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Why Russia Wants the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine

Updated on March 21, 2015
The Crimean War 1854-1856
The Crimean War 1854-1856 | Source
Part of Chersones' ruins with the St. Vladimir Cathedral in the background.
Part of Chersones' ruins with the St. Vladimir Cathedral in the background. | Source
Excavations of Chersones are getting more serious since it came on the list of Unesco.
Excavations of Chersones are getting more serious since it came on the list of Unesco. | Source

A Slice of its History

With the seizure of Crimea, Russia took back what is believed pure Russian soil, that was heavily defended with countless lives against many invaders through the centuries. Obviously there is something very special about this little land slice, but it's not easy to catch in a few words - it's a mix of facts and emotions.

I lived and worked there for nearly a year, during this period I studied it's history and I will try to explain what is so special about this peninsula.

Crimea has proven to be through the millennia a very strategical peninsula. The known history started with the occupation by the Scythians, followed by the Greek that concurred the western part of Crimea in the 1st century from the Tartars and settled Chersones (Херсонес), near the city of Sevastopol (Севастополь).

During WWII Crimea was part of the Eastern Front and became together with Stalingrad one of the heaviest fought battles between the Red army and the Nazi’s. One third of the population on the Western part of Crimea was killed during this eight months battle.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Sevastopol obtained a special status, mainly because of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Dora

The 80 cm Nazi super canon "Dora" was used during the 8 months battle of Sevastopol in 1942.
The 80 cm Nazi super canon "Dora" was used during the 8 months battle of Sevastopol in 1942. | Source
The battle of Sevastopol
The battle of Sevastopol | Source

Patriotism, Emotions and Corruption

It is believed that Russians always muse about their Russian Soul. Well, it really exists. The Russian soul is shaped over the many centuries of suffering, resignation and sacrifice. Russia remained intact as a country and a unified nation, due to this force that's present through whole of Russia from East to West and from North to South - all over its immense territory of 17 million km². Russians draw their strength from their history and are fully aware of it - every Russian citizen. It is this Russian soul that gives them the strength for total dedication and sacrifice in almost anything, especially in the battlefield. Westerners understand almost nothing to none about the Russian soul.

Sevastopol is one of the twelve 'hero cities' of the former Soviet Union from which four of them - due to the corrupt and weak (pro Europe) politics from Kiev - are about to be squandered to the West, seen from the point of view of Russia.

Many Russians died during the centuries to defend the little, strategic peninsula. Russians are determined to do this over and over again if their soil is to be desecrated by a pro Western politic - even with the tactic of scorched earth.

The European oriented politicians of Ukraine obviously underestimate the forces that are subjected in their own country. They are too busy with their own pocket, from Tymoshenko to Yanukovych, to stay in connection with their own roots. Their main interest is to catch some of the money flow coming from the West, while the population of Ukraine is suffering in utterly poorness. Ukraine is through and through corrupt that is run by unprincipled politicians with a (very) weak spine - this is non-Russian behaviour.

Russians have the trait to be very patient, but when their patience is over, their actions run very quickly. What Putin has done is fully in the extension of this Russian soul and has therefore all the support of the population in Crimea and Russia.

Ukraine should be divided in a european part and a Russian part - it is likely this will happen through diplomacy or through military force.

Spoken languages in Ukraine.
Spoken languages in Ukraine. | Source

Legend

 
Русский (Russian)
Суржик (Surzhyk: a Rus/Ukr mixed language)
Украинский (Ukranian)
This monument marks the territory of Sevastopol. This monument was destroyed during WWII and as a gift it is restored for the 200 anniversary of the city.
This monument marks the territory of Sevastopol. This monument was destroyed during WWII and as a gift it is restored for the 200 anniversary of the city. | Source
A fisheye view of the large inlets of Sevastopol. These inlets run deep into the peninsula.
A fisheye view of the large inlets of Sevastopol. These inlets run deep into the peninsula. | Source

Sevastopol - the Only Ice Free Harbour of Russia

The position on the world map of Crimea is obviously very strategic. It is together with Turkey situated on the axis between East and West and for a superpower like Russia important to secure it as its property when tensions are growing in the region of Turkey, Syria and Iran.

Russia's Northern and Eastern harbours are frozen during Winter. Sevastopol is the only all season ice free harbour of the Russian territory and therefore a too important trump card of the Russian army. In a political labile Ukraine this important harbour becomes too vulnerable.

The Black Sea has an easy way out through the Bosporus channel that divides Istanbul in the European part and the Asiatic part.

Nearly all Crimeans feel themselves Russian and all together it's a logical step to confiscate Crimea back.

