Genetic testing proves Putin is wrong about Crimea and Crimean Tatars

Red dots on the Crimea map show the locations where families of Inci Bowman's grandparents lived (Image: Inci Bowman, iccrimea.org)

Red dots on the Crimea map show the locations where families of Inci Bowman's grandparents lived (Image: Inci Bowman, iccrimea.org) 

2015/06/19 • Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Russia

Historians, including Russian ones, have pointed out that Vladimir Putin’s claims that Crimea has been Russian from time immemorial are simply wrong, but nonetheless, many Russians and some in the West remain inclined to believe the Kremlin leader or at least not to challenge his latest fantasy.

But perhaps such people will be convinced by the findings of genographic science which shows that the Crimean Tatars are not some arrivistes from the East but carry the genes of people from the West as well and, given their genetic makeup, they are truly the indigenous people of that Ukrainian peninsula.

Inci Bowman, a Crimean Tatar all of whose grandparents were also Crimean Tatars, the executive secretary of the International Committee for Crimea and formerly a historian of medicine at the University of Texas at Galveston, recently had herself tested to determine her DNA ancestry.

She has now posted the results on the ICC portal. They are instructive and underscore why Putin and his supporters are wrong and why the Crimean Tatars have the right to view themselves as the true indigenous people of that land who have nowhere else to go.

After describing her ancestors and her experience using the DNA Ancestry Kit Geno 2.0, Dr. Bowman reports that its findings show that she as a Crimean Tatar has the following genetic background: 28 percent from Northern Asian peoples, 22 percent from Northern European ones, 20 percent from Southwest Asian and Mediterranean ones each, seven percent from Southeast Asians, and two percent from Native Americans.

She writes that this means that she is “37 percent Asian, 42 percent European, and 20 percent Middle East” and notes that “perhaps the most surprising is the two percent Native American genes” that she carries. “This does not mean,” she continues, that her “ancestors married Native Americans.” Instead, it indicates that “some of [her] very distant ancestors were among those who migrated to the North American continent about 20,000 years ago.”

“The above DNA test results, Dr. Bowman continues, “reaffirm what we have known from history: that Crimean Tatars are descendants of the various peoples who settled and lived in Crimea for centuries. The Crimean Tatars, indigenous people of Crimea, did not just come from the East, as many are inclined to think. Rather, they are the descendants of the people who moved to Crimea from different directions: Scythians, Goths, Byzantine Greeks, Genovese, and Turkic groups such as Khazars, Kipchaks, Tatars and Ottoman Turks.

“No doubt,” she continues, “there are thousands of Crimean Tatars living in Crimea today who have a similar genetic makeup to [hers]. Some may have more Asian genes or more European genes perhaps. To those ultranationalist Russians who say to Crimean Tatars “Go back to where you came from,” one may respond: “Where should they go? They have nowhere to go but Crimea.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • puttypants

    Anyone who reads enough history knows the Crimean tartars originated there. I simply can believe how Russia has been able to get away with all their historical lies all these centuries. It’s so wrong. I hope historians will start investigating instead of taking Russia’s word for everything. What amazing me is that everyone knows they’re liars but still turns a blind eye to their lies.

    • Dean Venture

      Any historian taking the Kremlin’s line on history, whether it regard World War II, or Russia in Crimea, would be on the fringe in North America. I suspect the same would go for most of Europe as well.

      And to be fair, we always knew Pravda was full of crap during the cold war. I suspect anyone over forty looks at the hot air coming out of Russia with a lot of suspicion. Russia’s lies are so easy to expose, that people under forty will slowly come to adopt a similar posture.

      Their pundits have already turned against Moscow:

  • george_masni

    I strongly agree with the idea that Crimean Tatars are Crimea’s indigenous people. History records their presence in Crimea for many centuries and that makes their claims for being indigenous to Crimea much stronger than that of the Russian population.

    The Crimean Tatar DNA results are interesting but I simply don’t see how they have much bearing on this matter. The tests only show that people are a mixture of their ancestors genetic past. They do not directly show who has lived where or for how long.