Today there are three laws that make it possible to restore historical toponymy in Crimea – Bariiev

February 17, 2023

The Head of the Board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, the Head of the Department for Legal and Foreign Affairs of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Eskender Bariiev, in an interview with Ukrainian Radio, spoke about the information and advocacy campaign “We will return the names —we will return Crimea”.

“The campaign  “We will return the names —we will return Crimea” should inform the Ukrainian society that the populated areas of the peninsula have names that are either communist or colonial. In general, there were three major waves of renaming in Crimea: the first – after its annexation by the Russian Empire in 1783, in order to destroy the involvement of indigenous peoples in this territory, the second – from 1921 to 1944, when they tried to rename Yalta to Krasnoplot, the third – after the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people in 1944. Most of the settlements were renamed in 1945-1948. Therefore, there are many identical names in different areas, in order to destroy the mention of history, legends or language accent”,- explained the expert.

Bariiev added that this issue was also raised at the time when Ukraine fully controlled Crimea. However, it started to be talked about more since 2014. The Head of the Board of the CTRC emphasizes that the restoration of historical names is not just the restoration of justice. This is the toolkit of de-occupation.

“There is a legislative framework of Ukraine for the implementation of this initiative. First, the law on the restoration of the rights of persons deported on the basis of nationality was adopted in 2014. It says that at the request of deported peoples, historical names renamed after deportation can be restored. Second, the decommunization law and the 2016 Verkhovna Rada resolution on renaming 70 names associated with the communist regime, which will become possible after de-occupation. Thirdly, the law on indigenous peoples, which stipulates that the Government, together with the representative body of indigenous peoples, submits a relevant draft resolution to the Verkhovna Rada”,- Bariiev stressed.