|Adjacent bodies of water|
|Area||27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,545 m (5069 ft)|
|Status||Controlled and governed as part of the Russian Federation (except Ukrainian-controlled part of Arabat Spit), though internationally recognised as part of Ukraine|
Ukraine (de jure)
|Regions||Kherson Oblast (northern part of Arabat Spit, Henichesk Raion)|
|Uncontrolled regions||Autonomous Republic of Crimea|
Russia (de facto)
|Federal district||Southern Federal District|
|Federal subjects||Republic of Crimea|
|Pop. density||84.6/km2 (219.1/sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||65.3% Russians (1.492 mln)|
15.1% Ukrainians (344.5 thousand)
10.8% Crimean Tatars (246.1 thousand)
0.9% Belarusians (21.7 thousand)
0.5% Armenians (11 thousand)
7.4% Others (169.1 thousand), including:
Italians of Crimea (2014)
Crimea[a] is a peninsula along the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe. It has a population of 2.4 million, made up mostly of ethnic Russians with significant Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities. The peninsula is almost entirely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov; it is located south of Kherson Oblast in Ukraine, to which it is connected by the Isthmus of Perekop, and west of Krasnodar Krai in Russia, from which it is separated by the Strait of Kerch though linked by the Crimean Bridge since 2018. The Arabat Spit is located to its northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Across the Black Sea to the west lies Romania and to the south is Turkey.
Crimea (or the Tauric Peninsula, as it was called from antiquity until the early modern period) has historically been at the boundary between the classical world and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Its southern fringe was colonised by the Greeks and then ruled by the Persians followed by the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and finally successor states including the Empire of Trebizond and Principality of Theodoro. During the entirety of this period the urban areas were Greek-speaking and eventually eastern Christian (Eastern Orthodox). During the collapse of the Byzantine state some cities fell to its creditor, the Republic of Genoa, until eventually all were absorbed by the rapidly rising Ottoman Empire. Throughout this time the interior was occupied by a changing cast of invading steppe nomads and empires, such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Crimean Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Kipchaks, Mongols, and the Golden Horde. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate, a sometime dependency of the Ottomans, during the 15th to 18th century, and often raided south Russia for slaves.
In 1783, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire as the result of the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Russian SFSR in the Soviet Union. During World War II, Crimea was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast and the entirety of one of its indigenous populations, the Crimean Tatars, were deported to Central Asia, an act recognized as a genocide by Ukraine and three other countries. In 1954, the Soviet Union transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR. The transfer to Ukraine was made by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian by birth. The year 1954 happened to mark the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, which was signed in 1654 by representatives of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate and Tsar Alexis of Russia. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was reestablished as an independent state in 1991, and most of the peninsula was reorganized as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol retained its special status within Ukraine. The 1997 Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet partitioned the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and allowed Russia to continue basing its fleet in Crimea: both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russia's Black Sea Fleet were to be headquartered in Sevastopol. Ukraine extended Russia's lease of the naval facilities under the 2010 Kharkiv Pact in exchange for further discounted natural gas.
The status of Crimea is disputed. In late February 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that ousted the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, Russian troops were deployed to Crimea, occupying government buildings. On 11 March, the Republic of Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine and on 16 March, a disputed referendum, deemed illegal by Ukraine and most countries was held on the issue of reunification with Russia; its official results showed over 90% support for reunification; however, the vote was boycotted by many loyal to Ukraine. Russia formally annexed Crimea on 18 March, incorporating the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol as the 84th and 85th federal subjects of Russia. Despite its annexation, Crimea remains internationally recognized as part of Ukraine. Polls show that a large majority of the residents of Crimea support the annexation.
The classical name for Crimea, Tauris or Taurica, is from the Greek Ταυρική (Taurikḗ), after the peninsula's Scytho-Cimmerian inhabitants, the Tauri.
Strabo (Geography vii 4.3, xi. 2.5), Polybius, (Histories 4.39.4), and Ptolemy (Geographia. II, v 9.5) refer variously to the Strait of Kerch as the Κιμμερικὸς Βόσπορος (Kimmerikos Bosporos, romanized spelling, Bosporus Cimmerius), its easternmost part as the Κιμμέριον Ἄκρον (Kimmerion Akron, Roman name: Promontorium Cimmerium, as well as to the city of Cimmerium and whence the name of the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Κιμμερικοῦ Βοσπόρου).
The Crimean Tatar name of the peninsula is Qırım (Crimean Tatar: Къырым, romanized: Kirim/Qırım) and so also for the city of Krym, now called Staryi Krym, which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Golden Horde. Between 1315 and 1329 CE, the Arab writer Abū al-Fidā recounted a political fight in 1300–1301 CE which resulted in a rival's decapitation and his head being sent "to the Crimea", apparently in reference to the peninsula, although some sources hold that the name of the capital was extended to the entire peninsula at some point during Ottoman suzerainty (1441–1783).
The origin of the word Qırım is uncertain. Suggestions argued in various sources include:
Other suggestions either unsupported or contradicted by sources, apparently based on similarity in sound, include:
The spelling "Crimea" is the Italian form, i.e., la Crimea, since at least the 17th century and the "Crimean peninsula" becomes current during the 18th century, gradually replacing the classical name of Tauric Peninsula in the course of the 19th century. In English usage since the early modern period the Crimean Khanate is referred to as Crim Tartary. The omission of the definite article in English ("Crimea" rather than "the Crimea") became common during the later 20th century.
