Autonomous Republic of Crimea
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukrainian: Автономна Республіка Крим, Avtonomna Respublika Krym; Russian: Автономная Республика Крым, Avtonomnaya Respublika Krym; Crimean Tatar: Qırım Muhtar Cumhuriyeti, Къырым Мухтар Джумхуриети, Ҡырым Мухтар Җумхуриети), an autonomous republic of Ukraine encompassing most of Crimea, was annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014.
Autonomous Republic of Crimea
"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)
in Ukraine (light yellow)
Location of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (light yellow)
in the Crimean Peninsula
and largest city
|Recognized regional languages||Russian, Crimean Tatar|
|Ethnic groups |
|12 February 1991|
|18 February 2014|
|26,100 km2 (10,100 sq mi)|
• 2001 census
|77.9/km2 (201.8/sq mi) (116th)|
|ISO 3166 code||UA-43|
Crimea was previously under Russian control from 1783 until 1954 (punctuated by short periods during political upheavals and wars), when it was transferred, within the USSR, to the Ukrainian SSR. Later, following a referendum on 20 January 1991, it was upgraded to the status of an autonomous republic within the Ukrainian SSR. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Ukraine became an independent country, Crimea remained part of the newly independent Ukraine. However, in March 2014, following the Ukrainian revolution that ousted the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, pro-Russian separatists and Russian Armed Forces took over the territory. A controversial Crimea-wide referendum, unconstitutional under the Ukrainian and Crimean constitutions, was held on the issue of reunification with Russia which official results indicated was supported by a large majority of Crimeans. Crimea was then annexed by Russia to incorporate the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol as federal subjects of Russia.
While Russia and ten 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 and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262.
Crimea first came under Russian control in 1783 when the Crimean Khanate was annexed by the Russian Empire and this was formally recognised in 1792 when the peninsula was ceded to Russia by the Ottoman Empire under the Treaty of Jassy. Russian rule in Crimea spanned a period of 171 years, punctuated by short periods during political upheavals and wars, which ended on 19 February 1954 when the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued a decree that transferred the Crimean Oblast from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, within the Soviet Union. The reason for the transfer, as stated in the decree, was "the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR.":
Following a referendum on 20 January 1991 in which over 94% backed the proposal, the Crimean Oblast was upgraded to the status of an autonomous republic on 12 February 1991 by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR. When the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became an independent country, Crimea remained a republic within the newly independent Ukraine leading to tensions between Russia and Ukraine as the Black Sea Fleet was based on the peninsula.
On 26 February 1992, the Crimean parliament renamed the ASSR the Republic of Crimea and proclaimed self-government on 5 May 1992 (which was yet to be approved by a referendum that was planned for August 1992, but postponed and never conducted) and passed the first Crimean constitution the same day. On 6 May 1992 the same parliament inserted a new sentence into this constitution that declared that Crimea was part of Ukraine. On 19 May, Crimea annulled its proclamation of self-government, but Crimean Communists forced the Ukrainian government to expand on the already extensive autonomous status of Crimea.:587 Then 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.
On 17 March 1995, the parliament of Ukraine abolished the Crimean Constitution of 1992, all the laws and decrees contradicting those of Kiev – including laws that guaranteed representation for the Crimean Tartars and other ethnic groups – and removed Yuriy Meshkov (the President of Crimea) as well as the office of The President of Crimea. After an interim constitution, the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was put into effect, changing the territory's name to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Following the ratification of the May 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine, in which Russia recognized Ukraine's borders and sovereignty over Crimea, international tensions slowly eased. However, in 2006, anti-NATO protests broke out on the peninsula. In September 2008, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko accused Russia of giving out Russian passports to the population in Crimea and described it as a "real problem" given Russia's declared policy of military intervention abroad to protect Russian citizens.
On 24 August 2009, anti-Ukrainian demonstrations were held in Crimea by ethnic Russian residents. Sergei Tsekov (of the Russian Bloc and then deputy speaker of the Crimean parliament) said then that he hoped that Russia would treat Crimea the same way as it had treated South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty extended Russia's lease on naval facilities in Crimea until 2042, with optional five-year renewals.
Crimea voted strongly for the pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during the presidential elections of 2004 and 2010 and also for his Party of Regions in Ukrainian (2006, 2007 and 2012) and Crimean (2006 and 2010) parliamentary elections, and his ousting on 22 February 2014 during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution was followed by a push by pro-Russian protesters for Crimea to secede from Ukraine and seek assistance from Russia. Four days later, thousands of pro-Russian and pro-Ukraine protesters clashed in front of the parliament building in Simferopol.
