Ethnic Karachais have marked the 62nd anniversary of their return to their North Caucasus homeland after their mass deportation to Central Asia by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during World War II.
May 3 is marked as the Day of Revival of the Turkic-speaking Karachai People.
Karachai-Cherkesia's leader, Rashid Temrezov, regional government head Aslan Ozov, and parliament speaker Aleksandr Ivanov issued a joint statement on May 3, congratulating Karachais on the occasion and praising their elderlies for preserving traditions, language, and culture despite "14 years of hunger, deprivations, and injustice."
About 2,000 people marched holding national flags and singing Karachai folk songs in downtown Karachayevsk. Concerts, meetings, and sports events were held across the region on May 3.
Sixty-two years ago on May 3, the first trains transporting Karachai arrived from Central Asia to the North Caucasus region after the Kremlin allowed their return to their homeland in 1957.
Karachais are a numerically small, predominantly Muslim people.
They were the first ethnic group in the North Caucasus deported by the Soviet regime in the 1940s.
Between November 2-5, 1943, some 70,000 Karachais were deported in cattle train cars to Central Asia by Moscow, which accused them of collaborating with Nazi Germany.
According to unofficial estimates, about one-quarter of those deported perished during the journey.