The classical name was used in 1802 in the name of the Russian Taurida Governorate. While it was replaced with Krym (Ukrainian: Крим; Russian: Крым) in the Soviet Union and has had no official status since 1921, it is still used by some institutions in Crimea, such as the Taurida National University, the Tavriya Simferopol football club, or the Tavrida federal highway.
Main article: History of Crimea
In the 8th century BCE, the Cimmerians migrated to the area in retreat from Scythian advances, of whom the latter also migrated to the region. Contemporaneously, and possibly because of the migration, the region came within the sphere of Greek maritime interest and became the site of Greek colonies. The most important Greek city was Chersonesos at the edge of today's Sevastopol.
The Persian Achaemenid Empire, under Darius I, expanded to Crimea as part of his campaigns against the Scythians in 513 BCE.
The peninsula, then under the control of the Bosporan Kingdom, later became a client kingdom of the Roman Empire in 63 BCE.
In the 9th century CE, Byzantium established the Theme of Cherson to defend against incursions by the Rus' Khaganate. The Crimean peninsula from this time was contested between Byzantium, Rus' and Khazaria. The area remained the site of overlapping interests and contact between the early medieval Slavic, Turkic and Greek spheres. It became a center of slave trade. Slavs were sold to Byzantium and other places in Anatolia and the Middle-East during this period. The peninsula was wrested from the Byzantines by the Kievan Rus' in the 10th century; the last Byzantine outpost, Chersonesus was taken in 988 CE. A year later, Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev accepted the hand of Emperor Basil II's sister Anna in marriage, and was baptized by the local Byzantine priest at Chersonesus, thus marking the entry of Rus' (later Russia) into the Christian world.
Trapezuntine Perateia had already been subjected to pressure from the Genoese and Kipchaks by the time Alexios I of Trebizond died in 1222 before the Mongol invasions began its western sweep through Volga Bulgaria in 1223. With them, control of the peninsula changed in 1238, as all but the Perateia of Crimea was incorporated into the territory of the Golden Horde throughout the 14th century CE. In the course of the 13th century CE, portions were controlled by the Republic of Venice and by the Republic of Genoa, the Perateia soon became the Principality of Theodoro and Genoese Gazaria, respectively. Genoa, its colonies, and various Mongol states fought the Genoese–Mongol Wars between the 13th and 15th centuries.
Main article: Crimean Khanate
Further information: Crimean Goths
The Crimean Khanate, a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, succeeded the Golden Horde and lasted from 1449 to 1783. During the period of the Crimean Khanate the many pre-Catherine peoples, including Crimean Greeks, Italians, Goths, Cumans, and Kipchkaks of Crimea merged into the Crimean Tatar nation's Tat, Yaliboylu, and Steppe (or Nogay) subgroups. The nobility of the Nogay subgroup gained much of their revenue and political power from the slave trade.
In 1774, the Khanate was proclaimed independent under the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca with the Ottomans, but was then conquered by the Russian Empire in 1783.
The Taurida Oblast was created by a decree of Catherine the Great on 2 February 1784. The center of the oblast was first in Karasubazar but was moved to Simferopol later in 1784. The establishment decree divided the oblast into 7 uyezds. However, by a decree of Paul I on 12 December 1796, the oblast was abolished and the territory, divided into 2 uyezds (Akmechetsky [Акмечетский] and Perekopsky [Перекопский]) was attached to the second incarnation of the Novorossiysk Governorate.
From 1853 to 1856, the peninsula was the site of the principal engagements of the Crimean War, a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia.
Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the military and political situation in Crimea was chaotic like that in much of Russia. During the ensuing Russian Civil War, Crimea changed hands numerous times and was for a time a stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army. The White Army controlled Crimea before remnants were finally driven out by the Red Army in November 1920. It was in Crimea that the White Russians led by General Wrangel made their last stand against Nestor Makhno and the Red Army. When resistance was crushed, many of the anti-Communist fighters and civilians escaped by ship to Istanbul. Between 56,000 and 150,000 of the Whites were murdered as part of the Red Terror, organized by Béla Kun.
Crimea became part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1921 as the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which became part of the Soviet Union in 1922, and was run as a Crimean Tatar enclave.
During the Second World War the peninsula was invaded by Nazi Germany and Romanian troops in summer 1941 across the Isthmus of Perekop. Following the capture of Sevastopol on 4 July 1942, Crimea was occupied until German and Romanian forces were expelled in an offensive by Soviet forces ending in May 1944. The Nazis murdered around 40,000 Crimean Jews.
On 25 June 1946, it was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast, and the Crimean Tatars were deported for alleged collaboration with the Nazi forces. A total of more than 230,000 people – about a fifth of the total population of the Crimean Peninsula at that time – were deported, mainly to Uzbekistan. 14,300 Greeks, 12,075 Bulgarians, and about 10,000 Armenians were also expelled.
Main article: 1954 transfer of Crimea
On 19 February 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued a decree on the transfer of the Crimean region of the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR. This Supreme Soviet Decree states that this transfer was motivated by "the commonality of the economy, the proximity, and close economic and cultural relations between the Crimean region and the Ukrainian SSR". At that time no vote or referendum took place, and Crimean population had no say in the transfer (also typical of other Soviet border changes). After the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, doubts have been expressed – from the Russian side by all means, but even by Western historians (Richard Sakwa, "Frontline Ukraine. Crisis in the Borderlands", 2015) – about the very legitimacy of the 1954 transition of Crimea to Ukraine; in the critics' view the transition contradicted even the Soviet law.
