25/01/2023 – UNU-MERIT/MACIMIDE Seminar on The Russian Narration of the Deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944


Deportation – the forcible eviction of the Crimean Tatar people from their historical homeland – from the Crimea, carried out during May 18–21, 1944, is one of the crimes of the Soviet totalitarian regime. Forcible deportation of large groups of the population was a part of the internal policy of the USSR during Stalin’s rule. The official Soviet narrative regarding this deportation explained its necessity by the fact that the Crimean Tatars had massively collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. This narrative persisted even after the deportation itself was recognized in 1989 in the Soviet Union as criminal and illegal and the Crimean Tatars returned to their homeland. This narrative is still the main one in the policy of historical memory of the Russian Federation regarding the history of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people. In the seminar, I will introduce the history of the deportation and return home of the Crimean Tatar people, as well as how the Soviet and later the Russian authorities interpreted these events. The seminar will also highlight how this narrative affects the situation of the Crimean Tatars today and how it is combined with the Russian narrative about the legitimacy of the occupation and annexation of Crimea.

About the speaker

Olena Snigyr is a Jean Monnet Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Until May 2022, she was responsible for communication and international cooperation of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, where she continues to coordinate the project of the Virtual Museum of Russian Aggression. From 2001 to 2017 Olena has been working at the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Ukraine (NISS). Headed the Foreign Policy Department in NISS in 2008-2011 and the Sector of Europe in the Foreign Policy Department in 2011-2013. In 2015-2017 she was a chief consultant in the Research Center for Russian Federation Problems in NISS. Later in 2018-2019 she worked as a leading specialist in the Center for International Studies at Hennadiy Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine.

Her most recent publications include an analysis of Russia’s foreign policy, specifically its interventionism and undisclosed methods of influence, the role of historical memory in Russian foreign policy, security issues in Europe, the latest developments in Ukrainian foreign policy, and perspectives on the development of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Her fields of expertise comprise Russian foreign policy, Russian policy of historical memory, Ukrainian foreign policy, European Security and the Black Sea Region widely.

For more information, on the seminar click here.This is a co-organized seminar between UNU-MERIT & Maastricht University, and The Research Network on Ukrainian Migration. For more information on the network, please visit this website.