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.
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Oleksandr Klymenko studied journalism at Kyiv State University, has been working as a photo reporter for some of Ukraine's largest papers. In the 1990s he was a staff reporter for the Kyiv bureau of "Der Spiegel", he contributed for "El Pais" and other international publications.
Over the last 20 years Oleksandr has witnessed UN peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, South Sudan, DR Congo. He is the author of several photo albums, his archive contains thousands of photos.
Oлександр Клименко закончил факультет журналистики Киевского государственного университета имени Тараса Шевченко. С 1990-х годов работает фоторепортером газеты "Голос Украины", был штатным фотографом украинского бюро журнала "Der Spiegel", сотрудничал с испанской газетой "El Pais" и другими изданиями.
За последние 20 лет Oлександр Клименко был свидетелем миротворческих операций в странах бывшей Югославии, Ливане, Кувейте, Либерии, Кот-д-Ивуаре, Южном Судане, ДР Конго. Есть тысячи фото в его архиве. Он автор альбомов: "Украина. 10 лет Независимости", 2001, "Миротворческая деятельность украинских войск. Первое десятилетие", 2004, "Сквозь огонь и слезы", 2009.