In post-war years, Crimea thrived as a tourist destination, with new attractions and sanatoriums for tourists. Tourists came from all around the Soviet Union and neighbouring countries, particularly from the German Democratic Republic. In time the peninsula also became a major tourist destination for cruises originating in Greece and Turkey. Crimea's infrastructure and manufacturing also developed, particularly around the sea ports at Kerch and Sevastopol and in the oblast's landlocked capital, Simferopol. Populations of Ukrainians and Russians alike doubled, with more than 1.6 million Russians and 626,000 Ukrainians living on the peninsula by 1989.
Main article: Autonomous Republic of Crimea
See also: 1991 Crimean sovereignty referendum
With dissolution of the Soviet Union underway, the Ukrainian SSR declared its sovereignty. Half year later in January 1991, the Crimean Oblast held a referendum, and voters approved on restoring autonomy to the region the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The Crimean ASSR was restored for less than a year as part of Soviet Ukraine before Ukrainian independence. Newly independent Ukraine maintained Crimea's autonomous status, while the Supreme Council of Crimea affirmed the peninsula's "sovereignty" as a part of Ukraine. with a slight majority of Crimean voters approving Ukrainian independence in a December referendum.
On 5 May 1992, the Crimean legislature declared conditional independence, but a referendum to confirm the decision was never held amid opposition from Kyiv: elected president of Crimea Yuriy Meshkov, was replaced by Kyiv-appointed Anatoliy Franchuk, which was done with the intent to rein in Crimean aspirations of autonomy. The Verkhovna Rada, the parliament of Crimea, voted to grant Crimea "extensive home rule" during the dispute.
Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances acknowledged Ukrainian integrity.[better source needed]
The last election of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea took place on 31 October 2010 and was won by the Party of Regions. On 15 March 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially dissolved the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, and, on 17 March 2014, one day before the Russian annexation of Crimea, the State Council of Crimea was established in place of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea.
Main article: Republic of Crimea
After the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the flight of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from Kyiv on 21 February 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated to colleagues that "we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia." Within days, unmarked forces with local militias took over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as occupying several localities in Kherson Oblast on the Arabat Spit, which is geographically a part of Crimea. A 2014 referendum on merging Crimea with Russia was supported by 96.7% of voters with a 83.1% turnout according to official counts, although it was boycotted by many loyal to Ukraine and denounced as illegitimate by Western governments. The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution declaring the vote illegal and invalid. Putin signed a treaty of accession with the self-declared Republic of Crimea, annexing it into the Russian Federation as two federal subjects: the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. Though Russia had control over the peninsula, sovereignty was disputed as Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the annexation illegal, as was shown by the United Nations General Assembly adopting a non-binding resolution calling upon states not to recognise changes to the integrity of Ukraine. A range of international sanctions were imposed against Russia and a number of named individuals as a result of the events of 2014.
Russia withdrew its forces from southern Kherson in December 2014 Since Russian control over Crimea was established in 2014, the peninsula has been administered as part of the Russian Federation except for the northern areas of the Arabat Spit and the Syvash which are still controlled by Ukraine.
Within days of the signing of the accession treaty, the process of integrating Crimea into the Russian federation began: in March the Russian ruble went into official circulation and clocks were moved forward to Moscow time, in April a new revision of the Russian Constitution was officially released with the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol included in the list of federal subjects of the Russian Federation, and in June the Russian ruble became the only form of legal tender. In July 2015, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Crimea had been fully integrated into Russia.
Once Kiev lost control of the territory in 2014, it shut off the water supply of the North Crimean Canal which supplies 85% of the peninsula's fresh water needs from the Dnieper river, the nation's main waterway.
After 2014 the Russian government invested heavily in the peninsula's infrastructure—repairing roads, modernizing hospitals and building the Crimean Bridge that links the peninsula to the Russian mainland. Development of new sources of water was undertaken, with huge difficulties, to replace closed Ukrainian sources.
In 2017 the Russian government also began modernising the Simferopol International Airport, which opened its new terminal in April 2018.
Russia provides electricity to Crimea via a cable beneath the Kerch Strait. In June 2018 there was a full electrical outage for all of Crimea, but the power grid company Rosseti reported to have fixed the outage in approximately one hour.
On 28 December 2018, Russia completed a high-tech security fence marking the de facto border between Crimea and Ukraine.
Article 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea recognizes three official languages: Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar. In practice, Russian is the dominant language.
Covering an area of 27,000 km2 (10,425 sq mi), Crimea is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea and on the western coast of the Sea of Azov; the only land border is shared with Ukraine's Kherson Oblast on the north. Crimea is almost an island and only connected to the continent by the Isthmus of Perekop, a strip of land about 5–7 kilometres (3.1–4.3 mi) wide.
Much of the natural border between the Crimean Peninsula and the Ukrainian mainland comprises the Sivash or "Rotten Sea", a large system of shallow lagoons stretching along the western shore of the Sea of Azov. Besides the isthmus of Perekop, the peninsula is connected to the Kherson Oblast's Henichesk Raion by bridges over the narrow Chonhar and Henichesk straits and over Kerch Strait to the Krasnodar Krai. The northern part of Arabat Spit is administratively part of Henichesk Raion in Kherson Oblast, including its two rural communities of Shchaslyvtseve and Strilkove. The eastern tip of the Crimean peninsula comprises the Kerch Peninsula, separated from Taman Peninsula on the Russian mainland by the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov, at a width of between 3–13 kilometres (1.9–8.1 mi).
