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Commission Under Gromyko Endorses Limited Response to Tatar Demands

February 4, 1988

MOSCOW (AP) _ A government commission endorsed steps to promote the culture of a disgruntled ethnic group, but indicated its members won’t be given privileges in the region from which they were expelled in World War II, Tass said Thursday.

The panel on the Crimean Tatars met in the Kremlin to discuss implementation of its recommendations on how better to meet the ethnic group’s social and cultural needs, the Soviet news agency reported.

The commission, chaired by President Andrei A. Gromyko, was set up last summer after hundreds of Tatars converged on Moscow and demonstrated in Red Square to demand permission to return to the Crimean peninsula, their ancestral homeland.

Josef V. Stalin accused the Tatars of collaborating with Nazi Germany during the war, abolished their Crimean homeland and exiled them en masse to the Ural Mountains, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Thousands died on the way to being resettled.

Tatars who came to Moscow in June and July were seeking re-establishment of a homeland in the Crimea. But at a Oct. 15 meeting of the commission, Gromyko said the population of the Crimea had changed dramatically since the Tatars were sent away.

At its Wednesday session, the commission said the government had ″specified the order of residence registration for citizens of all nationalities arriving for permanent sojourn in resort areas and adjoining regions of the Krasnodar territory and the Crimean region,″ Tass said.

The commission said the procedure of residence registration in all resort areas of the Soviet Union ″had been defined more clearly,″ but Tass gave no details.

Although it indicated that Tatars are subject to the same regulations on living in the Crimea as other Soviets, it said the commission also examined what was being done to remove ″unjustified obstacles to their change of residence.″

Soviets are required to register with local authorities in their place of residence, and their internal passport can be stamped to prevent them from living in certain areas of the country.

Tatar activists say members of their ethnic group have been unjustifiably barred from moving to the Crimea.

Tass said governmental and local authorities recently adopted measures to enable Tatars to study their native language, and that Tatar-language instruction began this academic year in the Crimea, the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, and other areas.

Plans also call for increased publication of works in the Tatar language and more radio and television programs in Tatar, the news agency said.

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