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Ukraine Restores Long-Lost Rights For Tatars

24 June 2004 -- Ukraine's parliament voted today to restore full rights to Tatars and others exiled because of their national origin by the old Soviet Union.

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1944 ordered deportation of more than 200,000 Tartars, who he suspected of collaboration with the Nazis, to the wastelands of Uzbekistan. He also exiled Bulgars, Greeks, Germans, and the entire population of Ingushetia in the Caucasus for the same reason.

The new measure requires President Leonid Kuchma's signature to take effect. It provides full rights as Ukrainian citizens for deportees or their children who have returned to Ukraine. The law bans any discrimination in housing, employment, or education because of religion or culture.

Tatars, who make up about 12 percent of the population of the Crimean peninsula, suffer from high unemployment and poor housing.


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