23 Ocak 2013 Çarşamba

Crimean Tatar emigration in the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th c.: causes, character and scope

Seydametov Eldar
The Crimean Tatars are descendants
of the people who inhabited the Crimean peninsula
and its surroundings for over seven centuries.
In accordance with the manifest signed on April, 8, 1783, Crimea became a part of the Russian empire, and the Crimean khanate lost its independence. This event marked the beginning of the tragic page in history of Crimean Tatar people. The state of affairs resulted in the number of such consequences as liquidation Crimean Tatar statehood, elimination of political institutes and army, abolition of financial system, limitation of religious and local organs of self-government. An enormous damage was inflicted on cultural and spiritual life of people. Mass and forced emigration of the Crimean Tatar people became one of the most serious consequences of annexation of 1783; it was caused by the colonialist policy of a new government that aimed to force out of Crimea its native population and settling of peninsula by colonists from the internal provinces of the Russian empire and other states.
Dispossession of land and enslaving of the Crimean Tatar population, robbery and tyranny from the side of squires and governmental officials, robberies of Cossack military subdivisions, unequal rights compared to the colonists arriving to Crimea, repressions of authorities and exiles that strongly increased during the Russian-Turkish wars, outrage upon religious views of the faithful Muslims and other became the major evidence of this policy.
The emigration scope during the Russian period was disastrous. As a result of mass emigrations of 1783-1800 and 1854-1862 Crimea was abandoned by about 300, ooo people ( P. Sumarokov, V. Kondaraky) and 192,4 thousand (V. М. Kabuzan) men accordingly. According to some researchers’ data during 1783-1922 the Ottoman Empire territory got inhabited by around 1, 800,000 emigrants. The Crimean Tatar Diaspora in the Ottoman Empire area was formed as a result of Crimean Tatar emigration during 1783-1917 - territory of Dobrudzhy (now Romania and Bulgaria) and Turkey.
            The research aims to deal with one of the insufficiently known periods of Crimean Tatar emigration – the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th. c. Using the archival data of the national archives of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as well as the pre-revolutionary and contemporary researchers’ documents in the article, an attempt is made to expose and show character, main causes, emigration scope and periods of the greatest activity of this wave of emigration. Thus, the information provided will be of great help to get to know the total situation of the emigration movement and, consequently, the essence of the Crimean Tatar Diaspora.

            Before dealing with the mentioned subject matter, it is worth mentioning that during the period from the end of the 19th  - beginning 20th с. many researchers distinguish three main emigration waves, the greatest growth of which occurred in 1874, 1983, 1901-1902 years.
The consequences of mass emigration wave during 1856-62 were still strongly felt when in the middle of 1870th a new stage of emigration began, and this time introduction of universal service became a reason. For the Сrimean Tatars of military age it meant to serve within the general military units where they could not perform their religious duties created by Islam (as it was in military Muslim units before). Soon after the publication of order, on January, 1, 1874 three hundred people of military age got out from Crimea, by the end of year the number of emigrants made up five hundred people. Emigration passed mainly illegally, without passports, on motor ships departing at nights from Yevpatoriya, Sudak, Sevastopol and Gurzuf [5]. It was temporally halted in 1875, by the beginning of Turkish-Russian war in 1877-1778.  In 1878 after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in war with Russia and the division of Dobrudzhy onto the north part, which passed to Romania, and the south part, that belonged to Bulgaria, the emigration of Crimean Tatars and the Turks from Dobrudzhy onto the territory of the Ottoman Empire in its new borders began. In opinion of М. Ulkusala, this emigration proceeded from 1878 to 1899 and counted about ninety thousand Turks and Crimean Tatars [6].   
