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Autonomous Republic of Crimea

Autonomous Republic of Crimea
  • Автономна Республіка Крим
  • Автономная Республика Крым
  • Qırım Muhtar Cumhuriyeti
Flag Coat of arms
"Процветание в единстве" (Russian)
Protsvetaniye v yedinstve  (transliteration)
Prosperity in Unity
"Нивы и горы твои волшебны, Родина" (Russian)
Nivy i gory tvoi volshebny, Rodina  (transliteration)
Your fields and mountains are magical, Motherland
Location of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (red) with respect to Ukraine (white).
Location of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (red) with respect to Ukraine (white).
Location of the  Autonomous Republic of Crimea  (light yellow)

in the Crimean Peninsula

Status Exile
Capital Simferopola
Official languages Ukrainian
Recognized regional languages Russian, Crimean Tatarb
Ethnic groups (2001)
Government Autonomous republic
 -  Nataliya Popovych[1]
Legislature Supreme Council
 -  Autonomy 12 February 1991 
 -  Constitution 21 October 1998 
 -  Total 26,100 km2 (148th)
10,038 sq mi
 -  2014 estimate 1,966,801
 -  2001 census 2,033,700
 -  Density 75.6/km2 (116th)
196.6/sq mi
Calling code +380e
ISO 3166 code UA-43
Internet TLD .crimea.uad
a. Ukraine has not formed a government-in-exile for Crimea. On May 17, 2014, the Crimean Presidential Representative moved to Kherson, which is the only existing authority for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.[2]
b. Because Ukrainian is the only state language in Ukraine, no other language may be official, although according to the Constitution of Crimea, Russian is the language of inter-ethnic communication. However, government duties are fulfilled mainly in Russian, hence it is a de facto official language. Crimean Tatar is also used.
c. The Crimean Oblast's autonomy was restored when it became the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within the newly independent Ukraine.
d. Not officially assigned.
e. +380 65 for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, +380 692 for the administratively separate City of Sevastopol.
Collage of Crimean culture
A view of the Bay of Sevastopol

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukrainian: Автономна Республіка Крим, Avtonomna Respublika Krym; Russian: Автономная Республика Крым, Avtonomnaya Respublika Krym; Crimean Tatar: Qırım Muhtar Cumhuriyeti)[3] is a de jure autonomous republic of Ukraine covering most of the Crimean Peninsula, although the Russian Federation administers the territory as a federal subject, the Republic of Crimea, since March 2014. It is subject to a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia, with most foreign governments recognising it as Ukrainian territory. It has a population of 1,965,177 (2013 est.)[4].

The Crimean Peninsula has been outside the control of Ukrainian authorities since late February 2014, when Russian Armed Forces and pro-Russian separatists occupied the region. In March 2014, a popular referendum in support of reunification with Russia (see annexation to Russia) was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, although the vote was disavowed by Ukraine and did not enjoy widespread international recognition. Within days, Russia absorbed the peninsula. Russia and six other UN member states recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation; Ukraine continues to claim Crimea as an integral part of its territory, supported by most foreign governments.[5]

Under Ukrainian law, Crimea is considered an autonomous parliamentary republic within Ukraine,[6] which is governed by the Constitution of Crimea in accordance with the laws of Ukraine. The capital of the autonomous republic is the city of Simferopol, located in the center of the peninsula. The city of Sevastopol is a separate administrative unit and is considered a city with special status, like the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev.


  • History 1
    • From Soviet Russia to Soviet Ukraine 1.1
    • An Independent Ukraine 1.2
    • Events of 2014 1.3
  • Politics and government 2
    • Administrative divisions 2.1
    • Foreign and intergovernmental relations 2.2
  • Demographics 3
  • Sports 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


From Soviet Russia to Soviet Ukraine

See also 1954 Transfer of Crimea

Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet "About the transfer of the Crimean Oblast"

On 19 February 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union issued a decree transferring the Crimean Oblast from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.[7][8] The transfer of the Crimean Oblast to Ukraine has been described as a "symbolic gesture," marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Russian Empire.[9][10] The General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union at the time was Nikita Khrushchev, who was born and raised in the border region of Eastern Ukraine/Western Russia and married a Ukrainian.[10]

In the post-war years, Crimea thrived as a prime tourist destination, built up with new attractions and spas for tourists. Tourists came from all over the Soviet Union and neighbouring countries.[11] Crimea's infrastructure and manufacturing was also developed, particularly around the seaports at Kerch and Sevastopol and in the oblast's landlocked capital of Simferopol.