Geographers generally divide the peninsula into three zones: steppe, mountains and southern coast.
Given its long history and many conquerors, most towns in Crimea have several names.
West: The Isthmus of Perekop /Perekop/Or Qapi, about 7 km (4 mi) wide, connects Crimea to the mainland. It was often fortified and sometimes garrisoned by the Turks. The North Crimean Canal now crosses it to bring water from the Dnieper. To the west Karkinit Bay separates the Tarkhankut Peninsula from the mainland. On the north side of the peninsula is Chernomorskoe/Kalos Limen. On the south side is the large Donuzlav Bay and the port and ancient Greek settlement of Eupatoria/Yevpatoria/Kerkinitis/Gozleve. The coast then runs south to Sevastopol/Chersonesus, a good natural harbor, great naval base and the largest city on the peninsula. At the head of Sevastopol Bay stands Inkermann/Kalamita. South of Sevastopol is the small Heracles Peninsula.
South: In the south, between the Crimean Mountains and the sea runs a narrow coastal strip which was held by the Genoese and (after 1475) by the Turks. Under Russian rule it became a kind of riviera. In Soviet times the many palaces were replaced with dachas and health resorts. From west to east are: Heracles Peninsula; Balaklava/Symbalon/Cembalo, a smaller natural harbor south of Sevastopol; Foros, the southernmost point; Alupka with the Vorontsov Palace (Alupka); Gaspra; Yalta; Gurzuf; Alushta. Further east is Sudak/Sougdia/Soldaia with its Genoese fort. Further east still is Theodosia/Kaffa/Feodosia, once a great slave-mart and a kind of capital for the Genoese and Turks. Unlike the other southern ports, Feodosia has no mountains to its north. At the east end of the 90 km (56 mi) Kerch Peninsula is Kerch/Panticapaeum, once the capital of the Bosporian Kingdom. Just south of Kerch the new Crimean Bridge (opened in 2018) connects Crimea to the Taman Peninsula.
Sea of Azov: There is little on the south shore. The west shore is marked by the Arabat Spit. Behind it is the Syvash or "Putrid Sea", a system of lakes and marshes which in the far north extend west to the Perekop Isthmus. Road- and rail-bridges cross the northern part of Syvash.
Interior: Most of the former capitals of Crimea stood on the north side of the mountains. Mangup/Doros (Gothic, Theodoro). Bakhchisarai (1532–1783). Southeast of Bakhchisarai is the cliff-fort of Chufut-Kale/Qirq Or which was used in more warlike times. Simferopol/Ak-Mechet, the modern capital. Karasu-Bazar/Bilohorsk was a commercial center. Solkhat/Staryi Krym was the old Tatar capital. Towns on the northern steppe area are all modern, notably Dzhankoi, a major road- and rail-junction.
Rivers: The longest is the Salhir River which rises southeast of Simferopol and flows north and northeast to the Sea of Azov. The Alma River flows west to reach the Black Sea between Eupatoria and Sevastopol. The shorter Chornaya River (Crimea) flows west to Sevastopol Bay.
Nearby: East of the Kerch Strait the Ancient Greeks founded colonies at Phanagoria (at the head of Taman Bay), Hermonassa (later Tmutarakan and Taman), Gorgippia (later a Turkish port and now Anapa). At the northeast point of the Sea of Azov at the mouth of the Don River were Tanais, Azak/Azov and now Rostov-on-Don. North of the peninsula the Dnieper turns westward and enters the Black Sea through the east–west Dnieper-Bug Estuary which also receives the Bug River. At the mouth of the Bug stood Olvia. At the mouth of the estuary is Ochakiv. Odessa stands where the coast turns southwest. Further southwest is Tyras/Akkerman/Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi.
Main article: Crimean Mountains
The southeast coast is flanked at a distance of 8–12 kilometres (5.0–7.5 mi) from the sea by a parallel range of mountains: the Crimean Mountains. These mountains are backed by secondary parallel ranges.
The main range of these mountains rises with extraordinary abruptness from the deep floor of the Black Sea to an altitude of 600–1,545 metres (1,969–5,069 ft), beginning at the southwest point of the peninsula, called Cape Fiolenteby whom?] that this cape was supposedly crowned with the temple of Artemis where Iphigeneia is said to have officiated as priestess. Uchan-su, on the south slope of the mountains, is the highest waterfall in Crimea.. It was believed[
There are 257 rivers and major streams on the Crimean peninsula; they are primarily fed by rainwater, with snowmelt playing a very minor role. This makes for significant annual fluctuation in water flow, with many streams drying up completely during the summer. The largest rivers are the Salhyr (Salğır, Салгир), the Kacha (Кача), the Alma (Альма), and the Belbek (Бельбек). Also important are the Kokozka (Kökköz or Коккозка), the Indole (Indol or Индо́л), the Chorna (Çorğun, Chernaya or Чёрная), the Derekoika (Dereköy or Дерекойка), the Karasu-Bashi (Biyuk-Karasu or Биюк-Карасу) (tributary of Salhir river), the Burulcha (Бурульча) (tributary of Salhir river), the Uchan-su, and the Ulu-Uzen'. The longest river of Crimea is the Salhir at 204 km (127 mi). The Belbek has the greatest average discharge at 2.16 cubic metres per second (76 cu ft/s). The Alma and the Kacha are the second- and third-longest rivers.
