6 March 1944

6 March 1944

March 1944


War at Sea

German submarine U-744 sunk in the North Atlantic

German submarine U-973 sunk off Narvik


US Marines attack Talasea (New Britain)

Eastern Front

Soviet troops advance on a wide front in the Ukraine

Some Whys and Wherefores on the Subsidies Question

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 10, 6 March 1944, p.ف.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“It is clear that we cannot hold the wage line if the Congress deprives us of the means necessary to hold the cost of living line.”

How many people who have regarded the President’s veto of the anti-subsidy bill – sustained by Congress – as a “great victory” for labor, are aware of the meaning implicit in that sentence from the President’s veto message?

If words have any reliable meaning at all, then the above quoted sentence signifies that in the opinion of the President the subsidy payments have held the cost of living line. This is obviously false – for the simple reason that the cost of living line has not been held.

Impressive but Misleading

It was very impressive when the President enumerated how prices would rise if subsidy payments to the food profiteers were discontinued. Butter, he said, would go up ten cents a pound, cheese eight cents, hamburger four cents, bread one cent, flour seven cents on a ten-pound bag. The President mentioned one or two other commodities on which the prices would go up if subsidies were discontinued.

We know, however, that the cost of most of these commodities had gone up by leaps and bounds before the food profiteers were bribed with $1,250,000,000 subsidies to stop them from pushing still higher the prices of this very insignificant number of the total list making up the necessities of life.

But what about the cost of living as a whole – what about that long list of other commodities making up the wherewithal of life?

It has been authentically proved by the labor representatives on the President’s Cost of Living Committee that prices have gone up 43.5 per cent since 1941. The President’s clever oratory and ability to turn a few figures into false shapes should fool nobody.

This is exactly what the subsidy issue at this time was designed to do. By vetoing the anti-subsidy bill, by Congress sustaining the veto, by food subsidy payments continuing, one is supposed to conclude that the President now has “the means necessary to hold the cost of living line.”

So, now what is expected to happen? Why, labor is supposed to “HOLD THE WAGE LINE.”

“Psychological Considerations”

Very revealing on this subject is a letter written by Chester Bowles, OPA Administrator, in the New York Times of February 11. He points out that the $1,250,000,000 paid out in food subsidies meant a direct saving to consumers of only $378,000,000. “This $378,000,000 savings would not in itself justify the use of these subsidies.” But Mr. Bowles goes on to say: “However, there are other considerations, some of them psychological . ”

What are the psychological considerations which Mr. Bowles and also his chief in the White House have in mind?

“Today, some labor groups feel that wages should be allowed to go higher . ” Mr. Bowles reminds the editor of the New York Times.

Just as the President intends to play subsidies for all they are worth against wage demands, so also does Mr. Bowles regard the “psychological considerations” involved here as most important.

Without regard for facts, Mr. Bowles speaks about “the present balance between wages and prices (imperfect though it may seem to the various groups concerned).” A very mild word indeed is “imperfect” to describe the 28.5 per cent gap between the fifteen per cent of the Little Steel formula and the 43.5 per cent increase in prices.

A Drunkard’s Balance

The demands of steel, rubber, auto, packinghouse and many other workers for wages commensurate with the present cost of living bothers the political as well as the industrial bosses. It is clear that subsidies have been kept mainly as a weapon against higher wages.

That is why “the present balance between wages and prices (imperfect though it may seem to various groups concerned)” was not disturbed by discontinuing the subsidy payments. With the important case of the United Steel Workers now before the War Labor Board, it is hardly the psychological moment for the political bosses to add even another small argument to the already well-sustained, case for higher wages.

The fact that the political bosses did not discontinue the subsidy payments at this time makes the representatives of big business on the WLB a bit more authoritative in their assertion that the “board has no authority whatever to hear any arguments in favor of changing the wage stabilization policy.” For did not the President’s veto of the anti-subsidy bill, forsooth, “hold the wage line” by continuing “to hold the cost of living line”?

Such flim-flam will not influence the rank and file of labor in its wage demands. But you may be sure that the labor leaders who have been so very amenable to the wiles of the White House will have their ears dinned full of the most specious arguments in best Rooseveltian style.

They will be admonished to “hold the wage line” since – isn’t it true? – the President is holding the price line. They will be warned that the demon of inflation will get them if they disturb Mr. Bowles’s non-existing “present balance between wages and prices.”

