Bakhchisarai in the middle of the XIX century
Bakhchisarai in the middle of the XIX century
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The second wave of emigration of Crimean Tatars

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The second wave of emigration of the Muslim population began after the end of the Crimean War. In 1854-1855 the Crimean peninsula was the main theater of operations. It was the Crimean Tatars who suffered the greatest losses from the war. With the beginning of hostilities, the sale of agricultural products through the old channels was interrupted, which undermined the Crimean economy.

Military transportation led to the mass death of draft cattle, and the government paid almost no compensation. For a pair of oxen they paid the price of one, but no matter how many oxen were taken from the owner, the compensation could not exceed the price of two heads. At the heart of tsarist policy was outright national discrimination. When the farm was in the zone of hostilities, a per capita tax (which was approximately equal to 10 rubles.) Some discount was made. For Russians it was equal to seven rubles, and for Tatars – less than two. That is, the losses of the Tatar economy were not compensated. We can say that the losses and ruin of Tatar economies were the ultimate goal of Russian politicians.

At the beginning of the war, in the autumn of 1854, the Minister of War issued an order stating: “The Emperor ordered the relocation from the sea of ​​all inhabitants of the Mohammedan religion living on the coast to the interior provinces .” The authorities were unable to carry out this order due to the occupation of Crimea, but the intention spoke for itself.

Bakhchisarai in the middle of the XIX century
Bakhchisarai in the middle of the XIX century

The last straw was rumors circulating on the peninsula at an unprecedented rate in 1860: it was as if the Russian government had decided that all Crimean Tatars, as a “harmful and useless” population, would be relocated en masse to Orenburg Province. The local administration did not try to refute such rumors, but in the conversations clearly hinted that “anything can happen.” This increased the scale of the second wave of mass emigration of Crimean Tatars.Tsar Alexander II considered the resettlement of the Crimean Tatars a “prosperous” phenomenon, which freed the peninsula from the “harmful population”. Therefore, tsarist officials were ordered not to hinder the emigration of the Crimean Tatar population. In 1856, a circular was sent from St. Petersburg, ordering local authorities not to interfere with either overt or covert resettlement of Tatars to Turkey. General E. Totleben later testified: ” His Majesty allowed himself to say that not only was it not necessary to restrain the Tatars in resettlement, but to regard this case as extremely favorable for the liberation of the region .” This testimony is confirmed by the statement of Governor-General G. Zhukovsky, who in one of his reports for October 1860 wrote: “At a meeting of the Committee for the Settlement of the Crimea, which I had in my house on August 20 under my chairmanship, the real state councilor Gerngross, explaining the purpose of his business trip, said, among other things: the fact is favorable because they are incapable of agriculture, the development and improvement of which is very desirable in the Crimea . ”

Count E. Totleben
Count E. Totleben

In 1860-1862, according to the Statistical Committee, 192,360 Tatars of both sexes emigrated abroad. Then the Nogays, who roamed there, left Perekop. A contemporary of these events described the departure of the Nogai to Sevastopol, where they planned to board the ships that were to take them to Turkey: “ Our Tatars are leaving. Go and go. They kiss the ground, but still go . “Here is how the witness describes these tragic events: “In 1860, the steppe Tatars rose up and began to sell all their equipment and crops for nothing. Those who wanted easy food came to the Tatar settlements like locusts and bought Tatar property for free. Tatar Magyars, loaded with various necessities, reached the ports of Feodosiya, Yalta, Yevpatoria, and Kerch, and then, upon arrival, had to be thrown on the pier, because the captains did not allow to clutter the decks of ships. The sad picture was the Crimean steppes. In the devastated villages only dogs whined, the doors in the houses slammed in the wind, the windows were broken, the ceilings opened. At night, when the full moon illuminated this desert, it became somehow scary. During the day I had to see scenes that literally tore the soul. Here are a few loaded Magyars, and all the Tatar families, from old to young, went to the cemetery,to say the last “sorry” to their buried ancestors: these voluntary exiles get on their knees, punch themselves in the chest and kiss the ground. There are no howls or cries: tears are flowing softly on their tanned faces. Each of them takes a handful of land from the grave of their dear deceased and goes, bowing his head, to his own oxen, long ago sold to some more enterprising merchant…».

Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars

Here is how an eyewitness describes what was happening in Crimea at the time: “ First lonely travelers, then families, finally villages and communities moved to Turkey, selling their property, throwing in the steppe and drowning in the sea what could not find anyone who bought it. Emigration grew not every day, but every hour. The further away, the more Crimea lost its inhabitants. By August (1860 – ed.) Emptied most of the Simferopol and Feodosia counties: there were only defendants and in general those who were involved». These testimonies confirm the data of the Department of State Property of the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding the southern provinces. As of April 1862, there were “1,011,000 acres of vacant land suitable for settlement, of which 627,000 acres were in the Tavriya province.” Due to the large amount of free land, its price fell sharply, and was instead of 20 rubles. only 3 rubles. for a tithe. Emigration led to the decline of the region. A contemporary testified: “ After resettlement, the steppe began to resemble a desert, and the same fate threatens the mountainous part of Crimea. The villages were depopulated, the fields were left uncultivated . “In fact, much more emigrated than the statistics showed, as many Tatars went without requiring the government to provide them with passports, ie without registration. As a result, the population of Crimea has decreased by almost half, its national structure has changed. As Kosogovskyi, the director of the police department, later testified, “more than two-thirds of the Tatar population no longer existed in the Crimea.”
At the beginning of 1863, there were 103,000 Crimean Tatars in the Crimea (56,563 of them were male). There were 687 abandoned Tatar settlements, and 315 of them had no inhabitants. In particular, 287 out of 320 settlements in Perekop district were depopulated.

The lands left by the Tatars were appointed by the tsarist government for settlement by immigrants from other parts of the Russian Empire…

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The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Tetiana Bikova

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Scientist of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

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