There are more than fifty salt lakes and salt pans on the peninsula, the largest of them is Lake Sasyk (Сасык) on the southwest coast; others include Aqtas, Koyashskoye, Kiyatskoe, Kirleutskoe, Kizil-Yar, Bakalskoe, and Donuzlav. The general trend is for the former lakes to become salt pans. Lake Syvash (Sıvaş or Сива́ш) is a system of interconnected shallow lagoons on the north-eastern coast, covering an area of around 2,560 km2 (988 sq mi). A number of dams have created reservoirs, among the largest are the Simferopolskoye, Alminskoye, the Taygansky and the Belogorsky just south of Bilohirsk in Bilohirsk Raion. The North Crimea Canal, which transports water from the Dnieper, is the largest of the man-made irrigation channels on the peninsula.
Crimea is facing an unprecedented water shortage crisis.
Main article: Pontic–Caspian steppe
Seventy-five percent of the remaining area of Crimea consists of semiarid prairie lands, a southward continuation of the Pontic–Caspian steppe, which slope gently to the northwest from the foothills of the Crimean Mountains. Numerous kurgans, or burial mounds, of the ancient Scythians are scattered across the Crimean steppes.
The terrain that lies south of the sheltering Crimean Mountain range is of an altogether different character. Here, the narrow strip of coast and the slopes of the mountains are smothered with greenery. This "riviera" stretches along the southeast coast from capes Fiolente and Aya, in the south, to Feodosia. It is studded with summer sea-bathing resorts such as Alupka, Yalta, Gurzuf, Alushta, Sudak, and Feodosia. During the years of Soviet rule, the resorts and dachas of this coast served as prime perquisites of the politically loyal. In addition, vineyards and fruit orchards are located in the region. Fishing, mining, and the production of essential oils are also important. Numerous Crimean Tatar villages, mosques, monasteries, and palaces of the Russian imperial family and nobles are found here, as well as picturesque ancient Greek and medieval castles.
The Crimean Mountains and the southern coast are part of the Crimean Submediterranean forest complex ecoregion. The natural vegetation consists of scrublands, woodlands, and forests, with a climate and vegetation similar to the Mediterranean Basin.
Crimea is located between the temperate and subtropical climate belts and is characterized by warm and sunny weather. It is characterized by diversity and the presence of microclimates. The northern parts of Crimea have a moderate continental climate with short, mild winters and moderately hot dry summers. In the central and mountainous areas the climate is transitional between the continental climate to the north and the Mediterranean climate to the south. Winters are mild at lower altitudes (in the foothills) and colder at higher altitudes. Summers are hot at lower altitudes and warm in the mountains. A subtropical, Mediterranean climate dominates the southern coastal regions, is characterized by mild winters and moderately hot, dry summers.
The climate of Crimea is influenced by its geographic location, relief, and influences from the Black sea. The Crimean coast is shielded from cold air masses coming from the north and, as a result, has milder winters. Maritime influences from the Black Sea are restricted to coastal areas; in the interior of the peninsula the maritime influence is weak and does not play an important role. Because a high-pressure system is located north of Crimea in both summer and winter, winds predominantly come from the north and northeast year-round. In winter these winds bring in cold, dry continental air, while in summer they bring in dry and hot weather. Winds from the northwest bring warm and wet air from the Atlantic Ocean, causing precipitation during spring and summer. As well, winds from the southwest bring very warm and wet air from the subtropical latitudes of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea and cause precipitation during fall and winter.
Mean annual temperatures range from 10 °C (50.0 °F) in the far north (Armiansk) to 13 °C (55.4 °F) in the far south (Yalta). In the mountains, the mean annual temperature is around 5.7 °C (42.3 °F). For every 100 m (330 ft) increase in altitude, temperatures decrease by 0.65 °C (1.17 °F) while precipitation increases. In January mean temperatures range from −3 °C (26.6 °F) in Armiansk to 4.4 °C (39.9 °F) in Myskhor. Cool-season temperatures average around 7 °C (44.6 °F) and it is rare for the weather to drop below freezing except in the mountains, where there is usually snow. In July mean temperatures range from 15.4 °C (59.7 °F) in Ai-Petri to 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) in the central parts of Crimea to 24.4 °C (75.9 °F) in Myskhor. The frost-free period ranges from 160 to 200 days in the steppe and mountain regions to 240–260 days on the south coast.
Precipitation in Crimea varies significantly based on location; it ranges from 310 millimetres (12.2 in) in Chornomorske to 1,220 millimetres (48.0 in) at the highest altitudes in the Crimean mountains. The Crimean mountains greatly influence the amount of precipitation present in the peninsula. However, most of Crimea (88.5%) receives 300 to 500 millimetres (11.8 to 19.7 in) of precipitation per year. The plains usually receive 300 to 400 millimetres (11.8 to 15.7 in) of precipitation per year, increasing to 560 millimetres (22.0 in) in the southern coast at sea level. The western parts of the Crimean mountains receive more than 1,000 millimetres (39.4 in) of precipitation per year. Snowfall is common in the mountains during winter.
Most of the peninsula receives more than 2,000 sunshine hours per year; it reaches up to 2,505 sunshine hours in Karabi–Yayla in the Crimean mountains. As a result, the climate favors recreation and tourism. Because of its climate and subsidized travel-packages from Russian state-run companies, the southern Crimean coast has remained a popular resort for Russian tourists.