However, the rank and file of labor are more influenced by the bread-and-butter considerations behind their demands for wage increases than with the “psychological considerations” of the politicians. Also, they are tired of the way in which their leaders accommodate themselves to the nuances of White House policy at the expense of the pressing needs of the working man.

“Psychological considerations” won’t be a substitute for burying the Little Steel formula, whose carcass hangs like lead around labor’s neck.

Of Special Interest to Women

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 10, 6 March 1944, p.ك.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

To say that there is a war on and that this is why there are shortages of vital commodities is really not explaining anything.

Take the scarcity of meats, for example.

Most of us visualize cargo ships going to foreign ports laden with meats for the overseas forces and for lend-lease as the reason for the wide-open spaces in the butcher’s icebox.

But Lewis J. Clark, president of the United Packinghouse Workers of America, CIO, has another story to tell about the critical meat situation.

“Hundreds of thousands of livestock are cluttering the stockyards of the nation, with slaughtering and packing facilities lying idle because the industry’s low wage policy and bad working conditions drive people to other jobs,” says Mr. Clark.

This is something every housewife should know.

Furthermore, packinghouse workers are putting in seventy, eighty and ninety hours a week – in some cases even as many as 120 hours. The strain on the workers is terrific, and all because the low wage policy of the rich companies drives skilled men into other industries where wages and hours may be better.

At the present times the packinghouse workers are demanding a modest ten-cent-per-hour wage increase, but Armour & Co. and the other meat packers are fighting this reasonable demand tooth and nail.

“The meat packers claim,” says Mr. Clark, that they can’t raise wages unless they are allowed to raise prices to the consumer. This claim is false. THE MEAT PACKERS ARE MAKING TRIPLE THE PROFITS THEY MADE BEFORE THE WAR, AND THEY WEREN’T EXACTLY STARVING THEN. They can pay decent wages without gouging the consumer any further.

This is something to know when you regard the clean stretches of white enamel in the butcher shop – unbroken by sight or sign of red meat:

With war profits triple the ample profits of pre-war days, the profiteers would rather deepen the meat crisis than cough up a paltry raise so their workers can hold their own against prices that have risen by 43.5 per cent since 1941.

And while on the subject of war profits, here’s another tidbit worth stopping over:

All winter woolens have been as dear as diamonds. Most of us have been compromising on all sorts of shoddy substitutes that have neither the warmth nor the durability of woolens. But do have the same prices that formerly bought woolens.

Now if we trace this situation back to the manufacturers, it means of course that they are selling less woolen goods to the civilian population, which can’t afford the prices.

The American Woolen Co., one of the giant concerns of the industry, as a matter of fact reports that its sales in the year 1943 actually fell $7,676,325 below the year before.

But before weeping in sympathy with the American Woolen Co., consider this additional fact: In spite of the fall in gross sales, the net profits of the company ROSE BY SEVENTEEN PER CENT over the net profits of 1942.

So why should big business worry about high prices? Their gross sales may fall because prices are so high that you and I cannot afford to buy many necessities – but their profits still continue upward.

What irony that the dollar-a-year men of big business are in Washington supposedly to “hold the price line” for you and me!

As the war proceeds all talk of equality of sacrifice becomes more and more nauseating because of its blatant hypocrisy.

To workers whose wages have been frozen at the 1941 level while prices have gone up 43.5 per cent, the ten per cent cut out of wages to buy war bonds really means a sacrifice that hurts.

To the capitalist class whose war profits accrued at the rate of $8,600,000,000 for 1943 and will be over $10,000,000,000 for 1944, buying war bonds is not only a lucrative investment – because their wealth permits them to buy the bonds in great bulk – but is also a source of ribald pleasure.

It sticks like gall in the throat to read about the swanky parties where the “four hundred” make whoopie while performing their “pay-triotic” duty buying bonds.

Bejeweled on every part of the anatomy available for the purpose – including the ankles in some cases – and bedecked in gowns perhaps coming from the salons of Nazi-occupied Paris, Park Avenue dowagers playfully bid up their bond purchases by the tens of thousands in competition with each other for such a prize as maybe a live pig. The males of the species amuse themselves bidding, in bonds for maybe a bottle of rare scotch or perhaps a pedigreed dog.

