In one of history's most severe and efficient incidents of mass exile, Stalin removed the Tatars from their homes in Crimea in 1944. Within just three days, authorities deported 200,000 Tatars. After spending 50 years in exile, the Tatars returned to their homeland during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then they have felt generally protected under Ukrainian rule. Following a fraudulent and illegal referendum earlier this year on whether to become part of Russia, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation—a move that brought back the local Tatar community's painful memories of persecution and oppression.
VICE News spent time with Tatars around the time of the commemoration of their exile, finding a community already under pressure from new Russian authorities. It’s unclear what their future will hold under Russian rule, and many fear that history could repeat itself.