Further information: Black Sea Fleet
The Black Sea ports of Crimea provide quick access to the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and Middle East. Historically, possession of the southern coast of Crimea was sought after by most empires of the greater region since antiquity (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Russian, British and French, Nazi German, Soviet).
The nearby Dnieper River is a major waterway and transportation route that crosses the European continent from north to south and ultimately links the Black Sea with the Baltic Sea, of strategic importance since the historical trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The Black Sea serves as an economic thoroughfare connecting the Caucasus region and the Caspian Sea to central and Eastern Europe.
According to the International Transport Workers' Federation, as of 2013[update] there were at least 12 operating merchant seaports in Crimea.
In 2016 Crimea had Nominal GDP of US$7 billion and US$3,000 per capita.
The main branches of the modern Crimean economy are agriculture and fishing oysters pearls, industry and manufacturing, tourism, and ports. Industrial plants are situated for the most part in the southern coast (Eupatoria, Sevastopol, Feodosia, Kerch) regions of the republic, few northern (Armiansk, Krasnoperekopsk, Dzhankoi), aside from the central area, mainly Simferopol okrug and eastern region in Nizhnegorsk (few plants, same for Dzhankoj) city. Important industrial cities include Dzhankoi, housing a major railway connection, Krasnoperekopsk and Armiansk, among others.
After the Russian annexation of Crimea in early 2014 and subsequent sanctions targeting Crimea, the tourist industry suffered major losses for two years. The flow of holidaymakers dropped 35 percent in the first half of 2014 over the same period of 2013. The number of tourist arrivals reached a record in 2012 at 6.1 million. According to the Russian administration of Crimea, they dropped to 3.8 million in 2014, and rebounded to 5.6 million by 2016.
The most important industries in Crimea include food production, chemical fields, mechanical engineering, and metalworking, and fuel production industries. Sixty percent of the industry market belongs to food production. There are a total of 291 large industrial enterprises and 1002 small business enterprises.
In 2014, the republic's annual GDP was $4.3 billion (500 times smaller than the size of Russia's economy). The average salary was $290 per month. The budget deficit was $1.5 billion.
Agriculture in the region includes cereals, vegetable-growing, gardening, and wine-making, particularly in the Yalta and Massandra regions. Livestock production includes cattle breeding, poultry keeping, and sheep breeding. Other products produced on the Crimean Peninsula include salt, porphyry, limestone, and ironstone (found around Kerch) since ancient times.
The vine mealybug (Planococcus ficus) was first discovered here in 1868. First discovered on grape, it has also been found as a pest of some other crops and has since spread worldwide. Sunn pests—especially Eurygaster integriceps and E. maura—are significant grain pests. Scelioninae and Tachinidae are important parasitoids of sunnpest. Bark beetles are pests of tree crops, and are themselves hosts for Elattoma mites and various entomopathogenic fungi transmitted by those Elattomae.
Crimea also possesses several natural gas fields both onshore and offshore, which were starting to be drilled by western oil and gas companies before annexation. The inland fields are located in Chornomorske and Dzhankoi, while offshore fields are located in the western coast in the Black Sea and in the northeastern coast in the Azov Sea:
|Dzhankoi gas field||onshore||Dzhankoi|
|Holitsynske gas field||offshore||Black Sea|
|Karlavske gas field||onshore||Chornomorske|
|Krym gas field||offshore||Black Sea|
|Odessa gas field||offshore||Black Sea||21 billion m3|
|Schmidta gas field||offshore||Black Sea|
|Shtormvaia gas field||offshore||Black Sea|
|Strilkove gas field||offshore||Sea of Azov|
The republic also possesses two oil fields: one onshore, the Serebryankse oil field in Rozdolne, and one offshore, the Subbotina oil field in the Black Sea.
Crimea has 540 MW of its own electricity generation capacity including Simferopol Thermal Power Plant (100 MW), Sevastopol Thermal Power Plant (22 MW) and Kamish-Burunskaya Thermal Power Plant (19 MW). This is insufficient for local consumption and since annexation by Russia, Crimea is reliant on an underwater power cable to mainland Russia.
Building and near start up are two combined cycle gas steam turbo thermal plants PGU, both 470 MW (116 167 MW GT, 235 MW block), build (plant) by TPE along others and turbines by Power Machines (UTZ KalugaTZ ?), NPO Saturn with Perm PMZ, either GTD-110M modified or GTE-160 or 180 units or UTZ KTZ or a V94.2 bought by MAPNA, modified in Russian plants for PGU Thermal plants specifics. Also many solar photovoltaic SES plants lie along the peninsula (north of Sevastopol too, a smaller facility). Also gas thermal Saki plant close to Jodobrom chemical plant and SaKhZ(SaChP) boosted production with Perm GTE GTU25P (PS90GP25 25 MW aeroderivative GP) PGU turbogenerators. Older plants are Sevastopol TEC (close to Inkerman) which use AEG and Ganz Elektro turbines and turbogenerators about 25 MW each, Sinferopol TEC (north, in Agrarne locale) Eupatoria, Kamysh Burun TEC (Kerch south – Zaliv) and few others.
Main article: Crimean Bridge
In May 2015, work began on a multibillion-dollar road-rail link (a pair of parallel bridges) across the Kerch Strait. The road bridge opened in May 2018, and the rail bridge opened in December 2019.[b] With a length of 19 km, it is the longest bridge in Europe, as it overcame Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon.
