In one of history's most severe and efficient incidents of mass exile, the Tatars in Crimea were removed from their homeland by Stalin in 1944. Within just three days, 200,000 Tatars were forcibly deported. After spending 50 years in exile, the Tatars returned to their homeland in Crimea at the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have since 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 painful memories of persecution and oppression for the local Tatar community.
VICE News spent time with Tatars around the time of the commemoration of their exile, and found a community already under pressure from new Russian authorities. It's unclear what their future will hold under Russian rule again, and many fear that history could repeat itself.