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Crimea Chronology
Publication date: 2022-02-06

Using Chronology to Understand the Crimea Issue

The present arguments about Crimea give us opportunity to illustrate the use of chronology to understand an issue.

So, we produced a chronology table based on the publicly available data for the period of Crimean history from 1441 to 2022:

Crimea Chronology
1441-1783342Crimean KhanateCrimean Khanate    
1783-1917134Russian EmpireRussian Empire84%2%1785
2014-20228Russian FederationRepublic of Crimea    

From the above table we can see that for the last 581 years of the Crimean history Crimea was under the sovereignty of the Crimean Khanate for 342 years (59%), under Russian sovereignty, 216 years (37%), and under Ukrainian sovereignty, 23 years (4%).

We also see that in the years 1954-1991 (37 years) Crimea was administered by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR, with both UkSSR and Crimea being under the USSR sovereignty.

We also see that from 1441 to 1785 (344 years), the majority population of Crimea were Tatars (84% in 1785), with the joint Russian and Ukrainian population of 2%.

But from 1917 to 2022 the majority population of Crimea was Russian (65% in 2014), while the Ukrainian population never exceeded 26% (1970) and in 2014 was 15%.

So, how did Crimea fall under Ukrainian Sovereignty, if it never had a majority Ukrainian population?

In 1954 the USSR government transferred the administration of Crimea from RSFSR to UkSSR, as the land access from RSFSR to Crimea was through Ukraine, and Kiev is closer to Crimea than Moscow, it was more administratively convenient. There was also a political motive to make up to Ukraine for the Holodomor, a 1932 famine caused by Stalin's agricultural policies, which was publicly acknowledged after the death of Stalin in 1953.

But, as both RSFSR and UkSSR were part of the USSR and under its sovereignty, this transfer made little difference for Crimea.

After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, RSFSR became the Russian Federation, and UkSSR became Ukraine, two independent sovereign states, and Crimea fell under the sovereignty of Ukraine. And until 2014 the relations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation were friendly, and the issue of Crimea did not arise.

Following a nationalist "pro-West" regime-change in Ukraine in 2014, the Russian Federation occupied Ukraine, and held a referendum for Crimea to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, and the majority voted to join the Russian Federation.

Given the above history of Crimea, can the Ukrainian government claim that "Crimea is Ukraine"? This slogan was used by Ukrainian politicians shortly before the Russian military exercises at the Ukrainian borders.

Were not the Russian exercises inspired by that slogan?

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