Sürgün (Crimean Tatar for “exile”) refers to the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 to Uzbek SSR. The symbol of Sürgün is a steam engine. Crimean activists are calling for the recognition of the Sürgün as an act of genocide.
The deportation begun on 17 May 1944. More than 32,000 NKVD troops took part in the operation, in which altogether 193,865 Crimean Tatars were deported from their homeland, including 151,136 to the Uzbek SSR, 8,597 to the Mari ASSR, 4,286 to the Kazakh SSR, and the remaining 29,846 to various oblasts of the RSFSR.
In the period from May to November 1944, altogether 10,105 Crimean Tatars died of starvation in Uzbekistan (7% of those deported to the Uzbek SSR). According to NKVD data, nearly 30,000 (20%) died in exile, while Crimean Tatar activists insist that as many as 46% of those deported died in exile. Many were sent to labour camps.