  Difficult economic situation of Crimean Tatars, activation of dispossession of land, land rental rise, gossips about organization of anti-Muslim league, universal service became an impetus to emigration in 1893 and 1901-1902.  Office of the Tavryda governor was filled up with issues dealing with various problems that resulted in the next waves of migration. So, in accordance with the reports of Yalta district police officer made in April, 2, 1893 and Bakhchysaray chief of city police dating from March, 3, 1893, the principal reason of migration was military service, where the Crimean Tatars «are forced to practice a Christian faith and eat pork…» [7]. The same problem kept on being urgent during 1901-1902 as well. So Yevpatoriya district police officer in the report addressed to the Tavryda governor (May, 1901) highlighted that military service was one of the emigration reason. On this occasion he wrote, that the Crimean Tatars’ eagerness to emigrate to Turkey was caused due to «sending of recruits to the regiments situated in Russia, where they are fed with pork and the deceased get buried like dogs, and their dead bodies get thrown into pits without religious ceremonies because of absence of Mohammedan clergy there» [8].
In accordance with denunciation of Feodosiya district police officer to the Tavryda governor, in reply to introduction of compulsory military conscription, in 1893 Tatar murzas headed by Dzhan Arslan Murza Bulgakov a grand petition to Alexander III was filed, where «conscription of young Tatars to different military units» was not in accordance with Islam religion [9]. In reply to the requests of Crimean murzas, the Emperor «made orders: the Crimean Tatar recruits who were not required to the Crimean battery, except those who were needed for making up the complete staff of the battery, appoint them to future time, into the infantry units of 14 and 34 infantry divisions, located in the Bessarabiya and Ekaterynoslav provinces, and distribute them onto the companies equally» [10]. Thus, the Tavryda governor was supposed to explain to the Crimean Tatars, that it «is not possible to organize special military units for them, and Crimean Tatars are needed to be distributed into the same troops, where all non-Russians of Empire serve the military service, including Kazan and all other Tatars of the same faith living in the north-eastern parts of the state; while the Crimean Tatar recruits are given the privilege of getting distributed in the Novorossiysk Region» [11].
Such conditions of military service and to a great extent unwillingness of authorities to satisfy the requirements of people on Crimean Tatar servicemen position in the Russian army resulted in the fact that the young people of draft age began to emigrate abroad again. According to some data, in early 90th of the ninetieth century about thirty thousand Crimean Tatars left Crimea [12].
Among the principle reasons provoking emigration of Crimean Tatars onto the Ottoman Empire, were still the dispossession of land and land rental rise. Especially this process got activated in the beginning of the twentieth century. In opinion of V.М. Kabuzan, dynamics of land dispossession of the Crimean Tatar population showed that in the beginning of the twentieth century it possessed about six thousand of tenth of land (30 per cent all land fund); by 50th of the ninetieth century the size of these territories got twice decreased, while the population of Crimean Tatars increased from 137 thousand to 242 thousand people; in the beginning of the twentieth century Crimean Tatars had 149 thousand of land tithes only. The number of landless Crimean Tatars in 1860 made up 52 per cent and in the beginning of the twentieth century it increased to 64 per cent [13]. District police officers of Tavryda province in their reports to the Tavryda governor put the emphasis on the fact that along with the Tatars of draft age, the landless population emigrates mainly. The land lack, according to Yevpatoriya district police officer, appears to be a reason which «compels to emigrate people who are landless or have small land units, for whom land is the main source of getting the means … And now favorite activity of Tatars, the sheep breeding, suffers a lack of plowing-free land and too high fee sheep pasture» [14]. In accordance with the report of Perekop district police officer landless Tatars, «living on squire lands, are burdened by duties in favor of them, so, for example: the Tatars of Kish-Kara village pay the duke Vorontsov the count Shuvalov 10 roubles per year for a peasant's hut, for the pasture of cattle from two roubles fifty copecks to three roubles per head of cattle and from a harvest the third cock of hay and wheat that is always difficult, especially during the years of bad harvest» [15]. The information of Feodosiya district police officer suggests that land rental in a district during the last years made up the half of profit of Tatar population.