All this “sacrificing” goes on in the gleeful surroundings of a hot night club or private party. You can be sure that not one of the female “sacrificers” has to give up a single diamond tiara, bracelet or anklet – because of war bond purchases. Nor does any of the male “sacrificers” have to give up even as little as his private cigar humidor rented at Dunhill’s to keep his favorite “weeds” at just the right moisture.

The other day Mrs. Roosevelt quoted in her column, My Day, a letter she received from a friend.

“It seems, to have been necessary for both of my sons to give their lives in this war,” wrote the friend. “I am willing, and able, to take it if their deaths and those thousands of others who are dying far away from home can be justified by a better and more equalized world when the war is over. If we get anything like the ‘status quo’ or ‘back to normalcy,’ it can be nothing but a hideous waste.”

Mrs. Roosevelt, of course, agrees that we must have “a better and more equalized world.” In fact, the First Lady is full of good intentions, which she voices at every possible opportunity. Lately at a meeting of two thousand women in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, she said: “Either we are going to have a brotherhood of man or we are going to have war.”

Fine words, but only words – and here is the proof:

There is before Congress the May bill under which boys of seventeen years would be required IN PEACETIME to go into either military or naval training for at least one year. Representative May is a realistic capitalist politician who knows that capitalism will bring future wars and so goes ahead to prepare for them by militarizing the youth of the land.

But how about the idealistic First Lady who talks about “a responsibility toward the boys who have died” and who spouts about the “brotherhood of man”?

Mrs. Roosevelt also thinks the military regimentation – IN THE POST-WAR PERIOD – of boys of seventeen “quite all right if they don’t go overseas before eighteen.” She even goes further and wants girls included!

This is how the First Lady stands on the subject of peacetime military training for the youth of the country. The lady of oh so many good intentions approves the vile system of compulsory all-time military training for boys and girls because she thinks in terms of future wars. Otherwise she could not have said “if they don’t go overseas before eighteen.” For going “overseas” means going to war.

For the purposes of oratory, Mrs. Roosevelt is all for the “brotherhood of man.” When it comes to practical measures, she goes along with the other supporters of the capitalist system who are preparing for World War III.

On this planet there is not room for both the capitalist system and the brotherhood of man. Labor Action wants to push off the profit system to make room for the socialist brotherhood of man.

Destroy Black Market!

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 10, 6 March 1944, pp.ف &ق.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

It is one thing to acknowledge the existence of an evil and quite another to have a program for removing the evil.

Informative it is indeed to get the figures of Chester Bowles, OPA head, that the black market in food alone costs the housewives of the country $1,200,000,000 annually.

As individual consumers we have all known that the black market reduces our dollars and our standard of living. It is interesting indeed to be told the extent of the black market squeeze on a nation-wide scale.

But what is to be done about it? That’s the question.

Mr. Bowles gave a long talk on black market machinations at a panel discussion on The Black Market vs. the American Housewife, sponsored by the New York Times.

A few days before Mr. Bowles’s speech the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor asserted that the figures of the CIO and AFL that the cost of living had gone up 43.5 per cent since January 1, 1943, are “absolutely wrong.”

Government vs. Housewife

However, the statistics of the report on the cost of living are “based on evidence from hundreds of American housewives.” In a joint statement, Meany, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Labor, and Thomas, president of the United Automobile Workers, CIO, added that

“No group of government bureaucrats have ever before had the audacity to insult millions of American housewives by telling them that their experiences are all wrong and that they should instead try to live on Bureau of Labor Statistics statistics.”

What conclusions must we draw from the above? Mustn’t we conclude the obvious, that not only is the Black Market vs. the American Housewife, but that Government vs. Housewife is also a fact?

What housewife who knows her onions, and most of them do, does not laugh out of the other side of her mouth at the “statistics” of the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the cost of living has gone up only 23.4 per cent in the past three years!

If all the facts presented by Mr. Bowles on the operation of the black market were included in the cost of living – which even the Meany-Thomas report did not do – that is no doubt that Mr. Bowles himself would be supporting the CIO-AFL contentions on the cost of living rather than those of the BLS.

The OP A head spoke not only of the food black market but of over-charges for clothing, tires, gasoline, furniture, second-hand refrigerators and other home equipment – whose effect can be only roughly estimated.

And the question is still: What is going to be done about it?

Mr. Bowles talked about public understanding, about some arrests, about checking done on wholesalers, about the honesty of most merchants – and about his own very good intentions.

