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Russian Authorities To Remove Tatar Collaboration Slur From Crimean History Textbook

The Russian authorities who control Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula have promised to remove a section of a high-school history textbook that claims many Crimean Tatars collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

The senior education official in the Russian-imposed government of Crimea, Natalya Goncharova, said on May 6 that the pages in question would be removed from the 10th-grade textbook History Of Crimea by the end of the month.

Educators and lawyers -- some of them members of the indigenous, mainly Muslim Crimean Tatar minority -- have urged the authorities to remove the book from the curriculum, saying that it threatens to incite ethnic and religious hatred among teenagers.

The pages that are to be removed include a claim that the majority of Crimean Tatars "were loyal to" the Nazis, and that "many actively helped them."

The claim echoes the pretext that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's government used when it deported Crimean Tatars en masse from the Black Sea peninsula in 1944, asserting that they were collaborators.

Many died on the journey or in exile in Central Asia and the steppes of southern Russia.

Crimean Tatars were allowed to begin returning to their homeland in the late 1980s, and make up some 12 percent of its population.

Russia seized control of the peninsula in March 2014, sending in troops without insignia, securing key facilities, and staging a referendum deemed illegitimate by Ukraine and most other world countries.

Rights groups and Western governments say Russia has conducted a persistent campaign of oppression targeting Crimean Tatars and other citizens who opposed Moscow's takeover of the peninsula.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax