuries ago.

And here we are again, facing the beast, but something has changed this time. The world heard us, Ukraine felt us, and finally, we became united. We must restore the strong Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar connections erased by the efforts of Russian historians. We must learn from how the Crimean Tatars preserved their uniqueness and humanity in resistance.

Today, we endure all the pains accompanying the struggle for our country. But this time, we have the ears and attention of the world. We understand what is happening in Ukraine not only on a rational level but also on a soulful level. Our determination to reclaim Ukrainian Crimea, liberate occupied territories, and cleanse Ukraine from Russian influence is our destiny.

The journey of return to the homeland for Crimean Tatars demands too much to tread it in vain. In this struggle, we must not lose our humanity, or victory will lose its meaning. We believe in the revival of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar identity, and we are ready to defend our country and homeland despite all the challenges”.

Crimean Tatar Journalist and Scholar at Purdue University
Zera Mustafaieva

Source of archived video YouTube Channel “Crimea Speaks”

Source of archived video Instagram Page “Crimean Tatar Foundation USA”