We Have Our Doubts

Can the American housewife rely on this same old palaver? We doubt it.

We doubt it for exceptionally good reasons. The reasons are:

  • First, as indicated in the so-called statistics of the Department of Labor, the government itself does not face the facts of the cost of living – but minimizes it. In this case it minimizes it by no small figure. For the difference between the report of the CIO-AFL and the government is a slice-down from 43.5 per cent to 23.4 per cent.
  • Second, the government agencies in charge of production and price regulation are honeycombed with dollar-a-year men, whose concern is primarily with their corporations’ war profits and whose outlook on the whole situation is not too far removed from that of the black market, namely, profits at any price.

It is all right for Mr. Bowles to reveal the function of “the man named Gus” who “simply stops in for a talk before an order is delivered and says that on payment to him of $100 the order will be delivered on schedule and at the ceiling price.”

This individual black market stuff is, after all, comparatively small-time as compared with the “legitimate” take of individual war profiteering with Washington connections.

A Working Class Problem

Let no American housewife be lulled into inaction by speeches like those of Mr. Bowles. As stated at the beginning of this article, giving information is one thing – acting on the information to remedy the evil is quite another.

The whole question of the high cost of living, involving the black market, ceiling violations, ration violations, unnecessary shortages, can be handled to relieve the working people only by working people.

The call for the organization of committees of labor, housewives and working farmers to tackle this problem must be heard and acted on.

What better proof is there that the working people must demand control of the food situation through their own organization than the facts revealed by Mr. Bowles?

After years of so-called fighting the black market from Washington, this is still the deplorable and menacing situation that prevails.

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The classical name 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, [14] 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 which is now called Staryi Krym [15] which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Golden Horde. Some sources hold that the name of the capital was extended to the entire peninsula at some point during Ottoman suzerainty. [16] But the earliest recorded use of the toponym "Crimea" [ clarification needed ] for the peninsula [17] occurred between 1315 and 1329 AD by the Arab writer Abū al-Fidā where he recounts a political fight in 1300–1301 AD resulting in a rival's decapitation and having "sent his head to the Crimea". [18]

The origin of the word Qırım is uncertain. Suggestions argued in various sources include:

  1. a corruption of Cimmerium (Greek, Kimmerikon, Κιμμερικόν). [19][20][21]
  2. a derivation from the Turkic term qirum ("fosse, trench"), from qori- ("to fence, protect"). [22][23][24]

Other suggestions either unsupported or contradicted by sources, apparently based on similarity in sound, include:

  1. a derivation from the GreekCremnoi (Κρημνοί, in post-classical Koiné Greek pronunciation, Crimni, i.e., "the Cliffs", a port on Lake Maeotis (Sea of Azov) cited by Herodotus in The Histories 4.20.1 and 4.110.2). [25] However, Herodotus identifies the port not in Crimea, but as being on the west coast of the Sea of Azov. No evidence has been identified that this name was ever in use for the peninsula.
  2. The Turkic term (e.g., in Turkish: Kırım) is related to the Mongolian appellation kerm "wall", but sources indicate that the Mongolian appellation of the Crimean peninsula of Qaram is phonetically incompatible with kerm/kerem and therefore deriving from another original term. [26][27][28]

The spelling "Crimea" is the Italian form, i.e., la Crimea, since at least the 17th century [29] 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. [30] In English usage since the early modern period the Crimean Khanate is referred to as Crim Tartary. [31] The omission of the definite article in English ("Crimea" rather than "the Crimea") became common during the later 20th century. [ citation needed ]

The classical name was used in 1802 in the name of the Russian Taurida Governorate. [32] 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.

Ancient history

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.

Medieval history

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. [ citation needed ] The peninsula was wrested from the Byzantines by the Kievan Rus' in the 10th century the last Byzantine outpost, Chersonesus was taken in 988 AD. 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. [33]

Mongol Conquest (1238–1449)

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.

Crimean Khanate (1449–1783)

The Crimean Khanate, a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, succeeded the Golden Horde and lasted from 1449 to 1783. [34] 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. [35] The nobility of the Nogay subgroup gained much of their revenue and political power from the slave trade. [36]

Russian Empire (1783–1917)

In 1774, the Khanate was proclaimed independent under the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca with the Ottomans, [37] but was then conquered by the Russian Empire in 1783. [38] [39]

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. [40]

Russian Civil War (1917–1921)

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.

