A Map of Crimea It is impossible to talk about recent foreign affairs without talking about the Ukraine Situation and unfortunately not everyone understands exactly what is going on. So I feel it is my duty to give readers more information about this rather touchy subject. Before I talk about what happened recently, I feel obliged to give the basic history of the area and will help shed some light over what is going on there. This will be a two-part blog.
First of all, let’s start off with the basic history which I feel is relevant, and I know there is a lot more in depth stuff then what I am going to say but if I really go there, this page will be as long as all the media articles put together about how Russia is evil (it will be long). So in the time around the 14th Century, the Tatars, a Muslim Sultanate, came and took over Crimea, this will hold a lot more significance later on.
Hundreds of years later in 1783, Crimea, which is geographically very strategic since it is nice and warm (rare in this part of Europe, good for farming) and it was on the Black Sea (unfrozen ports, access to the Mediterranean and was sort of secluded? AWESOME!), was taken over by the insecure Russians. The Russians had a right to be insecure, I mean all the other big players had nice vacationing spots all over the world, India was Britain, Indonesia was somewhat French and Dutch, Congo was Belgian and so on. And because of this insecurity, Russians alway felt that Crimea was a statement of national pride, a feeling that says this is a part of us; heck they even sent many, many colonists to make it more slavic and therefore have more of a Russian influence, and the great Queen Catherine [the Great] once said that Crimea was forever to be Russian. And so it remained to be part of the great Russian Empire until that faithful day in 1954.
That was when the “great” First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Sergeyvich Krushchev became the great idiot by signing over Crimea to Ukraine (back when they were also part of the Union) illegally and without informing anyone as a gesture of “goodwill.” Unfortunately or fortunately we cannot blame him however because no one expected what would happen in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed (*gasp) and to make it worse, Ukraine was now a country (*double gasp), and they also claimed Crimea when they broke off (*holy mother of triple gasp).
Now just before we continue on, I wanted to state a rather important point, remember our neighbourhood Tatars who I said will be important, well now they are of utmost importance. There story is a rather sad one, Joseph Stalin back in the 40s (1940 that is) had deported all the Tatars out cause you know, they were disgusting to the “Western Civilization”. Luckily for them Mikhail Gorbachev let them back in 1989. However, understandable the Tatars were not big fans of the Soviets, and when the Union collapsed and Russia seemed to be the country that tried to be the puppet master, the Tatars hated the Russians and loved the Ukrainians.
Now the last thing to talk about in the history of Crimea is that in 1997 when the Ukrainians were in a massive debt to Russia (over $1 billion US) the Russians and Ukrainians decided to make a deal, the Russians will keep one of their Naval Fleet in Sevastopol, one of the largest Crimean cities until 2017, while the Ukrainians got a 30% discount on oil and natural gas. Seemed pretty good eh? Also, recently the now former president of Ukraine, Yakunovich extended the deal by 25 years!
That concludes the main history part of the two-part article on this rather interesting situation, the second part will consist more of the developments in the more recent history and will also state my opinions over what is happening.