Crimea: 8 Things Everyone Should Know

CrimeaCrimea, recently, is at the focus of what’s being seen as the main crisis between the West and Russia since the Cold War, but many people don’t know much about Crimea. Here are eight essential things everyone should know about the peninsula of Crimea.

Where is Crimea Located?

The Crimean peninsula, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, is in the southeastern region of Ukraine. There are three main cities in Crimea, which are Simferopol, Kerch and Sevastopol. Simferopol is Crimea’s capital, located in the center of the peninsula.

History

Russia gradually took over Crimea along with most of the ethnic Ukrainian territory in the eighteenth century. In the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856, half a million people were killed between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, which was supported by France and Britain. The conflict led Europe to World War I.

Crimea, then mostly populated by Muslim Tatars, became part of the Soviet Union in 1921. Joseph Stalin, the then Soviet leader, deported the Tatars near the end of World War II for alleged cooperation with the Nazis. Crimea became Russia’s part within the USSR until 1954 when it was handed to Ukraine by Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev.

Geography

By a narrow strip of land in the north, the mountainous peninsula is attached to the rest of Ukraine. To the east, it is separated from Russia by the narrow Kerch Strait. Crimea has an area of 26,200 square kilometer. It is Ukraine’s only formally autonomous region. Sevastopol has a separate status within Ukraine.

Population

Crimea has around two million people. According to a 2001 census report of Ukraine, about 58% were ethnic Russian, 24% ethnic Ukrainian and 12% Tatars.

Economy

Because of Crimea’s moderate weather, it is a common holiday destination for many Russians and Ukrainians. Tourism and agriculture are Crimea’s main branches of economy. The most important industries in Crimea include food production, chemical fields, mechanical engineering, metal working and fuel production industries. Food production makes up 60% of the industry market. Corn, sunflowers and wheat are the main crops.

Government

One of the interesting things everyone should know about Crimea is the structure of its government. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is operated by its own parliament and constitution. When the USSR broke up, Crimea’s Supreme Council voted to form the independent Republic of Crimea. A different Crimean constitution was approved in the year 1998, which agreed that Crimea would run as an autonomous republic.

The reason Russia wants Crimea

Russia has at all times regarded Crimea to be its portion. It was Russia’s part for two centuries until Nikita Krushchev presented the territory in 1954 to what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1991, when Ukraine declared independence, Crimea became part of Ukraine in spite of its large Russian population.

What’s happening in Crimea?

This is the arguably the most important of the eight things everyone should know and what people around the world are talking about relating to Crimea now. The opposition group of Ukraine removed President Viktor Yanukovych’s government. A short-term government is now in control. Russian forces are capturing Crimea, and have been in a stalemate along with Ukraine’s militaries. Russia said that the presence of its forces is in Ukraine in part to save Russian-speakers’ human rights, saying they are badly treated by the interim government. The parliament of Crimea agreed to make Crimea Russia’s part. The decision would be settled in a referendum planned for March 16. The Ukrainian government has said that this ruling is illegal.

By Rahad Abir

Sources:

Reuters

New Republic

The Independent UK

 

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