Soviet Union (1921–1991)

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.

Autonomy in Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1921–1944)

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. [41]

Region in Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1945–1954)

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.

Region in Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1954–1991)

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. [42] 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". [43] 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. [44] 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. [44]

Ukrainian Republic (de jure since 1991, de facto 1991–2014)

In January 1991, a referendum was held in the Crimean Oblast, and voters approved restoring the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union less than a year later, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was formed as a constituent entity of independent Ukraine, [45] [46] with a slight majority of Crimean voters approving Ukrainian independence in a December referendum. [47] On 5 May 1992, the Crimean legislature declared conditional independence, [48] 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. [46] [49] The Verkhovna Rada, the parliament of Crimea, voted to grant Crimea "extensive home rule" during the dispute. [47] [48]

The last election of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea took place on 31 October 2010 and was won by the Party of Regions. [51] 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, [52] the State Council of Crimea was established in place of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea.

Russian Federation (de facto since 2014)

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." [53] 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 joining Crimea with Russia was supported by a 96.7% of voters with 83.1% turnout according to official counts it was boycotted by many loyal to Ukraine, and denounced as illegitimate by Western governments. [10] [11] The UN General Assembly approved a resolution declaring the vote illegal and invalid. [54] [55] [56] 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, [57] 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. [58] [54] A range of international sanctions have remained in place 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 [59] 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. [60]

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 [61] and clocks were moved forward to Moscow time, [62] 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, [63] and in June the Russian ruble became the only form of legal tender. [64] In July 2015, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Crimea had been fully integrated into Russia. [65]

Since 2014 the Russian government has invested heavily in the peninsula's infrastructure—repairing roads, modernizing hospitals and building the Crimean Bridge that links the peninsula to the Russian mainland. New sources of water are trying to be developed, with huge difficulties, to replace closed Ukrainian sources. [66]

Once Kiev has 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. [67] Now Russia is dependent on existing infrastructure and is limited by Russian civil engineering to manage the crisis as the international community refuses to help.

In 2017 the Russian government also began modernising the Simferopol International Airport, [68] which opened its new terminal in April 2018. [69]

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. [70]

On 28 December 2018, Russia completed a high-tech security fence marking the de facto border between Crimea and Ukraine. [71]

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. [72]

Covering an area of 27,000 km 2 (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 [ by whom? ] 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.

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. [73] 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 Fiolente [uk] . It was believed [ by whom? ] that this cape was supposedly crowned with the temple of Artemis where Iphigeneia is said to have officiated as priestess. [74] Uchan-su, on the south slope of the mountains, is the highest waterfall in Crimea. [75]


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. [76] 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), [77] 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). [78] The Alma and the Kacha are the second- and third-longest rivers. [79]

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. [81] [82] The general trend is for the former lakes to become salt pans. [83] Lake Syvash (Sıvaş or Сива́ш) is a system of interconnected shallow lagoons on the north-eastern coast, covering an area of around 2,560 km 2 (988 sq mi). A number of dams have created reservoirs, among the largest are the Simferopolskoye, Alminskoye, [84] the Taygansky and the Belogorsky just south of Bilohirsk in Bilohirsk Raion. [85] The North Crimea Canal, which transports water from the Dnieper, is the largest of the man-made irrigation channels on the peninsula. [86]

Crimea is facing an unprecedented water shortage crisis. [87] [88]


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.

Crimean Riviera

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. [ citation needed ] 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. [89] It is characterized by diversity and the presence of microclimates. [89] The northern parts of Crimea have a moderate continental climate with short, mild winters and moderately hot dry summers. [90] In the central and mountainous areas the climate is transitional between the continental climate to the north and the Mediterranean climate to the south. [90] Winters are mild at lower altitudes (in the foothills) and colder at higher altitudes. [90] Summers are hot at lower altitudes and warm in the mountains. [90] A subtropical, Mediterranean climate dominates the southern coastal regions, is characterized by mild winters and moderately hot, dry summers. [90]

The climate of Crimea is influenced by its geographic location, relief, and influences from the Black sea. [89] The Crimean coast is shielded from cold air masses coming from the north and, as a result, has milder winters. [89] 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. [89] 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. [89] In winter these winds bring in cold, dry continental air, while in summer they bring in dry and hot weather. [89] Winds from the northwest bring warm and wet air from the Atlantic Ocean, causing precipitation during spring and summer. [89] 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. [89]

