back at dark to Simferopol The next dayrna tearful mother calls Vova and says herrndaughter can no longer act as interpreter.rnThe mother is terrified that the criminalrngangs will knock off her daughter afterrndark, much less the American. Her fearsrnare not entirely groundless. A well-offrnbusinessman who was their friend hadrnbeen murdered within the year.rnThe fact is the situation in the Crimearnis tumultuous. In 1954 Khrushchev gavernthe Crimea to the Ukraine to celebrate arnlong history of Ukrainian-Russian relations.rnWhile there was a Soviet Union,rnthis did not change much. After all, Russiarndoes not share any land border withrnthe Crimea. But when the Soviet Unionrncollapsed, being part of the Ukraine didrnmatter. Communist nomenclatura andrnmilitary men have retired to the Crimearnin such numbers that Russians are 68rnpercent of the population. But they arernno longer in the Soviet Union and do notrnwant to be part of the Ukraine.rnAfter the Ukraine declared its independence,rnthe idea of Crimean separatismrnheated up, and in the 1994 electionsrnthe Russian bloc headed by YurirnMeshkov scored a victory. There hadrnbeen a preelection promise to hold arnreferendum on reunification with Russia,rnbut attempts to move in this directionrnwere persistently thwarted by thernUkrainian Parliament in Kiev. After insistingrnthat the Crimean Constitutionrnconform to the Ukrainian Constitution,rnand after this failed to be carried outrnby Meshkov forces, the office of thernCrimean president was abolished, andrnthe Crimean government was placed underrnthe Ukrainian ministers in Kiev.rnAll of this means that disorder oftenrnreigns. In the meantime, the power vacuumrnis being filled by criminal gangsrnthat often work hand in glove withrnold communist politicians. There is arnCrimean or Russian saying that roughlyrntranslated means, “A wealthy man is hisrnown death warrant.” It is well knownrnthat assassinations of businessmen inrnMoscow are rampant. Likewise in thernCrimea. Thus, the fear of my interpreter’srnmother about her daughter’srnwelfare.rnThe next day Vova arranged for me tornaccompany Lyonya and United Nationsrnpersonnel as they visited various refugeernsettlements around Simferopol. He alsornarranged for another interpreter, HelenrnKrylova, a university student. As I wasrnultimately to discover, she should bernwearing one of those shirts with “NornFear” on it.rnWe were accompanied by a Tartar representative,rnbut initially we visited an Armenianrnsettlement and then a Greekrnone. These families had been forced underrnone circumstance or another fromrntheir Crimean homes, many of them beingrnrelocated to Central Asia. One of thernArmenians we talked to, for example,rnhad come from Tashkent. The Armeniansrnand Greeks had been small minoritiesrnin the Crimea. Almost none of thernhouses were complete, even if lived in.rnBefore our little party left the smallrnGreek enclave, the Tartar representativernwas in a heated argument with one of thernGreeks. Apparently the Greek had mentionedrnsome help he had received fromrnthe Crimean authorities, and the Tartarrnwas griping vociferously that the governmentrnwas not helping his people.rnWe finally made our way out of townrnto a rather large Tartar settlement. Atrnthis point, it is necessary to review somernCrimean history. Mongols, misnamedrnTartars, have been in what is now Russiarnat least since the end of the 13th century.rnA part of the Golden Horde eventuallyrnsettled in the Crimea in the 15thrncentury and was ruled by the CrimeanrnTartar khanate. Khanate rule lasted untilrnRussia annexed the territory in 1783. AsrnRussians moved in, slowly the Tartar percentagernof the population declined, andrnby the 20th century they were a minority.rnMassacre by the Bolsheviks andrnfamines reduced them to 25 percent byrn1923. And then the worst. Accused byrnStalin of mass collaboration with thernNazis who briefly controlled the Crimea,rnthe entire population of 250,000 was deportedrnovernight. Most were sent tornUzbekistan and others to Siberia andrnKazakhstan. Roughly half of them diedrnen route or within the first few months.rnAlthough Khrushchev denounced therndeportation in 1956, the Tartars werernpermanently forbidden to return to thernCrimea, and so it remained until 1991rnwhen many, around 250,000, returned.rnIn the settlement we visited, therernwere about 60 houses in various states ofrncompletion. Cut stone was used, thoughrnsome of them had only mud and strawrnbricks. Some lived in tents near wherernthey were working. An old man told usrnthere was one water tap for all 60 families.rnWhen I asked him what he wasrncooking on his one burner stove he stuckrnout his chest proudly and said “Crimeanrnborseht.” It looked to be nearly all cabbage.rnThe next day was spent in the town ofrnBakhchisaray, which was the old capitalrnof the khanate. The palace, built in thern16th century, destroyed by the Russiansrnin 1735, and rebuilt beginning in 1738,rnwas well worth the trip alone. Thernminarets are visible at some distance,rnthen once inside the outer walls, thernspace becomes much more intimate.rnInside we were accompanied by EbubekirovrnServer, a historian. Of the threerncourts inside, the most interior was thernliving quarters of the khan and his family.rnInside one of the rooms was a smallrnwhite fountain in the middle, andrnaround the interior walls a dais for sittingrnand reclining while conversing, thernsound of the water as accompaniment.rnIn another room there is a famous fountainrndedicated to a slave-girl whom thernkhan loved. It is famous because Pushkinrnleft a rose in the fountain. On the day Irnvisited, a red and a yellow rose rested atrnthe top level.rnIn the afternoon I had an appointmentrnwith Mustafa Jemilev (spelled variouslyrn”Dzhemilev,” “Cemilev”), thernleader of the Crimean Tartars and Chairmanrnof the Assembly of the CrimeanrnTatar People, called the Mejlis. He hasrndark curly hair, a short beard and slightlyrngraying mustache, and dark, hauntingrneves that have seen more than theyrnshould have in one lifetime. A journalisticrnhazard of a foreign correspondent isrnthat in a country new to him, he frequentlyrnis talking to people about situationsrnof which he has only a superficialrnknowledge. Afterwards he tries to buildrnup a fuller picture. I knew I was in thernpresence of a serious man, and a greatrnman, but it was only later that I discoveredrnsome of his history. I expect it isrnvery disconcerting for the Tartars and forrnMr. Jemilev to experience the ignorancernof the world about what happened tornthem. They do not have the resources tornemploy public relations firms in Washingtonrnand Paris or a large emigre populationrnfrom the Soviet Union. I feel surernwhen I asked Mr. Jemilev about any Tartarrninvolvement with the invading Germansrnagainst the Bolshevik armies inrnWorld War II, he must have sighed inwardly,rnhaving been asked the questionrnmany times before. Later I was to readrnthat, yes, there had been some Tartars inrnGerman units, but there had been manyrnmore non-Tartars, e.g., Ukrainians, VolgarnGermans, Russians, who had helped tornfight the Bolsheviks, but who were notrnpersecuted in mass after the war.rnJUNE 1996/45rnrnrn