The Crimean Tatar of Russia
The Crimean Tatars are descendants of the Mongols who swept through eastern Europe in the thirteenth century. Their history has been both complex and turbulent. For many years they have endured hardship, oppression, and injustice.
By the 1940's, the Crimean Khanate was established on the Crimean Peninsula. However, Russian rule came late in the eighteenth century and was very repressive. In 1944, Stalin accused the entire Crimean Tatar population of collaborating with the Nazis, and had them deported to Soviet Central Asia. Sadly, almost half of them died in the process. To this day, the Tatars are still struggling to return to the homeland they were forced to leave almost half a century ago.
What are their lives like?
The northern part of the Crimea is highly suited for agriculture. Winter wheat, corn, and sunflowers are the main crops. However, the climate is very dry, so additional water supplies must be brought in by canal. There are many vineyards on the lower mountain slopes of the southern Crimea. As in the northern areas, many in the south are also farmers, especially in the Volga region. However, in the southern areas they primarily live on "collective farms." There, they raise grains such as wheat, rye, oats, and millet. Chickens and cows are also raised since poultry and milk are important products for market. Extra money can be earned by selling leatherwork, ceramics, and metalwork.
A majority of the Crimean Tatar who live in the cities wear western style clothing. Elderly and rural people wear more traditional dress such as scarves, turbans, robes, and sandals. Modern Tatars live no differently from ordinary Russian families, but in rural areas some pre-revolutionary traditions persist.
Family ties are very important to the Tatars. The size of the immediate family ranges from four to five members; however, two or three generations will often live together in the same house. About 91% of the Crimean Tatar marry within their culture, unlike some of their Tatar cousins. Families are dominated by the men and work is divided along traditional lines, with men working outside and women tending to the children and the household duties.
Tatar children have no schools of their own. The school system publicly denies thousands of young Tatars knowledge of their nationality, history, language, and culture. As a result, about 75% of these children cannot read or speak their native language, Krym.
The Tatars have a deep love for songs and music, which are popular at holidays and feasts. They perform popular folk songs, called manes and chin, whenever there is a celebration.
What are their beliefs?
What are their needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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