We find interesting the report of senior official of the special commissions of Alexander Bogaevsky to the Tavryda governor dated from 29.10.1901, where on the basis of the conducted research (population polls, officials) he draws conclusions concerning the reasons of emigration. Going around the Yevpatoriya district and questioning its population, he marked that Tatars specified two permanent reasons: «Difficult economic conditions and disagreement with the religious laws of military service in the Russian regiments» [16]. According to the polls conducted А. Bogaevsky on October, 15, 1901, Ali Abdureshit oglu, the resident of village of Akbash Donuzlav volost marks that the main reason of emigration of his family is forthcoming military service of his sons in the Russian regiments. He states: «I do not know what expects me in Turkey, but I do not want my son to break the law of our faith» [17]. Belyal imam of Dzhemaldin oglu, a resident of Kirgiz-Kazak village (Agayskaya volost), names the economic reason of emigration of his fellow-villagers, where during emigration six families of skopschyks left the village, because it «became difficult to earn the living». Further he notes that «skopschina [18] here two out of ten cocks are given to the squire. In other villages skopschina is more difficult, besides squires give small land units per family» [19].
Apart from the economic and religious reasons of emigration, in a report, А. Bogaevsky notes the another reason of emigration: these are the widespread gossips saying that there are too many free and fertile lands in Turkey that are given to emigrants by the Turkish government, the emigrants can take any amount of land they want and during the first three years they can take it free of charge, and then one tenth of it to the state treasury, - and besides supplying with live stock  irretrievably». According to his opinion, the letters sent to Tatars by their acquaintances and relatives from Turkey are the major source of these rumors, the minor source is different expatriates from Turkey, who propagandized these rumors [20].
Further А. Bogaevsky notes, that the «first source in sense of the main incentive is more significant than the second, because letters are sent by relatives, expatriates are alien people, who have a mercenary purpose and their poverty does not go well with the tempting recitals of economic prosperity of Turkey» [21]. This reason of emigration is mentioned by public servants in all reports and turns out to be the consequence of reasons above-mentioned, but not vice versa, as the Tavryda governor Lazarev states about it in a secret meeting to the chiefs of police of the Tavryda province on October, 30, 1901, where he indicates that the true reasons of emigration of Tatars were no lack of land and «ridiculous rumors» about that, as though a government intends to force them to turn into a Christian faith, and etc., but mainly, «a hope to get after emigration to Turkey, considerable material benefits - the vast land unit and financial aid to breed the cattle» [22]. As the saying goes «the best is the enemy of the good». If it were possible to live in your native motherland, there would be no reasons to give up or sell dirt-cheap the houses, property and lands, to part with the relatives and emigrate not knowing what future expects you abroad. Many people, not having the smallest amount of land and burdened by high taxes and rental for the use of the squire land, have to abandon native land because of hopeless condition. It is impossible to disagree with the utterance of Tatars abandoning Crimea, which was retold by the resident of the village Kirgiz-Kazak by Illarion Kastyuk to A. Bogaevsky: «if we had our own land, we would not depart from here to Turkey, as many people return from there poorer, than they were here» [23].
Rumors about the government’s intention of forced Christianization of the Muslim people of Crimea poured some “oil onto the flames”, and therefore it set the row of different measures, as, for example, creation of anti-Muslim mission, development of Russian-Tatar schools, and etc. [24]. One of the sources of such rumors were the articles published in the «Tavryda Eparchial bulletin» (1901) [25] and «Crimean bulletin» (1901, № 95) [26], where it was told that Tavryda Orthodox Missionary society aimed to create the anti-Muslim society within the Tavryda Eparchy.
