The National Bank of Ukraine has issued (12th May) two new coins marking the somber anniversary of the forced deportation of Crimean Tartars from the peninsula during the second World War by order of Josef Stalin (1878 – 1953), leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1952. The forcible deportation was a form of collective punishment for alleged collaboration with the Nazi regime in Taurida Sub-district, or Nazi-occupied Ukraine, from 1942 to 1943.
The Crimean Tartar community are an ethnic group of Turkic tribes who originated from the Central Asian Steppes and migrated as far back as the 10th century, making their way to the Crimean peninsula from the 13th to the 17th centuries.
On May 18, 1944, almost immediately after the liberation of Crimea, the state defense committee of the U.S.S.R. ordered the expulsion of the remainder of the Tatar population from Crimea, including the families of Crimean Tatars serving in the Soviet Army. Known as the “Sürgünlik” in the Crimean Tatar dialect, the operation eventually involved the removal of more than 230,000 people, with many families being relocated to the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. Ultimately, the deportations resulted in the removal of the entire ethnic Crimean Tatar population, at the time about a fifth of the total population of the Crimean Peninsula; the deportations also included smaller numbers of ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians.
According to further investigation by external Crimean Tartar activists in the 1960s, it was discovered that a large number of deportees — thought to be more than 100,000 — died from starvation or disease as a direct result of deportation. On November 12, 2015, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the event as genocide and declared May 18 a day of remembrance for the victims.
The coins are struck by the Ukrainian Mint and designed by Ukrainian artists Vladimir Taran, Alexander Kharuk, and Sergey Kharuk and engraved by Vladimir Demyanenko and Anatoly Demyanenko.
The obverse side includes a depiction of a Tartar family behind the barbed wire window of the boxed train cars used during the deportation. To the left is the date in vertical numerals, 18/05/1944. The Ukrainian text above the design reads ГЕНОЦИД КРЫМСКОТАТАРСКОГО НАРОДА. Below the design is text in the Crimean dialect which reads QIRIMTATAR HALQININ GENOTSIDI; the English translation is “the genocide of the krymsko-tatarski peoples.”
The reverse design includes a depiction of the train wheels and track, representing the mode of transport used during the deportation process. In the center of the coin is a map of the Crimean peninsula and Ukrainian shore, along with the insignia of the Ukrainian National Bank and the coin’s denomination.
|5 Grivnya||Nickel-silver||16.5 grams||35 mm.||Proof||30,000 pieces|
|10 Grivnya||.925 silver||28 grams||38.6 mm.||Antiqued strike||2000 pieces|
Both coins are available as individual pieces. For additional information on these and other coins issued by the National Bank of Ukraine, please visit their Web site. A list of local sales and retail points can be found here. No information is available for international direct sales currently.