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Post Crimea: Complex Identities
Created by John Eipper on 07/28/21 3:25 AM

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Crimea: Complex Identities (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 07/28/21 3:25 am)

I highly appreciate the post of Cameron Sawyer, 27 July.

I have also read the attached survey from "Most People in Separatist-held Areas of Donbas Prefer Reintegration with Ukraine." Frankly, the surveys by the British Gwendolyn Sasse in this area leave me doubtful, as they contrast with other surveys (apparently less biased towards Ukraine?).

Cameron is, however, absolutely correct when he wrote: "People just want peace and order and a chance to work and feed their families." Under bombardment many people may, even if temporarily, forget their ethnicity. I was witness to exactly this; of course, I was always a Bastian Contrario.

Cameron's position on Crimea was unexpected but realistic, instructive, and wise.

However, with reference to Crimea, it is also important to remember the the "loose cannon" Erdogan. The Turkish leader is walking a tightrope not to antagonize Putin, but his dream of a new Ottoman Empire includes Novorossjia (Southern Ukraine and Crimea).

At present Erdogan is showing a great friendship with Ukraine but at the same time, he is stirring up the old Tatar problem. According to a census of 2001, a Tatar minority of 17.2% lives in Crimea, most of them returned to the peninsula in the years following the death of Stalin.

For instance, see the various works of professor Sazi Ozcelik and other Turkish scholars and politicians. These studies try to minimize the previous ethnic groups influencing Crimea, such as the Greeks, Romans, Genoese, and Venetians. Instead great importance is given to the Muslim Turkish/Tatar immigration (was it not a military invasion?). The world pandemic of the 1300s, a present of the Gani Beck siege of Genoese Feodosia (Caffa), seems forgotten.

It is stressed that the Russification of the area began only after 1783, with the alleged expulsion of 1,800,000 Tatars to Anatolia. Of these there are now 4,000,000 descendants. An international Tatar conferences was held On 4-5 April 2015 in Ankara. Great publicity is given to Stalin's deportation of the Tatars (also Italians, but that is another story) from Crimea on 18 May 1944, while the strong Nazi divisions as Wolgatatarische Legion, Turkistanische Legion, and Kaukasich-Mohammedan Legion have also been forgotten. By the way, such legions were rather ferocious.

JE comments:  Bastian, I invite your thoughts on this question:  why in your view is Erdogan a loose cannon, but not Putin?  I see them as birds of a very same feather--cannons rolling around on deck?  I predict historians one day will talk about Erdo-Putinism (even catchier:  Puto-Erdoganism) as a catch-all for the pseudo-democratic strongman of the early 21st century.

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