A government hardly controlled the process of emigration, forbidding a mass result, taking into account the lessons of past years. Foreign passports were very difficult to get and for a large sum of money, demand on their sale rose. The cost of passports was different, so among the polled emigrants by А. Bogaevsky prices like forty, seventy-five roubles for a passport are named. The desire to leave the country and go abroad in search of happier life resulted in that many emigrants sold dirt-cheap the property till the getting of their passports. This fact began to fluster a government, which on the threshold of revolution in 1905 was disturbed with the fact that those who did not manage to abandon Crimea would grow into proletarians, flooding a region with «not desirable, burdening a government and population element». On the other hand, as well as before, the personal interest of authorities in further colonization of Crimea is actual. This fact illustrates well the letter of the Novorossiysk governor to Minister for Finance on June, 24, 1902, where he states that “there are no sufficient grounds to counteract to Crimean Tatars’ depart abroad … he considers it possible and even useless to retain Tatars in Russian citizenship and within the Empire borders, at the same time I found it very desirable the acquisition of the lands left by them to the Russian authority  and taking into account all these facts the Peasant Land Bank would do the Russian matter a great favor, acquiring Tatar lands at its own expense with their further resale to Russian peasants…I am convinced, that it will be helpful for further Crimea colonization…» [27].
Speaking about the emigration of these years, we can not specify the exact amount of the emigrants during this period. As the emigration mainly passed secretly, illegally, many departed without the getting of passports. According to the newspaper reports of that time, the number of emigrating people could reach several hundred people a day. So, V. Piankov in the article «Tatar migration», describing emigration on September, 30, 1901, states that on a steamship from Odessa through Sevastopol went abroad about thirty Tatar families including more than one hundred people of both sexes. And from the villages located at the Bokal bay, about ninety Crimean Tatar families are going abroad [28]. In the article published in the «Crimean Bulletin» on October, 11, 1901 under the headline «Emigration of Tatars to Turkey», it was told about the emigration of landless Tatars of the Yevpatoriya district, their number was sixty families [29]. Eyewitnesses characterized emigrants the following way: «Among them there were a lot of children and women of different age. There were old men with grey hair. Beggarly outfit of emigrants, lifeless and pale thin faces with their tear-stained eyes senselessly wandering and at times intently directed ashore, to dear Motherland. “We do not know how long we will live in Istanbul, and at whose expense!  As you know, we have no means to live on» (emigrants responded – E.S.). It was clear from the conversation, that this ecstatic people sold all their property dirt cheap get departed, drawn by some instinctive force, like flight of birds, but substantially different from the last one that they do not know where their new motherland will be» [30].    
The rest of Crimean population could not witness quietly the mass emigration of their compatriots and took active part in suppression of its reasons. The publication of the newspaper «Russia» on December, 2, 1901г (№ 936) can be regarded as an example, there was an article titled «Crimean Tatars’ petition», where it was reported that Zemskaya government got the application signed by the Tatar and Russian population «about submitting a petition to the government for cancellation of those reasons that are mainly regarded to be a reason of emigration Crimean Tatars from Russia to Turkey» [31].
This time the young generation of Crimean Tatar intelligentsia appears to be also against of its compatriots’ mass emigration. So, the prominent Crimean Tatar enlightener I. Gasprinsky in his newspaper «Terdzhyman» stated that he was against emigration, he asked the compatriots not to hurry and sell the houses and property dirt-cheap, not to go abroad until getting to know much information about the prospective place of living [32]. Among the authors of «Terdzhyman», who were against emigration of Crimean Tatars we meet the name of S.A. Ozenbashly who expressed his feelings and disagreement concerning emigration of the people from the land of ancestors in a poem [33].
As a result of elucidative activity of national intelligentsia that contributed to the spiritual revival of people, growth of its national consciousness, the reactions onto the emigration of Crimean community, spreading of liberal and revolutionary opinions in the country and the change of social and political situation in Crimea on the eve of the revolution of 1905, the wave of emigration begins to calm down. However, and the following years emigration movement does not stop and keeps on developing up to the end of the Russian empire.
