Russian Occupiers Using Draft To Decimate Crimean Tatar Nation – OpEd


Many non-Russian nations within the borders of the Russian Federation say that Moscow is drafting men from their ranks disproportionately compared to those in the ethnic Russian nation and that the deaths of non-Russians in the Russian military in Ukraine are higher as well.

This has sparked a debate as to whether these outcomes are the result primarily of Kremlin’s desire to fight this imperial war using members of nationalities it is trying to marginalize or even destroy or whether it reflects instead the fact that the non-Russians are generally poorer and more rural and thus more likely to join the army as a social lift.

But a new statistic from Russian-occupied Crimea does not permit a similar debate. There, Crimean Tatar activists say, 90 percent of all draft notices have gone out to villages populated largely or exclusively by members of their nationality, a pattern that only ethnic targeting can explain (

That official Russian focus on the drafting of Crimean Tatars is consistent with the repression that Moscow occupiers have visited on that nation, which currently forms only about 15 percent of the total there, since Russia occupied that Ukrainian peninsula in 2014. That Russian approach qualifies as both a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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