The possibility of another ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority has arisen, this time in Crimea, after the peninsula's annexation to Russia. Only time will tell whether or not the apprehension is justified. However, it's not merely a fad; it's based on specific factors.
As of 2012, there are 500,000 Muslims living in the region, and 300,000 (or about 60%) are Crimean Tatars.
With leftist and rightist analysts coming up with two opposite versions, it's confusing. Pro-U.S. sources claim majority of the Tatars in Crimea boycotted the referendum. They have been disturbed and panicky at the prospect of living under Moscow's rule soon after talks on a referendum began. They have been haunted with fearful centuries-old memories of Russian soldiers and Cossacks coming to Crimea and their notoriously harsh treatment of the Tatars. But various electronic media sources have labelled such claims as fear-mongering. According to their argument, ethnic Russians make up to 60% of Crimea's total population. But the votes in favor of seceding were 96% indicating that all major ethnic groups in Crimea voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine, not just the Tatars but the Ukrainians as well. Then again, there are allegations from pro-U.S. sources that the votes were rigged and the referendum was conducted under Russian military presence in Crimea. But pro-Moscow channels reject the story based on the reports of 135 international observers from 23 countries who were supposedly satisfied with the voting process without witnessing any irregularities.