Where Is The Crimean Peninsula?

The mountainous landscape of the Crimean Peninsula.

Crimea is a peninsula in Eastern Europe, surrounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Crimea is situated in the southern region of Kherson, Ukraine, and the western part of Kuban, Russia. The Isthmus of Perekop links Crimea to Kherson Oblast, and the Strait of Kerch separates the Kuban from the Peninsula. Syvash is a large, shallow and salty system of lagoons that is separated by a narrow strip of land known as the Arabat Spit situated in the northeastern part of Crimea.

History Of Crimea

Before the region was known as Crimea, the Peninsula was known as Taurica and was occupied the Greek and Roman Empires at some point. Other occupants of the region included the Gothic tribes, Byzantium Empire, the Kievan Rus state, the Khazars, the Golden Horde, Bulgar, Huns, and the Kipchaks. However, from the mid-1400s the region existed as the Crimean Khanate which was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. During the medieval history of Crimea until the late 18th century, the region became a center for slave trade. Mostly, the Slavs were sold off to the Byzantium and other places in the Middle East and Anatolia. The Crimea Khanate was declared independent in 1774 under the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, but was later annexed by Russia in 1783.

The Transfer Of Crimea

The Crimean territory was part of Russia until February 19, 1954, when the Presidium of USSR's Supreme Soviet issued a decree on the transfer of the region from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). According to the decree, the transfer was instigated due to cultural and economic relations, the proximity and the commonality of the economy of Crimea to Ukrainian SSR. In the years that followed, the region flourished as a tourist destination with new sanatoriums and attractions for tourists. Visitors to the region came from all over the Soviet Union and its neighboring countries especially the German Democratic. Over time Crimea developed into a major tourist destination particularly for cruises originating from Turkey and Greece. The manufacturing sector and infrastructure of Crimea also developed mostly around the Sevastopol and Kerch sea ports. By 1989, the populations of Russians and Ukrainians living in Crimea had doubled.

Crimea As An Autonomous Republic Within Ukraine

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was established as Ukraine's constituent entity. The Crimean legislature declared conditional independence on May 5th, 1992. However, due to opposition from Kiev, there was never a referendum to confirm the decision.

The 2014 Annexation Of Crimea By The Russian Federation

Following the flight of Viktor Yanukovych the Ukrainian President from Kiev on February 1st, 2014 after the Ukrainian revolution, the Kremlin became interested in apportioning the Peninsula for Russia. In a matter of days, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea together with Sevastopol were taken over by unmarked Russian forces and local militia. After a controversial referendum, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed a treaty of annexation with the self-declared Republic of Crimea. The region was then incorporated into the Russian Federation as two federal subjects which were the federal city of Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea.

The Crimea Peninsula Today

Since Russia established control over Crimea in 2014, the region has been administered as part of the Russian Federation while the northern regions of the Arabat Spit and the Syvash are still under the control of Ukraine. In April 2015, a new revised Constitution from the Russian Federation was released to the region, and in June the Russian ruble became the only form of legal tender. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, announced the full integration of Crimea into Russia in July 2015. Despite Russia having control over the Crimean Peninsula, the international community together with Ukraine considers Crimea's annexation illegal thus its sovereignty is still disputed.


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