On 28 February 2014, Russian forces occupied airports and other strategic locations in Crimea though 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". Gunmen, either armed militants or Russian special forces, occupied the Crimean parliament and, under armed guard with doors locked, members of parliament reportedly elected Sergey Aksyonov as the new Crimean Prime Minister. The de facto Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said that he asserted sole control over Crimea's security forces and appealed to Russia "for assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness" on the peninsula. The interim Government of Ukraine described events as an invasion and occupation and did not recognize the Aksyonov administration as legal. Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich sent a letter to Putin asking him to use military force in Ukraine to restore law and order.
The Russian parliament, on 1 March, granted President Vladimir Putin the authority to use military force in Ukraine: three days later several Ukrainian bases and navy ships in Crimea reported being intimidated by Russian forces and Ukrainian warships were also effectively blockaded in Sevastopol.
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 16 March. The Ukrainian government, the European Union, and the US all challenged the legitimacy of the request and of the proposed referendum as Article 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine states: "Alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by an All-Ukrainian referendum." International monitors arrived in Ukraine to assess the situation in Crimea but were halted by armed militants at the Crimean border.
The 16 March referendum required voters to choice between "Do you support rejoining Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?" and "Do you support restoration of the 1992 Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Crimea's status as a part of Ukraine?" There was no option on the ballot to maintain the status quo which some Ukrainian outlets criticised. However, support for the second question would have restored the Republic's autonomous status within Ukraine. The official turnout for the referendum was 83%, and the overwhelming majority of those who voted (95.5%) supported the option of rejoining Russia. However, a BBC reporter claimed that a "huge number of people in the minority population – the Tatars and Ukrainians – abstained from the vote", which he suggested made it difficult to tell if the figures added up.
Following the referendum, the members of the Supreme Council voted to rename themselves the State Council of the Republic of Crimea and also formally appealed to Russia to accept Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. This was granted and on 18 March 2014 the self-proclaimed Republic of Crimea signed a treaty of accession to the Russian Federation though the accession was granted separately for each of the former regions that composed it: one accession for the Republic of Crimea, and another for Sevastopol as a federal city.
Executive power in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was exercised by the Council of Ministers of Crimea, headed by a Chairman, appointed and dismissed by the Supreme Council of Crimea, with the consent of the President of Ukraine. While not an official body, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People represented Crimean Tatars and could address grievances to the Ukrainian central government, the Crimean government, and international bodies.
Crimea, apart from the City of Sevastopol which is administered separately, 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.
Major centres of urban development:
- Simferopol: capital
- Kerch: Hero City, important industrial, transport and tourist centre
- Yevpatoria: major port, a rail hub, and resort city
- Feodosiya: port and resort city
- Yalta: one of the most important resorts in Crimea
- Dzhankoy: important railroad connection
- Bakhchisaray: historical capital of the Crimean Khanate
- Krasnoperekopsk: industrial city
- Armyansk: industrial city
- Alushta: resort city
- [dead link]
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I will be frank; we used our Armed Forces to block Ukrainian units stationed in Crimea
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Спустя 22 года и 364 дня после первого в СССР референдума в автономной республике Украины Крым состоялся последний референдум. Проводился он вопреки украинскому законодательству, не предусматривающему понятия региональный референдум и предписывающему решать территориальные вопросы только на всеукраинском референдуме
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Organizing and holding the referendum on Crimea's accession to Russia was illegal under the Ukrainian constitution. Article 2 of the constitution establishes that "Ukraine shall be a unitary state" and that the "territory of Ukraine within its present border is indivisible and inviolable". This is confirmed in regard to Crimea by Chapter X of the constitution, which provides for the autonomous status of Crimea. Article 134 sets forth that Crimea is an "inseparable constituent part of Ukraine". The autonomous status provides Crimea with a certain set of authorities and allows, inter alia, to hold referendums. These rights are, however, limited to local matters. The constitution makes clear that alterations to the territory of Ukraine require an all-Ukrainian referendum.
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- www.ppu.gov.ua, official website of the Presidential Representative in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (in Ukrainian)
- ark.gp.gov.ua, official website of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (in Ukrainian)
- www.rada.crimea.ua, official website of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (in Ukrainian) (in Russian)
- qtmm.org, official website of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (in Crimean Tatar) (in Ukrainian) (in Russian) (in English)
- uakrym.com, official website of UA:Krym, the Crimean division of the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (in Ukrainian)
- Series about the recent political history of Crimea by the Independent Analytical Centre for Geopolitical Studies "Borysfen Intel"