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). [89] In the mountains, the mean annual temperature is around 5.7 °C (42.3 °F). [89] For every 100 m (330 ft) increase in altitude, temperatures decrease by 0.65 °C (1.17 °F) while precipitation increases. [89] In January mean temperatures range from −3 °C (26.6 °F) in Armiansk to 4.4 °C (39.9 °F) in Myskhor. [89] 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. [91] 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. [89] The frost-free period ranges from 160 to 200 days in the steppe and mountain regions to 240–260 days on the south coast. [89]

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. [89] The Crimean mountains greatly influence the amount of precipitation present in the peninsula. [89] However, most of Crimea (88.5%) receives 300 to 500 millimetres (11.8 to 19.7 in) of precipitation per year. [89] 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. [89] The western parts of the Crimean mountains receive more than 1,000 millimetres (39.4 in) of precipitation per year. [89] Snowfall is common in the mountains during winter. [90]

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. [89] As a result, the climate favors recreation and tourism. [89] 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. [92]

Strategic value

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). [93]

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. [94]

According to the International Transport Workers' Federation, as of 2013 [update] there were at least 12 operating merchant seaports in Crimea. [95]

In 2016 Crimea had Nominal GDP of US$7 billion and US$3,000 per capita. [96]

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. [97] The number of tourist arrivals reached a record in 2012 at 6.1 million. [98] According to the Russian administration of Crimea, they dropped to 3.8 million in 2014, [99] and rebounded to 5.6 million by 2016. [100]

The most important industries in Crimea include food production, chemical fields, mechanical engineering, and metalworking, and fuel production industries. [101] Sixty percent of the industry market belongs to food production. There are a total of 291 large industrial enterprises and 1002 small business enterprises. [101]

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. [102]


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. [101] Other products produced on the Crimean Peninsula include salt, porphyry, limestone, and ironstone (found around Kerch) since ancient times. [103]


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. [104] Sunn pests - especially Eurygaster integriceps [105] and E. maura [106] - are significant grain pests. [105] Scelioninae and Tachinidae are important parasitoids of sunnpest. [105] Bark beetles are pests of tree crops, and are themselves hosts for Elattoma mites and various entomopathogenic fungi transmitted by those Elattomae. [107] [108]


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. [109] [110] 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: [111]

Name Type Location Reserves
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 [112] offshore Black Sea 21 billion m 3
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). [113] This is insufficient for local consumption and since annexation by Russia, Crimea is reliant on an underwater power cable to mainland Russia. [114]

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.


In May 2015, work began on a multibillion-dollar road-rail link (a pair of parallel bridges) across the Kerch Strait. [115] The road bridge opened in May 2018, and the rail bridge opened in December 2019. [a] 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. [117] 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.

    's new terminal opened in from April 2018 with the ability to handle 6.5 million passengers a year. [69] It was built in 22 months and covers an area of 78,000 square meters. [118]
  • (under construction) Tavrida highway (route (Eupatoria-)Sevastopol – Simferopol (SW to W N to East ring) – Bilohirsk
    – north Feodosia – Kerch south (strait bridge) . /M18 – Syvash (bridge, starts), Dzhankoi, North Crimean Canal (bridge), Simferopol, Alushta, Yalta (ends) /M17 – Perekop (starts), Armiansk, Dzhankoi, Feodosia, Kerch (ferry, ends) – Novorossiysk to Kerch via Crimean Bridge (formerly known as Highway M25)
  • H05 – Krasnoperekopsk, Simferopol (access to the Simferopol International Airport)
  • H06 – Simferopol, Bakhchysarai, Sevastopol
  • H19 – Yalta, Sevastopol
  • P16
  • P23 – Simferopol, Feodosia
  • P25 – Simferopol, Yevpatoria
  • P27 – Sevastopol, Inkerman (completely within the city of Sevastopol)
  • P29 – Alushta, Sudak, Feodosia
  • P34 – Alushta, Yalta
  • P35 – Hrushivka, Sudak
  • P58 – Sevastopol, Port "Komysheva Bukhta" (completely within the city of Sevastopol)
  • P59 (completely within the city of Sevastopol)