Almost every settlement in Crimea is connected with another settlement by bus lines. Crimea contains the longest (96 km or 59 mi) trolleybus route in the world, founded in 1959, stretching from Simferopol to Yalta. The trolleybus line starts near Simferopol's Railway Station (in Soviet times it started near Simferopol International Airport) through the mountains to Alushta and on to Yalta. The length of line is about 90 km and passengers are assigned a seat. Simferopol, Yalta and Alushta also have an urban and suburban trolleybus network. Trolleybuses are also operated in Sevastopol and Kerch
In the city of Yevpatoria a tram system is also operated. In the nearby townlet village of Molochnoye an only 1,6 km long tram line provides connection between the sea shore and a holiday resort, but its operation is halted since 2015.
There are two railroad lines running through Crimea: the non-electrified Armiansk—Kerch (with a link to Feodosia), and the electrified Melitopol—Simferopol-Sevastopol (with a link to Yevpatoria), connecting Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland.
Until 2014 the network was part of the Cisdneper Directorate of the Ukrainian Railways. Long-distance trains provided connection to every major Ukrainian cities, but also to many towns of Russia, Belarus and until the end of the 2000es even to Vilnius, Riga, Warsaw and Berlin.
Since 2014 the railways are operated by the Crimea Railway. Local trains belong to the Yuzhnaya Prigorodnaya Passazhirskaya Kompaniya (Southern Suburban Passenger Company), serving the entire network of the peninsula and via the Crimean Bridge three trains daily to Anapa. Long-distance trains under the name Tavriya - operated by the company Grand Servis Ekspress - connect Sevastopol and Simferopol daily with Moscow and Saint Petersburg, in the summer season Yevpatoria and Feodosia are also directly connected by them. Several times a week Simferopol is also linked with Volgograd, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Omsk and even Murmansk by train.
Further development plans consist a bypass line between Simferopol and Kerch, and a complete electrification of the network with changing the voltage of the already electrified lines from 3 kV DC to 25 kV 50 Hz AC.
The cities of Yalta, Feodosia, Kerch, Sevastopol, Chornomorske and Yevpatoria are connected to one another by sea routes.
The development of Crimea as a holiday destination began in the second half of the 19th century. The development of the transport networks brought masses of tourists from central parts of the Russian Empire. At the beginning of the 20th century, a major development of palaces, villas, and dachas began—most of which remain. These are some of the main attractions of Crimea as a tourist destination. There are many Crimean legends about famous touristic places, which attract the attention of tourists.
A new phase of tourist development began when the Soviet government realised the potential of the healing quality of the local air, lakes and therapeutic muds. It became a "health" destination for Soviet workers, and hundreds of thousands of Soviet tourists visited Crimea.
Artek is a former Young Pioneer camp on the Black Sea in the town of Hurzuf, near Ayu-Dag, established in 1925. By 1969 it had an area of 3.2 km2 (1.2 sq mi), and consisted of 150 buildings. Unlike most of the young pioneer camps, Artek was an all-year camp, due to the warm climate. Artek was considered to be a privilege for Soviet children during its existence, as well as for children from other communist countries. During its heyday, 27,000 children a year vacationed at Artek. Between 1925 and 1969 the camp hosted 300,000 children. After the breaking up of the Young Pioneers in 1991 its prestige declined, though it remained a popular vacation destination.
In the 1990s, Crimea became more of a get-away destination than a "health-improvement" destination. The most visited areas are the south shore of Crimea with cities of Yalta and Alushta, the western shore – Eupatoria and Saki, and the south-eastern shore – Feodosia and Sudak. According to National Geographic, Crimea was among the top 20 travel destinations in 2013.
Places of interest include
Main article: International sanctions during the Ukrainian crisis
Following Russia's largely unrecognized annexation of Crimea, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and several other countries (including Ukraine) imposed economic sanctions against Russia, including some specifically targeting Crimea. Many of these sanctions were directed at individuals—both Russian and Crimean. In general they prohibit the sale, supply, transfer, or export of goods and technology in several sectors, including services directly related to tourism and infrastructure. They list seven ports where cruise ships cannot dock. Sanctions against individuals include travel bans and asset freezes. Visa and MasterCard temporarily stopped service in Crimea in December 2014. The Russian national payment card system now allows Visa and MasterCard cards issued by Russian banks to work in Crimea. The Mir payment system operated by the Central Bank of Russia operates in Crimea as well as Master Card and Visa. However, there are no major international banks in the Crimea.
Main article: Politics of Crimea
See also: Federal subjects of Russia
The politics of Crimea is that of the Republic of Crimea on one hand, and that of the federal city of Sevastopol on the other. Since becoming the 84th and 85th Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation in 2014, both have strongly supported United Russia in both local and national elections.
At the most recent Crimean parliamentary election on 14 September 2014, United Russia won 70 of the 75 seats in the State Council of Crimea based on just over 70% of the vote. Despite calls from local Crimean Tatars for a boycott of the elections, turnout was over 53% which compared well with elections in other regions of Russia. Following the election, Sergey Aksyonov became Head of the Republic of Crimea: he had previously been Acting Head from 14 April 2014. United Russia is also the leading party in the Legislative Assembly of Sevastopol having won 22 of the 24 seats at the last election. The governor of Sevastopol is Dmitry Ovsyannikov who was first appointed on 28 July 2016 following the resignation of Sergey Menyaylo, and secured re-election on 71% of the vote on 10 September 2017.
