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Eftihia Voutira

This article discusses the post–Cold War repatriation to the Black Sea of people deported to Central Asia after World War II, Crimean Tatars and Pontic Greeks. It reflects on their novel ethnic and religious identifications, not available to them before their exile. Religious labeling is now used by officials as a criterion for allocating people to places, and by people as expressions of loyalty and belonging. Politically, such labeling is used for negotiating appropriate sites for resettlement schemes for the two groups in the region. The Crimean Tatar strategy is to argue in favor of “indigenous group” status, while the Pontic Greeks opt for dual commitment between repatriation to their “kin state” (Greece) and their pre-WWII places of residence in the Crimea. The comparison of the dilemmas faced by the two communities upon repatriation elucidates the role of the Black Sea region in the pragmatics of “returning home” and people's sentiments of belonging.