Crimea's Tatars — who amount to 12 percent of the peninsula's 2.2 million residents — overwhelmingly boycotted the March 16th referendum for Crimea to become part of Russia. The Tatar's bad history with Russia was a major factor of their decision, as Stalin persecuted and deported them en masse from the Crimean Peninsula in 1944. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Tatars trickled back into Crimea, but their status there was always temporary. With Crimea's much-disputed status as part of Russia following the referendum, the future of the Tatars is a big question mark. VICE News' Simon Ostrovsky spent some time with Tatars in Simferopol in the week leading up to the referendum to get their side of the story.
Tatar Nation: The Other Crimea
Photo by Frederick Paxton