United Russia maintained its position as the most supported political party across Crimea at the Russian legislative election on 18 September 2016, achieving 72.8% of the vote. At 49.1%, turnout was slightly ahead of that for Russia as a whole which was only 47.8%.
In the 2018 Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin secured 92% of the vote in Crimea compared to 77% across Russia as a whole.
Main article: Demographics of Crimea
As of 2014[update], the total population of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol was 2,248,400 people (Republic of Crimea: 1,889,485, Sevastopol: 395,000). This is down from the 2001 Ukrainian Census figure, which was 2,376,000 (Autonomous Republic of Crimea: 2,033,700, Sevastopol: 342,451).
According to the 2014 Russian census, 84% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language; 7.9% – Crimean Tatar; 3.7% – Tatar; and 3.3% – Ukrainian. It was the first official census in Crimea since a Ukrainian-held census in 2001.
According to the 2001 census, 77% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language; 11.4% – Crimean Tatar; and 10.1% – Ukrainian. In 2013, however, the Crimean Tatar language was estimated to be on the brink of extinction, being taught in Crimea only in around 15 schools at that point. Turkey provided the greatest support to Tatars in Ukraine, which had been unable to resolve the problem of education in their mother tongue in Crimea, by bringing the schools to a modern state.
Ethnic composition of Crimea's population has changed dramatically since the early 20th century. The 1897 Russian Empire Census for the Taurida Governorate reported: 196,854 (13.06%) Crimean Tatars, 404,463 (27.94%) Russians and 611,121 (42.21%) Ukrainians. But these numbers included Berdyansky, Dneprovsky and Melitopolsky uyezds which were on mainland, not in Crimea. The population number excluding these uyezds is given in the table below.
|Date||1785 ||1795 ||1816 ||1835 ||1850 ||1864 ||1897||1926||1939||1959||1970||1979||1989||2001||2014|
|Carried out by||Russian Empire||Soviet Union||Ukraine||Russia|
|Total population stating nationality||546,592||713,823||1,126,429||1,813,502||2,184,000||2,430,495||2,401,200||2,197,564|
|Nationality not stated||12,000||87,205|
Crimean Tatars, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority who in 2001 made up 12.1% of the population, formed in Crimea in the early modern era, after the Crimean Khanate had come into existence. The Crimean Tatars were forcibly expelled to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin's government as a form of collective punishment, on the grounds that some had joined the invading Waffen-SS, forming Tatar Legions, during World War II. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Crimean Tatars began to return to the region. According to the 2001 Ukrainian population census, 58% of the population of Crimea are ethnic Russians and 24% are ethnic Ukrainians.
Jews in Crimea were historically Krymchaks and Karaites (the latter a small group centered at Yevpatoria). The 1879 census for the Taurida Governorate reported a Jewish population of 4.20%, not including a Karaite population of 0.43%. The Krymchaks (but not the Karaites) were targeted for annihilation during Nazi occupation.
The number of Crimea Germans was 60,000 in 1939. During WWII, they were forcibly deported on the orders of Stalin, as they were regarded as a potential "fifth column". This was part of the 800,000 Germans in Russia who were relocated within the Soviet Union during Stalinist times. The 2001 Ukrainian census reports just 2,500 ethnic Germans (0.1% of population) in Crimea.
Besides the Crimean Germans, Stalin in 1944 also deported 70,000 Greeks, 14,000 Bulgarians and 3,000 Italians.
In 2013, Orthodox Christians made up 58% of the Crimean population, followed by Muslims (15%) and believers in God without religion (10%).
Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, 38 out of the 46 Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate parishes in Crimea ceased to exist; in three cases, churches were seized by the Russian authorities. Notwithstanding the annexation, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) kept control of its eparchies in Crimea.
Alexander Pushkin visited Bakhchysarai in 1820 and later wrote the poem The Fountain of Bakhchisaray. Crimea was the background for Adam Mickiewicz's seminal work, The Crimean Sonnets inspired by his 1825 travel. A series of 18 sonnets constitute an artistic telling of a journey to and through the Crimea, they feature romantic descriptions of the oriental nature and culture of the East which show the despair of an exile longing for the homeland, driven from his home by a violent enemy.
Ivan Aivazovsky, the 19th-century marine painter of Armenian origin, who is considered one of the major artists of his era was born in Feodosia and lived there for the most part of his life. Many of his paintings depict the Black Sea. He also created battle paintings during the Crimean War.
Crimean Tatar singer Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 representing Ukraine with her song "1944", about the historic deportation of Crimean Tatars in that year by Soviet authorities.
Following Crimea's vote to join Russia and subsequent annexation in March 2014, the top football clubs withdrew from the Ukrainian leagues. Some clubs registered to join the Russian leagues but the Football Federation of Ukraine objected. UEFA ruled that Crimean clubs could not join the Russian leagues but should instead be part of a Crimean league system. The Crimean Premier League is now the top professional football league in Crimea.
A number of Crimean-born athletes have been given permission to compete for Russia instead of Ukraine at future competitions, including Vera Rebrik, the European javelin champion. Due to Russia currently being suspended from all international athletic competitions Rebrik participates in tournaments as a "neutral" athlete.
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I will be frank; we used our Armed Forces to block Ukrainian units stationed in Crimea
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
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.
...ancient Tauris or Tauric Chersonese, called by the Russians by the Tatar name Krym or Crim. In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.).
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|Taurida Governate||Berdyansk County||Dneiper County||Melitopol County||Crimea|
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