The coastlines and the inland of Crimea are inhospitable and beautiful. Most people live in the cities Simferopol and Sevastopol.
The coastlines and the inland of Crimea are inhospitable and beautiful. Most people live in the cities Simferopol and Sevastopol. | Source
The many fjords near Sevastopol and Blaclava are large and deep enough to hide whole sea fleets.
The many fjords near Sevastopol and Blaclava are large and deep enough to hide whole sea fleets. | Source

Secrets of the Cold War

Crimea hides many 'secrets' of the cold war, like the Submarine caves of Balaclava. From a strategic point of view of no importance anymore, but emotional too important that this part of history falls in the hands of an expanding Europe.

During WWII the exhausted Russian submarines hunted by U-boats disappeared in this caves to be equipped with fresh supplies and ammunition.

Part of the caves of Balaclava
Part of the caves of Balaclava
The beaches around Yalta are even for spoiled Westerners beautiful.
The beaches around Yalta are even for spoiled Westerners beautiful. | Source
The climate of Crimea is subtropical. The winters can be quite tough with outliers down to -20°C.
The climate of Crimea is subtropical. The winters can be quite tough with outliers down to -20°C. | Source

Cote d’Azur of Russia

Many wealthy Muscovites have their summer property in Crimea, especially in the area between Yalta and Sevastopol. Since the riots began on Maidan square in Kiev it became painly clear how unstable Ukraine actually is. The stakes are too high in Crimea from all kinds of point of views - tactical, geographical, economical, patriotic and emotional.

The seizure of Crimea is a widely accepted action in all layers of the society in both Russia and Ukraine.

The Kremlin doubled the pensions of 700,000 Crimeans since it became Russian soil again, from around $2000 annually to nearly $4000 annually, which means a boost in the local economy of 1.4 billion dollar.

The question is: who is against?

This impression shows the bridge between Crimea and Russia (Caucasus).
This impression shows the bridge between Crimea and Russia (Caucasus). | Source

What About the Rest of Ukraine

There is fear that Russia will invade Ukraine. Perhaps it will and this has the purpose mainly to protect the gas distribution to Europe in an increasingly hostile Ukraine and also to protect the Russian population especially in the Eastern part of Ukraine. There is fear for sabotage of the gas distribution or hostilities against Russian civilians by pro Western groups.

A mass invasion is unlikely but not excluded. Putin showed guts with the quick invasion of Crimea. Perhaps he has the elation to seizure Ukraine back as Russian soil, but from a rational point of view this is highly unlikely - it will drag Russia in a ground battle with Ukraine.

Ukraine is something totally different than Crimea. Crimea is very strategical and easy to connect from the Eastern side by a bridge of 4.5 kilometres. Annexation of the whole of Ukraine is a too risky card to play. But if it has the support of the majority of the Eastern Ukrainians, nothing can be excluded.

What Do You Think

Had Russia rights to take Crimea?

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Conclusion

The interests at stake for Russians as well as Crimeans are higher than the hypocrite politics and sanctions from the West. The so called violation of international charters of the U.N. and Helsinki are ridiculous.

Isn't it more important that the international community is being hot scorched about Syria, Egypt or C.A.R. than the seizure of Crimea that is democratically accepted by more than 90% of the voters on March 16th 2014?

Why does the U.S. still not recognize the International Crime Court in The Hague? But now starts to wave with all kind of manifests? It's far more important to bother about this than the fact that Russia is stabilizing it's former area's that has positive effects on the long run for its population, that are Russian in heart, mind and soul.

The West is too hypocritical in its superficial opinion and totally doesn't understand the 'Russian Soul' that was the driving force behind this action.


© 2014 Buildreps

© 2014 Buildreps

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    • jandee profile image

      jandee 3 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      He might be your Prime Minister ! He certainly isn't mine he simply conned his way in to office,in a slimey slithering walk along with his friend from the dopey party...

      nice to see we aren't complete opposites!

    • Buildreps profile image
      Author

      Buildreps 3 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for giving the comparisons on this issue, Thomas, it's true right indeed. The 'criticism' of the West is driven by fear of the awakened Russian bear.

    • Thomas Swan profile image

      Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand

      You're bang on here. The West is so hypocritical it's almost laughable. Though, when you consider how most people in the US and UK are too thick to realize it, it stops being funny and becomes sad.

      We could cite Kosovo, or even the upcoming Scottish referendum, but I like mention the Falkland Islands. The British prime-minister said recently: "Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future." In other words, if they want to rejoin Argentina, they can. So what about the rights of the people of Crimea? It's so two-faced. They only uphold democracy when it suits them, but when a foreign people democratically decide something that we don't like, we try to deny them their rights.

      I love it when the right-wingers respond by saying "well the referendum was illegal". I ask them "how?" before they stutter and mutter something along the lines of "well Putin is just evil". They seem perfectly fine with the fascists and anti-Semites toppling a democratically elected prime minister for not agreeing a trade deal though. They don't see a problem with that because our media has told everyone it's ok.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

      Excellent post