On the 18-20 May, 1944 on the order from Moscow the Crimean Tatar population of the Crimea was deported.
This forced eviction of the Crimean Tatars, which Soviet authorities accused of collaboration with the Nazis, was one of the fastest carried out deportations in the world history.
The main phase of the forced relocation occurred during incomplete three days, beginning at dawn on May 18, 1944 and coming to the end at 16:00 on May, 20.
According to the information of the National Crimean Tatar movement, in general there were deported 238,500 people from the Crimea in May 18, 1944, 205,900 or 86.4% of whom were women and children.
For these actions NKVD recruited more than 32,000 soldiers.
Employees of NKVD came into Crimean Tatar homes and announced to the owners that because of the treason they were evicted from the Crimea.
People were given only 15-20 minutes to collect things. Officially, each family had the right to bring up to 500 kg of luggage, but in fact it was allowed to take much less and sometimes - nothing at all.
People were transported by trucks to the railway stations. From about 70 trains with tightly closed wagons, crowded with people were sent to the East.
About 8,000 people died when moving, most of them were children and the elderly people. The most common causes of death were thirst and typhus.
The state embezzled all property that was left in the Crimea after the Crimean Tatars.
Most Crimean Tatars were sent to Uzbekistan and neighboring areas of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Small groups of people found themselves in the Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Urals and in Kostroma region of Russia.
In the early years of exile the Crimean Tatar people lost 46.2 % of the total population.
The vast majority of the Crimean Tatars was moved to the so-called special settlements - surrounded by armed guards, checkpoints and barbed wire fenced.
The newcomers were cheap labour, they were used to work in collective farms, state farms and industrial plants.
In 1948, Moscow acknowledged Crimean Tatars lifetime settlers. Those who without permission of NKVD went beyond the special settlements, were exposed to the danger of 20-year imprisonment.
By 1957 any publications in Crimean Tatar were banned. The article about Crimean Tatars was taken out of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
This nationality was banned to indicate in the passport.
After the expulsion of Crimean Tatars and Greeks, Bulgarians and Germans from the Crimea in June 1945 Crimea was not an autonomous republic any more and became the area of the RSFSR.
Soviet authorities destroyed Crimean Tatar monuments, burned manuscripts and books. Cinemas and shops were opened in mosques.
Special settlements regime for the Crimean Tatars existed till the era of Khrushchev's de-Stalinization - the second half of the 1950s. Then the Soviet government softened the living conditions for them, but did not withdraw accusations of treason.
In the 1950-1960s Crimean Tatars fought for their right to return to their historical homeland, including through demonstrations in Uzbek cities.
In 1968, the occasion of one of these actions was the birthday of Lenin. Authorities broke up the rally.
Gradually Crimean Tatars succeeded in expanding their rights. However, informal, but no less strict ban on their return to Crimea existed up to 1989.
In the four following years half of the Crimean Tatars, who were then in the USSR (250 thousand people) returned to the peninsula.
The return of the indigenous population of Crimea was difficult and was accompanied by land conflicts with local residents who got used to live on the new land.
The Project "I survived genocide"
1. Social videos of senior Crimean Tatars who were deported from Crinmea in 1944, and now, after returning home, came to the houses where once lived
2. Photo exhibition of deportation witnesses, who survived the tragedy of May 18, 1944