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Abstract

The Crimean Tatars’ genocide is one of the clearest, and yet least studied of twentieth-century genocides. This article explores that genocide’s aftermath, beginning with the Crimean Tatars’ attempts to reinscribe their presence in their historic homeland following the 1944 deportation. The ongoing contestations over the past are examined here as a historical habitus informing attitudes and behavior in the present. Drawing on unparalleled interview data with the Russian-speaking population in Crimea, I explore the durability and ontological resonance of constructions of Tatars as traitors both past and present. Ethnographic insight into the local understandings that feed exclusion, discrimination, and hatred enhance our understanding of genocide as a social process. Given the lack of either guilt or shame regarding the 1944 deportation, I suggest that Crimea currently lacks the cognitive and affective foundation to create a more inclusive future.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1911-9933.9.1.1273