The Crimean Tatar of Romania
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?
Although food production is the way most people earn a living in the Crimean region, the Tatars work primarily in manufacturing or petroleum industries. They often make extra money by selling leather, ceramic, and metal craft items.
Family ties are very important to the Crimean Tatars. The size of the immediate family ranges from four to five members; however, two or three generations will often live in the same house. About 91% of the Crimean Tatars marry within their culture, unlike some of their Tatar cousins. The family is strongly patriarchal, or dominated by the men. The line of descent is through the father and inheritance is passed down through the males. 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, Crimean Tatar.
A majority of the Crimean Tatars who live in the cities wear western style clothing. Elderly and rural people wear more traditional dress such as scarves, turbans, robes, and sandals. The people 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?
There is also a great need for laborers to work among the Tatars. Currently, there are no mission agencies targeting this people group. Tentmakers with skills in agriculture and construction are needed, in addition to those who can evangelize and do church planting. Tatars also need job training and help in establishing small businesses. English language studies may be needed as well.
Of the 25,500 Crimean Tatars living in Romania, only 25 have found abundant life in Jesus Christ. It is God's will for these precious people to come to know Him, for He "...is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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