Following a referendum on 20 January 1991, the Crimean Oblast was upgraded an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on 12 February 1991 by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR.[12]

An Independent Ukraine

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Crimea became part of the newly independent Ukraine, which led to tensions between Russia and Ukraine.[nb 1] With the Black Sea Fleet based on the peninsula, worries of armed skirmishes were occasionally raised. Crimean Tatars began returning from exile and resettling in Crimea.

On 26 February 1992, the Verkhovniy Sovet (the Crimean parliament) renamed the ASSR the Republic of Crimea and proclaimed self-government on 5 May 1992[14][15] (which was yet to be approved by a referendum held 2 August 1992[16]) and passed the first Crimean constitution the same day.[16] On 6 May 1992 the same parliament inserted a new sentence into this constitution that declared that Crimea was part of Ukraine.[16]

On 19 May, Crimea agreed to remain part of Ukraine and annulled its proclamation of self-government but Crimean Communists forced the Ukrainian government to expand on the already extensive autonomous status of Crimea.[17]:587 In the same period, Russian president Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk agreed to divide the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet between Russia and the newly formed Ukrainian Navy.[18]

On 14 October 1993, the Crimean parliament established the post of President of Crimea and agreed on a quota of Crimean Tatars represented in the Council of 14. However, political turmoil continued. Amendments to the constitution eased the conflict, but on 17 March 1995, the parliament of Ukraine intervened, scrapping the Crimean Constitution and removing Yuriy Meshkov (the President of Crimea) along with his office for his actions against the state and promoting integration with Russia.[19] After an interim constitution, the current constitution was put into effect, changing the territory's name to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Swallow's Nest, built in 1912 for oil millionaire Baron von Steingel, a landmark of Crimea

Following the ratification of the May 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership on friendship and division of the Black Sea Fleet, international tensions slowly eased. However, in 2006, anti-NATO protests broke out on the peninsula.[20] In September 2008, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko accused Russia of giving out Russian passports to the population in the Crimea and described it as a "real problem" given Russia's declared policy of military intervention abroad to protect Russian citizens.[21]

On 24 August 2009, anti-Ukrainian demonstrations were held in Crimea by ethnic Russian residents. Sergei Tsekov (of the Russian Bloc[22] and then deputy speaker of the Crimean parliament[23]) said then that he hoped that Russia would treat the Crimea the same way as it had treated South Ossetia and Abkhazia.[24] Chaos in the Ukrainian parliament erupted during a debate over the extension of the lease on a Russian naval base on 27 April 2010 after Ukraine's parliament ratified the treaty that extends Russia's lease on naval moorings and shore installations in port of Sevastopol and other locations in Crimea until 2042 with optional five-year renewals. Along with Verkhovna Rada, the treaty was ratified by the Russian State Duma as well.[25]

Events of 2014

Geopolitics of the Crimean autonomous Republic, March 2014.

On 26 February 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, thousands of pro-Russian and pro-Ukraine protesters clashed in front of the parliament building in Simferopol. The pretext of the clash was the abolition, on 23 February 2014, of the law on languages of minorities, including Russian.[26] This decision, that would make Ukrainian the sole state language, has not been upheld by interim Ukraine president Turchynov.[27][28]

The demonstrations followed the ousting of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych on 22 February 2014, and a push by pro-Russian protesters for Crimea to secede from Ukraine and seek assistance from Russia.[29]

On 28 February 2014, Russian forces occupied airports and other strategic locations in Crimea.[30] The interim Government of Ukraine described the events as an invasion and occupation of Crimea by Russian forces.[31][32] Gunmen, either armed militants or Russian special forces, occupied the Crimean parliament. Under armed guard and with the doors locked, members of parliament apparently elected Sergey Aksyonov as the new Crimean Prime Minister. De facto Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said he asserted sole control over Crimea's security forces and appealed to Russia "for assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness" on the peninsula. The central Ukrainian government did not recognize the Aksyonov administration and considers it illegal.[33][34] Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich sent a letter to Putin asking him to use military force in Ukraine to restore law and order.[35] The Russian foreign ministry stated that "movement of the Black Sea Fleet armored vehicles in Crimea (...) happens in full accordance with basic Russian-Ukrainian agreements on the Black Sea Fleet".[36]

On 1 March, the Russian parliament granted President Vladimir Putin the authority to use military force in Ukraine.[37] The move was condemned by many Western and Western-aligned nations. On the same day, the acting president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov decried the appointment of the Prime Minister of Crimea as unconstitutional.[38] Russia established de facto control of the territory.

