Crimea in the Soviet Union

During the existence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, different governments existed within the Crimean Peninsula. From 1921 to 1936, the government in the Crimean Peninsula was known as the Crimean Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic[a] and was an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic located within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; from 1936 to 1945, it was called the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic[b].

Crimean Autonomous
Socialist Soviet Republic
Crimean Autonomous
Soviet Socialist Republic
Crimean Oblast
Crimean Autonomous
Soviet Socialist Republic
  • Крымская Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика (Russian)
  • Къырым Мухтар Социалист Совет Джумхуриети (Crimean Tatar)
  • Кримська Автономна Радянська Соціалістична Республіка (Ukrainian)
ASSR of the Russian SFSR (1921–45)
Oblast of the Russian SFSR (1945–54)
and Ukrainian SSR (1954–91)
ASSR of the Ukrainian SSR (1991)
Autonomy of Ukraine (1991–92)
1942–1943: German occupation
Flag of the Crimean ASSR
Emblem (1938–1945) of the Crimean ASSR
Subdivisions of Crimean ASSR 1938.png
Raions with national status, as of 1938; Crimean Tatar regions in light blue, Russian in pink, Jewish in indigo, German in orange, Ukrainian in yellow
 • TypeAutonomous Soviet
Socialist Republic

(1921–45; 1991–92)
• Established
18 October 1921
• Reformed into oblast
30 June 1945
• Transferred to Ukraine
19 February 1954
• Autonomy regained
12 February 1991
26 December 1991
• Disestablished
6 May 1992
Contained within
 • Country Soviet Union
Preceded by
Succeeded by
South Russia
Teilbezirk Taurien
Teilbezirk Taurien
Republic of Crimea
Today part of

As a result of alleged crimes by Crimean Tatars during World War II, many Crimean Tatars were deported and the peninsula was resettled with other peoples. The autonomous republic without its titled nationality was downgraded to an oblast within the Russian SFSR on 30 June 1945. It was subsequently transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954. As a result of a state-sanctioned referendum in 1991, it became again an autonomous republic within the Ukrainian SSR, and then within independent Ukraine after 1992.


Crimea within the Russian SFSR (1921–1954)Edit

Crimean ASSR of the Russian SFSR (1921–1945)Edit

Crimean Tatars on a 1933 "Peoples of the Soviet Union" postage stamp

On 18 October 1921, the Crimean Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic was created within the Russian SFSR on the territory of the Crimean Peninsula. It was renamed the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on 5 December 1936 by the Eighth Extraordinary Congress of Soviets of the USSR.[1]

There were two attempts, both unsuccessful, to establish Jewish autonomy in Crimea. The first attempt, conducted by the Soviet government with the support of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, ended in the creation of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Birobidzhan, as the Soviet government feared establishing it in Crimea would provoke antisemitic sentiments. The second attempt, by the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee between 1943 and 1944, led to the Night of the Murdered Poets and heightened persecution of Jews as Stalin feared the establishment of a Jewish republic in Crimea with American support.[2][3]

Crimea was under de facto control of Nazi Germany from September 1942 to October 1943, administratively incorporated into Reichskommissariat Ukraine as Teilbezirk Taurien. Alfred Frauenfeld was appointed as General Commissar (although it seems that Frauenfeld spent most of his time in Crimea researching the peninsula's Gothic heritage and the actual government was in the hands of Erich von Manstein).[4] During the war, there was also widespread resistance to the German occupation.

In 1944, under the pretext[5] of alleged collaboration of the Crimean Tatars with the Nazi occupation regime, the Soviet government on orders of Joseph Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria deported the Crimean Tatar people from Crimea.[6] Actual collaboration in the military sense had been rather limited, with a recorded 9,225 Crimean Tatars serving in anti-Soviet Tatar Legions and other German formed battalions,[7] but there was in fact a surprisingly high degree of co-operation between the occupation government and the local administration; this has been significantly due to Frauenfeld's unwillingness to implement the policy of brutality towards the local population pursued by Reichskommissar Erich Koch, which led to a series of public conflict between the two men.[8] The constitutional rights of the forcibly-resettled Tatars were restored with a decree dated September 5, 1967, but they were not allowed to return until the last days of the Soviet Union.[9]

Crimean Oblast of the Russian SFSR (1945–1954)Edit

The Crimean ASSR was converted into the Crimean Oblast of the Russian SFSR on June 30, 1945 by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (published as a law on June 25, 1946). It was stripped of its autonomous status as a result of the alleged crimes of Crimean Tatars during World War II.[10]

Crimea within the Ukrainian SSR (1954–1992)Edit

Crimean Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR (1954–1991)Edit

On 19 February 1954, the oblast was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR jurisdiction,[10] on the basis of "the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR.":[11]

Sevastopol was a closed city due to its importance as the port of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and was attached to the Crimean Oblast only in 1978.[citation needed]

Crimean ASSR of the Ukrainian SSR (1991–1992)Edit

On 12 February 1991, the status of Crimea Oblast was changed to that of autonomous republic, the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR as the result of a state-sanctioned referendum held on 20 January 1991.[12] 4 months later, on June 19, appropriate changes were made to the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR.[13][14]

With effect from 6 May 1992, the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was transformed into the Republic of Crimea within Ukraine. On 21 September 1994 it was renamed as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by Verkhovna Rada.[15] This name was used for Crimea (with the exception of the city of Sevastopol) in new Ukrainian Constitution of 1996. The status of Sevastopol, due to its strategic importance as the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, remained disputed between Ukraine and Russia until 1997 when it was agreed that it should be treated as a "city with special status" within Ukraine.