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. [119] [120] By 1969 it had an area of 3.2 km 2 (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. [121] After the breaking up of the Young Pioneers in 1991 its prestige declined, though it remained a popular vacation destination. [120]

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. [122]

Places of interest include


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. [123] [124] 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. [125] [126] [127] [128] Sanctions against individuals include travel bans and asset freezes. Visa and MasterCard temporarily stopped service in Crimea in December 2014. [129] [130] The Russian national payment card system now allows Visa and MasterCard cards issued by Russian banks to work in Crimea. [ citation needed ] The Mir payment system operated by the Central Bank of Russia operates in Crimea as well as Master Card and Visa. [ citation needed ] However, there are no major international banks in the Crimea. [131]

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, [132] 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. [133] 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%. [134]

At the 2018 Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin secured 92% of the vote in Crimea compared to 77% across Russia as a whole. [135]

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). [136] This is down from the 2001 Ukrainian Census figure, which was 2,376,000 (Autonomous Republic of Crimea: 2,033,700, Sevastopol: 342,451). [137]

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. [ citation needed ] It was the first official census in Crimea since a Ukrainian-held census in 2001. [138]

According to the 2001 census, 77% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language 11.4% – Crimean Tatar and 10.1% – Ukrainian. [139] 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. [140] [141]

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 1897 [142] [143] 1926 [144] 1939 [145] 1959 [146] 1970 1979 [147] 1989 [148] [149] 2001 [149] 2014 [150]
Carried out by Russian Empire Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union Soviet Union Ukraine Russia
Ethnic group Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Russians 180,963 33.11% 301,398 42.2% 558,481 49.6% 858,273 71.4% 1,220,484 67.3% 1,460,980 66.9% 1,629,542 67.0% 1,450,400 60.4% 1,492,078 67.9%
Ukrainians 64,703 11.84% 77,405 10.6% 154,123 13.7% 267,659 22.3% 480,733 26.5% 547,336 25.1% 625,919 25.8% 576,600 24.0% 344,515 15.7%
Crimean Tatars 194,294 35.55% 179,094 25.1% 218,879 19.4% 5,422 0.2% 38,365 1.6% 245,200 10.2% 232,340 10.6%
Belarusians 2,058 0.38% 3,842 0.5% 6,726 0.6% 21,672 1.8% 39,793 2.2% 45,000 (e) 2.1% 50,045 2.1% 35,000 1.5% 21,694 1.0%
Armenians 8,317 1.52% 10,713 1.5% 12,923 1.1% 3,091 0.2% 2,794 0.1% 10,000 0.4% 11,030 0.5%
Jews 24,168 4.42% 45,926 6.4% 65,452 5.8% 26,374 2.2% 25,614 1.4% 17,371 0.7% 5,500 0.2% 3,374 0.1%
Others 72,089 13.19% c.27,500 2.3% 92,533 4.2%
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
Total population 1,201,517 2,458,600 2,413,200 2,284,769

Crimean Tatars, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority who in 2001 made up 12.1% of the population, [151] 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. [152] According to the 2001 Ukrainian population census, 58% of the population of Crimea are ethnic Russians and 24% are ethnic Ukrainians. [151]

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". [153] [154] [155] This was part of the 800,000 Germans in Russia who were relocated within the Soviet Union during Stalinist times. [156] 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 [157] 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%). [158]

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. [159] Notwithstanding the annexation, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) kept control of its eparchies in Crimea. [160]

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. [161]

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. [162]

According to the, broken in practice by Russian companies, Ukrainian "law on concert activities" only Ukrainian companies can organise concerts in Crimea. [163]

Painting of the Russian squadron in Sevastopol by Ivan Aivazovsky (1846)

The grave of Russian poet and artist Maximilian Voloshin

People at the Kazantip music festival in 2007


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. [164]

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. [165] Due to Russia currently being suspended from all international athletic competitions Rebrik participates in tournaments as a "neutral" athlete. [166]

What Happened on D-Day on June 6, 1944?

On June 6, 1944, the Allied powers launched D-Day, which was the largest seaborne invasion in history, and began the overtaking of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. Code-named "Operation Overlord," the invasion included a storming of the beaches of Normandy, France.

The beachheads were split into five sections: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Taking the beachheads cost the Allies considerable casualties, where approximately 10,000 men were lost, with 4,414 confirmed dead. The landing crafts dropped soldiers into heavy machine gun fire, where the German's had set up formidable defenses along the coast. The beaches were laden with barbed wire, mines and other obstacles, making the invasion extremely deadly.