On 3 March, Ukrainian defense sources were reported to have said that the head of Russia's Black Sea Fleet gave Ukraine a deadline of dawn on the 4th to surrender their control of the Crimea, or face an assault by Russian troops occupying the area.[39] However, Interfax news agency later quoted a fleet spokesman who denied that any ultimatum had been issued.[39] Nothing came to pass at the deadline.

On 4 March, several Ukrainian bases and navy ships in Crimea reported being intimidated by Russian forces but vowed non-violence. Ukrainian warships were also effectively blockaded in their port of Sevastopol.[40][41]

On 6 March, members of the Crimean Parliament asked the Russian government for the region to become a subject of the Russian Federation with a referendum on the issue set for the Crimean region for March 16. The Ukrainian central government, the European Union, and the US all disputed the legitimacy of the request and referendum. Article 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine states: "Alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by an All-Ukrainian referendum."[42] International monitors arrived in Ukraine to assess the situation in Crimea but were halted by armed militants at the Crimean border.[43][44] Russian forces scuttled a Russian Kara-class Cruiser Ochakov across the entrance channel to Donuzlav Lake on the west coast of Crimea to blockade Ukrainian navy ships in their port.[45][46]

On 7 March, Russian forces scuttled a second ship, a diving support vessel, to further block the naval port at Donuzlav Lake.[46]

The Crimean parliament released the Ballot Questions for the 16 March referendum. The referendum questions were:

  1. "Do you support rejoining Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?"
  2. "Do you support restoration of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Crimea and Crimea's status as a part of Ukraine?"

Only ballot papers with exactly one positive response were considered valid. There was no option on the 16 March ballot to maintain the status quo. Ukrainian outlets considered the questions as equivalent to "join Russia immediately or declare independence and then join Russia."[47][48] The current Crimean constitution came into effect in 1999 and Article 135 of the Ukrainian constitution provides that the Crimean Constitution must be approved by the Ukrainian parliament. Turnout for the referendum was 83%, and the overwhelming majority of those who voted (95.5%)[49] supported the option of rejoining Russia. However, a "huge number of people in the minority population - the Tatars and Ukrainians - abstained from the vote", making it "difficult to tell if the figures added up".[50]

On 18 March, the Kremlin claimed that Crimea had become part of the Russian Federation.[51] Vladimir Putin signed a law formalising Russia's annexation of Crimea on 21 March,[52] Crimea's flag was added to the flags of the Russian regions in the Russian Parliament on 24 March.[53] On 29 March, the clocks in Crimea were moved forward to Moscow time.[54] Ukraine's government stated "it is a robbery on an international scale".[49][55] On June 1, 2014 Crimea officially switched over to the Russian ruble as its only form of legal tender.[56][57]

Politics and government

The Massandra Palace near Yalta is one of the official residences of Ukraine
Vladimir Putin with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on board the Black Sea Fleet's flagship, July 2001

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is technically an autonomous republic within the unitary state of Ukraine, with the Presidential Representative serving as a governor and replacing once established post of president. The legislative body is a 100-seat parliament, the Supreme Council of Crimea.[58]

The executive power is represented by the Council of Ministers, headed by a Chairman who is appointed and dismissed by the Verkhovna Rada, with the consent of the President of Ukraine.[59][60] The authority and operation of the Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers of Crimea are determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and other the laws of Ukraine, as well as by regular decisions carried out by the Supreme Council of Crimea.[60]

Justice is administered by courts, as part of the judicial system of Ukraine.[60]

While not an official body controlling Crimea, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is a representative body of the Crimean Tatars, which could address grievances to the Ukrainian central government, the Crimean government, and international bodies.[61]

During the 2004 presidential elections, Crimea largely voted for the presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych. In both the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections and the 2007 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, the Yanukovych-led Party of Regions also won most of the votes from the region, as they did in the 2010 Crimean parliamentary election.[62]

Administrative divisions

Crimea (excluding Sevastopol) is subdivided into 25 administrative areas: 14 raions (districts) and 11 mis'kradas and mistos (city municipalities), officially known as territories governed by city councils.[63] While the City of Sevastopol is located on the Crimean peninsula, it is administratively separate from the rest of Crimea and is one of two special municipalities of Ukraine. Sevastopol, while having a separate administration, is tightly integrated within the infrastructure of the whole peninsula.

