The Soviets shot Crimean Tatar historian Shukri Seytumerov’s grandfather in 1938 on accusation of counter-revolutionary activities. They deported his mother and family in 1944. And in 2020, after Russia’s occupation of Crimea, the Russian occupying authorities arrested his two sons, on approximately the same charges – preparation for overthrowing power.The repressions Russia is unleashing against the Crimean Tatars today are an “intentional extermination of his people” that continue Russia’s persecutions of the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, he tells Crimean Tatar activist Luftiye Zudiyeva.
Remembering the past
Shukri Seytumerov knows every street, every alley, every building of old Bakhchisaray. He is a historian and ex-head of the Department for Monument Protection of the Bakhchisaray Historical and Cultural Museum. He is familiar with the history of each house and all the local mosques, of which there were more than forty before the Soviet era.
The car stops at the Takhtali-Jami Mosque. It was built by the daughter of Khan Selim Giray – Bekhan Sultankhani in the 17th century and is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Khan’s Palace. It was originally constructed with wooden boards, which is why it is called “Takhtali Jami – Wooden Mosque”. In 1923, the mosque was closed for visits and religious ceremonies, but in 1979 it reopened to visitors.