About Crimea

– Upon Ukrainian independence in 1991, all oblasts voted on whether or not to join independent Ukraine. Crimean voters favored the measure, but had by far the lowest support — 54%. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_independence_referendum,_1991

– The “Autonomous Republic of Crimea” has a greater autonomy than other Ukrainian oblasts. http://www.president.gov.ua/en/content/chapter10.html

– Sevastopol contains a military base for the Russian Navy. A controversial 1997 agreement leased it to the Russian government for 20 years: http://www.diploweb.com/Russia-s-Black-Sea-fleet-in.html

– During the protests, the state-controlled Russian media pulled the plug mid-sentence on a Russian politician from Crimea when he began talking about the corruption of the Yanukovych government and property seizures in Crimea. http://romaninukraine.com/russian-media-unplugs-crimean-politician-when-begins-telling-the-truth/

– There was a large Russian rally in Sevastopol that included the burning of a Ukrainian flag. http://romaninukraine.com/russian-rally-ukie-flag-burning-in-sevastopol/

– Crimea used to be a Khanate. The Ukrainian equivalent of “cowboys and indians” is “kozaks and tartars”.

– The native population of Tartars was deported in 1944 by Stalin. I’ve heard much more severe statistics about numbers of deported and their death rate than the ones in this wikipedia article. Nevertheless: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deportation_of_the_Crimean_Tatars Most historians agree Stalin deported the Crimean Tartars because they insufficiently resisted the Nazis during Nazi occupation.

– “California in the Crimea” was being advertised in the US as a homeland for the Jews in 1943 and 1944. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigory_Kheifets

Intentions to form a Jewish republic actually existed, based on a letter addressed to Stalin from the Jewish Antifascist Committee. Part of the letter, published for the first time in 1993, stated:

“The creation of a Jewish Soviet republic will once and forever, in a Bolshevik manner, within the spirit of Leninist-Stalinist national policy, settle the problem of the state legal position of the Jewish people and further development of their multicentury culture. This is a problem that no one has been capable of settling in the course of many centuries. It can be solved only in our great socialist country.”

The letter, whose existence is officially admitted in the journals of the Communist party, is still not declassified. Kheifetz said the letter was a proposal with details for a plan to make the Crimean Socialist Republic a homeland for Jewish people from all over the world.

This document fuels a conspiracy theory about an alternative motive for the deportation of the Tartars.

– Today, there was a confrontation between pro-Russian activists and pro-Ukrainian activists near the Crimean Rada. Tartars shouted “glory to Ukraine” and “Alah Ackbar”. Most Tartars fear Moscow much more than Kyiv. They are 12% of the population.

– Should have added this one: In return for giving up its nuclear weapons, Ukraine, the United States of America, Russia, and the United Kingdom signed the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, pledging to respect Ukraine territorial integrity.

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The solution to Crimean tensions is so simple that it hurts: local autonomy.

3 Comments

  1. Leo

    Really good post about Crimea. You are correct that 54% of Crimeans voted for independence of Ukraine in 1991. It was the lowest public support among all provinces. But do you know that in 1991 Crimean Tatars have not yet returned to Crimea in large numbers.

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  2. Leo

    Btw, you should write about Ukraine for NYT or something like that. You live there and you actually understand the situation. I would love to hear your voice in press. I just read NYT piece where they said that Yanukovych would be executed if he were captured in Ukraine. What happened to fact-checking? Ukraine does not have a capital punishment. Or another cliche- East/West. Ukraine remained mainly rural country up to the 1930s. Cities were always microcosms of Polonization in Western Ukraine and microcosms of Russification in Eastern Ukraine. Even Jews represented larger share of urban dwellers than Ukrainians. And another cliche – UPA-OUN=Bandera=fascists.

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