1. Bakhchysarai Raion
2. Bilohirsk Raion
3. Dzhankoy Raion
4. Kirovske Raion
5. Krasnohvardiiske Raion
6. Krasnoperekopsk Raion
7. Lenine Raion
8. Nizhnyohirskyi Raion
9. Pervomayske Raion
10. Rozdolne Raion
11. Saky Raion
12. Simferopol Raion
13. Sovetskyi Raion
14. Chornomorske Raion
City municipalities
15. Alushta municipality
16. Armyansk municipality
17. Dzhankoy municipality
18. Yevpatoria municipality
19. Kerch municipality
20. Krasnoperekopsk municipality
21. Saki municipality
22. Simferopol municipality
23. Sudak municipality
24. Feodosia municipality
25. Yalta municipality
Subdivisions of Crimea
Map of Crimea with major cities

The largest city is Simferopol with major centers of urban development including Kerch (heavy industry and fishing center), Dzhankoy (transportation hub), Yalta (holiday resort) and others.

Foreign and intergovernmental relations

Crimea is subject to the Constitution of Ukraine. At the local level it has its own constitution.

On 18 February 2009 the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea sent a letter to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the President of Ukraine, in which it stated that it deemed it inexpedient to open a representative office of the United States in Crimea, and urged the Ukrainian leadership to give up this idea. The letter had passed in the Crimean parliament by a 77 to 9 roll-call vote with one abstention.[64] The letter was also sent to the Chairman of the UN General Assembly.


Map of Ukraine by language in the 2001 census, with Russian (in red) dominant in Crimea.

According to the 2001 Ukrainian census, the population of Crimea was 2,033,700.[65] As of 2013, however, the population decreased to 1,965,177.

Ethnic makeup comprised the following self-reported groups: Russians: 58.5%; Ukrainians: 24.4%; Crimean Tatars: 12.1%; Belarusians: 1.5%; Tatars: 0.5%; Armenians: 0.4%; Jews: 0.2% and others.[66][67]


Crimean boxer Oleksandr Usyk.

Crimea has figured prominently in Ukrainian sports, especially the most popular: association football. The most successful Crimean football club was Tavriya Simferopol who won the inaugural Ukrainian Premier League title in 1992. FC Sevastopol competed in the top division until the end of the 2013-14 season, before ceasing to exist due to the 2014 Crimea crisis. In the Ukrainian First League, Crimea had been represented by clubs such as FC Feniks-Illichovets Kalinine, FC Krymteplitsia Molodizhne (from Simferopol suburbs) and FC Tytan Armyansk.

Crimea has a rink bandy tournament Crimea Open.[69]

See also


  1. ^ In a summer 2013 poll by VTSIOM where respondents in Russia were asked what they consider Russian territory 56% claimed that Crimea was part of Russia.[13]


  1. ^ Турчинов назначил постпредом президента в Крыму Наталию Попович - (Russian)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Regions and territories: The Republic of Crimea, BBC News
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ (Ukrainian) Almost 60% of Russians believe, that Crimea - is RussianМайже 60% росіян вважають, що Крим - це Росія , Ukrayinska Pravda (10 September 2013)
  14. ^
  15. ^ Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia 2004, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 1857431871 (page 540)
  16. ^ a b c Russians in the Former Soviet Republics by Pål Kolstø, Indiana University Press, 1995, ISBN 0253329175 (page 194)
  17. ^
  18. ^ Ready To Cast Off, TIME Magazine, June 15, 1992
  19. ^ Laws of Ukraine. Verkhovna Rada law No. 93/95-вр: On the termination of the Constitution and some laws of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Adopted on 1995-03-17. (Ukrainian)
  20. ^ Russia tells Ukraine to stay out of Nato, The Guardian (8 June 2006)
  21. ^ Cheney urges divided Ukraine to unite against Russia 'threat. Associated Press. September 6, 2008.
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^
  25. ^ Update: Ukraine, Russia ratify Black Sea naval lease, Kyiv Post (April 27, 2010)
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Higgons, Andrew, Grab for Power in Crimea Raises Secession Threat, New York Times, February 28, 2014, page A1; reporting was contributed by David M. Herszenhorn and Andrew E. Kramer from Kiev, Ukraine; Andrew Roth from Moscow; Alan Cowell from London; and Michael R. Gordon from Washington; with a graphic presentation of linguistic divisions of Ukraine and Crimea
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Yanukovich sent letter to Putin asking for Russian military presence in Ukraine
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Турчинов издал указ о незаконности назначения Аксенова премьером Крыма
  39. ^ a b
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ a b
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ The Verkhovna Rada of Crimea should not be confused with the national Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
  59. ^ Crimean parliament to decide on appointment of autonomous republic's premier on Tuesday, Interfax Ukraine (7 November 2011)
  60. ^ a b c
  61. ^
  62. ^ Local government elections in Ukraine: last stage in the Party of Regions’ takeover of power, Centre for Eastern Studies (October 4, 2010)
  63. ^
  64. ^ Crimean parliament votes against opening U.S. diplomatic post, Interfax-Ukraine (18 February 2009)
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ These figures do not include the area and population of the City of Sevastopol. Administratively, Sevastopol is a municipality excluded from the surrounding Autonomous Republic of Crimea
  68. ^
  69. ^
  • Crimea, terra di mille etnie, 1993 di Giuseppe D'Amato in Il Diario del Cambiamento. Urss 1990 – Russia 1993. Greco&Greco editori, Milano, 1998. pp. 247–252. ISBN 88-7980-187-2 (The Diary of the Change. USSR 1990 – Russia 1993) Book in Italian.
  • Crimea, la penisola regalata di Giuseppe D'Amato in L’EuroSogno e i nuovi Muri ad Est. L'Unione europea e la dimensione orientale. Greco&Greco editori, Milano, 2008. pp. 99–107 ISBN 978-88-7980-456-1 (The EuroDream and the new Walls at East. The European Union and the Eastern dimension) Book in Italian.
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

