May 01, 2010

The Meskhetians

Exactly five years ago,  something happened in Russia which one might have thought impossible half a century after Joseph Stalin’s passing: an entire ethnic group – one which Stalin had accused of treason and evicted from its homeland – was once again forced to change their place of residence.

Thousands of Meskhetian Turks, after surviving deportation in the 1940s and Uzbek pogroms in the 1990s, had only just become settled in Krasnodar Krai when, a few years into the 21st century, they were faced with run-of-the-mill nationalism cultivated by those in power and reinforced by Cossacks. The surge of violence prompted many Meskhetians to leave for the U.S., under a special immigration program. And while Russian media declared that the Meskhetian problem had been resolved, for many this was not the case: not qualified to emigrate, they now cannot join their families on the other side of the Atlantic.


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