Tatarstan urges Putin to review rehabilitation of Crimean Tatars

Minnikhanov asks Kremlin to review indigenous populations’ plight post-annexation

Minnikhanov asks Kremlin to review indigenous populations’ plight post-annexation

MOSCOW - The president of Russia’s constituent republic of Tatarstan on Tuesday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to review the country’s rehabilitation law and apply it to the Crimean Tatars.

"I have visited Crimea on three separate occasions. They [Crimean Tatars] fell victim to political reprisals 70 years ago. You said in clear terms in your message that the Rehabilitation Law passed by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SSR on April 26, 1991, should be applied to the Crimean Tatars. This would provide moral incentives for the Crimean Tatars to comply with Russian law," Rustam Minnikhanov told Putin. 

Russia’s rehabilitation law applies to those who suffered from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s mass deportations in the 1930s and 1940s. The law has previously been applied to ethnic groups in the North Caucasus, including the Chechens and Ingushetians.

Putin responded by saying he would consider the matter and appoint a commission to review a possible exoneration of the Crimean Tatar community.

"I will certainly give orders to look into the matter," Putin said at a meeting with Minnikhanov.

Russia unilaterally annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula after taking control of the region on February 26-27 when armed gunmen, believed to be Russian Special Forces, seized the regional parliament and the capital Simferopol's airport.

In a controversial referendum held on March 16, Crimea voted to secede from Kiev in favor of unification with Moscow.

Putin signed a bill into law that officially incorporated Crimea into the Russian Federation on March 21.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency