Russian MiniLessons: Крым: хронология событий – A Crimean Timeline

Topographical map of Crimea and its immediate area, showing the massive Crimean Mountains. For a full map, which also shows major population centers and overland transport routes, click here.

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.

Крымский полуостров is currently the location of the Республика Крым and город Севастополь. From 1954 until recently, it was the Автономная республика Крым, which was автономная республика в составе Украины. Sevastopol was административно-территориальная единица общегосударственного подчинения. This special status was given it because of its importance as a naval base.

Crimea’s population of two million is многонациональное: русские make up about 60 percent, украинцы – 25 percent, крымские татары – 12 percent, and белорусы – 1.5 percent. There are also греки, армяне, and people of other nationalities.

Крымские татары are one of the most ancient peoples of Crimea. They had their own Crimean state, the Крымское ханство, which existed from 1441 to 1783. Крымское ханство вело постоянные войны  with Russia and Poland. It was weakened by these wars and sought an alliance with the Ottoman Empire, which eventually absorbed it. The Ottomans were ethnically related to the Crimean Tatars. In 1783, Russia defeated the Ottoman Empire and Крым был сначала оккупирован, а затем аннексирован Россией.

Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when then Soviet leader Khrushchev, who at one point worked as head of the Communist party in Ukraine, ordered передать Крымскую область from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic into the Ukrainian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic due to the территориальная общность и общность экономики УССР с Крымом. Crimea has always получал большую часть энергетических ресурсов и товарооборота из Украины, with which it has a narrow land connection. Thus, for accounting purposes, joining it with Ukraine made sense.

Crimea is of strategic military importance as он дает возможность контроля над всем Черноморским регионом. One of the main reasons for Russia’s takeover of Crimea, then, is so that Russia will gain full, unrestrained control over the base of the Black Sea Navy in Sevastopol and also will obtain all the military ports and military bases in Crimea. Before, Russia had to rely on treaties with Ukraine для поддержания этой стратегической позиции.

In addition, Россия получает практически полный контроль над Азовским морем, and the entrance and exit to it through the Kerch Strait – considered strategic to preventing any invasion of southern Russia. Also, Russia will gain the possibility to проложить альтернативный газопровод в Европу через Крым.

The city of Sevastopol is the главная военно-морская база of the Черноморский флот России. Additionally, the Черноморский флот uses the port city of Feodosia, two аэродромы, and some other объекты, which have now become the property of Russia.

In total, the Черноморский флот has 41 надводный корабль and two дизельные подводные лодки. The общая численность of sailors in the Черноморский флот is about 14,000 people.

At the end of February 2014, events in the current Crime Crisis started unfolding. On February 24, deputies of Crimea’s Supreme Council выразили недоверие in the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and requested that Prime Minister Anatoly Mogilev resign.

On February 23, Sevastopol had a митинг народной воли против фашизма на Украине, where Russian citizen and businessman Alexei Chaly was elected as mayor.

On February 25, a delegation of deputies from Russia’s State Duma посетила Крым. The delegates stated that если Крым попросит о присоединении,, then эта просьба будет рассмотрена в кратчайшие сроки.

On February 26, Ukrainian and Russian media wrote about the появление подразделений российского спецназа в Крыму. Crimea’s authorities called these military men силы самообороны Крыма. Armed men in military uniform entered the two airports in Crimea – in Simferopol and Sevastopol so that militants would not be able to arrive. Вооруженные люди постепенно взяли под контроль основные крымские административные и военные объекты, but managed to do so without violence.

Украинские воинские части в Крыму были заблокированы and/or захвачены. In this process, only one перестрелка took place, with two people killed. The Russian media called this incident провокация, устроенная Киевом. Некоторые военнослужащие Украины перешли на сторону Крыма, about 50%, according to statistics released by Kyiv, and принесли присягу “народу Крыма”.

On February 27, the building of the Supreme Council of Crimea было захвачено отрядом неизвестных вооружённых лиц в камуфляжной форме, and над зданием был поднят флаг Российской Федерации. Then, inside, the deputies voted to appoint Sergey Aksenov as Prime Minister of the new government and decided that a referendum on the status of Crimea would be conducted.

On March 6, Crimean authorities определились с датой проведения референдума о статусе автономной республики. The referendum was set for March 16.

A day later, on March 7, deputies of Sevastopol’s city council passed a resolution that Sevastopol would join Russia.

On March 11, Crimea’s authorities объявили о национализации военного флота Украины, declaring it under their authority. On the same day, Crimean authorities stated that Киев блокировал казначейские счета Крыма, and the following day, Рада Украины досрочно прекратила полномочия Верховного Совета Крыма. The Supreme Council of Crimea did not recognize this decision.

On March 15, Russia used its вето на резолюцию Совета Безопасности ООН по проекту резолюции, объявляющей референдум по статусу Автономной Республики Крым незаконным.

On March 16, the referendum on the status of Crimea took place, where the official явка избирателей на участки составила более 80% with 95,7% голосующих проголосовали за воссоединение с Россией.

On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an unscheduled Statement to the Federal Assembly, where he подписал договор о присоединении Крыма и Севастополя к России. On March 19, Конституционный Суд России признал договор законным. On March 20, the Госдума ратифицировала договор on Crimea becoming a part of Russia, the final step in annexing a territory by Russian law.

For more on Crimea, its history of separatism and its strategic importance, see this article also on the SRAS website.

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About the Author

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life, Worldpress.org, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an MA from St. Petersburg State in International Relations. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource. He additionally helps coordinate activities for our students in Moscow.