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Will Ukraine be able to restore historical toponymy in Crimea?

12 December 2021

On Thursday, December 9, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Ukraine held the XXII session of the Crimean Discussion Club on the topic Historical toponymy of Crimea: present and future. The experts discussed and formed the logistics of the process of restoring historical names in Crimea. Based on the discussion, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center will develop appropriate recommendations for the Ukrainian authorities.

 

The speakers were:

Eskender Bariiev - Head of the Board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, member of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people

Anna Kravchenko - Project Manager of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Ukraine

Borys Babin - Doctor of Law, Professor, Expert of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center

Roman Alieiev - Representative of the Crimean Tatar diaspora in Germany

Snaver Seitkhalilev - Deputy Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories

Oles Donii - Ukrainian journalist, TV presenter, politician, public and cultural figure. MP of Ukraine of the 6th and 7th convocations.

The following issues were raised:

1. Is the historical toponymy of Crimea of great importance for the comprehensive rehabilitation of the previously deported Crimean Tatar people?

2. Are the historical place names of Crimea a factor in the preservation of identity?

3. Is the restoration of the historical toponymy of Crimea an instrument of de-occupation?

4. How to restore the historical toponymy of Crimea in modern conditions?

The experts emphasized that the historical toponymy of Crimea is of great importance for the comprehensive rehabilitation of the previously deported Crimean Tatar people, for whom the main motive for repatriation was the desire to preserve their own identity. Outside the maternal landscape, there are no conditions for the full functioning of specific skills in nature management, traditional economy, and national culture.

Within the framework of the discussion club, the logistics of the process of restoring historical names in Crimea were formulated. Experts said that now Ukraine has three laws that allow restoring the historical place names of Crimea:

The first is the Law On the restoration of the rights of persons deported on ethnic grounds. Article 3 clearly states that at the request of representatives of the deported peoples, the state will contribute to the restoration of historical toponymy.

The second is the Law On Decommunization. There is a decision to change the name of settlements in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, but because of the occupation, this process remains frozen.

The third is the Law on Indigenous Peoples. Article 4 shows that, at the initiative of indigenous peoples, it is possible to restore historical names.

The experts emphasized that the restoration of historical place names in Crimea is a step towards the de-occupation of Crimea.