Further reading

  • (German) Stefan Albrecht, Michael Herdick: Ein Spielball der Mächte: Die Krim im Schwarzmeerraum (VI.-XV. Jahrhundert). =A Pawn of the Powers- The Crimea in the Black Sea Region (VI-XV. Century). In: Stefan Albrecht, Falko Daim, Michael Herdick (Hg.): Die Höhensiedlungen im Bergland der Krim. Umwelt, Kulturaustausch und Transformation am Nordrand des Byzantinischen Reiches. RGZM, Mainz 2013, S. 25-56. ISBN 978-3-884-67220-4 (with an Englisch and Russian Summary)
  • (German) Stefan Albrecht, Michael Herdick, Rainer Schreg: Neue Forschungen auf der Krim. Geschichte und Gesellschaft im Bergland der südwestlichen Krim - eine Zusammenfassung. =New Researches on the Crimea. Synthesis: A Hypothetical Model of Competing Neighborhoods. In: Stefan Albrecht, Falko Daim, Michael Herdick (Hg.): Die Höhensiedlungen im Bergland der Krim. Umwelt, Kulturaustausch und Transformation am Nordrand des Byzantinischen Reiches. RGZM, Mainz 2013, S. 471-497. ISBN 978-3-884-67220-4 (with an Englisch and Russian Summary)
  • (Russian) Bazilevich Basil Mitrofanovich. (1914) From the History of Moscow-Crimea Relations in the First Half of the 17th Century (Из истории московско-крымских отношений в первой половине XVII века) at in DjVu and PDF formats
  • (Russian) Bantysh-Kamensky Nikolay. (1893) Register of cases of Crimean court with 1474 to 1779 (Реестр делам крымского двора с 1474 по 1779 год) at in DjVu and PDF formats
  • (Russian) Berg Nikolai. (1858) Sevastopol album by N. Berg (Севастопольский альбом Н. Берга) at in DjVu and PDF formats
  • (Russian) Berezhkov Michael N.Plan for the conquest of the Crimea compiled during the reign of Emperor Alexis of Russia Slav scholar Yuri Krizhanich (План завоевания Крыма составленный в царствование государя Алексея Михайловича ученым славянином Юрием Крижаничем) at in DjVu and PDF formats
  • (Russian) Berezhkov Michael N. (1888) Russian captives and slaves in the Crimea (Русские пленники и невольники в Крыму) at in DjVu and PDF formats
  • (Russian) Bogdanovich Modest I. (1876) Eastern War 1853-1856 (Восточная война 1853-1856 гг.) at in DjVu format
  • (Russian) Dubrovin Nikolai Fedorovich. (1900) History of the Crimean War and the defense of Sevastopol (История Крымской войны и обороны Севастополя) at in DjVu format
  • (Russian) Dubrovin Nikolai Fedorovich. (1885–1889) Joining the Crimea to Russia (Присоединение Крыма к России) at in DjVu format

External links

  •, the official web-site of the Permanent Presidential Representative in the Republic of Crimea (Ukrainian) (Russian)
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