            Characterizing emigration of Crimean Tatars in the end of the ninetieth - beginning of the twentieth centuries, we need to put the emphasis on the principal reasons of emigrations of this period, some of them were worsening of social and economic position of people, political and religious burden. The introduction of universal military service obligation in 1874 appeared to the reason of mass emigrant movements of Crimean Tatar youth that served in the army and did not have any opportunity to perform religious duties and suffered discrimination on national and religious grounds. Besides the permanent reason of emigration was growth of lack of land, high taxes and rental that were especially hard during poor harvest years for the poorest layers of Tatar population. The number of emigrants also increased due to the rumors of organization of anti-Muslim league and converting Muslims of Crimea into Christianity. These events became a next step of tsar's administration in assimilation, or oppression of native population of Crimea and further colonization of the peninsula. The topmost periods of emigration of this period are marked during 1874, 1893, 1901-1902.  There is no proper information regarding the exact number of emigrants leaving the country. However, eyewitnesses tell us that at the height of emigrations Crimea was daily abandoned by several hundred Crimean Tatars. The territory of the Ottoman Empire was the main place of people’s residence. The mentioned facts prove that as well as during previous Crimean Tatars’ emigrations, emigration in end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century had the forced character.

Sources and Literature

1.      P. Sumarokov. Crimean judge’s leisure time or the second trip to Tavryda P. 1. – SPb, 1803. – P.161.
2.      V.H. Kondaraki Crimean Tatar emigration // Universal Crimea description. – Nikolayev: Press house of V.M. Krayevsky. - 1873. – P. 13.
3.      V.M. Kabuzan Emigration and remigration in Russia in 18th -20th c.– М.: Nauka, 1998. – P. 125.
4.      Karpat K. Otoman Population: 1830-1914. Demographic and Social Characteristics. – Madison, 1984. – P. 66.
5.      V.E. Vozgryn Historical destinies of Crimean Tatars. – М.: Мysl, 1992. – P. 353-354.
6.      Ülküsal M. Dobrogea Şı Turcıı. –Ankara, 1966. – S. 25.
7.      National archives of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, c. 26, l. 2, c. 3407, p. 6, 79.
8.      Ibid., l. 3 c. 194, p. 7.
9.      Ibid., l. 2, c. 3407, p. 57.
10.   Ibid., l. 3407, p. 293.
11.  Ibid., p. 271.
12.  Multiethnic Crimea/Author N.G. Stepanova. – Simferopol: Tavriya, 1988. – P.28.
13.  V.M. Kabuzan Ind.work. – P. 124.
14.   National archives of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, C. 26, l. 3, c.194, p. 104-105.
15.  Ibid., p. 37.
16.  Ibid., p. 42.
17.  Ibid., p. 53.
18.  Skopschina (southrus.) – kind of land rent for some definite harvest part. Skopschiki – landless peasant farmers giving a harvest part for land use.
19.  Ibid. p. 56.
20.  Some authors (А. Tamarin, Dzh. Seydamet, А. Оzenbashly) consider that preparation of specially trained agents to create emigration atmosphere among Crimean Tatars was done by Tsar Authorities.   
21.  National archives of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, c.26, l. 3, c. 194, p. 42.
22.  Ibid., p. 27.
23.  Ibid., p. 57.
24.  Ibid., p. 12-15.
25.  Ibid.
26.  Ibid., p. 6-9.
27.  Ibid., p. 160-161
28.  V. Pyankov Tatar emigration // Salgyr. – 1901. – October, 4. – № 218.
29.  Tatar emigration to Turkey // Crimean bulletin. – 1901. – October, 11. –
      №   206.
30. Ibid.
30.   National archives of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, c. 26, l. 3, c. 194, p. 106.
31.   Emigration// Terdzhyman, 1901. - № 38. – (Gasprynsky Library Fund Photocopy).
32.  S.A. Ozenbashly. Hey, Heart// Тerdzhyman. – 1902. - № 20. – (Gasprynsky Library Fund Photocopy);
33.  A. Ozenbashly. Crimea Tragedy. Selected Works. – Simferopol, 1997. – P. 147-148.  
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