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23 March 2024

Return of Crimean Tatars to the Crimea before 1989 As a Research Problem

NaUKMA Research Papers. History
Return of Crimean Tatars to the Crimea before 1989 As a Research Problem

The article examines an under-researched issue of the return of deported Crimean Tatars to their Homeland in 1967—1989 using new sources obtained by methods of oral history. According to the analysis of the existing historiography made in this article, there is a lack of research dealing with issues of the return of Crimean Tatars in 1967—1989. Indeed, the studies of forced migration, including those in the Soviet Union, concentrate usually on the issue of moving in one direction, leaving aside the motion in the opposite direction. Absence of research on this issue can be explained not only by the lack of sources but also by the methodological complexity of studying the phenomenon of ‘return’. In accordance with the historical context and push-pull factors of migration, the article addresses differentiation between the return (before 1989) and repatriation (after 1989) phenomena. To ensure adequate disclosure of the research hypothesis, the article provides an overview of the existing research approaches to the concept of returning in studies on Migration and Refugee. It is concluded that there is no coherent approach to the return. The article argues that the Crimean Tatars’ return to their homeland was a process of overcoming the myth of return. In addition, an idea of claiming the homeland based on memories of the Crimea and family narratives emerged among Crimean Tatars during the period of exile. The article addresses the return not as an event but as a long process of the journey to restoration of normality which was lost as a result of deportation in 1944. The end of the return is not always an arrival; moreover, the return includes an emplacement process. Actually, the journey home, the so-called route to root, significantly influenced on reimagining the home and reforging of identity. Therefore, studying the Crimean Tatars’ return contributes significantly not only to the history of Crimean Tatars, moreover, it is important for the understanding of the reverse migration process in migration studies.

Source: Kisly Martin-Oleksandr (2020). Return of Crimean Tatars to the Crimea before 1989 As a Research Problem. NaUKMA Research Papers. History. 3: 54-61

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