The Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea. The formation and ethnogenesis of Crimean Tatars goes back as far as the 13th century.
On the 18th May 1944, on Stalin's orders, the entire nation of the Crimean Tatars was deported. They were forced to leave their homes by the Black Sea and were dumped onto the steppes of Central Asia and other places far from home.
As the Sovet Union was collapsing, the Tatars started returning to Crimea, longing for their ancestral land. The authorities did not allow them to settle down properly and the Tatars set up camps across the peninsula. The Ukrainian photographer Oleksandr Klymenko had the rare opportunity to capture their first steps back home.
Crimea was occupied by Russian forces in 2014 and links with the rest of Ukraine were cut off. Attempts by the Kremlin to legtimitise the annexation of Crimea were declared illegal and invalid by the UN General Assembly.
There are now approximately 300,000 Tatars in Crimea.
Photography: © Oleksandr Klymenko