The Case For Crimea (Peninsula
By Matthew Clark
The facts for this article were garnered from Britannica and the 2014 Russian census
In 1783, after a series of wars between the Ottoman Empire, and Russia, which lasted well over a century, Catherine the Great, Tsarina of Russia, annexed the Crimean Peninsula. Politically the Crimea, with all the inhabitants of the Peninsula, was placed under Russian control.
Except for a very brief period of independence after the Russian revolution(s) of 1917, Crimea would spend the next 174 years as part of Russia.
In 1954 Nikita Khrushchev, in an (successful) attempt to get the support of Ukraine's communist party, so he could secure the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thus leader of the nation, transferred political control of Crimea to Ukraine. The people of Crimea, a majority of whom were Russian speaking, and of Russian ethnic descent, had no say in the matter.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) the Russians, and Ukrainians, negotiated a treaty to keep the political situation in Crimea stable. Under the agreement Ukraine would continue to to exercise political control of the Peninsula in return for giving up the nuclear missiles left on her soil from the Soviet era. The two countries would split up the Soviet Black Sea fleet, and the port of Sevastopol. In 1997 the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Partnership, was signed, agreeing that Crimea would remain in Ukraine hands, while Russia was granted an extended lease on the port of Sevastopol. In 2010 the local (provincial) government of Crimea extended the lease of Sevastopol port to the Russians still further, till the year 2042.
When the 2014 coup against the elected government of Ukraine occurred, the Crimean parliament voted unanimously to secede from Ukraine, and join the nation of Russia. A referendum on the situation was held on the Peninsula March 16, 2014. Boycotted by ethnic Crimean's, and Ukrainians, 97% of voters chose to approve parliaments motion to join Russia. On March 18, 2014 President Putin of Russia signed a treaty incorporating Crimea into Russia.
A census was held in Crimea in 2014. It found 84% of the population was Russian, 7.9% Crimean Tartar, 3.7% Crimean, 3.3% Ukrainian. This differs from the 2001 Ukrainian census of the peninsula whose results were that 77% of Crimean inhabitants were Russian, with 10% being Ukrainians.
In summation it appears 2 events lead to the political destabilization of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Khrushchev's unilateral transfer of the peninsula to Ukraine control, strictly for personnel political gain, set up the circumstance for future political crisis. Secondly the 2014 coup in Kiev, or Orange Colour Revolution as Westerners refer to it, caused Ethnic Russians in Crimea to question the contemporary Ukrainian governments legitimacy. Quickly ethnic Russians in Crimea decided that the Ukraine national state could not be relied upon to protect their interests, if an elected parliament could be overthrown by such coercive measures. From there the mobilization of the Crimean Peninsula into Russia was a rapid affair.
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