Administrative divisionsEdit

Okrugs and raions of the Crimean ASSR in May 1921 (in Russian)

With the establishment of the autonomous republic in 1921, Crimea was divided into seven okrugs, which in turn were divided into 20 raions:

In November 1923, the okrugs were abolished and 15 raions were created instead, but in 1924, five of these were abolished. On 30 October 1930, the remaining ten raions were reorganized into 16 new ones, and four cities under direct republican control. In 1935, 10 new raions were added and one abolished. In 1937, one more raion was established. The raions had national status as for Crimean Tatars, Russians, Jews, Germans and Ukrainians. By the beginning of World War II, all of these raions had lost their national status.

Heads of StateEdit

Russian SFSREdit

Central Executive Committee
Supreme Soviet

Ukrainian SSR/UkraineEdit

Heads of GovernmentEdit

Chairmen of RevkomEdit

Council of People's CommissarsEdit

Council of MinistersEdit

  • March 22, 1991 – May 20, 1993 Vitaliy Kurashik

Principal ChekistsEdit

  • until April 1921 Mikhail Vikhman (later in Chernihiv)
  • April 1921 – June 1921 Smirnov
  • June 20, 1921 – 1921 Fyodor Fomin (transferred to Kiev)
  • November 11, 1921 – February 1922 Aleksandr Rotenberg
Crimea GPU
  • February 1922 – September 11, 1922 Aleksandr Rotenberg
  • September 11, 1922 – April 25, 1923 Stanislav Redens
Merged GPU
  • April 25, 1923 – June 9, 1924 Stanislav Redens
  • May 20, 1924 – July 29, 1925 Sergei Szwarz (transferred to the Special department of the Black Sea Navy)
  • 1925 Aleksandr Toropkin (transferred to Ural)
  • October 1926 – April 26, 1928 Ivan Apeter (transferred to the Special department of the Black Sea Navy)
  • April 26, 1928 – December 1929 Grigoriy Rapoport (transferred to Belarus Military District)
  • January 23, 1930 – July 10, 1934 Eduard Salins (Eduards Saliņš)
Narkom of State Security
  • February 26, 1941 – July 31, 1941 Major Grigoriy Karanadze
  • October 5, 1943 – July 5, 1945 Commissar of the 3rd rank Pyotr Fokin

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Russian: Крымская Автономная Социалистическая Советская Республика, romanizedKrymskaya Avtonomnaya Sotsialisticheskaya Sovetskaya Respublika; Ukrainian: Автономна Кримська Соціалістична Радянська Республіка, romanizedAvtonomna Krymska Sotsialistychna Radyanska Respublika, lit.'Autonomous Crimean Socialist Soviet Republic'
  2. ^ Modern Crimean Tatar: Къырым Мухтар Совет Социалист Джумхуриети, romanized: Qırım Muhtar Sovet Sotsialist Cumhuriyeti; official Crimean Tatar name in the Yañalif: Qrьm Avtonomjalь Sovet Sotsialist Respuвlikasь; Russian: Крымская Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика, romanizedKrymskaya Avtonomnaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika; Ukrainian: Кримська Автономна Радянська Соціалістична Республіка, romanizedKrymska Avtonomna Radyanska Sotsialistychna Respublika


  1. ^ "04034".
  2. ^ Kostyrchenko, Gennady (2003). Stalin's Secret Policy: Power and Antisemitism (in Russian). International Relations (publishing house) [ru]. p. 114.
  3. ^ "Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee". Jewish Electronic Encyclopaedia. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Alan W. Fisher, The Crimean Tatars, 1978, p. 156
  5. ^ line Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. "Sürgün: The Crimean Tatars' deportation and exile – Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  6. ^ Subtelny, Orest (2000). Ukraine: A History. University of Toronto Press. p. 483. ISBN 0-8020-8390-0.
  7. ^ Document reproduced in T.S. Kulbaev and A. Iu. Khegai, Deportatsiia (Almaty: Deneker, 2000), pp. 206–207.
  8. ^ Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, Simon & Schuster, 1990, p. 137.
  9. ^ "Soviet Decree, 5 September 1967".
  10. ^ a b "Chronology for Crimean Russians in Ukraine". Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Calamur, Krishnadev (February 27, 2014). "Crimea: A Gift To Ukraine Becomes A Political Flash Point". NPR. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  12. ^ "Day in history – 20 January". RIA Novosti (in Russian). January 8, 2006. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  13. ^ Про внесення змін і доповнень до Конституції (Основного Закону) Української РСР
  14. ^ "История референдумов в Крыму. Досье". ТАСС.
  15. ^ Law of the Ukraine N 254/96-ВР

External linksEdit