Originally, the Pas de Calais was considered a potential landing site for the invasion, being that it was the closest continental point to Great Britain. Due to this, the Germans fortified Pas de Calais the most by far. However, the allied powers soon chose Normandy as the landing site for the invasion because the geographic point offered a broader front of attack, allowing simultaneous attacks of Cherbourg, various important coastal ports and an overland push to Paris and then into Germany.

The invasion was originally scheduled for May 1, 1944. The date then changed to June 5, but inclement weather pushed the commencement of the invasion to June 6. D-Day is considered one of the most decisive moments of World War II. Many soldiers died that day, and today, the Normandy region contains numerous memorials, cemeteries and museums.

‘The eyes of the world are upon you’ — Read Gen. Eisenhower’s letter to troops before D-Day

On this day 77 years ago, more than 150,000 American, British, and Canadian soldiers were taking part in the largest amphibious operation in history. It was called Operation Overlord.

(Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 6, 2020.)

It was June 6, 1944 — D-Day — when the liberation of France from its Nazi occupiers began. Less than a year later, the allies would celebrate the victory of Europe, and the end of the regime of Adolf Hitler.

But before all of that, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force that would carry out the invasion, wrote two letters. One, which was never sent, was written in case the effort failed. The other was sent to all his troops, wishing them luck before they embarked upon the “great crusade” against the Nazis they had trained and awaited for many months.

First drafted in February 1944, Eisenhower had it distributed on the eve of the invasion. It was only one page.

You can view a copy of the letter below:

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months,” Eisenhower wrote.

“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

“But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

“Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Paul Szoldrais the Editor in Chief of Task & Purpose and a Marine Corps veteran. Reach out via email or find him on Twitter at @paulszoldra. Contact the author here.


Japan launched an attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after their attack on Pearl Harbor. ΐ] Initial aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops both north and south of Manila. Α] The defending Philippine and United States troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who had been recalled to active duty in the United States Army earlier in the year and was designated commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Β] The aircraft of his command were destroyed the naval forces were ordered to leave and because of the circumstances in the Pacific region, reinforcement and resupply of his ground forces were impossible. Γ] Under the pressure of superior numbers, the defending forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay. Δ] Manila, declared an open city to prevent its destruction, Ε] was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. Ζ] The Philippine defense continued until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 and on Corregidor in May. Η] Most of the 80,000 prisoners of war captured by the Japanese at Bataan were forced to undertake the infamous "Bataan Death March" to a prison camp 105 kilometers to the north. Η] Thousands of men, weakened by disease and malnutrition and treated harshly by their captors, died before reaching their destination. ⎖] Quezon and Osmeña had accompanied the troops to Corregidor and later left for the United States, where they set up a government-in-exile. ⎗] MacArthur was ordered to Australia, where he started to plan for a return to the Philippines. ⎘]

June 6, 1944 – Anne Frank

Anne Frank kept a diary from June 12th, 1942 to August 1st, 1944. During this time, her family was sequestered in a secret annex made up of a few small attic rooms located at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. These rooms were in the same building as Otto Frank’s business, which continued to operate in his absence. Since the building was in use during the daytime hours, the hiders had to be very still and quiet so that they would not be discovered. Though they were unable to move about freely, they were not entirely cut off from the outside world. They had non-Jewish helpers who brought supplies and information on a regular basis. During the night, when the building was empty, they could also listen to the radio in the office. Through radio broadcasts from Great Britain, the Franks were able to stay informed about the progress of the war.

“But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”

On June 6th, 1944, Anne recorded the most momentous news she and her family had heard in years. She wrote, “’This is D Day,’ the BBC announced at twelve. ‘This is the day.’ The invasion has begun.” Her reaction to the news was jubilant, but tinged with disbelief. “Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? Will this year, 1944, bring us victory? We don’t know yet. But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” Anne knew that the Allied landings would not immediately bring liberation and freedom. She wrote realistically about the fears, hardships, and sufferings still to come, but now hoped the end was in sight. Tragically, Anne did not experience the liberation for which she longed so fervently. Her family’s hiding place was betrayed to the Nazis and she did not survive her imprisonment. Her diary entry for June 6, 1944 proves, however, that she had not given up hope.